Washington, DC, Trip Details

Thanks again to Nancy Musser’s Archives of Trivia, we now know what we did on our senior class trip to Washington, DC.   This is from a typewritten school handout of the itinerary that was distributed prior to the trip and that we were to keep with us.  Nancy, always the over-achiever,  kept it for fifty years.  I am describing it as if we did everything  just as planned, but I haven’t the slightest memory of most of the details.

We left the high school at 6:30 am by bus, Monday, April 26, 1954, but only to the Chester railroad station.  From there, we took the 7:29 train to Baltimore, arriving at 8:30.  Another bus met us there and took us to a tour of the Naval Academy in Annapolis.  (Which I do not remember at all.)

We reboarded the bus at the Naval Academy at 11:30 and rode to the Capitol Building in Washington, stopping along the way at the Investment Cafeteria for lunch (wherever that was).  We toured the Capitol Building, then broke up into two groups.  One went to the National Gallery of Art, the other to the Smithsonian.

At 4:30 pm, we boarded the bus for the Ebbit Hotel at 10th and H Streets, NW.  We checked in,  ate dinner there, then had four choices—take a general tour, go to Glen Echo Park, skate, or swim.  If it rained we would all go to a movie.  After that, we reassembled at the Lotus Club for food, dancing, and entertainment.

That was all on the first day when we must have gotten up before five that morning.  Obviously, our teacher-chaperons wanted to tire us out, but it must have been brutal for them.  And they did all of this without cell phones.  They are formally listed as Sarah Adams, Ester Morris (no spring chicken), Mimi Hart, Janet Felter, Lawrence Richards, Joseph Moore, Howard Freeman, and William Radcliff.

Thanks, all of you, wherever you are.

The next day was breakfast at 7:30 am and back on the bus at 8:30 to go to the Bureau of Engraving to see the money being printed (this I do remember).  The itinerary does not say, but we must have first gathered on the Capitol lawn to have our group photograph taken, the photo shown on the masthead above.  When I scanned my copy of the photo a few years ago and enlarged it, I could just make out on Eddie Vetter’s watch something like 8:30.  I did not believe it then, but it fits.  Also, on the photo we all look fresh and ready to go, very different than individual pictures taken later in the day.  (See the Nov. 29, 2005, blog, and the photo album on the right of Juliet Calabro and Nancy Musser’s photos.)

The bus then took us to the Washington Monument (where some of us walked up, more walked down), the White House, and the Washington Cathedral (was this the National Cathedral?).  We had lunch back at the Ebbit and checked out, loading our luggage on the bus.

At 1:30, we drove to Mount Vernon through Georgetown, Arlington Cemetery, and Alexandria,.  Several of our individual photos look like they were taken there judging by our state of collapse.  If time permitted on the way back to Washington’s Union Station, we would see the Lincoln Memorial and National Airport. (I don’t remember if we did.)

The train left Union Station at 7:00 pm and we ate dinner on board.  (We must have eaten everything but the seat cushions by then.)  A bus met us at Chester to take us back to Lansdowne by about 9:00.  The following day was Wednesday, a normal school day.

On the second page of the handout are the rules and instructions.  We were to bring a packed lunch for the first day (even though we were scheduled to stop at a cafeteria), but “avoid rich or indigestible foods.”  (I don’t remember anyone throwing up.)   Girls must wear flat-healed shoes and our baggage would not be available the first day.  We must stay with our group at all times.  Friends or family that might be in Washington could not join us, nor could we leave the group to join them.  (Good rule that I would not have thought of.)   We could not “pick up” new friends.  (Some in our class were very good at making new friends.)  Surprisingly, we could smoke where allowed, but only with our parent’s permission.  Of course, we were not to be involved in any way with beverages containing alcohol (as they put it).  We had to be in our rooms by 1:00 am (sounds permissive enough) and remain “relatively quiet”  (being teachers, they were realistic).  The first one on the room list got the key.  All were responsible for damage.

Any infractions were to be judged by a student-faculty committee.  The students were Bill Dickson (of course), Pat Brown (who, like others, went to a DE convention instead), and Dick Benham.  (Dick Benham!  Wasn’t that like the fox guarding the chicken house?)

Send me any memories you have of this. Did everything go as planned?   I don’t even remember who my roommates were.  My clearest memory of the entire trip is an unexpected episode the last night on the bus with Janet Lane who was totally out of my league.  That is another story, but thanks, Janet.  I still don’t understand it, but who cares?

Roger Walck


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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