Sailing Through History

Sailing Through History

October is always the best month of the year. The weather is perfect, the leaves burst with color, the candy is plentiful, the apple cider gets pressed and brought to the stores, the sweaters and scarves come out, and not to be forgotten—my birthday! Tack on the government shutting down, reopening, midterms, and two family visits—and this month’s calendar page is looking a little crazy!

It was my Dad’s turn to celebrate my birthday with me this past weekend. My Dad (Rocco), my stepmom (Debbie), my two little sisters (Bethani and Abi) and my baby brother (Cole) all made their way down from Connecticut on Saturday morning. Debbie gave me a call once they were in town and I made my way downstairs to meet them. When the elevator door opened to the lobby, I was speechless; my family had surprised me by bringing my cousin Danielle and my Noni (grandmother, in Italian). Of course, I immediately burst into tears when I saw them all standing there staring back at me. It was better than any gift I could have asked for. We had a wonderful weekend, mostly limited to me pointing out the monuments from the car window; the shutdown really ruined some the fun for all seven of them who had never been to D.C. before. On Sunday, we did some shopping, waited in line for some infamous D.C. Cupcakes, and walked around Georgetown. That night, we celebrated my birthday dinner at Farmers Fishers Bakers—I said I’d be back there for my birthday, and I always keep my word. I had the most incredible bananas foster for dessert… three heaping scoops of vanilla bean ice cream with sliced bananas and a boiling banana sauce poured over top—I still can’t stop thinking about it. This is my relationship with dessert; I love dessert, I must have dessert, and I continue to think about dessert after things have ended. My birthday weekend number (#1) ended with some precious family bonding over a Cowboys beat down on the Redskins; My Dad and I are Dallas fans, and poor Debbie is a Washington fan. Our conflicting sports gear made for some interesting family dynamics and plenty of snarky comments from the locals. When morning came and it was time for me to navigate them back to my apartment, I wished I could start the weekend all over again. I am so happy that they all could come see me together—it is a visit I will never forget.



Bethani, Me, and Abigail


On Wednesday, I got to do something truly special—something not everyone else can do. My Uncle Tres was in town for business, and asked if I would accompany him to dinner aboard the Sequoia Presidential Yacht. I was super excited… what could be better than a dinner… on the Potomac… on a presidential yacht? I didn’t do any research before on why exactly why they called it the presidential yacht—so when the Captain gave his report on the ship’s history, I was shocked. The amount of history that lives aboard the Sequoia is incredible! The yacht was built in 1925 and then made the official presidential yacht in the 1930’s by President Hoover. When Franklin Roosevelt was president, he had an elevator installed, so he could more easily travel between the three levels. Harry Truman added his touch with a custom poker table and a piano. President John F. Kennedy spent his last birthday at age 46 on the ship among family and friends before he was assassinated six months later. Lyndon B. Johnson, during his term, demanded the elevator FDR built be turned into a wet bar. Richard Nixon (oddly) believed the yacht was bugged, so he insisted an electronic shield be placed throughout the ship. This meant workers had to drill small pinholes six inches apart throughout the entire railing. It was also on the Sequoia, and cruising down the Potomac, that Nixon informed his family that he intended to resign as President. He supposedly did this after he sat at the piano and played “God Bless America” repeatedly for twenty minutes. I couldn’t believe all the people and all the things that had happened on that boat! Beyond all the cool facts, the food was awesome, and it was wonderful to catch up with my Uncle who I hadn’t seen in years! I feel so lucky that he invited me to share in such a rich and historical experience. It was definitely the most fabulous dinner I could imagine!



The Presidential Room



Bar of Soap Used by Kennedy



The USS Sequoia Presidential Yacht


This weekend is about to consumed by work. Deadlines and assignments here at The Washington Center are fast-approaching. We all have cover letters due on Monday for our programs and I have to cram for my Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure midterm on Thursday. I am allowing myself to take Saturday as a fun-only day. After working all week I think I deserve one day to get out and not worry about my to-do list. Come Sunday and Monday though, it's time to buckle down--it's all about balancing.



"Remember happiness is a way of travel, not a destination."

-Roy Goodman

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