Last images of D.C….


I had spent five nights with Kate by the time she needed to return to work,
and I was ready to proceed on the next leg of my trip.
Many images of Washington, D.C. had been imprinted on my mind
and recorded by my camera.

The Navy Memorial, showing western North America.

It looked like winter down by the Potomac, where in Georgetown
they were building up the ice rink for skating, “Coming Soon!”
A man was spreading the freezing water around with a sort of push broom.


We had been out for a yummy dinner in that neighborhood,
where I was surprised to see, next to buildings along broad sidewalks,
people bedding down for the night on the red bricks.

Unidentified building with square theme.

My time was up, I had my ticket in hand already, to depart on Train 86 – Northeast Regional Line, to visit my cousins in Philadelphia. Tom drove me to Union Station where I was immediately transported into a compartment of my mind where emotions linked to other train stations throughout my life seem to be stored all together.

My primary experiences of rail travel, thoroughly positive and exciting, were my childhood trips to see my grandmother. Then there was the year that I rode trains from Munich to Istanbul, and back to Amsterdam, young and alone and meeting strangers who were sometimes like angels. That was also my first experience of a huge railway depot like Victoria Station in London, where the first angels appeared.

Mr. Glad and I had a blissful train ride down the coast of California long ago, the day after becoming engaged…and with Pippin I experienced English railways in modern history. God only knows how to sort out all the train events, and speculate about what rivulets of that stream were running through my heart as I entered Union Station gawking. It was early enough that I could wander around a little and feel the vastness of space and excitement — though I think for most people it was routine, and for me the excitement was probably largely drawn from the well of memory.


When I went through to my gate, I had some trouble finding the right queue to get into. I think I was just a little early, and after the earlier 8:10 boarded things were easier to figure out, partly because I asked people for help.

I should have put my suitcase in the floor-level storage area at the end of the car, but before thinking very long I just hefted it up, balancing it for a second on my head, and it landed in the overhead bin okay. Then I had two hours to look at the scenery, and to read or pray. I was a little downhearted for the first while – probably because I had left my dear daughter and son-in-law behind. Parting is the uncomfortable side of train-station drama.

Soon I was meeting more family and hugs at the other end of my ride and being taken care of again. And that will be the next happy chapter of my travel story.

10 thoughts on “Last images of D.C….

  1. I love your travelogue and am so glad you are able to spend time with your beloved family. I LOVE train travel and am trying to talk my family into taking the train to Canada this summer:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GretchenJoanna,
    How I have missed visiting with you, reading your beautiful words, and seeing bits and pieces of your life in picture form. Washington D.C. is very close to where my daughter presently lives and she is always saying, “You must come, and we can go into D.C.” I grew up going there quite often. I plan to take some time and go back to read your past posts. My season of blogging has been found wanting…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would love to take a train down south to see my family in Texas. I’m not sure how to begin or where I could even catch a train around here. I would feel safer on a train than a bus, and airports are too far away. I enjoyed hearing about your train riding memories! Perhaps you’ll give me the courage to try it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s fun to travel along. Good photos – the great dome at Union Station, the Navy memorial, even the square-themed building. My thoughts stayed with an image you respectfully didn’t photograph: “next to buildings along broad sidewalks, people bedding down for the night on the red bricks”

    After you finish this trip, please go back to the “trains from Munich to Istanbul, and back to Amsterdam, young and alone and meeting strangers who were sometimes like angels” and tell us about that year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I LOVE your train stories. I remember riding a train when I was in kindergarten. We were headed to a park and I was so hungry. An older lady was eating a tuna fish sandwich and I wanted one very much!
    It sounds like you had a lovely trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rail travel is so romantic! I love your travelogue.When I lived in Germany we took trains everywhere and rode the subway in Paris, London and Munich, which was easier than one would think. Your post brought back those youthful memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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