We met at DFW Wednesday morning, the 4th, excited, ready to go, and a little tired a because we had to get up really early. We arrived in D.C., received our Potbelly sandwiches in a box, and ate them on the bus on our way to the Holocaust Museum. The museum is a staggering experience and suddenly, we were all quiet. From there, to the fun of the new Crime Museum, then to several monuments, including the Viet Nam Memorial, where several of us found the names of people important to us. The weather had been perfect. Thursday, we had the honor of laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. The participants were Jakobi Reddix, Ben Henderson, Mrs. Maly, and Mr. Gonzalez. Then in rapid succession, the fabulous, Newsium, more monuments, and…..what is that? Is that the sound of sleet in Fort Worth? On Friday, the Capitol and the Smithsonian in cold, pouring rain. Some of us had heeded Mrs. Maly’s warnings, and actually brought umbrellas and warm jackets. (Some of us had not.)
Also, on Friday, emails and texts from Fort Worth were sounding more and more dire. We were not surprised to receive our first flight cancellations that afternoon. Cancellations kept coming, one after the other, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We went to the mall, played games in the hotel, had a raucous talent show, bought remote control cars at the handy CVS, and ate everything in sight. The kids were INCREDIBLY well behaved, considering the circumstances. The hotel was gracious, probably because of the kids’ behavior. The tour company never left our side. Mr. G and Mrs. M worked tirelessly on reservations, entertainment, and food. (I took a day off to have a stomach bug. Really. I wasn’t faking it.) First group out Monday night. The emotional goodbyes were rather poignant. Those leaving didn’t want to go!!! Snow storm Tuesday morning in D.C. Oh my! Schools cancelled and the government shut down. (No surprise there!) Would we get out?? Yes, we drove 2 hours south to Richmond and took off with no trouble.
What do we take away from this intense experience? The kids told me they want to have a reunion in that hotel every summer. Yes, there were girls’ tears due to homesickness. But most came to realize they were at an extended 7 day party with all their best friends. This was one intense bonding experience. As a teacher, the most telling statement I can make is that I had fun too. (Except for the vomiting.)