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The Capitol Of My childhood

I was five years old when my family moved to Washington D.C. My father had become Secretary to Congressman Paul Stewart form the State of Oklahoma.

And so began my love affair with the United States Capitol. My mother and I would often meet dad in the Capitol annd attend special sessions of Congress. I remember the time mother just had to be in the gallery at a commttee hearing because her favorite actor and heart-throb, Robert Taylor, was being questioned by Senator Joe McCarthy's Committee on un-American Activities. I guess that was when a lot of authors were labeled communist sympathizers and Black Listed from writing their plays and movies for far too long. That was my first experience with conspiracy theories. Mother's only comment was that Robert Taylor was much shorter in person.

I remember my dad being part of Harry Truman's Inaugural Committee and sitting in extra special seats at the Capitol to watch the swearing in and the beginning of the parade. Mother, I remember, went to tea at the White House, hosted by Bess Truman. As I grew older I would take a streetcar to the Capitol and meet dad for lunch in the House Dining room. My favorite dish was navy bean soup. I wanted to be a page on the House Floor but dad couldn't swing it. At that time, only boys could be pages. That was my first experience with gender inequality. During WWII, there were wonderful free concerts on the Capitol steps by marine, navy and army bands. At special times, we children were let out of school to wave our little flags on Pennsylvania Avenue as presidents, prime ministers and dignitaries from other countries visited the Capitol. There were always special programs on the Fourth of July before the fire works started at the Washington Monument grounds.

When I was in high school, Saturday mornings were spent in the Library of Congress Reading Room working on endless term papers. Afternoons were spent riding the tram in the basement of the Library, to and from the Capitol, looking for or hiding from friends. Those were such happy times. But there was a heart breaking time when I stood in line for hours with my friends waiting to get into the Rotunda to say goodbye to John F, Kennedy, the first president for whom I was old enough to vote.

It seems to me that the good times ended for my Capitol with the assasssination of John Kennedy. Nothing was ever quite the same after that. So, I was not surprised on January Sixth, 2021, when my Capitol was invaded and desecrated by a rabble that doesn't deserve the freedoms my Capitol has provided them for all of their sordid, ignorant, ungrateful lives. But I remain shocked and grieving to my core! Every time I see another video of what happened, my eyes fill with tears and I mourn for the Capitol of my childhood and the joy and pride I once felt for my country.


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