The fourteen-year-old came home last night from his big 8th grade field trip to Washington D.C. He had an awesome time, and just as the tour company did a couple of years ago with the now-sixteen-year-old’s group, they ran these kids ragged for three straight days.

Just a partial list of what they saw?

Lincoln Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
White House (picture stop only)
Washington Memorial
Capitol Hill
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
National Archives
Kennedy Center and the murder-comedy play “Sheer Madness”
Mt. Vernon
Vietnam and Korean War Memorials
Iwo Jima Memorial
Arlington Cemetary and the Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns
Challenger Memorial
Pentagon Memorial
National Air and Space Museum

In three days. They even had an evening at a rec center for swimming. (Gotta keep those hormonal teens busy!)


He had a blast. He took his digital camera and made momma proud: he took about 180 photos in three days.

And he told me this: “Mom, you’re going to see quite a few photos of me and this one girl. We hung out because she liked my camera.”

Hmm. I chuckled inside. I was once a fourteen-year-old girl. I’m thinking that the camera was a ruse. But whatever. I’m glad he had a great time. He came home bursting with stories and was anxious to show us his three souvenirs:

1. A black necktie with a Presidential seal-looking, err, seal, on it that said “Washington DC 2009”

2. For his older brother, a DC shot glass (or, as we call them in Boy Scouts, a toothpick holder)

3. For, as he said, “Whoever”: a little tube of distilled water that has gold flakes floating around in it. It is labeled “Budget Surplus”. Cute.

I hope he remembers all of the great times he had over the weekend.

I too went on an 8th grade trip to DC. I had alot of fun also. I was slightly lonely though; I was the only girl in my group of friends that went. Because my group of friends was co-ed, on the DC trip I was the token girl in my tight group: four boys made up the difference. One of them was my best friend’s boyfriend, Will. (no controversy here.)

My best friend, upset about the fact that she couldn’t go on the trip AND that her best friend and boyfriend wouldn’t be around for a whole three days did what any young girl would do (maybe not). She wrote us each a bunch of notes that were to be opened at certain points on the trip. I held onto and dispersed his notes at the proper time, and he did mine.

Other than small flashes of various elements of Washington DC (the memorials and such), that is what I remember of the trip.

I remember two other things too. One was that the girls in my room wanted to watch “The Shining” one night. I only watched a few minutes of it because it scared the crap out of me. I think I spent the rest of the evening totally under the covers, head and all.

The other thing I remember?

On what would have been our rec center night, we had a dance instead, in one of the hotel conference rooms. I sat there with the four boys, none of us wanting to dance. Nobody DANCED at a dance.

The DJ suddenly declared we would have a dance contest. Gag me with a spoon.

But three of the boys in my group–MY FRIENDS–told me and Will that we should enter the contest.


Neither one of us wanted to.

And goodness knows how they did it, but they actually talked us into reluctantly participating.

Still no controversy here: we were strictly platonic dancers.

We danced, extremely uncomfortable, extremely awkward, both of us talking about how we hated every minute of this.

Finally the music ended and–horror of horrors–the DJ announced that everyone should clap hard for the couple who should win.

When he came to us…crickets.

Not even our own friends clapped for us. It was, quite possibly, the most humiliating moment of my life to that point. I remember how it felt EXACTLY. And although it did not ruin the fun I had on the rest of the trip, that one brief moment is what I think of first when I think of Washington DC*.

I’m glad my boys got to go to the rec center.

*I have been back once since then, with Jim after we were married. There was no dance contest and we had an awesome time.