Washington, DC ‘17
The Washington, DC, reunion was hosted by Evelyn Ferro. We had active crowd of over 36 attendees plus a few guests. The event kicked off with a “Meet & Greet” conveniently located adjacent to the Bar of the Hyatt Centric Arlington, which is located just across the river from downtown Washington.
Our tour of the Capitol started late morning so we had plenty of time to meet and greet again at breakfast. We all headed towards the metro to catch the train to the Capitol. However some of us (Hearnsbergers) had problems getting there. As we got on the metro and made two stops, the metro came to a halt on all three lines. There was an announcement that there had been an accident on the line and we would be waiting for quite a while. We decided to get off for fear we might miss our tour. We figured we’d walk the rest of the way, only about 3 miles.
We had plenty of time so we were walking leisurely, looking at things (like the White House in the distance) along the way. However, the trek started to go uphill and we began to tire. While we were looking like lost tourists a man stopped to help and suggested that we head over to the Trump Hotel, take a break, see the hotel, and look at our map there. What a treat! It’s a beautiful Hotel (formerly the Old Post Office building) - definitely not in our price range - but we enjoyed the tea and coffee and the surroundings. If you’re ever in Washington, D.C. stop at Trump’s Hotel and talk with the bald-headed bartender - he had a lot of dinner suggestions.!
We barely made it to the Capitol in time - huffing and puffing (on my part).! We caught up with the rest of our crowd and were handed head phones for our tour. There were several tours going on at the same time - so the head phones were a necessity for us to hear our guide. We spent over an hour hearing about a lot of the statues, paintings and history. It is an amazing part of our history and well worth a trip to see as much as you can. We ate our lunch at the Capitol cafeteria…only visitors , no dignitaries.!
The day ended back at the hotel bar before walking to a nearby restaurant.
Our second day started with a bus tour of the Memorials hosted by a great guide, Tracy. She was knowledgeable (15 years on the job) about everything anyone asked! We toured the city and she pointed out a lot of the buildings and other places to visit. We stopped at the Vietnam Memorial and saw all the names on the wall, walked around to the Korean War Memorial which is very impressive also. They have statues depicting all the Armed Forces in the grass and coming thru the trees like they would have done fighting the war in Korea. There is also a reflecting wall showing some of the faces of the men that were in support roles during that war. A highlight of the tour was at the World War II Memorial where a large group of Honor Flight veterans (veterans of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam) arrived to a hero’s welcome. They were greeted by a couple of brightly clad “Jitterbug” dancers. The lady dancer was passing out free “ bright lipstick” kisses. I heard one veteran say that was the thrill of his day!!
As before, we collected back at the hotel bar that evening before walking to one of several nearby restaurants. We had swapped recommendations from the previous days.
We began with an early start on day three for a boat tour down the Potomac to Mt. Vernon. It was a really spectacular setting for the George Washington plantation - overlooking the Potomac and his 6,000 acres with all the necessary support such as kitchen, gardens, blacksmith, stables, and many more. We toured the house which had high ornate ceilings, living room, dining room, parlor, 4 bedrooms, kitchen and study. Outside there were the slave quarters, gardens, school house, and now homes for several of the people that work there as tour guides or maintenance of the property through out the year. After a very nice tour we all headed back to the boat for the trip home. We were fortunate to have a young visitor on our trip. Lyniece Talmadge brought along her grand daughter, Imogen.
We rested up a short time and then off to our “kiss off” dinner at the Hyatt. Tess Johnston came to tell us about history on Expats in Shanghaiand some of her experiences during her time there from 1982 to 2017 ( link to her website). She had a remarkable adventure. Tess brought along some friends who had worked at the Consulate at various times: Tony & Kate Pinson and Helen Lynch (and of course, our Evelyn Ferro and Mary Virginia Corkle) . Other visitors that evening were Francis & Jill Yu, son & daughter-in-law of Annie Yu-Gaertke.
At the dinner that evening, Volker Gaertke talked about our next reunion which will be in Berlin, Germany, starting September 6th thru the 10th of 2018. Both he and Annie have a lot of ideas and have suggested that if you plan to go, you should start thinking about buying your airline tickets very soon as the prices right now are fairly good.
Bob Wikman, serving as MC for the evening, held the bidding on the future reunions … Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Omaha, Las Vegas, a cruise, and Boston. The vote was Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo for 2019. Omaha was a close second!! We’ll be voting for future reunions in Berlin … so get your tickets now or you will be left out of the voting process!
Other items from Bob: Speedy recovery to those ”regulars” unable to attend this year.
David Cullen, just starting his therapy in Ireland
Steve Whitworth, recovering from recent heart & hip surgeries.
Luzie Schlumpf says she is finally on the road to recovery. Planning to see us in Berlin next year.!
Condolences to Dorothy Shuttleworth on the passing of Tony this past year.
Gerri Amman thanked all who contributed to an Owen Amman memorial gift. $400 went to Wounded Warriors Foundation.
(The Amanns and Wikmans were the founders of the Shanghai Reunion, starting in 2001)
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It was a delightful reunion that Evelyn put together … it was a daunting task but she did a great job.!
Volker & Annie look forward to seeing everyone in Berlin next year- September 6-10!!
Farthest distance traveled; Jenny Pickering (Australia), followed by Volker & Annie (Germany).
Perfect reunion attendance: the Brocks and Shermans continue their record at seventeen straight years!