INTERVIEW: BROTHERS - RICHARD SULLIVAN [RS] and JOHN SULLIVAN [JS]
WHEN: September 24, 2011
WHERE: Home of Joan Solomon Janshego
INTERVIEWERS: Joan Solomon Janshego and Carl Lankowski
HOW: transcribed from recorder
TRANCRIBER: Joan Solomon Janshego
Q – Tell me your name and tell me when you were born.
RS – I am Richard V. Sullivan, and I was born on August 17, 1941.
Q – Why don’t we begin with where you were born.
RS – At the old Providence Hospital on Capitol Hill.
Q - Had your parents been living in that area.?
RS - Both of my parents were born in Washington. My parents were born at home. By the time we came along, people were born in hospitals. I grew up just a few blocks away from here.
Q – Your parents lived in Chevy Chase by the time that you were born?
RS - Yes they came here in 1932.
Q – Why don’t we get some information about your parents. Tell us about them.
RS - My father was J. Leo Sullivan. He went by his middle name. He was born in 1903 in Southeast Washington and lived there until he married. My mother was Ellen Keane Sullivan. She was born in Southwest Washington in 1905. I can give you exact dates if you want. When my parents first married, they lived for a few months in an apartment on North Capitol Street, but then they moved out here.
Q – What did he do?
RS – My father was a printer. He worked for the Government Printing Office.
Q - For his entire career?
RS - He originally worked for Judd & Detweiler. After he retired, he went back to Judd’s. Did he ever work for Merkle Printing [asks brother]
JS – I think he may have for a while.
RS – But his big job was GPO and then Judd & Detweiler – those two places.
Q - Do you know how your parents met?
RS – Was it as a dance or something?
JS – I think so.
RS – Was it an Irish club?
JS - Yes
RS –I think it may have been an Irish club dance, because they were both Irish. My father was half German on his mother’s side, but he certainly had an Irish name.
Q – What about his parents? Did they come from the old country?
RS – My mother’s parents came from Ireland around 1900. My father’s family goes much further back - to around 1840. My father’s mother was from a farm in Butler, Pennsylvania. My father’s father was from Martinsburg, West Virginia. My grandmother could not work on the farm, because her brothers took it over. So she went to Martinsburg to work, and she met my grandfather. He worked for the railroad and they kept transferring him. He was in Alexandria for a while, and then he ended up in Washington.
Q - So he goes way back.
RS - I thought they came after the potato famine, but then I found a great grandfather who was born in what was Virginia in those days but now is West Virginia. He was born in the 1840’s – my great grandfather fought in the Civil War.
Q – What side did he fight on?
RS – He fought on the Confederate side . My grandmother - the German grandmother - her father fought for the Union, because they lived in Pennsylvania.
Q -So they both have an immigration history that is antebellum and maybe around the beginning of the 19th century.
RS – But the grandfather that fought for the Confederacy was forced to. A regiment came along with some guns, and you either went in or you got shot. So he went in, and then he later deserted.
Q – The counties who formed West Virginia stayed loyal to the Union.
RS – I know. He later deserted and went over to the Union side. I have got to research all of that.
Q – Did your parents talk a lot about that previous history.
RS - Yeah They were great about talking about growing up here. The Confederate grandfather [to brother] do you know his first name?
JS - John
RS – John, our great grandfather. Yeah. It would be my father’s grandfather, he stayed with them. It was in the later years of his life and so they got Civil War history from him. He was living with them, and then he went out in a snowstorm one day and froze to death.
Q - Did they talk about their experience in Washington before you came along or were small and would not have known much about your surroundings? Did they give you insights about what it was like? I am talking about your parents now. What was it like living in Washington?
RS – My father never talked that much about it. But he grew up – where was it - down near the Navy Yard? It was L Street where they are now doing all that big development. For a while, my grandfather worked for the Navy Yard. Then they moved to E Street . On Capitol Hill – E St. SE. I think it was near 13th SE.
Q – Around Eastern Market?
RS – Well about 5 or 6 blocks from there . That is on 7th Street, and they were near 13th. He talked about that. My mother talked about Southwest all of the time. Though they didn’t have much money, they loved their neighborhoods. I said “What about Northeast?” She said, “I was an adult then and it didn’t mean that much to me. “ She loved Southwest, and she always talked about it They had an Irish community there.
Q – Is that where the Irish community was centered?
RS - That particular one – yes. This man – P. D. St. Clair - he recently wrote a book called Swampoodle. He is a local guy. It is a novel, but he talks about the Irish in Southwest. Even though it is called Swampoodle, it’s not too much about the Swampoodle area, which is around North Capitol Street.
Q- Does Swampoodle have a meaning?
RS – Gosh. I think the poodle is puddle. It was a very wet, muddy area. A combination of swamp and puddle somehow.
Q – There were big goings on in the 1920’s. I wonder if you heard anything about those things, and in the 1930’s for that matter? Veterans from World War I came to Washington to protest.
RS – My father mentioned it. I don’t know if he went down to look at it. He didn’t say that, but he knew about it. I found out about it from him before I read about it. And also the Knickerbocker Theater – the collapse of the roof of the old Knickerbocker in the snowstorm.
Q – Where was that at?
RS - It was near 18th and Columbia Road. There were 2 theaters there. It later became the Ambassador Theater?
JS – yeah,
RS – It was on 18th Street in what we would call the Adams Morgan area today. They didn’t call it Adams Morgan in those days. It was a terrible tragedy. The 1920’s were very prosperous. But before that, my mother’s family was very poor. Her father died when she was 12 years old, and my grandmother could not afford to raise her. My grandmother became a companion (what we would call a caregiver today) to a wealthy, elderly woman, but she couldn’t bring her children with her. So my mother lived for a while in St. Vincent’s Orphanage, and she later lived with an aunt and uncle. Those were rough times, but after World War I, it became more prosperous. My grandmother got a government job. The family reunited. They got a house in Northeast in 1925, and things were much better.
Q – What kind of government job? Do you know?
RS – It was the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I don’t know what she did there. She was called an “operative.” They always had these newspaper articles about how they handle the money there. They discard the imperfect money.
Q - Was she still doing that when you guys came along?
RS - It was before I was born. She retired in 1937, at age 65, after 19 years of service.
Q -John, when were you born?
JS - October 10, 1934.
RS – I am sorry that my oldest sister is not here. She died of cancer last year. She was the one who knew all of the family history. I am going to be going through her stuff and mine too, and if I find anything that I think might be of interest to Historic Chevy Chase, I will donate it. She was the real authority.
Q – When would she have been born?
RS – She was born February 18, 1933.
Q – What was her name?
RS – Barbara A. - Barbara Ann
Q – How did you get to Chevy Chase and where exactly did you live?
RS - Where did they have their apartment right after they got married?
JS – It was at North Capitol and T Street .
RS – They were married –I don’t know the exact date – but it was in November 1931. How many months were they in that apartment?
JS - Six months.
RS – See my father had that government job at the printing office, and they could get a mortgage very easily even though it was the Depression. If you were a government employee, you were not a risk. So they were able to get a house right away. He wanted to live in Brightwood. And then my mother said : “No. Let’s go to Chevy Chase. For a thousand dollars more, we can have a much better house in a much better neighborhood.” It was kind of daring, because none of our relatives lived over here. We were the first ones. Our grandparents, aunts and uncles, they all lived in Northeast or Southeast. They didn’t move until the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.
Q – Was it a big family? How many aunts and uncles did you have?
RS - We had no biological uncles, but we had 4 aunts and their husbands on our father’s side and two aunts and their husbands on our mother’s side.
Q – Did they all live around here?
RS – Well they all lived in Northeast and Southeast . And then in the great migration of the 40’s and 50’s, some moved out here and some moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland and some maybe moved to Prince George’s. They went all over except for Virginia. Almost no one went there. Oh, we did have some cousins that went there. So the houses were new. I think our house was built in 1931 and the address is 3614 Jocelyn Street, NW, and it now has the third owner. They added a large addition. When you go up the block, it’s a Tudor style, and has an in-law suite.
JS – They took over the yard.
RS – It is the first million-dollar house on that block. There are more modest dwellings there. They may be in the upper hundred thousands. But anyway, that was the first million-dollar house there. So that is where we grew up. That was our neighborhood.
Q – Did they buy it new?
RS – Oh yes. They were all new. It was all new construction. They were building in this area then.
Q – Do you know who the architect was?
RS- Do you remember the name, or the real estate company?
JS – Jones Real Estate.
RS – But you don’t remember the architect?
JS – No. Oh, it was Jacobson.
RS – But they didn’t do cookie cutter. Each house was a little bit different. We had the Tudor style. Then some had porches on the front, and we had a porch on the side. I don’t think any two were alike, were they?
JS – No. It was nice.
Q – You must have had a deep backyard.
RS - Pretty deep. It was a nice size. But it doesn’t go way back now, because the present owners built on it. We had an alley in the back, and we had a garage in the back where we could park. But nobody parks back there now. The cars are too big. They all park on the street, and they use the garage for other things.
Q – How long was the family in that house?
RS – The last ones in there were my sister and brother. When did you move out?
JS – January 2003.
RS – Did you move in January 2003 or February?
JS – It was early February 2003. We moved to Leisure World. We were the only original neighbors on that block of Jocelyn Street. The houses changed hands many times.
Q – When did your parents die?
RS – My father died in April 1983 and my mother died in February of 1998.
Q- They lived there until their deaths?
RS – Yes.
Q – I guess the place to go now is memories.
RS – Where do you want me to start?
Q – Any place you want. You grew up in that house, right?
RS – Yes. We were Catholic, and we went to Blessed Sacrament. The church and school meant a lot to us. We all went to Catholic schools all the way through. Except [to brother] you did go to junior high at Alice Deal.
JS – Yeah.
RS - But we all went to the Catholic school [Blessed Sacrament]. We spent a lot of time up there. We walked up. My father did not get his car until 1950. So we were walking and taking buses everywhere. And everybody was very friendly. You always socialized with your neighbors. You got to know them. We went into each other’s houses and sometimes had parties and stuff like that. Not like today. Of course, we are in a high rise, and that is different. (People might go down to the party room or hang around the lobby but not so much the hallways. ) But you knew your neighbors. You played with all the kids in the neighborhood. It was very friendly. It was a very close-knit neighborhood. People would invite me into their houses. I was just a kid. We would have something to eat. One woman took me with her to the grocery store. One family took me on a birthday picnic with them or to visit the boy’s great grandfather – things like that. I just remember them as very friendly, personable people. If somebody died, we took up a collection to send them flowers.
Q – When you walked to school, it seems like it was about a half mile.
RS – It was a mile.
Q – Did you go up Nevada Avenue? How did you get up there?
RS – We would usually go up Chevy Chase Parkway. It is hard to avoid the hill because there is a big hill, but we would sometimes go up Nevada and then we would go to Patterson. We would go up Chevy Chase Parkway a lot. And some times Connecticut. If we wanted to hit the stores, we would go up Connecticut. So one of those three streets.
Q – Did you go home for lunch?
RS – No. It was too far.
Q – You carried your lunch?
RS – Yeah. In a bag. The only thing that the school provided at extra cost was a choice of chocolate or white milk. They didn’t even have snacks. Some of us would sneak away at lunchtime and go down to Broad Branch Market to get snacks and sodas and stuff. There were no vending machines, and so you brought your lunch. But those who lived a few blocks from school, they went home for lunch. And once a boy invited me to his home for lunch, but generally I stayed there all day and then came home at 3 o’clock.
Q – What was school like?
RS – The nuns were very good Of course, most all the teachers were nuns. There was just one lay teacher in the school. She was not a very nice person. She was once our substitute teacher, and she used to pull my ears. It was almost sadistic. She would come up behind me and just yank my hair or pull my ears. The nuns would never do that. They would not touch you. They were very strict, and you learned by rote and got a very good education. There was very good discipline. Every year, we had a school fair. They set up booths on the playground. Once a year, we also took a boat ride down the Potomac. We had a cruise to Marshall Hall Amusement Park. I think it was in May.
Q – Where is Marshall Hall?
RS – It was across from Mount Vernon in Maryland. In fact it has been gone for decades. Just like Glen Echo Amusement Park. It might have lasted a little longer than Glen Echo Amusement Park – not the present Glen Echo. But the boat would always stop at Mount Vernon first and then go over to Marshall Hall and then go back the same way.
Q – Where did you pick up the boat? Downtown?
RS - Yeah. On Maine Avenue. They still have it but not to go to Mount Vernon. They now have these dinners and dances on the boat. They didn’t have that back then that I can remember.
Q – What did they have? A roller coaster?
RS – They had a roller coaster. They may have had a ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. You know, the basic things.
Q – Were African Americans welcome there?
RS – No. Everything was segregated back then.
Q – What about at the Catholic school?
RS – We had one African American boy. He was the janitor’s son. I don’t think he was in my grade. The janitor lived in the basement of the convent, and his son was the only African American in the school. We had some people from foreign countries but just a handful. Most all the kids were whites who lived in the neighborhood. Very different from the school of today.
Q – Pat Buchanan and his brothers lived in the neighborhood. Were they your age or older?
RS – I am around their age. But they were not right at my age. There was one a year ahead of me in school and one behind me. My sister, who went to Visitation, she would sell Christmas cards as a fundraiser for the school, and so she went over to the Buchanan’s house. We would always go to the Catholic homes. We would not go to the Protestants for that. We would go to them for the Red Cross and such, but not for Catholic things. But she went to the Buchanan’s, and they lived across from St. John’s. The father said, “I don’t care if I live across from St. John’s, all of my sons have to go to Gonzaga.” Gonzaga was on the other side of town, and they could have crossed the street to go to St. John’s. My sister told us many times of her going over there. And I think the daughters may have gone to Georgetown Visitation. There were two daughters that went there. My sister went to the Junior College.
Another thing – although I am going out on a tangent - there is an actor named John Heard. My sister babysat for him. I think he had a brother and sister also. She was their regular babysitter.
Q – On what street did they live?
RS – I don’t know which street.
JS – They were on Jocelyn.
RS – Oh, they were on Jocelyn? OK. When he started his acting career, he was in some horrible movie about the Ku Klux Klan. My sister met his mother at the Safeway, and the mother said “I’m not even going to see it.” But he did get some good roles – The Trip to Bountiful for example.
Q – The kids in the neighborhood, again. They lived in the neighborhood but there were few others – no African-Americans except the one. Diplomatic families – any of those?
RS – I am trying to think. Now, we had a congressman’s son in my class.
Q – Do you know the name?
RS – No. I don’t remember his name. I remember he was a Democrat, because one of my friends was a Republican, and he didn’t like him. I used to go to his house some times.
Q – Where was the house?
RS – I don’t think it was Jocelyn. It was on the west side of Connecticut Avenue, which is an entirely different neighborhood. We had an aunt and uncle over there. If it was not Jocelyn, it may have been Huntington or Harrison. It was definitely over there, but I don’t remember the name of the street.
Q – We just found out much to our surprise that there has been a black community around 41st Street just around Reno Park essentially. Did you ever come in contact with the Afro-American community around there or anyplace else?
RS – Not that I remember. There were also groups of blacks around Tenleytown. It was around Belt Road - in that area. The blacks there went probably way back before they developed Chevy Chase. Tenleytown was older than Chevy Chase wasn’t it?
Q – Yes. So you saw Afro-Americans on the street?
RS – Yes and downtown. I didn’t have much contact. When I went to Gonzaga, we had two African Americans in my class Now in my class, I don’t mean my classroom necessarily because we had five classes, and then they lost one class after freshman year. They lost 20 percent by the sophomore year. We then had only four classes. So in my graduating class, we had two blacks and one was in my classroom. One day, our homeroom teacher sent him on an errand and then talked to us, saying that we should be nice to him, and that it was hard for him to come to a school where there were all whites. He was a very introverted person. The other black guy whom I never had in my class and never really met, he was a real goof-off. But the guy we had in our class was a very quiet guy. (He died a couple years ago.) I guess our teacher made us feel so guilty, that we elected him class president. We didn’t really know each other very well, because we were from all parts of the Washington area. Everybody at least knew him. I think he was embarrassed at being elected.
Q – Was this in your Freshmen year?
RS – Yes.
Q – Give us the dates when you went to Gonzaga.
RS – Let’s see, it was September 1955 to June 1959.
Q - What year did you start at Blessed Sacrament?
RS – I did not go to kindergarten. So it would have been in September 1947. You went to kindergarten, didn’t you, John?
JS – Yeah. In 1941.
Q – Did you go directly from Blessed Sacrament to Gonzaga?
RS – Yeah.
Q – How about you John?
JS – I graduated from Blessed Sacrament in 1950 and then went to Alice Deal the following year. And one year at Wilson.
RS – John had a lot of problems at school.
JS – Yeah.
RS – And then you got very sick one time and had to take off a year and then had to repeat still another year.
JS – Yeah.
RS – The Catholic high schools were very strict about admissions. For one thing, you had to take this very difficult exam and had to pass it. I think I took the exam for the Priory – which is now the Abbey School - and for St. John’s while it was still downtown on Vermont Avenue and then Gonzaga, and I chose Gonzaga. But they were very strict, and a lower income person or a black would have trouble passing the exam. But then they opened up Archbishop Carroll High School, and the Archbishop said that it would be open to everyone. He said we are taking everyone, and he really meant “everyone” to mean blacks, because Carroll had large numbers of blacks right at the beginning, Gonzaga had just a handful and not any kids with learning disabilities. My brother was having trouble in school, and they would not take him at Carroll, and my mother was furious. So she marched him up to Alice Deal, and they took him. They were wonderful. Didn’t you have a tutor?
JS – Yeah.
RS – I remember that incident and then Wilson was difficult.
Q – Was it expensive at Gonzaga at that time?
RS – No. That was later. Not even colleges were expensive. Even allowing for inflation, it was reasonable. My father was a printer. That is the other thing, we had a lot of professional people in Chevy Chase – like doctors and lawyers. But several generations passed before the Irish who came at the time of the potato famine were able to go to college. I was one of the first of my generation to go to college. My father just got through the 8th grade, and my mother went to high school on a scholarship. But college was out of the question in their day. You went to work.
Q – And where did your parents go to school?
RS – My father went to public school, and I am not sure which ones. They were Southeast public schools, but I can’t say Eastern, because he did not go to high school. My mother went to St. Dominic’s and then to Sacred Heart Academy, which no longer exists. She talked a lot more about school then my father did. She went to Catholic schools. My father went to public schools.
Q – So this is a real tradition in the family.
RS – Yeah.
Q - Did she have a job outside of the home?
RS - She worked for only one year after she married, and then she became a housewife. It was very common for women to be housewives then. My aunts all worked, but in our neighborhood most were housewives.
Q – Did your mother work before she married?
RS – Yeah. She worked for the old Times Herald, which was eventually bought by the Post. I remember it happened when I was a newspaper carrier. It was in the early 50’s – 1951 or 1952 - and there was a huge headline that they had bought the Times Herald
Q – Do you know what she did?
RS – Probably a secretary. She talked about that. The employees were very social. She made loads of friends. She loved working there.
Q – What age was she when she married?
RS – 26.
Q – So she had some years to work?
RS –She probably went to work at 17 or 18. They all had to.
Q – You were already 7 when the war broke out – right?
RS - That was John. I was born a few months before Pearl Harbor. My mother said that she was holding me in her arms and listening to the radio when Roosevelt came on and said we were going to war with the Empire of Japan. She had one of those very big radios – a floor model. There were probably not many table models in those days.
Q – John, do you have memories of the war?
JS – Yeah. I think I was in the first grade.
Q – Do you remember the blackouts?
JS – Yeah. There was a black sheet, which our parents put on the basement windows.
RS – They were worried about bombing, and so they turned all the lights off. My father worked at night, and he would come home during the blackouts. He remarked about that. I think of two things I remember about the war. My father had driven a car since he was 16, but it was very expensive to keep a car during the war. They had gas rationing, and so he gave it up. But he did not get a car right after the war. He got it about 1950 – 5 years after the war. So that was one thing – not having the car and the other thing was the rationing. I remember I was 5 years old. The rationing continued even after the peace. I remember we would go into a bakery, and there would be only one kind of pie – mincemeat - and we didn’t want that. So we didn’t get anything. I remember the empty shelves in the bakery. So I remember the rationing. I don’t remember the tickets and the coupons and that type of stuff.
Q - Do you remember the end of the war?
RS – No. I was too young. [To John] – Do you remember?
JS – Ob yeah. It was in the spring – VE Day.
RS – Did the schools get off?
JS – I think they did.
RS –But the other thing - this was after the war. The first president I remember was Truman. Sometimes, he would come back from a foreign trip, and we would all get on the bus to meet Truman. All the students would go down to Pennsylvania Avenue to greet Truman. It was a spur of the moment thing.
Q – Was this on the grounds?
RS – No on the street. There would be a little bit of a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Q – So was this on a bus?
RS – I don’t remember if we took a school bus or how we got down there. They would say “President Truman is coming home. We need to greet him.” All the school kids would go. I don’t think we did it for Eisenhower. I went to Eisenhower’s inaugural parade. That was very exciting.
Q – Was that in March 1953?
RS – In 1937, the inauguration was switched from March to January. Eisenhower’s was January 20, 1953. I was 11 years old. It was an unseasonably warm day in January. I remember going down. I think we took sandwiches and drinks. I don’t remember buying much down there. We stayed for the whole parade. It was the longest parade in US history. It was dark when we left. I sat on the curb, because some people let me sit there. I was fascinated by it all, and I watched every bit of it.
Q – What was your vantage point? Do you remember?
RS – We kind of went half way.
JS – We were around 15th Street.
RS – 15th where they turn. That is a lot more than half then.
Q - How did your dad get back and forth to work?
RS – He took the bus. We were great for buses. When we visited our grandparents – well my mother’s father died back in 1912. But at Christmas we would leave after church, and we would go to my grandmother’s house and my aunts and uncles would be there . In the evening we would take another bus and go to Southeast to visit my father’s parents. We did that every Christmas, and I used to fall asleep coming home on the bus. We took buses everywhere. The streetcars of course did not come out here . They were long gone – long before we were born. But you could take the bus to 18th and Columbia and switch to the streetcar - or do it downtown.
Q – When did the streetcars disappear?
RS – If this is not the last year, it was close. I think it was 1962.
JS – Yes. 1962.
RS – That was the last one. I think it went to Rosslyn.
Q – Was it on Wisconsin Avenue?
RS – It went to Friendship Heights.
Q – As late as 1962?
RS – Well I think they phased them out gradually . They didn’t take them off all at once, and I think the last one went over Key Bridge to Rosslyn. At lot of people went on it, because it was the last one. Another one went up Wisconsin, and another one up lower Connecticut near the Mayflower Hotel. But where the Washington Hilton is today, it veered off to Columbia Road. It didn’t go further up the hill on Connecticut.
Q – Talk about your immediate neighborhood. Can you describe the immediate area around your house and your neighbors? What kind of people they were. What kinds of houses were in your neighborhood?
RS - The houses on our block were more modest dwellings. But people had pretty good jobs. The man who lived next door, was a bookbinder. I know he bought a Cadillac. He seemed to be very prosperous. We had a lot of stories. You could make some novels or memoirs out of them. His wife fell down the steps, and she was killed. We didn’t go to the funeral. But during the funeral, a man robbed the house. People would read the obituaries and find out where people lived. They knew the family would be at the funeral. My father and another neighbor tackled the guy. They had him arrested. And then he married a second wife. She was very good looking. She looked like a movie star or a fashion model – much younger than the first wife. Then he got the Cadillac, and they also had 2 children. But then he died, and his wife and children moved away.
Then the people across the street - it was something like that movie – Come Back Little Sheba. It was something like the plot of that movie. They had a woman room with them, and the husband fell in love with the woman, and they took off. Then the wife sold the house and moved away.
RS – You asked about any ethnic people. We had a family from Nationalist China. He had a good job in the Nationalist Chinese government, and then when the Communists threw out Chiang Kai- Shek, they came over here. They used to come over to our house. We used to help one of their children with her homework.
RS – And they had a servant. A woman who did all the work for them. She cooked and cleaned and laundered. She went up to the restaurant at the Arcade on Connecticut Avenue – the Peking. She went up there and met the owner, and they fell in love. She quit the job very suddenly and moved in with him.
Q – What year are we talking about?
RS – We are talking about late 1940’s or early 1950’s.
And then on the other side of the street but down at the corner facing Nevada Avenue, there is a house with a big yard in front of it. There were two elderly women there. One was 80 and the other was 85, and they used to scream at each other. There were some interesting stories then. Most of our neighbors were very good people, church-going people, very charitable. They gave to the causes. You know you went door to door in those days collecting for the Red Cross, or Cancer or Heart Society. You would think nothing of it. People don’t do that now.
Q – It wasn’t the silent 50’s?
RS – Yes. Compared to today, things were pretty conservative back then.
Q – What were your hobbies when you were a kid?
JS - Woodworking.
RS – You still have that hobby. He is in the woodworkers’ club at Leisure World. We also collected things – stamps, coins, post cards, etc.
Q – Baseball cards?
RS – I had some, but I was not really big on that.
Q - How about comic books?
RS –Yeah. Comic books. We played games – card games and checkers. When we got television, I was watching television a lot. But nothing like the kids today.
Q – What year do you think that you got television?
RS - It was in the early 50’s. Was it in 1950 when our father bought the car? Was it a year later?
JS – Yeah.
RS – Television was fairly new. Of course, it was introduced at the 1939 and 1940 World’s Fair in New York, which my parents went to. But the war delayed production, and so it came out after World War II. But it was very expensive at first. My mother had a close friend, and her husband was in the liquor business. They had a lot of money, and so they were one of the first to have television. They must have gotten it in 1948 or something like that. I think we got ours in either 1950 or 1951. But some of our neighbors didn’t have it, and they would come knocking on our door asking to watch the television. We would say OK, and our relatives would also come by because we were one of the first to have one. And a lot of them would say, “we know that they are developing color television, and we don’t want to waste our money. We will wait for the color.” Well color was a long time in coming. RCA developed the first ones, and it was not very good at the beginning. People’s skin was purple or orange. Then people got black and white ones when they realized that color was not going to come out for several years. Then everybody had it. It was a real novelty at first. Of course, the screens were very small.
Q – What did you watch?
RS – I watched Hoody Doody and the Lone Ranger. All the cowboy shows. There was some science fiction – Captain Video, for example. Kukla Fran and Ollie was one of my favorites. They only had four channels - ABC, CBS, NBC and Channel 5, which was a local channel back then.
Q – Go back before TV. Did you listen to radio?
RS – They had those old radio dramas that I also went to in recent years at the Smithsonian where they are trying to bring back a lost art. But you had dramas, and they had all the sound effects in the background. I would listen to the Lone Ranger, and also mysteries and stuff. Some of the same programs that were on radio switched to television like Ozzie and Harriet and things like that. We would listen to the radio before television came along. Of course, when you had TV, then radio became practically all music and news.
Q – Of course the other big media was print media. You mentioned before that you delivered newspapers.
RS – I delivered the Evening Star. It was hard, because I was a skinny runt and I started when I was 11 or 12. The first route was on Western Avenue and 41st Street, up in that area. Then I told my boss that was too far from where I live. They wouldn’t give me my own street. But then, I got Nebraska Avenue and Connecticut – the part of Connecticut that is near Nebraska. Then those streets like Huntington and Harrison and Chevy Chase Parkway. It was sometimes cold on winter days, and I had to do it myself. My brother would help me on Sundays.
Q – How many papers?
RS – I can’t remember. But it seemed like an awful lot.
Q – How long did it take you?
RS – Probably a couple hours.
Q – So you got a lot of exercise.
RS – I was so skinny to begin with. But then you also had to collect the money. The circulation manager would meet you at a certain corner, and he would drop off the papers. And he would talk to you. But you had a book with the addresses. And every day there were changes. People dropping out or adding on and people going on vacation, You had to collect the money. I remember people nickeling and diming it. I also remember it was extremely cold on winter nights, and I had to go to all these people’s doors.
Q - Was it difficult collecting?
RS – Some people just were not at home, and so it was difficult to find them. You had a certain deadline. You kept trying. Most of the time people were good. And then we had the calendars at Christmas time, and they were wonderful. There were 12 pages – one for each month. It was an excuse to give the carrier a tip, and I remember some people gave me $5, and that was a fantastic sum of money back then. So I made a lot of money from that. But then as the years went by, they went from 12 to 6 to 3 and then to 1 page. Then they decided to do away with it altogether. Now you get a little holiday card slipped under your door. Carriers are now all contractors. They are not boys. They are generally middle-aged people, and they operate out of a car and what surprised me is today they deliver several papers. They don’t just deliver the Post. If you subscribe to two papers, you may get them together. We always had separate carriers. I guess I did not work for the Post, because I don’t think my parents wanted me getting up at 5 every morning. The Star was only in the morning on Sundays. Later when I got to be an adult, they added Saturday morning.
JS – One time, you overslept, and they came to the door.
RS – I overslept? He has a better memory than I do. The manager came by the door?
JS – Yeah
RS – I don’t remember that, but it sounds like it could be true.
Q – How many years did you do it?
RS – Let’s see, seventh and eighth and then my first year of high school I did it. I came all the way from Gonzaga on the bus and then delivered when I got back, because my mother insisted. I wanted to give it up, and then finally in my sophomore year I gave it up. And then I was a substitute carrier in the summers.
Q – Did you do sports?
RS – I was not big on sports, no.
Q – Scouts?
RS - I was in the Boy Scouts.
Q – Troop 252?
RS – Was that the Blessed Sacrament one? I have forgotten the number, but yeah I guess I was in that one. At the end of the sixth grade, my parents sent me to this Catholic boy’s camp in southern Maryland called Camp Calvert. The Xaverian Brothers ran it. It was all Brothers. In those days, you did not have lay people running things, and they were strict. I was kind of a freewheeling kind of child. I liked doing things on my own. I did not like regimented life, and they had things scheduled from 7 in the morning. You played volleyball at one time, and then another time you played baseball. Then you went swimming. It was almost like what we would call a “boot camp” today. And they were very strict, and I was miserable.
JS – When we picked you up [laughter]
RS – Yeah. I looked miserable. They never sent me back there. But I am not really changing the subject, because in the 7th grade I went to the Boys Scout camp. It was Camp Hoover in Virginia. It was where President Hoover had his summer home. He was a great supporter of the Boy Scouts.
Q – In the Shenandoah?
RS – Yeah. But they shut it down many years ago. I don’t even think you can see Hoover’s home anymore. When I went back as an adult, I toured his home there. You could do anything you wanted at the camp. There were no scheduled activities. The scoutmaster – a Mr. White - he was strict with his own son. He yelled at him one day in front of us . I don’t know what the poor boy did. But to the rest of us, he was as nice as he could be. I liked that.
Q – What were you – 11, 12, 13 in that range?
RS – I think by then, I was 12.
Q – Did you go to camp, John?
JS – I wasn’t big on sports. I never went to camp.
Q – So you went through Gonzaga, and you graduated when?
RS – In 1959.
Q – Then what happened? What did you do next?
RS – I went to Georgetown. I was there for 4 years and got a bachelor’s in English. I didn’t know what to do with myself. But then I had gotten a job when I was in college at the NIH Medical Library – not the National Library of Medicine but the library that was meant for the interns and residents at NIH. I worked summers and sometimes during the year part time. So I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was going to be an English teacher, and then I said, “No. This is too hard.” So I went to library school at Catholic, and then I went to the Library of Congress and that is where I had my career.
Q – Did you get a Master’s degree?
RS – Yes. Library of Science degree at Catholic U. It was the only school that taught it at the time. I did well at the Library of Congress. I moved up to a grade 13. But the funny thing is that I worked only a block from where I was born. I used to joke at work that I really haven’t gone far in life. They tore down that hospital after Providence moved to 12th and Varnum Streets, NE. They left the foundation there for years. It was left there in the late 50’s, and the government was thinking of putting up a building there. Finally, they leveled it, and they had a marker that said “this was once the location of Providence Hospital.” I used to go down and look at that marker.
Q – What is there now?
RS – It is a park. On Capitol Hill, you don’t have much open land.
The old park has loads of trees, and bushes, and benches, but is not good for running around. Next to that was Providence. It is now all open land. People run their dogs there, and they have softball games. It may not be quite a city block. It was at least more than half a block. Residents can walk their dogs and play softball. Congress was thinking about taking it over and putting up another building, a page school or something . They fought about it for years, and it was finally decided that it would be a park.
Q – When did you start in the Library of Congress?
RS – The early years were on again, off again. When I was in my 20’s, I switched from one job to another – one school to another. So when I started, I think it was 1961. No. I think it was 1963. I was at NIH in 1961. Then I left, and then I came back permanently in 1965. Then I stayed from 1965 to 1993 when I retired. So I was kind of in and out before then. They come up with a composite date when you are in and out. My composite date was September 1962, but that wasn’t the actual date when I started. But I was working continuously from 1965.
Q – What area were you in?
RS - I always wanted to be with the public and be in reference. But they had very few jobs there – until the computer came along when they really built up the public area. But there were really few public jobs, and most of the jobs were in processing, behind the scenes. There were hundreds of jobs there. So that is what I did. I was either an editor or cataloger most of the time there. I had about ten different jobs in all.
Q – In which buildings did you work?
RS – All three. It depended on which jobs I had and then before they built the third building, I was down at the Navy Yard for a while. They had an annex there. We had to rent space. The main building was so crowded. The beautiful galleries that are there now, they were all offices. Books were on the floor, because there was not enough room for them on the shelves. The Madison building really helped. But what is happening now is that they have these modules at Fort Meade, and they are putting most of the stuff out there. That frees up a lot of space. But this has all been in recent years. They also rented space in Alexandria and in Crystal City . I remember the Copyright Office was in Crystal City. Then when the Madison was built, they brought all of that back.
Q – Let’s go back to the neighborhood for a second. We are always interested in relationships between different categories of people so recently we interviewed someone who was Jewish, for instance. We were interested about her experiences and you guys grew up as Catholics in the neighborhood. What about Catholics and Protestants. Can you tell us anything?
RS – We got along very well. My mother would say the couple on the corner was prejudiced because they were Lutherans, and they hated Catholics. But I didn’t see much evidence of that. I never felt that way. I used to go down and play in their yard. They were just laid-back people. The Protestants and the Catholics got along very well. But the Jewish people - that was interesting. They had certain clusters. The Catholics were spread around. We didn’t have a Catholic block or neighborhood. We were all over the place. We never thought of living all together, but many of the Jewish people did. I remember my mother taking the parish census. You had to go to every door even if you knew it was not Catholic, because they might have someone rooming who was Catholic. We would go to Jewish neighborhoods, and they would say “sorry, everyone on this block is Jewish.” There were a lot on Chevy Chase Parkway. It makes a kind of a loop. It starts at Connecticut and ends up at Connecticut. Not the part that is near Chevy Chase Circle, but the other end – near Nebraska. Those blocks there had a lot of Jewish people. And there was a group over on the side east of Connecticut Avenue in certain blocks south of Nebraska Avenue. What is known today as Forest Hills, that is the area below Nebraska Avenue, the borderline for Chevy Chase, DC. But if you go south of that – Linnean Avenue – they call it Forest Hills – that was overwhelmingly Jewish. A friend took me to his home after school, and his family was one of the few non-Jewish people living there. But it changed. Carl Rowan – the African American columnist, do you remember the incident where a boy broke into his swimming pool, and he shot him? Fortunately, he was not killed or badly injured. He lived there, so you have more diversity in the past few decades. But when we were growing up, that was a heavily Jewish area. You found out when you went door to door.
RS – Across the street - the couple who moved into the house where the husband ran off with the woman who was rooming with them - they were Jewish. He had a pretty good job. Then in more recent years, there was a Jewish family that moved in there that were good friends with our sister. So there were some Jewish couples in the neighborhood. But they mostly stuck to themselves and some had servants. We would not think of having a maid. They would have a maid – usually a black person – even if they had a small house. We had some Spanish people, but they were wealthier. They may have been the sons and daughters of diplomats. That man, Dr. Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa, was the dean of the Diplomatic Corps. He was in our parish, wasn’t he?
JS – Yeah. He was from Nicaragua.
RS – There was not a lot of that. I would not say that we were international.
Q – It sounds like there were people from different denominations.
RS – My mother loved the bazaars at the Protestant churches. And my brother helped out at the bazaar at the Methodist Church on Connecticut Avenue. He helped set up tables. The woman who ran the bazaar lived across the street from us. So we would go to the bazaars and sometimes the concerts. We didn’t have concerts together. It was after I left as an adult that they had ecumenical concerts at the other churches. I think the Lutheran church near Nebraska had the biggest church. My sister sang with her choir there. And then once we had a fire at Blessed Sacrament. It is kind of vague but I think the Presbyterian church let us use their facilities. The first pastor of Blessed Sacrament, Msgr. Smyth, got to be very close friends with the pastor of the Presbyterian church. They would have these long discussions, and they would walk all the way to the zoo together. They would forget how far they had walked. I think we had good relationships with the churches. People went to church, and the churches were very prominent in Chevy Chase Circle and other places.
Q – Describe to us what a typical Sunday morning looked like.
RS – We always had to go to Mass on Sunday. It was very early. Sometimes 8 o’clock or 9 o’clock. Sometimes 7 o’clock. Sometimes we went to evening devotions on weekdays.
Q – Did you walk there?
RS – In those days we walked. Our father slept late on Sundays, and so he went to Mass at 12:30 or 1:00 o’clock. He worked a lot on his car or in our yard on Saturdays, and so he slept late on Sundays.
Q – Did you have a big family breakfast?
RS – Not on Sunday. We had pancakes on Saturday morning. Did we have them on Sunday?
JS – Yes we did sometimes on Sunday too.
RS – On weekdays, we just had a bowl of cereal and juice and then went off to school.
Q – Did you have a sit-down dinner in the evening?
RS – Yeah, we did. But my father worked at night. So he was not there. I did not see much of him during the week, because he slept during the day and then he worked at night. But during the weekends, we always had Saturday and Sunday dinners together. We always had liver every Saturday.
Q – Who liked liver?
RS - It was a mistaken notion. It was considered to be healthy. Now it is considered not healthy. We always had beef liver. We didn’t have calves liver, because it was too expensive. There were onions on it. I wasn’t crazy about it. Sunday was more elaborate. We had things like meatloaf or chicken.
Q – Did you have desserts that you like?
RS – We had pies and cakes and bread pudding and muffins. They were the main things.
Q – Did you have relatives come for dinner?
RS - Christmas and Thanksgiving. When our grandparents were living, we would go to their houses. Then when they died, we would visit our aunts and uncles. One of my mother’s sisters had 4 children, and we would switch going to my mother’s side of the family. One sister would do Thanksgiving and the other Christmas. Then we would switch. Those days we always had the relatives. I don’t think we did on other days. Our house was relatively small. We never did finish off the basement. The walls were painted. The floor was brick. The men would always go to the basement and the women would stay upstairs.
Q – What did they do down there? Smoke?
RS - You know the old joke. Lower class couples stay together. Middle class couples separate. If you are upper class, you sit with someone else’s wife or husband. So we were middle class, and the men and women separated. The men went downstairs to talk about men’s things, and the women would talk upstairs about women’s things.
Q – You lived very close to Connecticut Avenue. What was your experience with Connecticut Avenue. Did they call it the Avenue back then?
RS – Yeah. We were almost to the bottom of that block. We were near Nevada and Nebraska, and Military Road was close and then we had Connecticut. So we had all those big streets. We went to both shopping centers. It was a pretty steep hill to walk to the Safeway, and there was a Higgers Drug Store there. And sometimes we would go to the other part of Connecticut , which was near McKinley Street.
My father took us to the grocery store on Saturday. My mother liked the A and P in Bethesda. She thought it was a better store, and she also thought the prices were cheaper.
Q – Where was it?
RS – It was originally on Wisconsin Avenue – probably closer to Bradley Blvd. It was not as far up as Old Georgetown Road. And then they later moved to Arlington Road to a much larger store. I think I was an adult by then. I never went to that store.
Q – Where was the Safeway?
RS – There were two. One was near Nebraska. It is pretty much where Politics and Prose is today. And the other was – it was not where it is today. There was nothing commercial then on the east side of Connecticut Avenue. What block was it on?
JS – It was above McKinley. Later they built the bigger one.
RS – There really was no commercial development on the east side of Connecticut . It was all on the west side.
Q – You mentioned Higgers Drug Store. Is that where the CVS is now?
RS – That’s right. It was wonderful. It was family owned. They had this wonderful ice cream and this wonderful sherbet. They had a lot of gifts. They were better than the CVS.
Q – Did they have a soda fountain?
JS – No. The People’s at McKinley and Connecticut had a soda fountain. The people didn’t want to integrate, so they took it out.
RS – Oh is that right? No one told me that. Most of the drug stores and dime stores had soda fountains. A lot of the kids went to the soda fountains. But they did not usually go with their parents.
Q – Was there a dime store around there?
RS – There was a Kresge’s.
Q – Where was that?
RS – Was it close to Legation?
JS – It was at Morrison. Livingston is where the commercial part started. It was Livingston, Morrison and then McKinley where the commercial part was. There was a Kresgee. The Drug Fair came much later. It came when I was a teenager. So there was both a People’s and a Drug Fair.
We went to all the stores. We were great going to bakeries and ice cream parlors.
JS – There was a wonderful bakery. Schupp’s Bakery.
RS - It was a German name. I thought it was strange. The cakes were all white inside. They saved the yolks. They never put yolks in the cakes. That was the only bakery that was like that.
Q – Where was that?
RS – It was in the middle of the block – near McKinley. Then there was one they called Avignon Freres.
JS – That was good.
RS – It was similar to the one in Adams Morgan. It was a little more French. It was in that shopping center near Chevy Chase Circle. They were all up there.
Q – Did you go to the movies there?
RS – Oh yeah. The Avalon – Saturday matinees. You always got the news and a cartoon and there was a serial. When the serial ended, you would be on the edge of the cliff. So you had to come back next week to see what happened. The serial was about 15 – 20 minutes long. At night, there would be the big movies like Fred Astaire or something like that. Some times we would go to the Uptown but not too often. They had first run movies. We almost always went to the second runs. There were no first runs at the Avalon.
Q – How much did it cost you to get in?
RS – Something like 25 cents.
Q – Did you go by yourselves or with your parents?
RS – It varied. Sometimes we went by ourselves and sometimes with my mother. My father did not go very often. Except some times when he would get kicked out of the house, because my mother was having a ladies’ meeting, and the house was small. But that was very rare. Sometimes I went by myself. Sometimes I went with other kids and sometimes with my family. But it was a very popular thing to do. My mother used to take me downtown to those big old theaters, all of which disappeared in the 60’s and early 70’s – the Palace and the Capitol and all of that.
Q – What movies would you see there?
RS – We would see first run movies and lot of musicals, because my mother loved musicals. Or historical movies – like Captain Horatio Hornblower. We didn’t see much of the black and white dramas. They would probably have bored me then.
Q – What about city services? Do you remember anything about them in the 50’s and 60’s?
RS- Do you mean delivery people? We had bread delivered and milk delivered. Sometimes the cleaning would be picked up. We used to get milk from Thompson’s. But then when they started selling it at the stores, it wasn’t worthwhile to get those services. And those Good Humor trucks – Wow! Police and firemen - didn’t they come to the door and ask for money?
JS – Yeah
RS – People came to the door for everything. They came to the door to use our telephone. We had the telephone at the front door. In the warm weather the door would be open. They would see it and use it and leave a dime. Then my mother moved it to the back door to keep people from using the telephone.
Q – Did some people not have telephones?
RS - Maybe they were there looking at real estate or something and they needed a telephone.
Q – It looks like the practice was to keep the doors unlocked.
RS – We locked the doors when we went out. We sometimes locked ourselves out, and the man next door had to use a ladder and climbed in a window on the second floor.
Q – When you were in the house, were the doors locked?
RS – At night. But I had friends at school who did not lock their doors. You didn’t have much crime. People didn’t worry about it. In hot weather people slept out in the yard. They slept on the Mall. They didn’t worry about people taking their purses or wallets. It was so hot. Of course, there was no air conditioning.
Q – Did you sleep outside?
RS – We did not sleep outside. We would sleep in the living room. The second floor was so hot. Sometimes we would sleep in the basement. There was a cot down there.
There was also the library. My mother loved the library and took me up there, and I started to go on my own. The first library was at Livingston Street –wasn’t it?
JS – On yeah.
RS – It was a storefront type of place. It was really meant to be used as a store. Then they moved over to the Chevy Case Community Center – in the old E. V. Brown School, which was closed. Then they built the Community Center there, and the Library moved into the Community Center. And so that was modern looking for the time. Then the Community Center had activities after school, because my school did not have anything after 3 o’clock. But you could go there. They had crafts. Now you have separate buildings for the Community Center and Library. In those days it was one building.
We were very neighborhood oriented. We took the bus downtown a lot. Or we would walk over and take Military Road to what is called Friendship Heights. It was fantastic when they built Woodward and Lothrop there. My sister worked there, and I later also worked there at Christmas time. They had a Christmas shop, and I worked in it. You didn’t make much, but you did not have to go downtown. You could walk over there. And then Lord and Taylor opened when I was in college. At Woodies, they gave very good training. Everyone cheered at the end of the training because the trainer was so good. She died a couple years ago. There was a big obituary about her in the paper. But I cannot remember her name. Maybe it was Espinosa. It was a Hispanic name, but I don’t think she was Hispanic. I think it was her husband’s name. She had this wonderful reputation at Woodies, and I remember once she said “we are not worried about Lord and Taylor. Our business actually is going up. They will help our business.” We went over there for the department stores. For the neighborhood things, we stuck to Connecticut Avenue.
Q – What about the Broad Branch Market? Did you go there?
RS – As a family, we didn’t, because we had Connecticut Avenue. But we would sneak over there from school, because we had no snacks at school. At lunchtime we were allowed to leave the grounds because you could go home for lunch. So the boys would go over there. It was an exciting thing to go to the Broad Branch Market.
Q - Do you know anything about it, staff or anything?
RS – No. Now it is upscale to fit the people who live here now. It was very ordinary back then. You know, soft drinks and maybe some canned goods. They probably did have meats and cheeses. But we were just interested in snacks, and so we didn’t pay much attention to that. There was Western Market on Western Avenue. I think it is still there. There was the DGS (District Grocery Store). They were all over the city. Congresswoman Gladys Spellman’s family ran that grocery store. It came out in her obituary. Noon - or Noone - I think was the family name. The one near us was in the block at Nebraska and Connecticut Avenue.
Q – Do you know where they lived?
RS – They could have lived in NE or SE. It is like today. They kept opening more and more stores. We had a Highs – didn’t we – near Nebraska? When we went to evening church, we would walk home with ice cream cones. I don’t remember the name of the place. It wasn’t a Highs.
Q – You talked about the Second World War and that you missed Korea. Do you remember anything about the Korean War?
RS - Nothing on the personal level. We certainly were aware of it in the news. But there were no family members or neighbors going off to that war. I remember that a lot of people wanted to vote for Eisenhower, because he said he would end the war, and, of course, he did. But my mother was very cynical. “A truce.” she said, “that is not the same as winning. “ I do remember MacArthur Day after Truman fired MacArthur. There were parades. The biggest one, of course, was in New York. We all got off from school. I don’t remember a parade here. But we watched it on television. He came back to America, and they had these huge parades, because he was a hero in World War II. A lot of people respected him, but his popularity went down after that. He never had the personality of Eisenhower. That was in the middle of the Korean War, and that is all I remember about the Korean War. We had some cousins that fought in World War II, but not my father or uncles.
Q – I think we getting close to the conclusion. I wonder if you want to tell me about any memories that you have about Chevy Chase that you have not already mentioned some.
RS - Of course, I mentioned the neighborhood kids that I played with, the stores, the theater, the library and the churches. I loved walking down to Rock Creek Park. Sometimes I would just walk down there by myself, and stopped at the Broad Branch, a tributary of the Big Rock Creek that was at Beach Drive. This was close to where we lived, and I used to go there to see that little tributary stream that ran down there.
Q – Did you see wildlife?
RS – No. I never saw much. Now at Leisure World, we have deer and Canadian geese.
Then some place in Chevy Chase, Maryland, they had what they called the castle. Do you know anything about that? It was written up in the news a lot. A man built a house like a castle, which was later torn down, but the caretaker’s place is still there. That looks a little bit like a castle, too. I read about it a few years ago and went back there. Two men bought it and it was renovated. We walked over there a lot when we were kids.
Q – Where was it located?
RS – Near Rollingwood. It would be east of Brookville Road. There is an elementary school up there. I can’t remember the name – is it Rosemary? – about a block away.
We used to go over there. It was considered exciting to go to see the castle. I don’t think we went inside. We would just look at the outside.
Q – Did you ever hear of the Purple Iris?
JS – No I don’t know about that.
Q –Any other memories?
RS – I remember the cicadas. There were thousands and thousands of those bugs clinging to everything. We called them locusts in those days. It was fantastic to see those bugs clinging to everything. And then there was Hurricane Hazel. I was delivering newspapers at the time. Huge trees would just topple over.
Q – When was Hazel – 1955?
RS – I would have been 13 or so. I still had my paper route. I think my father was helping me that day.
Q - When did you leave Chevy Chase?
RS –Pretty much when I got to be 21. I lived in Virginia. I had friends over there, and it was a different kind of life.
Q – Where in Virginia?
RS – I was first in Alexandria, then Falls Church and then Annandale. Then I moved to Leisure World. In 2007, my sister got cancer. She had it for about 3 years. Actually, I came back before that, and it was good because I had to take her to hospitals and doctors a lot. [To brother] – You probably like Leisure World a lot more than I do.
Q – When did you move there?
RS – In 2003. They are wonderful for maintenance. I have lived in apartments buildings in Virginia. Leisure World is spotless. They have activities. I think it is nicer to live in a real neighborhood. But when you are a senior citizen, a house is a lot of trouble. A condo is much easier.
Q – It is our practice to ask finally to have you two raise questions themselves. Can you think of something that we should have asked?
RS – I’ll probably think of something after we leave. I think we covered all aspects – church, education, and neighborhood.
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