Anne Emmet’s lively and personal commentary about her experiences weaves together her deep Washington family history with memories of half a century of life in Georgetown. Her first residence was on Dent Place in the early 1940’s. Her aunt, Mrs. David Finley, wife of the then head of the National Gallary of Art, owned three houses on Dent. Anne and her mother moved into one while her father was away in New York during the early years of World War II. Her mother walked her to St. Patrick’s Nursery School, up Reservoir Road to Foxhall Village, past government Quonset huts that provided temporary housing for workers.
After a few years in New York City, her family returned to Georgetown to be with Anne’s Grandmother, Edith Morton Eustis, widow to William Corcoran Eustis, in the large yellow house at the corner of 28th and P Street.
Anne’s life has involved many different Georgetown houses with interesting histories. She discusses how much the social life of Washington has changed over the years. She remembers dinner parties given by “important women” who invited people “who mattered” and where important decisions were made. Reflecting on her debut year she commented, “I look back and I think, what a crazy, sort of an empty existence. We had a ball.”
Cathy Farrell: We are recording this session with Anne Emmet at 1330 30th Street in Georgetown. Today’s date is June 2nd, a Monday, and it’s about 7:30 in the evening. Betsy Cooley is also here.
Anne Emmet: My earliest memories in Washington were during the war or right after the war, when we lived in a house on Dent Place in Georgetown. My aunt, Mrs. David Finley, whose husband was the head of the National Gallery then, owned three houses on Dent Place. Because my mother could not find any place to live in New York when my father came back from the war and he was working in New York, we lived down here on Dent Place in a house that belonged to my aunt. My father lived in New York and worked in New York and would come down and visit.
I remember that I learned to ride a tricycle on Dent Place. I remember locking myself in the bathroom and the hook and ladder came from the fire department on Dent Place to get me out. I remember that corner grocery store on the corner of 34th and Dent. It was owned by a family and they lived above the store. They had a child my age, and I was probably four, five, six, somewhere in there.
My mother walked me every day to nursery school, which was St. Patrick’s Nursery School. We walked from Georgetown to St. Patrick’s on the corner of Foxhall and Reservoir. At that time the entire area, which is now the catholic school — Visitation and that housing community, was all government Quonset huts, government housing.
We would walk by that. I remember my mother had a stroller, and sometimes I rode in the stroller, and sometimes I walked. I don’t remember Georgetown Hospital, but I’m sure it was there. That was what I remembered from that period in my life.
Then there’s a gap. My mother did find a place in New York, so we went back to New York to live. My mother and father got divorced, and we came back here in 1946.
We lived with my grandmother who lived at 1534 28th Street, which was the big, yellow house that now belongs to Boyden Gray. At that time, the garden went straight through to 29th Street. It was amazing. What I remember is…
Cathy: It was the whole block?
Anne: The whole block. We came down on the train from New York and moved into my grandmother’s house to stay for a while. I remember the birds in the trees singing. I had lived in New York and all I knew were buses, and taxis, and horns. Where did I go to school then?
Cathy: Your grandmother’s name?
Anne: My grandmother’s name was Edith Morton Eustis. She had been married to William Corcoran Eustis. They lived in Washington. They lived in an enormous house down on Washington Square.
Cathy: Washington Circle?
Anne: Washington Circle. They owned Oatlands. They drove in one driveway and out the other driveway, never got out of the horse and buggy. They bought this place of 3,000 acres of Oatlands for $15,000. That was in 1903. My grandfather died, and my grandmother was a widow. She lived in that house on 28th Street. We lived there for a while, and we moved to R Street. I remember 3503 R Street. Later, Scottie Fitzgerald lived in that house. We moved to Fulton Street, and we stayed there. Then we moved to P Street in Georgetown.
Cathy: Which side of P Street?
Anne: We were on the East Side on 3323. We were in a big yellow house next to the Whizners. The Whizners were 3327 and we were 3323. I went to Potomac School, but then, I think my mother thought I was sort of not getting what I needed, so I was switched to the convent at Sacred Heart. My sister stayed at Potomac. I went to Sacred Heart. When we lived in that house on P Street I just have loads of memories. My mother was very good friends with most of the women who sort of ran Washington.
Cathy: What decade are we talking about here?
Anne: We are talking about the fifties.
Anne: She was very good friends with Tish and Stewart Alsop. She was very good friends with Joe Alsop also. She was very good friends with Susan Mary Alsop when they got married. She was very good friends with the Coopers, she was very good friends with the Edward Burlings. In those days, those people ran Washington. I mean the woman had dinner parties and they invited people that mattered. And that was sort of what got done got done sometimes at those dinners.
I remember my mother telling me… I remember very well when Frank Whizner got sick. He had been working for the CIA and he had been involved with the Bay of Pigs and it had not gone well and he had a massive breakdown, mental breakdown, an emotional breakdown. We were very good friends with Frank and Alice. It was something we all knew about. It was sad.
Cathy: Did you know it was because of the Bay of Pigs, it was related?
Anne: No, and I don’t think anyone will ever know because I think really what it was, was stress. I don’t know. Nobody ever told me and I never asked. But, what I remember mainly in those days, I remember the Grahams who lived across the street. They are dead now. I remember the shops. There was Dorothy Stead, which was a wonderful dress shop. We all bought our clothes there. Especially for coming out parties, we all bought our dresses there.
The Little Caledonia on Wisconsin sold everything from lampshades to stationary. I don’t think there was anything that you couldn’t buy there. Then there was Reed Electric. The Georgetown movie theater was very much going. The Georgetown pharmacy on the corner of 0 and Wisconsin had a guy named Doc and Doc knew us all so we would go in there and, you know, he knew all the kids and he knew all the parents. There was Morgan’s Drug Store, which is where it is now on the corner of P Street and 30th. Gosh, what else?
Cathy: What was social life like for you and your friends at this time?
Anne: My friends were friends that I had at Potomac School and the Sacred Heart. My mother was not well. She was really sick. She had had typhoid fever which was not diagnosed and she then got these things called Guillain Barre which was like polio, supposedly temporary, but it turned out not to be temporary.
She was in a wheelchair and in bed and with doctors and nurses attending. I didn’t have too many friends over to the house. But, I had friends in Georgetown and our social life was just going to each other’s houses. I don’t remember much more than that. I think we went out, but I can’t remember what we did.
Cathy: Probably went to the movies and…
Anne: We went to the…
Anne: For us of a certain generation, we went to each other’s houses and played. [crosstalk]
Anne: I don’t remember being taken to an art museum. I don’t remember being taken to a restaurant. I don’t remember anything like that. I just remember playing.
Cathy: But your family was very involved in the arts community for Washington.
Anne: My aunt and uncle were very involved with the National Gallery. My great-great-great grandfather on my mother’s side started the Corcoran Gallery. But you know, it didn’t…my mother wasn’t very interested in that. I had my picture taken once for “Life Magazine” as a descendent of the Corcoran family but…
Cathy: What was that person’s name? Your great-great-great grandfather?
Anne: William Wilson Corcoran was my great-great-great grandfather.
Anne: Isn’t that amazing?
Anne: But my grandmother, Edith Morton Eustis, the one that lived on 28th Street, her father was the vice president under Benjamin Harrison and he was not elected. He was appointed because Cleveland has been assassinated so Levi P. Morton was appointed and I don’t think it was a very good regime. That’s what I’ve read.
Cathy: Why do you draw that conclusion?
Anne: Because that’s what the history books say.
Anne: Let’s see.
Cathy: Your family had some strong democratic ties throughout the years.
Anne: No. Republican.
Cathy: Republican ties. I stand corrected. Republican ties. The Emmit is a relationship to the Roosevelts as well?
Anne: That’s my New York family.
Cathy: That’s why I was thinking the Democrats.
Anne: But Franklin Roosevelt was a great friend of my grandmother’s, Edith Eustis. He used to come…oh, Cathy, I don’t know if I should say this. He used to come to Oatlands and he would bring a lady named Lucy Rutherford who was our cousin. My grandmother…
Cathy: …a cousin to him.
Anne: She was a cousin to us.
Anne: Lucy Rutherford was a cousin to our family and she was his secretary. She was not his cousin.
Cathy: His wife was his cousin.
Anne: Anyway, I don’t think I was ever around for those occasions.
Cathy: But you heard of them…
Cathy: … I’m sure. Was there like…
Anne: We have lots of letters. In our family, we have lots and lots of Franklin Roosevelt memorabilia.
Cathy: Do you have any specific memories of World War II? Parades or events or…
Anne: Not here.
Cathy: Not here.
Anne: I have a specific memory. We were in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, at the end of the war and I have a specific memory of all of us riding on fire engines in Watch Hill on V-J Day, I guess, which was August. We had rolls of toilet paper that I remember distinctly. We threw toilet paper all over the town of Watch Hill from the truck and I wet my pants.
Anne: I was only four…yeah, I was four.
Anne: My mother said, “Oh, you’re way too old to do that.” I thought, oh. But that’s what I remember about the war. All I remember was my father came home from the war and my sister, Edith, was in a playpen. My brother, Jeremy, who is a year and a half older than I am, was in the living room.
But for some reason, I was in the hall behind the door, sort of peeking, and I got my fingers caught in the door and I got into trouble for some reason for getting my fingers caught in the door and crying.
Anne: I don’t know. Anyway, my father came home…that was the night he came home the war. I remember seeing him in the living room with Edith in the playpen and Jeremy and my mother and other people.
Cathy: Was that at Watch Hill?
Anne: That was in Watch Hill.
Cathy: Did you have a place there?
Cathy: What other directions do we want to go? What about community life in Georgetown? Do you remember particular parks or events or types of things that stand out other than the commercial areas? Any cultural types of things?
Anne: Where I lived at 3323 P Street, there was a back alley, which became Pomander Walk. But when we first moved in to P Street in 1950, Pomander Walk was just a mess. It was not what we know it now with those cute little houses. Volta Place was disgusting, the park.
That was in the time…but there was a pool, but nobody was allowed to swim because that was when polio was rampant. I wasn’t allowed to go to the park. I was certainly not allowed to swim. But I really wasn’t allowed to go out much sort of beyond the boundaries of arranged…
Cathy: Get togethers with other people so you were well supervised?
Anne: Insulated even.
Cathy: How about the social levels in Georgetown at that time? I have just heard some things that there were various different streets that…
Anne: Some were good and some were bad.
Cathy: …some were good and some were bad.
Anne: I would have had no…
Cathy: You had no experience with that because you were protected?
Anne: No because as a child, my family was a very private, we were very quiet. We never talked about money. We never talked about things in the world. It was very quiet. We never locked our doors.
Cathy: Where were you living during the Kennedy administration? Were you in that house?
Anne: I was married and living in Dayton, Ohio.
Cathy: That’s right. You weren’t even here at that time.
Anne: That’s where I was when Kennedy was assassinated.
Cathy: I had on this list…
Betsy Cooley: When did you leave Georgetown? You grew up here, by and large?
Anne: I grew up here and I left here in 1960. I got married and moved to Dayton, Ohio. That was sort of when I left. I was at Briarcliff College. I had just finished.
Betsy: Where’s Briarcliff?
Anne: In Briarcliff Manor, New York.
Betsy: You met your husband there?
Anne: No. I met him … He was the brother of a good friend of mine in Philadelphia. In those days, we went to coming out parties. It was sort of like a three-week schedule and there was…I remember my mother had a box and in the box were just, I don’t know, maybe 20 invitations.
We would go from Chicago to Cincinnati to Long Island all to friends of ours. We just went everywhere.
Cathy: These coming out parties, was it mostly the month of June?
Anne: And December.
Betsy: You mean you came out at two different seasons?
Annd: Yes. There were people that came out in the summer and people that came out at Christmas. At Christmas there was the big event.
Cathy: Cotillion balls?
Anne: Cotillion at the Mayflower.
Betsy: And you came out there?
Anne: I came out there. I had my own party at 1534 28th St. In that house, there’s an enormous living room, which my grandmother turned into a ballroom.
Betsy: Oh, the Boyden Grey house?
Anne: Right. We had a big party there and all the plaster fell out of the garage below the room.
Cathy: From the dancing?
Anne: Yes. From the dancing.
Cathy: How many people?
Betsy: When you had your own party, not the one at the Mayflower, did you wear white dresses or was that separate and more casual?
Anne: No. We wore white dresses.
Cathy: And gloves?
Anne: And long gloves.
Betsy: That’s where you met the guy that you married?
Anne: No. I met him afterwards. He was the brother of a friend of mine. She went to Smith and we all ended up in Florida together over a spring vacation and that’s where I met Charlie Pepper.
Cathy: Florida was a typical destination in those days for spring break?
Cathy: Even we, from Chicago, went to Florida for spring break.
Cathy: Generally, yes. Hobe Sound? Where did you go in Florida? Hobe Sound?
Cathy: Those parties, how many girls would come out in a season? That kind of thing. Who controlled that aspect in Washington?
Anne: It was. She ruled the roost. She was teeny and frightening. What was her name?
Cathy: It wasn’t Teeky Austerman?
Anne: I want to say Mrs. Shipman. It was something like that. She was very little. She had tight sort of corkscrew grey hair and she ruled the roost. Shippen. Mrs. Shippen.
Cathy: It was Ms. Shippen.
Anne: Mrs. Shippen’s classes. I went to dancing class for years before and the dancing class was held in the building that is now the Christ Church’s sort of parish house.
Cathy: Right here?
Betsy: On O Street or 31st?
Anne: On O Street. That was just, I don’t know. Mrs. Shippen rented it and every month we had a dance there.
Cathy: Starting at what age? Fifth grade, sixth grade?
Cathy: It was in Christ Church?
Anne: Then she did the coming out scene. She controlled if you got invited. I mean, it was really like you had to behave or you wouldn’t make it on a list, but once you were on a list, you were on a list.
Cathy: It wasn’t at the Chevy Chase club but was at the Mayflower?
Anne: Mayflower, but everybody had their parties all over. There were parties at the Chevy Chase club, there were parties at the Metropolitan club, there were parties at the Sulgrave Club, and there were parties in people’s houses. People gave teas. There were afternoon teas, there were dances, there were dinner dances. I mean, it was wild. This went on for weeks and every night you’d be somewhere.
Cathy: It included the parents as well as the participants, your age group?
Anne: No. It was really just our age group.
Cathy: It wasn’t the parents as well?
Anne: Not really.
Betsy: Just when you were presented the parents were included?
Betsy: What fun. Did you enjoy it all?
Anne: I look back and I think, “What a crazy, sort of an empty existence.” We had a ball. That was how we made our friends.
Cathy: How about work in the summer or anything of that nature?
Anne: I used to work at the Children’s Hospital as a grey lady. I had my little uniform that was grey.
Betsy: You were a young grey lady.
Anne: The children’s hospital was on 12th street.
Cathy: 12th and V.
Anne: Then I would go down to Oatlands in the summer and I would work for the farmer. I would work in the barns down there.
Cathy: Did you ever live at Oatlands?
Anne: Just in the summer.
Cathy: Just in the summer. Interesting. Anything else?
Betsy: What came next after your marriage and going to Dayton, Ohio?
Anne: My grandmother died and there was not really a meeting of the family, but it was pretty obvious that my aunt and my mother were not going to keep Oatlands. They just didn’t want to be saddled with that.
Betsy: How many thousand acres was it?
Anne: It was a big deal to get the National Trust to accept it.
Cathy: Tell us about that. How was that negotiated?
Anne: My grandmother died in 1964. It probably took four or five years to settle her estate. I would say by the ’70s, by 1970, it had been decided that my family wanted the place to go to the National Trust. I think if Uncle David had not been so involved with the National Gallery and he was then head of the National Trust after the National Gallery.
I think if he hadn’t been in those positions, I don’t think they would have accepted the house. It was, I don’t know what the problem was, but first of all, they needed it endowed. It was endowed. It took years for that place to take off. I don’t know why. It was just a difficult property to run and to sell.
Cathy: Was it a working farm at the time that your grandmother died?
Cathy: Cattle and?
Anne: Cattle and sheep. You know, in those days, it was a tax benefit to run a farm at a loss. Then it became not a tax benefit. When she was alive, it was a tax benefit.
Cathy: They could maintain it and enjoy it as a weekend place?
Cathy: She didn’t live there year round. She lived in town most of the year?
Anne: Right. In the summer she lived there.
Cathy: What were the summers like in Washington in those days?
Anne: I don’t remember.
Cathy: In the ’50s and ’60s, do you remember them?
Anne: I don’t remember them too well. I know we didn’t have air-conditioning, can you believe it?
Anne: We did not have air conditioning and I think it could not have been as hot then as it is now.
Cathy: Because you wouldn’t have survived? [laughs]
Anne: I just don’t think we would have survived.
Cathy: There certainly weren’t as many people?
Anne: What can I say? I don’t remember too much about the summers because I think I was always sent to camp.
Cathy: You do remember the polio epidemic?
Cathy: You were restricted?
Anne: Mm-hmm. Not allowed to go play ball at the park.
Cathy: Do you remember any quarantine types of activity going on in Georgetown at that time? Any houses?
Cathy: Being marked?
Cathy: Any of your friends get polio?
Betsy: I know John Richardson talked, when we interviewed him, about what a dump Volta Park was. It was literally old tires.
Anne: It was so disgusting. I mean it was just disgusting.
Betsy: I’m surprised to hear there was even a pool there.
Anne: There was. You know, where would the children came from that would swim there, I don’t know, but there were children that swam there and, of course, it was just unheard of that you would do that. Unheard of.
Cathy: Do you remember Olive Street or any of those smaller streets at that time?
Anne: No because we lived on the other side.
Cathy: You were on the other side of Georgetown. I just remember that many of those houses on Olive Street didn’t even have any heating. Those little ones where there’s an upper and a lower. I had a friend who lived there in the ’60s who worked with me at Gaithersburg High School. I would pick him up in the morning, I lived on N Street, and he had no heat at all. In the winter he was really cold.
Anne: You mean there was no furnace in the house?
Cathy: No furnace. I think he had electric heat of some sort, but those were pretty primitive dwellings in the ’60s. I just wondered if you had any recollection.
Anne: You know, Pomander Walk, before it became what it is today, it was slave dwellings. It was just grubby back there.
Cathy: It was pretty rundown at that time.
Cathy: Anything else?
Betsy: Then what?
Anne: I remember Lad Mills Gas Station. It was a mainstay.
Betsy: Where was that? I forget?
Anne: Lad Mills was the Exxon station and he…No. Lad Mills was not the Exxon station, as we know it today. It was across the street where the bank is now. It was on the southeast corner, Lad Mills Exxon station.
Betsy: Of which corner?
Anne: Q and Wisconsin. There’s a bank there now. That used to be a gas station.
Betsy: There were gas stations and car dealerships throughout Georgetown, which is hard to picture.
Anne: Yes. I don’t remember that.
Cathy: Do you remember any of the restaurants you would have frequented?
Anne: No, because we never went out.
Cathy: You never went out? You always ate in?
Anne: Never went out.
Betsy: When did you come back to Georgetown?
Anne: When I moved here 11 years ago.
Betsy: You were gone that whole time?
Anne: I came back from Ohio, but I bought a house in Wesley Heights and then I lived in Spring Valley, then back in Wesley Heights and then I came back here in 2003.
Cathy: Do you remember dinner parties and things like that when your parents would entertain and have people in?
Anne: No, because my mother was sick. She never had people in. I do remember going to the Wisner’s house and they would have dinner parties and they were all these important people, but they were just our parents’ friends, you know.
Betsy: We were talking earlier a little bit about and what it was like and what you’ve done to it. Do you know any of the history of this house?
Anne: God, Betsy.
Betsy: Not history, but…
Anne: When I moved into this house, I bought it on December 29th of 2002, just before the New Year. The people who had lived in this house right from the beginning were still alive, but they lived down the street. This house used to have a porch across the front. There were not these two brick houses next door.
There was sort of a porch that went down the side of the house like that on that side.
Betsy: It went across the front and down the side?
Anne: Yes and down the side. The alley came down and went around to the garage. I think the house is old. The house is 1700 and something.
Betsy: Do you think the configuration of the main rooms is pretty much original?
Anne: I think pretty much. Yes. Pretty much.
Cathy: The fireplace areas would be original, correct?
Cathy: The fireplace areas?
Anne: This fireplace [in the dining room] we didn’t even know was here. When we were trying to figure out what to do with this room because it was so big, they were knocking around and they found that fireplace. That was a surprise.
Betsy: Oh really? It had been covered up or it had been closed off?
Anne: Mm-hmm. It had been closed off. Same thing with a room upstairs. I think this house is an old house, but I think it’s pretty much the way it was. It was added on to by the Vanderpools.
Betsy: That was the previous owner?
Anne: Yes. He was an architect.
Cathy: This room was already here when you bought the house?
Anne: This room wasn’t like this. There was a little door that went into the kitchen and then this room was maybe from the door to here and it had a little kitchen table, awful. This went straight on through to that wall.
Cathy: It was big.
Anne: I changed that and moved the door. It was added on to in the back and I would have added on more, if I could have, but I couldn’t.
Betsy: What prevented you?
Anne: After I bought the house I hired an architect who found that the house had many covenants on it, inside and out. I had never been told.
Cathy: Do you have any idea what the origins of those covenants were?
Anne: They were for tax reasons. The Vanderpools put them on — as a lot of people did — because if you put covenants on your house, and they weren’t covenants in the sense of other people occupying the house, they were covenants in the sense of not being able to change.
Cathy: They were historic covenants.
Betsy: They were put under historic…
Cathy: You got tax breaks?
Anne: Excuse me?
Cathy: The owner would have some sort of tax benefits as a result of that?
Anne: Yes. Everybody did it.
Betsy: You can still do it. Do you have a plaque out front?
Betsy: Is it identified, so you know who the…I forget the name of the word when they do that. Is with. It’s got to be with a bone fide organization.
Cathy: It’s registered?
Cathy: As a historic property?
Anne: Mm-hmm. The Vanderpools did that.
Betsy: Do you have any idea about when they would have done that?
Anne: Probably in the ’60s.
Cathy: They lived here quite a long time?
Anne: Mm-hmm. She died driving in the driveway. She had a stroke and she hit that lamppost and everybody sort of laughs. I feel so…because the lamppost is sort of tilted.
Cathy: It still has her touch? [laughs]
Anne: That’s because she hit it. She had a dog with her. That’s so sad. She had a stroke and died.
Cathy: In the car?
Anne: In the car. In the driveway.
Cathy: Anything that you can come up with in terms of family relationships that might enlighten understandings of Georgetown and this area?
Betsy: What about famous people you’ve known in Georgetown since you’ve been back here?
Anne: My grandmother’s best friend was Mrs. Longworth. I remember that.
Betsy: Do you remember her?
Anne: Yes, indeed I do.
Cathy: Tell us about her.
Anne: Indeed, I do. She would come over to my grandmother’s for tea and they would talk about books. She always wore this huge black hat. She was quite little. Let’s see, Betsy. You asked about when I moved back here?
Betsy: Don’t limit yourself to that, but recent history?
Anne: Recent history of?
Betsy: Any famous people around here that would be interesting for people to know about? For instance, Madeleine Albright lived around the corner from my previous house. We had fabulous security. We had Secret Service parked in every alley.
Anne: I think people are so private now. Things are different. When I was growing up, I remember all these people, you know, Chip Bowen, I mean, Cabot Lodge. They would just walk around Georgetown. There was no security. Nobody cared. Today that’s not the way it is.
I think things are very private now and very hidden.
Cathy: Do you know your neighbors now? Are people friendly and open on this particular street?
Anne: I have one neighbor that’s wonderful and one neighbor that’s a little bit…less friendly, but we all know each other.
Cathy: Anything we missed?
Betsy: Do you like being back in Georgetown?
Anne: I do. I hated it to begin with.
Anne: Because it was so, you know, I missed room. I missed being able to walk into a house and have a mudroom. Things in Georgetown are smaller and so many people. I wasn’t used to that. Of course, now I love it. I just love it.
Cathy: Do you do a lot of walking?
Anne: Yes. I do. I walk everywhere.
Cathy: Do you go downtown or across the river?
Anne: No. I walk in Georgetown.
Cathy: You walk in Georgetown and all those memories come flooding back. You’ve been here quite a while. That’s very nice.
Anne: Yes, but it’s so different. Don’t you think, Betsy? I look at M Street and I think, “My God.”
Cathy: How would you change Georgetown if you had the opportunity to make some changes? Where would you begin? On M Street?
Anne: No. I think M Street is nice. I would begin on Wisconsin Avenue, which I think is very seedy. It’s too bad. It didn’t used to be. I think the waterfront park is amazing, beautiful.
Betsy: It’s such a nice addition and the parks are improved, too.
Anne: I think the restaurants are great. I just had no knowledge of restaurants growing up at all.
Betsy: I think that was true of a lot of us. Our generation, you just didn’t go out so much. You went to clubs, occasionally.
Anne: You went to the Chevy Chase Club, or whatever.
Betsy: I remember it was like a big deal when I got to be in my 20s and would go to restaurants frequently.
Anne: I remember there was bar and a restaurant, but I don’t remember the name of it. It was black, the whole outside. It was on the corner of 28th and M. I don’t know what the name of it was, but we all went there.
Cathy: It had a name. The mystery type of thing. The Espionage?
Betsy: Le Jour et Nuit?
Betsy: That’s the one I remember that had the black background.
Anne: Do you remember The Bayou?
Betsy: I don’t and I’ve read so much about it. Do you remember?
Betsy: Did you go there?
Anne: Yes. Of course.
Betsy: Tell us.
Cathy: It was down under the Whitehurst Freeway, correct?
Cathy: I remember it. Near where Chadwick’s is.
Anne: Mm-hmm. You go down Wisconsin and you turn to the left.
Betsy: Where the theatre is now?
Anne: There was no, you know the apartment buildings or whatever that whole waterfront square? That, of course, didn’t exist.
Cathy: Do you remember the rendering factory?
Cathy: If the wind was blowing from the wrong direction the smell of the horses being turned to glue?
Anne: Yes, yes, yes. My grandmother’s chauffeur told me that there was a whorehouse on the second floor of a shop on the corner of P and Wisconsin, which was called Ann’s Kitchen. He said that there was a cathouse on the second floor.
Betsy: You think it was true?
Anne: I never knew.
Cathy: But those drivers, they knew, didn’t they?
Anne: God, they knew.
Anne: Wisconsin Avenue was so attractive when I was growing up. It was really nice and really attractive and now it is gross, I think, by comparison.
Betsy: Especially those middle couple of blocks there.
Cathy: Did you use the library at all?
Anne: Yes because we lived right across the street from the library for a while. Yes. It was great.
Cathy: The library was kind of a part of your childhood and existence and you went there and studied and that kind of thing?
Anne: Yes and Montrose Park was a part of my childhood.
Cathy: How about Dumbarton Oaks and the Bliss family? Did your mother…
Anne: The Blisses were great friends of my grandmothers, but the Blisses lived in the house across from Boyden Grey’s, across from my grandmother.
Cathy: They did?
Anne: They lived right on the corner of 28th and Q on the south east corner. Right across the street from my grandmother.
Betsy: Which is now those townhouses?
Betsy: Was it torn down?
Anne: Yes. I think they never moved from there. That was where they lived. Dumbarton Oaks, they…
Betsy: You mean they never lived in the big grand house that’s…
Anne: I don’t think so.
Cathy: I think they did at one time because Eve Thompson’s father was the curator at Dumbarton Oaks and she and her family lived in the house on S street.
Anne: Oh, really?
Anne: I don’t remember Dumbarton Oaks at all. I remember the house for the blind. I do remember that.
Cathy: That was there.
Betsy: When it actually was a home for the blind?
Cathy: There was another community house here on 31st Street, wasn’t there? 31st closer to M, wasn’t that some sort of group house or some sort for old people, or something? Do you remember? The Edes home?
Anne: I don’t know. The Lab School was the Crittenden Home for Unwed Mothers and that was on MacArthur Boulevard. I remember hearing that when the Lab School bought the property, they found forceps and all kinds of things. Imagine.
Cathy: I think girls may have delivered babies there.
Anne: I remember when I moved to Dayton in 1960, before I came back, yeah, before I came back in the ’70s, 495 was built and that changed everything.
Anne: Traffic-wise. I remember driving with my grandmother. We would go out to Oatlands and we would drive out route 50, which was a single road one way and a single road the other and then we would go to Seven Corners, which was nothing, but a…and we would stop and get the meat in a meat locker for the weekend.
We’d stop and get the meat and then we would go out to Leesburg and it took forever. I mean it was just, you know, totally different.
Cathy: It was 90 percent farms between here and there?
Cathy: How about the changes in Rosslyn as you look across the river?
Anne: We used to go to Rosslyn to buy beer. There was nothing but wheat fields. There was one shack and if you drove across the bridge and went to that shack, you could get beer for much less.
Anne: That’s all that was there.
Betsy: That’s hard to imagine.
Anne: Can you imagine?
Cathy: I remember when I moved here a pawnshop and a drive in, like a Hot Shop , in Rosslyn.
Betsy: I remember that.
Cathy: It was a drive in, but you’d go there to buy beer?
Anne: We’d go there to buy beer.
Cathy: Did you go to Potomac School in McLean or in DC?
Anne: In town. On California Street.
Cathy: In the old house? Who were your school mates, do you remember names?
Anne: Yes. Tina Knox, Sandy Robinson.
Cathy: It was an all-girls’ school then?
Anne: Yes and we all get together and we just love each other. We never see each other, except when we get together for our reunions.
Cathy: How about church affiliation?
Anne: My father was a Catholic. My grandmother was a convert to Catholicism. Since my parents were divorced, my grandmother took me to church and we went every Sunday to St. Mathew’s, downtown.
Anne: That was a part of the week.
Cathy: Anything else? I think we’ve really uncovered a wonderful story. Thank you so much.
Transcription by CastingWords