Burned, but Not Broken

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August 4, 2018, Prescott-

As I stood, gazing at the sunset, this evening, admiring just how beautiful this city is, I think of different people here, and also realized:

You the disaffected one, silently snarl,

and greet me sullenly,

no longer by name,

just a perfunctory “Hello“.

You’d like me gone,

because I’m not who you want me to be,

WHAT you want me to be.

I’m still here,

as it’s the Universe,

not human beings,

deciding what I am going to do,

and where.

You, the gym managers, greet me by name,

because you see my heart,

and your only agenda

is to love and serve.

You, the busy entrepreneur, make time for me,

when it fits your schedule.

That’s okay, as

I was brought up

to honour people’s privacy.

You, the children and youth, smile

when I walk in your space,

or into the classroom,

because we share

a tenderness of heart.

You, my co-workers,

know of my undivided loyalty,

and support,

because we share a love

for the youth we serve,

and all else is secondary.

I have no real enemies,

just people who read me  wrong.

I suffer no lasting injury,

just the temporary wounds

which those in dire pain

want so badly to share.

As I looked at the sunset,

I realized the wounds are healing.

The 2018 Road, Day 26: A Yorktown Meander, Part 2-The Grounds of Surrender

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June 20, 2018, Yorktown-  

Having seen the coastline along which the final major battle of the American War for Independence played out, I turned to the equally critical interior locales of the struggle.

Yorktown Battlefield is the end point of Colonial National Historic Park, just as Jamestown represents the beginning.

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From there, the auto route of the park leads to Yorktown National Cemetery and the Grand French Battery.  Whilst  I was here, a few boys were engaged in Hide and Seek, along the redoubts.

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The scene of the cemetery itself was more subdued.

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A bit north of the park, on the way to modern Yorktown, is Yorktown Victory Monument.

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Doubling back towards town, just a bit, I caught this glimpse of Main Street.

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I am always glad to see the intense forest growth in the Tidewater area.  Some groves are impressive, in their height.

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Redoubts 9 and 10 were scenes of brief battles, with the French capturing the first and the Americans, the second.  The British ceasefire occurred three days later.

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These sharpened stones bore no significance, but they captured my attention.

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Next on the route was Augustine Moore House, where the British surrender was negotiated, on October 18, 1781.

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The York River flows just east of Moore House.

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Here is the Surrender Field, where Cornwallis’ army laid down their arms.

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This is the Untouched Redoubt, abandoned by the British on September 29, 1781.  The Allied forces arrived the next day, and left the position as it was.

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With this loop tour, one gets a well-rounded view of the final major clash of our nation’s first struggle towards respect in the family of nations.  There would be much to be done, internally and externally, before we would reach a dominant position as an economic and military power.  I wonder what it will take, to reach similar prominence, spiritually.

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 26: A Yorktown Meander, Part 1- Shore and Town

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June 20, 2018Yorktown, VA-

I had this flight of fancy, at one point this week, about “doing” the Hampton Roads area, in three days.  That is not how I’m wired, though, and it came as no surprise that Jamestown took the better part of a day and Yorktown, pretty much all of the following day.  After a lovely breakfast at Capitol Pancake House, I took my leave of Williamsburg, and headed to the place where the British Army found itself outmaneuvered by a Colonial force that was trained by the Prussian General von Steuben and bolstered by the French, under Marquis de Lafayette. Yorktown has a wealth of both coastal and woodland sites that figured in the deciding battle of the American War for Independence.

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The Coleman Bridge spans the York River, going to Gloucester Point, which was one of General Cornwallis’ “fall back” camps.

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Yorktown has two small gardens, near the riverside.

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This garden honours the sacrifices made by African-Americans in colonial Yorktown.

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General Cornwallis had his troops hide in this cave, as the joint American and French forces advanced on Yorktown, by land and by sea.

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This statue depicts the surrender of General Cornwallis to General Washington.

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I headed a bit west, to the Poor Potter, site of the factory operated by William Rogers, an expert artisan, who operated colonial Virginia’s largest pottery operation, between 1720 and his death, in 1739.

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Here is a view of the actual factory. One may see shards of pottery, through the windows to the right.

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Yorktown is very much a modern city, and York County Courthouse had plenty of visitors this morning.

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I headed over to the Battlefield and its mementos of the American, British and French contributions to Yorktown’s prominence.  In Part 2, the focus will be on the auto tour of these far flung sites.

 

 

 

The wave of nationwide strikes, protests and uprisings in the cities of Iran — Freedom Star

3

This article is based on reports and videos sent by PMOI/MEK activists inside Iran Iran, July 31, 2018 – Tuesday has been the scene of numerous protests and demonstrations in cities across Iran. Strike, Protest in Isfahan: Beginning this morning, Tuesday, July 31, truck drivers and owners as well as large group of people and youth in […]

via The wave of nationwide strikes, protests and uprisings in the cities of Iran — Freedom Star

The 2018 Road, Day 25, Part 2: Williamsburg at Twilight

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June 19, 2018, Williamsburg-

In 2007, the three of us took in downtown Williamsburg, just as the sun was setting.  Whilst there was no opportunity to take in the interiors of various historic buildings, the ambiance of Williamsburg at twilight is nothing short of divine.

That being one of my sweetest memories of the 2007 journey, I checked into a reasonable motel here:  Bassett Motel, east of downtown.  After a hearty pasta dinner, I headed to the twilight of 2018 Williamsburg.  Here are several scenes of downtown, and of the College of William and Mary.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDespite the light rain, many families were out and about, this evening.  Like them, I am captivated by historic buildings in amber glow.

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The College of William and Mary was founded in 1693.

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This is a statue of Norborn E. Berkeley, who was Governor of Virginia at the time the College was chartered.  Below, the College campus shared the enchanting ambiance of downtown.

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This magic again captured in a bottle, my thoughts turned towards Yorktown, which also escaped our attention, eleven years ago.

 

 

Janus in July

6

July 30, 2018, Prescott-

I will return to the chronicles of my summer road trip, in a few hours. First, though, I want to note this month’s activities, closer to Home Base.  The three weeks following Independence Day were mostly relaxing, yet had their share of joyful activity.  We celebrated the birthday of  a generous and humble friend, in what was supposed to be a surprise.  Our efforts came as no surprise to her, but she was nonetheless delighted.

I learned that my left knee does not take kindly to being idle for long stretches on the road, at least while my carcass is undergoing chiropractic adjustment, between now and March.  There is some connection between the two, so with Fall coming, I will need to get in at least one vigourous walk per day.  That will give my knees the workout they seem to crave.  Planet Fitness and Deep Blue ointment are also helping.

I have, at long last, taken the time to pay a few visits to Firehouse Coffee and Black Dog Coffee Shop, virtually completing “discovery” of our town’s java joints.  Both are fine purveyors of brew, but Firehouse wins the cinnamon roll contest.  Black Dog focuses on scones.  The Saturday after I got back was my son’s 30th birthday.  After wishing him a great day, long-distance, I went to Game Night at Wild Iris-enjoying Uno and a dice game, with the regulars at this event.

This past weekend, though, was a special cap on this bountiful summer.  I did three days’ Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) service at Bellemont Baha’i School, west of Flagstaff.  All three days featured “gully washers”. Saturday had the added excitement of a heavy hail shower.

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Even with a borrowed tent, and large tarpaulin, there was much to be done later, as I had to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to siphon the small pond that had threatened to ensure no sleep that night.  As it was, I had a dry tent, by nightfall, and slept very well.

The service in question was on behalf of over 50 middle school-age children, from the Phoenix area. Many of them had not been out of the metro area, so being in the woods was a fabulous experience,  to say the least.

The camp was open for a half day, today, but I came back to Prescott, last night.  Three days of preparation and “welcome back” gatherings at Prescott High School will get another year of concerted effort at learning underway.  So, it’s ten months of joyfully getting up at 4:30, knowing that we will provide at least some stability and learning opportunities for eight young people who, rather like me at their age, cannot count on their own bodies to remain calm and focused, without assistance.

2018-19 will be a monumental academic year.

The 2018 Road, Day 25, Part 1: Jamestown’s Three Communities

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June 19, 2018, Jamestown, VA-

After a lovely visit, yesterday evening, with one of Penny’s second cousins, I meandered through the interior of Maryland’s Western Shore and spent the night in the regional commercial hub of Lexington Park.  This morning, after enjoying a breakfast sandwich at Donut Connection, I headed towards the southern tip of St. Marys County, a spot called Cape Lookout.  It turns out to be a private community, called Scotland Beach. Nevertheless, there was a small turnaround area, where the residents look the other way, while a visitor takes a photo or two.

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Point Lookout also has a state park, which I am sure is lovely, but it is cash only, so I headed back towards the town of St. Marys, which was Maryland’s first capital, in provincial days.

Point Lookout was a Prisoner of War camp, for captured Confederate soldiers, between 1862-65.  A memorial to those who died whilst incarcerated, stands just north of the state park. Although I have no sympathy for slaveholders, these were soldiers, and I paid my respects.

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St. Marys is a lovely town, along the river of the same name. I stuck to the highway, as a bridge with hideous traffic was between here and Jamestown, and I wanted to get there by 1 PM, at the latest.

These scenes were taken across from the entrance to St. Marys College.

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After spending forty minutes on the aforementioned bridge, and nearly being rammed by a vehicle whose driver was busy texting, whilst going 40 miles an hour, in bumper to bumper traffic, I enjoyed a rather pleasant drive through Virginia’s Upper Tidewater, and got to Jamestown around 12:40.

The entrance to Jamestown National Historic Park has 50 plaques, describing how each state came to enter the Union.

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The Great Hall has several exhibits that detail Jamestown’s three early communities:  The Powhatan Nation, long-established here, when the settlers arrived; the English settlers, who began to arrive in 1607 and slaves brought from Angola, southern Africa, beginning in 1619.  There are examples of the homes and daily lives of each group, in various sections of the Great Hall.

The first section describes the lives of the Powhatan and their neighbours.  The house below is a typical Powhatan home of that period.

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This is the inside of an early English hut in James Fort, as replicated in the Great Hall.

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Model of ship used to transport goods and people, along the coast.

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Once outside the Great Hall, it was time to get a sense of how the actual settlement looked.  Discovery Tower is the last remaining structure from the days when Jamestown was Virginia’s capital.   It was a church tower.

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Visitors to frontier towns, up and down the North American coast. faced piked fences around the fortified villages.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCannons were posted at various points along the wall’s mezzanine.  Spanish, as well as Indian, raids were a constant concern at Jamestown, as were attacks by pirates.

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The thatching that was common, across the British Isles, became common in the early English settlements as well.

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I visited several of the buildings.  This is the interior of the community church.  Unlike the later colonies in New England, Jamestown pledged fealty to the Anglican Church.

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Here is the supply wall of the guard house.  Guards manned this fort, 24/7.

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Here is the storehouse for the village.

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These bells were rung by the guards, to alert settlers of danger.

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In the Governor’s House, the governor’s manservant slept near the front door.

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This was the Governor’s home office.

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The Governor had some privacy in his sleeping area.

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With my self-guided tour of James Fort complete, I walked towards the James River front.  A replica of an early dugout canoe lay above the shore.

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The Susan Constant is a replica of the largest of a small fleet  of ships which sailed between Jamestown and England.

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Imagine yourself manning this crow’s nest!

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Here is a typical bunk for a crew member on any of the fleet’s ships.

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As this grate indicates, humans worked in  a hold, under the main deck.

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Here is what lies below deck. Yes, it was hot down there.

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As it was getting close to closing time, I headed towards Powhatan Village.

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Here is the interior of the Council House.

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A more typical family house is below.  It appears this dwelling was the home of a prominent village elder.

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This is the ceremonial circle. The posts represent the guardian spirits of the village.

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The staff was leaving, so I was as well.  I stopped for a view of the James River, just outside the park.

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Like any replica of life in the mists of history, Jamestown is constantly evolving as archaeologists unearth more evidence from the dig site, a short distance to the north.

So, I checked off another place missed during our 2007 trip.  I’m sure even more discoveries would await, were I to return some years from now.  For now, I am headed to Williamsburg, for the night, and Yorktown, tomorrow morning.

 

The 2018 Road, Day 24:Baltimore, Part 2- Proof Through The Night, and the Years

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June 18, 2018, Baltimore-

Fort McHenry, in Baltimore’s outer Harbor, was one of the places, on our 2007 Virtual Field Trip organizing itinerary, that had to be left off, owing to changes that had to be made in our schedule and due to the rickety old wheelchair needing repair-which was done in New Jersey.

I had a day with which to play here, so even with the aborted visit to Poe House, I stuck with the plan to spend 2-3 hours at Fort McHenry and have lunch at an Inner Harbor eatery.

The Fort is off by itself, at the mouth of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River.

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My first forty five minutes were spent listening to a docent explain, in detail, the life and contradictions of Francis Scott Key, a slaveowner who taught his charges to read and write;  an opponent of the War of 1812, who was nonetheless moved to commemorate the Battle of Baltimore in the verses which became our National Anthem;  a patriot, who ended up sitting out the battle, on a British sloop, after successfully negotiating the release of an American physician from British military custody.

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In the background, during the lecture, were playing diverse versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, including Jim Hendrix’s 1969 rendition, from the Woodstock Festival.

The docent then took us outside, for further stories of the fort and its various functions, while we headed to the main ramparts.

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After the British successfully sacked and burned Washington, DC and raided Alexandria,  in 1814, they headed towards Baltimore.   Meeting them were these cannons of Fort McHenry and a combined artillery battery at Forts Babcock, Covington and Look-Out, across outer Harbor.  The combined fusillade, witnessed by Key, aboard the sloop, both convinced the British to abandon hope of capturing the “crown jewel” of wealthy, bustling Baltimore and Key to write his stirring verse. It is often overlooked, though, that the song became our National Anthem in 1931.

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Below, we see the breastworks, in which ammunition was stored, whilst providing cover for the American forces.

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A lone cannon is seen, facing the Patapsco, atop the eastern earthworks.

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Here is the  entry to an ammunition depot, showing clearly how vital it was for the earthworks to be properly constructed.

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A series of barracks housed American soldiers and Marines, during the War of 1812.  These same buildings housed Confederate prisoners of war, between 1862-65.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This dining room and office was used by Major General Samuel Smith, the post commander.

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Here is a view of ammunition, stored  in an above-ground safe room.

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This artillery park was well-guarded by four breastworks.

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The Army Band was an essential morale-booster for troops preparing for battle. The Band’s quarters were on the west end of the barracks.

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These shelters were built to safeguard the troops, following the shelling of 1814, but were never needed again, after the British were repulsed.

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In this stretch of the Patapsco, Sailing Master Beverly Diggs, USN, had several merchant ships scuttled and sunk, to deter any British ships from closely approaching the Inner Harbor.  The action had its desired effect.

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The southwestern corner of the park features this large ammunition magazine, not open to the public.

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In 1922, Charles Niehaus, sculptor, completed a statue of Orpheus, the Greek musician of legend, in honour of Francis Scott Key.  It stands, between the Magazine and the Visitors Center.

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Thus is the story of one of America’s unfortunate, but perhaps necessary, conflicts very well told, at one of its two most resonant battle sites.

I ended my Baltimore experience, this time, at Iron Rooster, near outer Harbor, in the Canton neighbourhood.

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Of course, Inner Harbor and Federal Hill are for another time.  Baltimore ever beckons, and the hostel is always a welcoming haven.

NEXT:  Southwest Maryland and Jamestown

 

 

Just Because…

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July 23, 2108, Prescott-

Of course, my accounts of my travels will continue, later today.  My mind was roiling, earlier this morning, with a feeling that someone was silently accusing me of prejudice, for not settling into another relationship, for not ending my widowhood.  Penny appeared to me afterward, in my mind’s eye, and told me:

“You love, intensely.

Just because you have no romantic feelings for anyone in your present Baha’i community does not make you callous, unfeeling, prejudiced.

You are there for each person, helping each as needed.

That does not require you to fit into a niche.

You love, intensely

Just because you have a strong friendship with a woman who is of entirely different mindset, in terms of Faith, does not mean you are disloyal to Baha’u’llah.

Conversely, as I’ve told you before, you and she are steadfast friends, no more, no less. You would gladly see her find someone who will cherish her, forever.

You love, intensely.

You see your younger co-workers as if they were your own daughters.  Their struggles are your own and you help them where they need help, taking nothing from their dignity.

You love, intensely.

Each day, whether on the road or at what you call Home Base, the needs, large and small, of women, men and children who cross your path have as much urgency as your own.

Just because some are, occasionally, put off by what they see as your shortcomings or errors, does not mean you are unworthy of respect.  They have their own burdens.

Carry on, my love.  As time continues, your true destiny will keep on unfolding.  You have miles to go.”

With that, my angst subsided.

 

The 2018 Road, Day 24: Baltimore, Part 1- A Shiny Mount Vernon and Poe’s Hardy Neighbours

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June 18, 2018, Baltimore-

I came to this sometimes struggling, but always fascinating harbour town last night, settling in to Hostels International- Baltimore, in its historic Mount Vernon neighbourhood.  The hostel is clean, comfortable and staffed by friendly folk.  The night manager moved his car over, so that I could fit mine into the relatively safe space, behind the hostel.  This little patio, if a bit cramped looking, was a relaxing spot for breakfast.

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I had last stopped and spent time in the city in 1972-what seems like eons ago. Then, it was to visit with an Army buddy and his family, in the suburb of Essex. I had arrived too late at night to call on them , but fortunately found a kind soul who put me up for the night, in Mount Vernon, as luck would have it.  I lost track of my buddy, only knowing that his brother died, three years ago and their parents, who I treasured, sometime back.

Bal’mer, though, has kept on, and keeps itself rather polished.  I took a short walk around Mount Vernon, this morning, taking in The Basilica of Baltimore, its Roman Catholic Cathedral and a few other sites at the northern edge of downtown.  The Basilica of the  National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as it is officially known, was completed in 1837, thus its late Federal Period architecture. It is the first Roman Catholic Cathedral built in the  United States, having been built by John Henry Latrobe, the “Father of American Architecture.”

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Enoch Pratt, a  local industrialist and philanthropist of the mid- 19th Century, helped establish Baltimore’s Central Public Library, in 1882.  It is another anchor point of Mount Vernon and Cathedral Hill.

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The New Unity Church Ministries is a balance to the large presence of the Cathedral.  Beyond, you can see the high rises of downtown’s edge.

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I left Mount Vernon, around 10 a.m. and headed off in search of Edgar Allan Poe House. It is in a mixed income neighbourhood, at the edge of a public housing project.  The area residents were a bit surprised at my presence there-mainly because the house is only open from Thursday-Sunday, and then only from 11-4.  Nonetheless, today was when I was here, and so I did get a photo of the exterior.

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With this brief, but pleasant, visit to central Baltimore a fait accompli, I headed to this day’s main focus:  Fort Mc Henry.