Ann Ingalls

Sasha Obama

The Long and Long of It

On Wednesday, June 16, Maryann and I gave a presentation to second grade students at Politics and Prose Bookshop in Washington, DC. The children were adorable.

On Thursday, we went to Sidwell Friends. We were then met by Anna Uriciolo, the extra-nice music teacher. She gave us a brief tour of the school, took us to the lunch room to pick up lunch (THIS PART IS UNBELIEVABLE–FRESH MANGOS, PAPAYA, PINEAPPLE AND EVERY LOVELY FRUIT YOU CAN IMAGINE, CHEESES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, FRESH BAKED BREADS, MEATBALLS, LOVELY SALADS, YOGURTS AND FRESH FRUIT DRINKS AND OF COURSE MILK. A BIT OF A CHANGE FROM THE CRUSTY CORN DOGS, WITH CORN CHIPS AND CORN ON THE SIDE THAT I HAVE BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO OVER THE YEARS.)

Sasha Obama is even more adorable in real life than she appears on TV. She is a bit shy, held her little friend’s hand throughout the presentation, listened carefully to the story and powerpoint presentation, giggled at appropriate times. She is just exactly right to be a president’s child. Our presentation seemed to go over pretty well.

That same day, I had a Skype interview with Karen Hanchett at the August Wilson Center (in Pittsburgh, PA) because they featured the book June 5th at their summer family reading program. After that, we went for pedicures and manicures. Big highlight. Bared my ugly feet and the pedicurist didn’t even flinch.

On Friday, we went to the Kennedy Center and were toasted with wine, met Mary Lou Williams’ sisters, Margie and Geraldine, her neices and nephews. It was grand! Margie and Geraldine got very misty eyed. We did too. Then we all hugged and got even mistier-eyed. Had big huddle cuddles and generally felt like family. Talked to them for a very long time before, at intermission and at the end of the concert. By the way, the concert wasn’t too shabby either.

On Saturday, we went to the Smithsonian, signed bunches of books and toured the Apollo Theater exhibit, the jazz exhibit. They don’t have a $%#@(*&^ thing of MLW’s except the rights to produce her music. In fact no one has anything because she gave it all away or sold it to help others. She knew what it was like to go without. Mist over again.

We followed that up with dinner at the Kennedy Center Terrace–overlooking beautiful DC.

Went to the concert that evening. This night we were toasted with fancy champagne with some raspberry liquor. Too unbelievable for a woman who is more than fond of cheap wine and free beer. Move hugs and exchanging of endearments with the family. They wanted to know why we selected their sister as the subject of a book. My sister said I did the selecting and then I said that I chose her because MLW and I are both women, both know what it feels like to be bullied, both know what it feels like to grow up in large families, both know what gender-bias means and how it makes women feel, both lead spiritual lives (she was a much better person inside) and both appreciate music. More tears, hugging, promises to remember one another.

Nice cab driver for the way home. From Ethiopia. Cab driver the day before was also from Ethiopia. Nice folk from that place.

Slept on an inflatable mattress with my husband who hogged the blankets. Had a great time with our daughter and son-in-law, ate wonderful Lebanese food, reasonably priced for DC. Even met a lady on the plane who suggested that I might have celiac disease. Have since found out that I would have to be in pain. Am not.

Well, that’s the long and long of it.

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