Memories of Georgetown
I came to Washington in the mid 1970s, after living ten years in the San Francisco Bay Area, during a turbulent, heady period working on two different daily newspapers. I’ve never quite been able to satisfactorily explain to myself, or people who know me, why I came. Usually, I make a joke about it.
During the late 1970s — post Watergate, post Gerald Ford even, Carter in mid-malaise — I lived on Capitol Hill, where a group of friends once held an alley-stoop neighborhood party. A young go-getting politician and school board member named Marion Barry found his way to the party. He whizzed by in a frenzied, hand-shaking Afro blur but made an impression. People there, mostly white, talked about him. He was running for mayor, taking on the venerable Walter Washington, the city’s first mayor under Home Rule.
By around 1980, I started writing for The Georgetowner, and the first story I ever wrote for this publication was a detailed from-afar look at Ted Kennedy’s disaster of a challenge against President Carter, a disaster redeemed in part by a defiant, eloquent convention speech. The very next story that I recall was an interview-profile of the legendary stripper, Blaze Starr, backstage at the notorious Silver Slipper Burlesque House, in the New York Avenue area. Starr was futilely enamored of politicians — she had affairs with Earl Long, the Governor of Louisiana (captured nicely in a movie called “Blaze”), and the mayor of Philadelphia, Mr. Rizzo. It’s thirty years and hundreds and hundreds of stories later, and some things have changed...