The Washington Monument (and me)

From my Uncle Francis:

Hello Terry,

Your birthday is coming soon (6/9/12). Happy birthday to you, Terry.

We hope for your & Marie’s continued success & happyness.

I am sorry for not communicating with you. I am still OK but have to do many medical checkup and others.

I have been looking at old photos in an album was sent by my + your mom’s mom after we lost our home by fire in 1991.
I found a photo of you, Ken, & your mom at the Washington Monument, all in smile. What a happy time that was! I often
wish that your mom is still here. She would have be mighty happy and proud of you and Kenny becoming so successful.

Uncle Francis & Auntie Clara

PS: I am a novice at Photoshop to retouch, hence, sorry for the photo being a kind of old faint yellowish look. A higher resolution (but without retouch) picture is attached.

Terry, Mom, and Ken at Washington D.C. (1973)

Me, Mom, and Ken at Washington D.C. (1973)
National Mall, Washington D.C.

Pentax K

(Of course, I retouched it in Aperture.)

Here are two stories inspired by the photo, I’ll share with you on my birthday.


The first time I visited Washington D.C. as you can see in the photo, I was two years old. This left an indelible impression on me.

As my mom said, “For years after that, every time you saw a tall building, your eyes would turn into huge discs. ‘Wash…in…tone,’ you’d say reverently.”

The most asked question on top of the Monument

The second time I visited D.C. I was in junior high school. My dad remembers it by the fact that I spent the entire car ride teaching my five year-old-cousin how to play Dungeons & Dragons interspersed with lessons on mathematics and Algebra. “You have an infinite well of persistence,” my dad would say after that trip.

We went to the Washington Monument, and according to my father, I entertained my cousin in the long line to keep him from crying. The elevator ride up is not short and the operator kept us entertained with entertaining and humorous tidbits about the monument. At one point, he asked, “Does anyone know what the most asked question at the top of the monument is?”

“Now nobody knew the answer, people guessed ‘How far can you see?’ (No.) or ‘Where is (some famous monument)?’ (Nope.) … And then this booming confident voice comes out of the corner, ‘Where is the bathroom?’ And, of course, it is Terry who shouted it.”

Of course, I was right. Everyone laughed.

I had a small bladder when I was kid. It got to the point I had a radar for finding the nearest bathroom in any location. By high school, I’d win composition-of-the-week once because I chose to write about a dirty public bathroom as my “indoor scene.”

Given the especially long line to get to the top, everyone on the elevator, especially my parents, thought that I had guessed right because I had to go. But actually, that time I didn’t.

There are no bathrooms at the top of the Washington Monument, you’d have to take the ride back down just to pee.

I told you I had a radar for these things. 😉

Once more into the breech

I’ll be visiting D.C. again this year for Wikimania.

Happy Birthday to me!

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