Days off are a blessing when you do nothing but drive, play, and repeat. We had one of those blessings, and so, since Alli needs a couple of field trips this year, we decided to take her to the Holocaust museum while we were in Washington, D.C.
Starting our day off in Arlington, we walked to a metro station. Note that I said A metro station, not THE metro station. Obviously, there are more than one within the area, but I am trying to point out that we probably took the longest route possible to one. The Ellis’ told us that it was a 10 minute walk. Weeellllll……it took us at least 30 minutes. Maybe more.
Tony and I are really excited for Alli to get to see the different ways that people live, and riding the metro was one of those experiences that would be completely foreign to a 14 year old girl living in Loretto, TN. I explained to her how a metro system works and how to read the map and how to figure out which train on the line you needed to get on. For instance, we were taking the orange line and we were at the Clarendon station. We were trying to get to the Smithsonian station to get to the museum, so we needed to look for the train that said it was going to New Carrollton, which is the end of the orange line on one side, since the Smithsonian station was in between those two. The train going to Vienna, was the train going in the opposite direction on the orange line. That probably doesn’t make sense to people who don’t know anything about metros and probably doesn’t make sense to anybody who travels on a metro everyday. There should really be a better way to explain the system.
Just so you know, it’s 2014. We have smartphones. I’m not even sure how to get a paper map of a city if I wanted one. How in the world did people find things before smartphones?! As we got off of the metro, I had to Google the address of the museum so that I would know which exit to take out of the station, then I pulled up my GPS and just walked in the direction it told me to. I just listened, and it talked to me.
In my head, I thought that when Alli went into the Holocaust museum that she would be completely engrossed and we would have to tear her away. She tore herself away in about five minutes. Just kind of wondered around with whoever was ahead of the group, I believe, in hopes of exiting quicker. There was a lot of reading, though. Wall after wall recounting how things went from taking a few privileges from groups of people, to taking their jobs, their privileges, moving them to ghettos, then murdering them.
There were several things that stuck out to me, and I’ll try to remember them all. A glass case showing miniature figures lining up to enter a building, where they thought they were being deloused. Then being made to strip, and entering what they thought were shower stalls. After their shower turned into carbon monoxide poisoning, miniature Nazis drug them up to be burned in the crematorium after stripping them of gold teeth, and anything else of value. In the same room, there was a casting of the door that closed off the gas chambers, which had a single peep hole for the man who was gassing people to look in to watch all of those people die. All of the pictures of people lining walls whose lives were taken unnecessarily. The shoes that filled a cutout in the wall, encrusted in and smelling like dirt, that covered the feet of people that were murdered. The writing on the walls about how people with mental and physical disabilities were considered useless and murdered to keep the race free of their “problems”. It was sobering. It is mind boggling to think of anything like this ever happening. Even if Adolf Hitler seemed like someone who might solve some issues in the beginning, how did he entice this many people to be on board with this mass murdering spree he commanded? In the end, we spent two and a half hours there and were ushered out at closing time, having to skip past a lot of material. If you ever go, it is important to give yourself ample amount of time to see and learn everything you can. It is well worth it, even if the 14 year old didn’t seem too interested. She did say that the shoe part was her favorite, though. Oh, and I almost forgot the thing that hit me the hardest, and I’m not sure why, especially with everything else that happened. There was a wall sized picture of hair that they had clipped from people, and they sold that hair to businesses to stuff things with. I believe one of those things might have been pillows. Let’s kill all of these people and then sleep on their hair at night.
After leaving with a heavy weight on our shoulders, we walked the 800 miles back to the metro, took the orange line back towards Vienna, and walked the 367 miles back to the Ellis’ house. Awaiting us there were two cute little kids to cheer us all up! Infinity, the 8 year old and Hayden, the 3 year old were watching cartoons. I remember when Mary was Infinity’s age. She would color me things and draw things for me all of the time, and I’m not sure if every mom does this, but there is a gift bag full of things that the girls made me in the hall closet that I will never get rid of. Infinity’s gift may enter said bag in hall closet…
Earlier in the day, we met little Hayden, who reminds me of my cousin, Justin Williams, when he was a little kid. Hayden saw us off to the museum earlier that day with his head hidden in his dad’s shorts and eyes averted. By the time we left that evening, he was giving away colorings that he had previously promised his dad, and asking why we were leaving and when he could go to our house. And it was adorable. Tony does give a heads up to all owners of little boys, that I might steal them. I’m not sure whether this comes as it should, a joke, or just creeps people out.
Before moving on, the Ellis’ and our crew went to eat at a place that had amazing soy garlic chicken, and I can’t remember the name of the place so maybe Danita will get on here and leave a comment. Then, the end of our day took us to the area that Dom’s bass player resides, and Brian was nice enough to let us crash for the night before heading to Arden, Delaware!