Winner: Two Washingtonians
by Emilie Karrick Surrusco
Jewel Hall is my neighbor. Our rowhouses are separated by the two walls of the house in between. Oftentimes, Jewel and I will spend an hour trading neighborhood gossip or talking about our kids. We both are lulled to sleep by the recorded announcement of the Metro bus screeching to a stop on our street ("D4 Ivy City") or the throngs of teenagers laughing, cursing, shouting, fighting outside our windows. We both worry about the muggings and shootings and assaults that happen too close to home.
This is our shared Washington.
Jewel and I were both born and raised in D.C., but our lives were shaped by two very different cities. I grew up riding my bike down the wide, shady streets of Spring Valley in upper Northwest. I went to a school that catered to the sons and daughters of senators, where we were all groomed for the Ivy League.
Jewel grew up around the corner from where we live now in Northeast, just beyond Capitol Hill. She had her children early and stayed at home to take care of them and her husband. By the time she became a young grandmother, she found a job cleaning the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where she still works.
When I go to Dirksen, it's to attend a hearing or to meet with a staffer. My grade school classmates are the young political appointees and high-powered lawyers that will become the decision makers of tomorrow.
Jewel and I grew up in a city defined as the nexus of our nation's power. In different ways, that power has been part of our daily lives. For us, though, Washington is much more -- it's home.
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