Daze of My Life: 29 Years and Remembering
Daze of My Life
29 Years and Remembering
Gainsborough Road seems like a hundred years ago. It's where I lived in Potomac from November 1976 through July 1977. What happened in July of 1977? My wife, Dina, happened in July 1977, that's what. And by that I mean, a change of venue, and that was the end of my residential experience living there. It was short-lived, that's for sure, pleasant though it was.
All I knew of Potomac back then, other than my address, was Seven Locks Road, south from Gainsborough Road, the Cabin John Shopping Center--somewhat smaller then and much less interesting than it is now, Churchill High School--down the street from my house with much more school, and Montgomery Mall--not necessarily to shop, but rather where I remember assembling early one Saturday morning for a bus trip to Pennsylvania with some college friends for an all-day white water rafting trip down the Youghiogheny River, and that's it.
I don't think I ever knew there was a Potomac Village Shopping Center or where exactly River Road went north to beyond the Beltway. My world existed between living on Gainsborough Road and working as a waiter at The Sir Walter Raleigh Inn restaurant in upper Georgetown on the 2000 block of Wisconsin Avenue in NW Washington, on the ground floor of what was then called the Page building (maybe it still is), adjacent to one of the former Dart Drug locations (I think someone is still waiting in line there) and up the street from what was then merely a Safeway supermarket, not a "social" Safeway, as it has been characterized over the years.
My driving route to and from work was down Seven Locks Road across River
Road, left onto MacArthur Boulevard to Reservoir Road NW, then left onto 36th street up to Wisconsin Avenue NW, and up to the "Raleigh," as it was affectionately called, and back. Rarely did I deviate from that norm, except to see Dina who was living in Kensington, Maryland, and likewise working at the same Raleigh Inn as I was. But mostly I was caught up in that all-too-familiar (for those of you who have experienced it) restaurant world of working, going out after work, drinking, driving home, sleeping late, lots-of-cash-in-your-pocket moment to moment existence so typical of that particular occupation. It was fun while it lasted, as much as I remember, but, all activities considered, it didn't leave much down time to get acquainted with the local community, which was, as many of you know, a wonderful place to live and recreate and an extremely convenient place from which to commute, especially if you worked in Bethesda or NW Washington DC (as I did at the time).
I was comfortable living in Potomac. It felt like home, or rather felt like where I grew up, which was Newton Centre, Ma. Similar politics, similar college prep-type school system, similar demographics, similar religious institutions and similar proximity to the city. Unfortunately, my time living in Potomac was all too brief and other than my modest commute to work, I was unable to take advantage of much of what it had to offer. I know I can't go back in time, but I can go back in print.
Living in Potomac was great. I just wish I knew then what I know now.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.