A Day at the NGA

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Anne (in pink) gets directions to various galleries.

I’m exhausted today, and literally typing this with two fingers.  Cousin Anne is in town, and yesterday we visited the National Gallery of Art (NGA) here in DC. I took a taxi to her hotel in Crystal City about 2 minutes from my house and very near the Pentagon, and then we rode by taxi to the NGA.  The journey went like clockwork.  I thought about begging off as I was tired from the medical stuff the past few weeks, but I am so happy I went with her.

We walked and talked and observed art high and low, and ate a lovely meal in the NGA café.  I brought some printed genealogy sheets from the family tree and we discussed our grandparents.  You might say we had a mini-family reunion.

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Anne gets a photo with her new phone.

The really neat thing is that because her mother and my father were brother and sister, we each knew part of the Family story.  All any of us knows about our family or ourselves is what we experienced as we aged, what we can recall, and what we remember to pass on to others. I write this blog to record events as they happen or as I recall them.  Thus in a way, my blog is a memory jogger.

As she aged, I spent many hours with Aunt Marge over the last decades of her life. Because she grew up in Madison WI, Anne spent many hours with Aunt Marge when she was younger as well as Sister Lois, our grandmother’s sister. (Our grandmother died round the time Anne was born.) Anne also cared for her mother Rosie during her last years, persuading her to move to Helena MT where Anne lived and where Rosie died last December.  Anne and I both know parts of the family story from them.

                                                              —000—

Chatting over lunch yesterday, I mentioned I had found a record for Grandpa Schmidley that showed he lived in a boarding house in the Dakotas at the turn of the nineteenth century when he was employed by the Chicago and NW railroad.

Stagecoaches in those days were extensions of the railroads that ran into wild territory. Because stagecoaches were assaulted frequently, they always carried an armed guard.  Grandpa was the guard on the route he worked in the Dakotas, and he carried a gun.

I knew this last bit of information because one day when I was putting away my Dad’s clean underwear and ironed handkerchiefs, I found a six-gun in his chest.

Where did this gun come from I asked, and Dad explained it had been granddad’s.  When I shared this information, 1/ my discovery of the boardinghouse record and 2/ the part about the six-gun, Anne had an Aha moment, then told me the story from her Mom about our grandparents Yellowstone honeymoon in 1912.

They rode the railroad to Yellowstone on free passes because Granddad was a railroad employee. However, the railroad terminated outside the park, so they rode a stagecoach through Yellowstone. Grandma the new bride was annoyed because Grandpa insisted on riding on top of the stagecoach sitting next to the driver. I suspect granddad thought the park was unsafe and was riding shotgun unbeknownst to his new bride from the civilized environs of Green Bay Wi.

Wiki says:

Yellowstone National Park (Arapaho: Henihco’oo or Héetíhco’oo) is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.

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21 thoughts on “A Day at the NGA

  1. I think that’s Artist’s Point in your last photo. I love Yellowstone.
    How wonderful that you could compare notes with your cousin. I use my blog as a memory keeper too. I need it more than you though. You have an incredible memory.

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  2. Can’t imagine a moe enjoyable time with your cousin … The wonderful Art Gallery and then time to talk over family stories, filling gaps for each of you. Great day, definitely worth being tired out. Love Yellowstone and can clearly imagine a stagecoach ride back in the day! An adventurous honeymoon indeed. Love the way you flesh out those dry genealogical charts and I really want to do something like this myself.

    Also really really really want to visit DC .. Can’t believe we missed it in our travels. Sigh. Ah well. We have to have things to look forward to!

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  3. I love the National Gallery of Art — go there every time we visit DC. Oh, except last time. We went to the Newseum instead, across the street. That was pretty amazing as well. You’re very fortunate to live so close (except for the traffic!) to our national treasures.

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  4. Great post, Dianne. Love those historical family vignettes. That picture of the stagecoach going through Yellowstone is as vivid as if I was there. Classic Dianne history!!

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    • Thanks Al. I loved it. Grandpa worked for Chicago and Northwestern RR for 49 years. Stayed employed through the Depression because he was willing to travel great distances by working the far western routes.

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  5. Good story about the stagecoach ride through Yellowstone. I’ve been through the park several times, but never by stage!

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