Saturday, December 5, 2015

Rooftop - Views From the Top

I used to live around the corner from the Washington Monument in Baltimore, Maryland and the park which surrounds it. Sitting on a circular plot surrounded by the Peabody Conservatory on one corner; and the old Methodist Church on another; across from the Walther’s Art Gallery; this was the centerpiece of uptown Baltimore, which is less than a mile inland; or north; of the Harborplace.

Living in this area was a pure delight. There are many fine restaurants and stores, and housing is fairly reasonable. I used to have a furnished room in an old boarding house on Cathedral Street, simply because I had never lived that way before; with a toilet down the hall. It was different, and I’m glad to have had the experience. It was kind of like living in the Old West.

I must have lived in that neighborhood; on and off; for several years and never got to climb the monument. But a few years after I was married Sue and I returned to the neighborhood with our daughter Sarah, who was about 3 at the time, and decided to climb it. And I’m glad we did, as I could never make that climb again today!

I carried Sarah most of the way up while Sue took the great photo which appears as my masthead. It’s one of my favorite photos and hangs by my bed. These other photos were also taken by Sue at various stages on the way up. And she has her own version of this story, so I’ll let her tell you about it in her own words.

“Robert and I love to visit historical sites and this day we were going to the climb the Washington Monument in Baltimore. Being young and fit, I couldn't imagine that I would pay for this excursion physically for a week. As I approached the inside, I saw a circular stairway going straight up and we began the climb. I started holding Sarah and quickly handed her over to Robert. 

Within a few circles going up I could feel this was going to be a challenge. I had to slow down my pace as I was feeling dizzy but that was going to be the least of my worries. About a quarter of the way, the back of my legs were starting to ache. I didn't understand as I am a walker and often took long walks; holding children as I did so. My friend Betty and I would walk up the hills of ‘Keswick’ during our lunch hour at work and I walked in the evening to wind down from the day. 

We lived in a house with stairs and I took the stairs at work. Why were my legs aching? I continued the climb, each small circle going higher and higher I had to push myself to make it to the top. I was no help with Sarah, Robert had to carry her the whole way, I barley was carrying myself. The view from the top was breathtaking, it was a beautiful day and I was able to take some great pictures. 

While we standing there together looking out, I told Robert that I had to remember this view as I was sure I would never be able to ever make this climb again. Down we went, same circular route, and the trip down only added to make the ache into pain. At home with Motrin and rest, I was sure this would pass. 

No – a whole week of heating pads, ice, pain kills and I could still barley walk. I managed to get to work but had to use the elevator and hold on to the railings and walls to propel myself forward.  I've seen a few circular stairways since this torturous trip up the monument but I stay below and remember that I got some great photos but at what price. : )”

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