Thursday

Yo! Bumrush the Show

I'm going to write this in clearly defined sections so you can come back to it if need be.

NOSTALGIA

My trip to DC was absolutely wonderful. It was filled with so many wonderful moments that I don’t know where to begin. I guess I should provide readers with a little background as to why I was really looking forward to this trip since most of you only knew about the book signing for Bloggers’ Delight Vol. 1: Love and Redemption. What I didn’t tell anyone at the time was that I lived in DC as a child from 1973 – 1974 and the city has long held a favorite place in my heart. When I returned to Jacksonville, FL to begin the third grade at North Shore Elementary, I wore DC like a badge of honor because I had been where other students only dreamed of going, the Nation’s Capital. So, during my first visit to the city in 34 years, I sought out the building that I lived in at 1731 New Hampshire Avenue only to find that it was now a hotel. After talking to the management I learned that the Granite State Building as it was called when I lived there was originally built in the 30’s as an apartment building, but in the late 70’s, roughly around 1978 it was purchased and turned into the St. Charles Hotel. That hotel only lasted a year and then it was purchased by the current owners and is now the Carlyle Suites Hotel. They have taken care of the building over the years and it's centrally located and a great place to stay. I may decide to stay there on a future trip so I can show my kids a bit of my history.

My memories during my years stay was pretty much confined to the immediate area since my grade school; Ross Elementary was right around the corner.


It’s still standing there today. Sidebar -- It is amazing the foresight that school had in the 70’s. I was exposed to Spanish in my second grade class, and I wasn’t exposed to foreign languages again until I reached high school as I continued my education within the public school system of Duval County.

I found out another interesting bit of history about Ross Elementary, President Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy attended the school during his presidency. This would explain why I was equally surprised to learn that the neighborhood was a bit more upscale than I had imagined. As it turned out, my parents could only afford a one bedroom apartment at the time. My brother and I shared the bedroom while my parents' bed was in what should have been our living room. It’s amazing the sacrifices parents make for the benefit of their kids and the children are none the wiser. Needless to say, we (my wife and I) brought my parents some souvenir’s from one of the places my dad asked me to find – Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Ben's Chili Bowl is a DC landmark. There have been a great many celebrities, entertainers and politicians that have visited the restaurant. As it turned out, there was a taping of a scene for a new Russell Crowe movie in the restaurant just about a week or so ago. If you are ever in DC, be sure to check out Ben’s Chili Bowl. It's on U Street next to the Lincoln Center near 12th Street.


FAMILY
Another reason I was excited about going to DC was because I would get the chance to see my Uncle Zema, who is widely known in DC as Chief Zee, the unofficial mascot (there’s a story there but I won’t go into it) for the Washington Redskins.



Chief, as he is affectionately known, has been the brother my father never had. Both he and my dad have been friends since before I was born and since neither grew up with a brother, only sisters, they adopted each other. Throughout my life I have known him as my uncle, it wasn’t until I was an adult and was able to get the full story that I found out that we were not blood related, but that means nothing when real love is present.

Chief has lived in the DC area for nearly 40 years, and has been appearing at Redskin games in his full outfit since the time I lived in DC. He has only missed two home games in all those years. One was due to the death of his mother and the other for the funeral of his longtime friend Crazy Ray, who was the official mascot for the Dallas Cowboys until his death. Chief Zee, while never the official mascot, has been inducted into the Football Hall of Fame as part of the fan section.

In addition to my Uncle, my wife and I had the chance to visit with my brother-in-law. He's a doctor on staff at Howard University. My wife and I are very proud of her "baby" brother.




BLOGGERS

Since my primary reason for making the trip was due to the book signing, it goes without saying that I was pleased to have another opportunity to hang with my girls CapCity and Mizrepresent. I also had a tentative meeting set with blogger “Juan in DC” whom I met during my joyous time as a member of the Lo Zone family. Juan played host as my wife, CapCity and myself found our way to his lovely home. If you are a fan of art and literature you will be right at home with Juan. We had a great time visiting him and before we knew it we had talked away several hours.


During our visit we were pleased to be informed that Juan was also selected as one of fifty local (D.C.) writers to participate in a multicultural offering by male authors. When the book hit’s stores in the month of May, I will provide you with more details since I'm sure it will be quite a treat.

Juan was a great host and I look forward to connecting with him again in the future.

The night of the book signing I was so surprised to look up and see "Lola Gets". She was a blast. Definitely quite the character. If you ever get the opportunity to meet her you are in for a treat. She's intelligent, fun, and an all around good girl. I was hoping to meet James Tubman and kick it with Sharon of Just Write Now, but they were unable to make it. Maybe next time, but we still had a blast.

Speaking of blast, the readings were "fire". I read an excerpt from my story and I also read monster blogger Don's poetic contribution. There was a Caucasian woman having dinner with her two adult son's and she enjoyed the poetry so much that she came over to buy a copy. Don't sleep on us, Bloggers' Delight and its writers are on their way. To get a signed copy, order from the promotional site. For those of you in the vicinity of ATLANTA, we will be dropping it like it's hot come June 7th, so get ready (more information on that later). If you haven't attended an event yet, that will be the one to make since a lot of the participants live in the area. If everyone is in place, you will get to meet book participants Miz (blog hostess), CapCity, Raw Dawg Buffalo, Literary Felonies, and Xcentric Pryncess. I'm sure there are other bloggers in the area, like Nikki, Jali and Tony Oh! who might bless us with their presence, so let's do it big and have a good time.

CELEBRITIES

No, Eb wasn't in DC, but after the book signing we headed over to Busboys and Poets for some cappuccino and dessert. While there, we had the good fortune to run into Professor/Author/Cultural Critic, Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. By this time, we all were a bit weary from the days events, but Dr. Dyson was more than happy to take a moment to greet us and take a quick photo.



We definitely appreciated it and wished we could have gotten a signed copy of his latest release, but there were no more copies available at the bookstore located in the restaurant.


It also bears mentioning that The Chief had his own fan section going at the booksigning. We didn't get in the door before someone stopped us on the street. Also, quite a number of the guests were taking pictures with him, so he was icing on the cake.



Needless to say, we had an all around great time while in DC and I never even got to tell you about the shopping that took place -- my wife and I hit three outlet malls and one regular mall -- unlimited mileage is the way to go on car rentals! If I'm able to get the editing done, I will share the videos that I have, but I'll have to do that in another post. I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures and I can't wait to do it again. Holla!



About the host:
Rich Fitzgerald is the author of the short story "One to Remember" featured in Love and Redemption (Bloggers' Delight Vol. 1), a collection of short stories by authors who blog. To read excerpts or to order a copy of the title, visit i-Lit. The book is also available on Amazon.

13 comments:

CapCity said...

Uh, I think more of us AND The Chief are quite insulted that we're not included in your celebrity section! ;-)

Glad u had a good time - now send me MORE photos - i see u holding out! LOL!

Sharon said...

Thanks for missing me, but I assure you that I did more missing y'all than y'all did missing me! Dayum I wish I had been able to make it there...now you got me thinking about making the HOTLANTA signing. I just might do it...we'll see, but don't be surprised to look up and find me there!

CapCity said...

Glad u added Chief Zee to your celebrity section, Bruh Rich. To Die Hard Redskin's Fans he IS a celebrity:-). I'll have to tell my cousin that u posted her on your blog with him;-).

Sharon, I kept looking up thinking that U were going to make a GRAND & surprising entrance!

Lance said...

in the words of our great, beloved sister, florida evans....

damn, DAmn!!, DAMNNN!!!!

i knew it was going to be a great event. sorry i couldn't make the trip and atlanta is a question mark "at this point!".. grrr!!! ;-(

glad to see you had a great time, met juan & chief zee and also revisited your early childhood past.

a great post, thanks for sharing.

Shai said...

Wow! Looks like you had fun. I wished I was there. I cannot make June 7 cause that is graduation weekend for my kid. And then end of June I am out of town.

Maybe next go round.

Congrats to you all.

Muze said...

wow. you guys are doing it big over here, huh rich?

that's awesome.

congrats. looks like you all had a blast.

Girly_Girl said...

I so wish I could've been there!!! Everyone looks great and I would've loved to have met Juan G!!!

Yaay for you, Rich!

Rich said...

@girly girl - Juan G is a real cool guy. Wish we had more time to kick it.

@muze - we are trying to open the door for authors who blog. Volume 2 will be even better, especially if you are in it.

@shai - we may have to do something in your neck of the woods. Maybe we can hook up with Sylvia Hubbard and some of the other Detroit writers for a signing.

@Lance - we poured out a little "lick her" for you.

@capcity - thanks for keeping a brother on point

@sharon - U know you good by us. We know you wanted to be in the house. First things first.

Mizrepresent said...

love this post! So classy, and informative. had a wonderful time fam! As always, looking forward to June 7th!

Don said...

Aw man, Rich, you and your wife got the chance to meet Dyson. That had to be a good encounter. I am so used to seeing and hearing him talk on TV that I'd probably be stunned just by hearing him talk in person. Then y'all took pics.

Juan sounds very entertaining. Talented. Sounds like a look forward to read.

Thanks for the poetry read. I'm humbled. It’s amazing the sacrifices parents make for the benefit of their kids and the children are none the wiser. I agree. But I think you received the memo. It appears you have.

Would have been nice to get some of that Ben Chili's Bowl.

Rich said...

@Don – the real beauty of meeting Dr. Dyson is that on Sunday we were listening to him in the car while he was on Meet the Press. I had previously watched, read, heard him many times, but this was my wife’s first time hearing him and she was all in. So, when I saw him Monday night, you would have thought I ran into one of my homeboys the way I bolted out the chair. I had to remember that he didn’t know me, although I had previously met him at a book signing here in St. Louis. He was cool though. I’m sure he is comfortable being one of the black hero’s of this generation.

I can't say enough good things about Juan, he is a standup dude.

If you don't come to the ATL (you should think about coming), I think I'm going to drop it on them again, it's a nice flow. I like it a lot.

The half-smoked (beef sausage) was really the move. My wife had the chili/cheese fries also, but I can't eat all that food and be comfortable the rest of the day. My system has changed as I've aged.

N. Steven said...

Dangit. Y'know, I was going to come, but I had to work. I feel bad now. I coulda got a picture with Michael Eric Dyson...I mean, met you fine folk.

Hey, next time you're up in NJ, let a blogga know, eh?

kayellejaye said...

I actually went to Stevens Elementary on K St. Our claim to fame was that Amy Carter went there. I think somebody either told you a tale or she was one helluva student.

Glad you had a good time while u were here in Chocolate City.