I’m Fairly Certain That Cloris Leachman Got A Better Reception.

The fourteen-year-old came home last night from his big 8th grade field trip to Washington D.C. He had an awesome time, and just as the tour company did a couple of years ago with the now-sixteen-year-old’s group, they ran these kids ragged for three straight days.

Just a partial list of what they saw?

Lincoln Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
White House (picture stop only)
Washington Memorial
Capitol Hill
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
National Archives
Kennedy Center and the murder-comedy play “Sheer Madness”
Mt. Vernon
Vietnam and Korean War Memorials
Iwo Jima Memorial
Arlington Cemetary and the Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns
Challenger Memorial
Pentagon Memorial
National Air and Space Museum

In three days. They even had an evening at a rec center for swimming. (Gotta keep those hormonal teens busy!)


He had a blast. He took his digital camera and made momma proud: he took about 180 photos in three days.

And he told me this: “Mom, you’re going to see quite a few photos of me and this one girl. We hung out because she liked my camera.”

Hmm. I chuckled inside. I was once a fourteen-year-old girl. I’m thinking that the camera was a ruse. But whatever. I’m glad he had a great time. He came home bursting with stories and was anxious to show us his three souvenirs:

1. A black necktie with a Presidential seal-looking, err, seal, on it that said “Washington DC 2009”

2. For his older brother, a DC shot glass (or, as we call them in Boy Scouts, a toothpick holder)

3. For, as he said, “Whoever”: a little tube of distilled water that has gold flakes floating around in it. It is labeled “Budget Surplus”. Cute.

I hope he remembers all of the great times he had over the weekend.

I too went on an 8th grade trip to DC. I had alot of fun also. I was slightly lonely though; I was the only girl in my group of friends that went. Because my group of friends was co-ed, on the DC trip I was the token girl in my tight group: four boys made up the difference. One of them was my best friend’s boyfriend, Will. (no controversy here.)

My best friend, upset about the fact that she couldn’t go on the trip AND that her best friend and boyfriend wouldn’t be around for a whole three days did what any young girl would do (maybe not). She wrote us each a bunch of notes that were to be opened at certain points on the trip. I held onto and dispersed his notes at the proper time, and he did mine.

Other than small flashes of various elements of Washington DC (the memorials and such), that is what I remember of the trip.

I remember two other things too. One was that the girls in my room wanted to watch “The Shining” one night. I only watched a few minutes of it because it scared the crap out of me. I think I spent the rest of the evening totally under the covers, head and all.

The other thing I remember?

On what would have been our rec center night, we had a dance instead, in one of the hotel conference rooms. I sat there with the four boys, none of us wanting to dance. Nobody DANCED at a dance.

The DJ suddenly declared we would have a dance contest. Gag me with a spoon.

But three of the boys in my group–MY FRIENDS–told me and Will that we should enter the contest.


Neither one of us wanted to.

And goodness knows how they did it, but they actually talked us into reluctantly participating.

Still no controversy here: we were strictly platonic dancers.

We danced, extremely uncomfortable, extremely awkward, both of us talking about how we hated every minute of this.

Finally the music ended and–horror of horrors–the DJ announced that everyone should clap hard for the couple who should win.

When he came to us…crickets.

Not even our own friends clapped for us. It was, quite possibly, the most humiliating moment of my life to that point. I remember how it felt EXACTLY. And although it did not ruin the fun I had on the rest of the trip, that one brief moment is what I think of first when I think of Washington DC*.

I’m glad my boys got to go to the rec center.

*I have been back once since then, with Jim after we were married. There was no dance contest and we had an awesome time.



  • ImakehairROCK4u2

    That brings back memories! Astronaut Ice Cream…yummm…er…yuckyyyy!!! lol All I remember is a girl in my class falling and knocking out her front tooth, and another one wetting her pants. Good times!

  • NukeDad

    I beg to differ; I believe that you and your friend won. What you couldn’t hear was the overwhelming thunderous roar of a crowd making the simultaneous sound of one hand clapping. (I tried)

  • seashore subjects

    You’re right, the rec. center is far better than a dance. Sounds like your son had a great time – I agree the camera was probably a ruse! Girls are so tricky.

  • Melisa with one S

    ImakehairROCK4u2: Wow, so you have great memories too! LOL It must be a requirement to have some sort of teenaged-sized catastrophe on a trip like that.

    Nukedad: Nice try! You pumped up my teenaged self-esteem by a little notch. All I can say is, it’s a good thing I’ve had way more embarrassing moments since then! 🙂

    Seashore: Totally. And it was totally a ruse. But it’s okay. I think it’s cute.

  • Melisa with one S

    Weaselmomma: I know, right? I think it’s great that kids can go on these trips, but I question whether anyone remembers what they are SUPPOSED to remember. 🙂

  • Mom24

    I remember my 8th grade trip too. It was wonderful. Our kids go in June when school’s out. I’m glad your boy got to go.

    I remember our dance at the hotel too. Yuck. The biggest memory–Funky Town, the song they played over and over. Why do they do that to kids? Glad yours got to go swimming.

  • ciara

    my stepson went to the 8th grade trip to d.c. as well but bk in jan. they got to go to inauguration and one of the balls. also saw phantom of the opera (which stepson said was boring except chandelier part). i would have loved to have that trip and enjoyed every single bit of it. he didn’t come bk w souvenirs for anyone but himself. i’ll have to do a post on that…prob put it up on dad blogs as well.

  • Anonymous

    Okay so it totally sucks when you LIVE in DC and read the list of all the things your friend’s kid did in 3 days and you have barely done any of them and you have been here 4 years!!!

    I also remember those days when nobody danced at the dances!!! BTW you have an open invitation to come to DC anytime! We *might* get off the computer to sight see , but only if you want!!

  • Sue

    She liked his camera? Is that what girls are using these days? Oy!

    I am glad that he had a blast and that you survived!

  • Melisa with one S

    Mom24: Funkytown! Eeek! (and “thanks”, because I’ll be singing that all day long…)

    Ciara: Wow, DC for the inauguration on an 8th grade field trip? That’s amazing. I can’t imagine the logistics involved for that one. He’s a lucky kid!

    WK: Shamey shamey shame! You’re the freakin meteorologist at WUSA-9! You should have been to most of those places! Don’t make me come over there and drag you to all of them!!! (on second thought…)

    Sue: Yep. That’s what they’re using. Maybe you should notify your girls. 🙂 (and by “Girls”, I mean your daughters…not the other “girls”.)

    Mayberry: I know! I couldn’t believe it myself!!!

  • Michelle

    It’s funny that you gave that huge list of things they saw, my immediate thought was that wooow that’s a lot of stuff — I wonder how much sunk in. Then you mentioned how little you remembered of the sights you saw, and I think I have the answer! 🙂