Sunday, May 30, 2010

6th graders, a bus, Washington DC and 5 hours in a museum and one traveling pendant

What is more disturbing than the Holocaust Museum? I'll tell you what is more disturbing. Taking 4 bus loads of 6th graders with you to Washington DC to see it, and it is your first time as a chaperon. Now I know you are all saying "Wow, 6th grade and she is just taking on this passage of life?" Well, no...OK yes. But I am innocent! My oldest son who is 16 has severe autism...I never really got into it that much here as this is my play land and artsy fartsy place. But he is mentally about three, cannot speak, has few if any social skills and I love him to death. BUT this leaves going out on field trips to a bare minimum at best.

So when I had the opportunity to go with my 6th grader who is 12 going on 32, I made sure I went. Museums equal art, right? Ahem....not in this case.

So the trip is to DC (Look for the traveling pendant, yes it made it to the capital!) and I have to say I was terrified.

Proof of pendant at the museum.

ACK! NORMAL People! (if there is such a thing) parents and kids....I am use to being in the disability world. This is a strange place for me. Needless to say I moved onward with my three assigned boys, one including my son. I had good kids, really great, no issues at all. Except for the one that kept vanishing and I was responsible for. He tended to follow his nose and not us.
Can someone please tell me where the Holocaust Museum is, I seem to be lost.
My Posse

Our buses park across the street from the Holocaust Museum which is right next to the Smithsonian. Ohhhhhhh Smithsonian. We were told at first that once we were done looking through the Holocaust Museum we were free to visit other museums on the block. Once we got there, we were told that we had to spend all 5 HOURS in the museum of death. Joy. After looking at remnants of peoples snuffed out lives, the Smithsonian would have lightened things up a tad.

All we have to do is go down to the corner, cross the street and go back down and enter the museum which is now disturbingly like getting into Fort Knox since that poor poor man who was a security guard there was shot and killed about a year ago. Airport security should take notes not only on the screening job they do, but with the speed and efficiency. With all my jewelry I was frisked down with the buzzzy thing for medals every time. I had this little gig going after the first few times. A really bad robot dance of sorts. Fortunately the security there are a great gang and had a good sense of humor but still did their job.Our fifth time through security and metal detectors. I make those suckers go off like Christmas trees and hold the line up for 20 minutes. Embarrassing.

We walked through the very crowded and hot museum looking at the most horrific of things and twice we went to the cafe to take a break. Emotionally, it was a bit much and we all just craved to hit the Smithsonian or even the National Monument which was right around the corner. We walked the whole museum and GAH....2.5 hours left!

No cameras were allowed in the museum and really, there is nothing I wanted a photo of. The pile of real shoes, worn by real prisoners who went to their deaths was almost more than I could bare. Mens, womens, childrens even infants shoes. I saw many people weeping at different places in the museum. How could they? How could we let them? How can people say it never happened with so MUCH documented film, photos, physical evidence and survivors with their stories.
Jarod and I outside taking a "mental break" from the museum. And what were we staring at over the wall just feet away...
The Smithsonian. THE SMITHSONIAN! And we get to get take pictures of it from the outside. That's it. Nada...ziltch...ain't happening. Sigh.

Yes, the traveling pendant went, but it was not to the most wonderful of places. That said, if you get a chance to visit DC, you must go...even if just out of respect for those lost and those who had great and unimaginable loses. So most of of our photos are outside.

Now, take 2 dozen 6th graders, 2 hour ride in each direction and what to do you get?

Sometimes, words cannot express the moment....

This is why I am a 100% committed advocate to xanax in the water supply. Hey, I survived and all the kids in my charge came back in once piece....I think.


  1. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto! And just Xanax? How uninventive...

  2. Hey if you wanted to see death, just go into the city of DC

  3. Thank you for going there, and thank you for
    writing about it - both is important...

  4. Very important Yael...very important. Like it or not, all should go.