It’s from 5 years ago. I am a depressing mofo sometimes, as the middle part of this call demonstrates. This is from a trip to Washington, D.C., in October, 2012. I visited the Congressional Cemetery and, the day after this phone call, Arlington, along with the usual walkable places like the Lincoln Memorial, The Mall, etc. It’s a walkable town, though I stayed at a too-far-to-walk-to cheap motel in Alexandria, VA. By some glitch in my hoarding habits I seem not to have scanned or posted the receipt from that stay to My Receipts, but I remember well what the final bill was: $181. I also remembered upon arriving at the motel that this was the last place I ever saw my father alive, in 2003.

As a small child I lived in Alexandria, on Summers Drive. In 2002 or 2003 I drove through that area, getting pictures of the very house in which our family lived back in the 1970s. The people who lived in that house when I happened to stop by were coming and going from the place. I wished later in the day I’d had the nerve to introduce myself and ask if I could get pictures of the inside. I would have little memory of the house’s insides but my parents and sister would certainly get a kick out of seeing what it looked like then, 25 or so years later.

The family that lived in the house when I was there looked friendly enough, though it wouldn’t have surprised me if my entreaty to let me in to their residence would have been rebuffed with suspicion. On the other hand I had plenty of detailed backstory to prove I came from a military family, that I knew the local grade school my sister went to (the name of that school escapes me now), that my dad did two tours in Laos (doing more than one tour of Laos was unusual). I could have described the memorable dream I had as a child of an 18th century army coming to invade Summers Drive, because maybe they had that dream as well. I could have given names of what neighbors I could remember from when we lived in that house. Those neighbors probably would have been limited to the elderly couple next door who must have died years earlier.

But I said nothing, recoiling into my fraidy-cat shell and getting back into the rental car. I had called my father from the cell phone to tell him where I was but when I called he was not at home near a telephone. He was excited to hear I had been to the old house but disappointed that he missed me while I was actually there. He was happy to see what pictures I sent him later. I could have waited for him to call back, but I had no way of knowing how long that would take and I had to get back on the road in the interest of travel time.

That house is where The Mish Mosh was born, and where she died. I wrote about her the day before yesterday.