1919 Third Street NW

August 17, 2002.  Move in day. It was a scorcher. All I wanted to do was rush the boxes  up to the third floor and get the sticky east coast in the summer time sweat off my body. STAT. The lobby was full of chaos. Old friends greeted each other, as they had so much to catch up on. Parents stood in anticipation  of the end of the day. Most had planes or trains to catch back home.

Me. I knew no one. This was a brand new experience for me. Each face was unfamiliar yet everyone smiled and accosted as if we were distant cousins at a family reunion. I stuck close to mom. She stuck close to me; almost as if she knew the tremble that I was trying so hard to hide was that obvious.

The building reeked of cleaning solutions, in efforts to mask the smell of a whatever an 80 year old building smelled like. It didn't smell how I expected it to and it wasn't as physically appealing, but the history it carried was evident.

Finally, it was time . We grabbed all of my belongings that we could carry. There was a RA, male of course, with the hugest kool-aid smile who was kind enough  to help us with all we could not carry. Chivalry was very much alive here.

There I stood, Third floor, room 128. My hand jittered in Parkinson's manner as I turned the key. It was not the Ritz Carlton. It wasn't even a room in the Motel 6. "Well". My mom said and smiled with a Kanye shrug to follow. There was bed, a cheat, a desk and a sink. The shower? Across the hall. Uh...

"hey how you doin?" I was greeted by my neighbor CeCe. She was from Chicago.  After talking to her for 10 minutes I knew she was someone I'd never forget. Hoped there were more like her. There were.

We made the bed and settled in. "you wanna stay here tonight?" mom knew I would say no. So when I just sat there looking like "did you just ask me that?", she chuckled.  She was in town for another day. I planned on staying with her as long as I could.

I packed a bag and we headed out. Mentally I prepared for what 1919 Third Street NW had in store for me in the weeks to come. On move in day I wasn't quite ready to say Hello to Lucy Diggs Slowe Hall, so I said "let's try this again tomorrow".