Sunday, December 25, 2022

Still Life with Robin: It's the Cleveland Park Listies Show! And the Nominees Are:... (Parts 6, 7, & 8)

by Peggy Robin

Part 6: The First Ever CP Listy Lifetime Achievement Award!
In this brand new category we'll be giving a special Listy, not for any particular outstanding post, but for the poster of many messages over the long course of the Listserv's history, recognizing a body of work that has enlightened, amused, or touched the Listserv audience in a variety of ways. We have three eminently worthy nominees, and if you've been reading the CP Listserv for any period of time, their names will be familiar to you:
1. Nancy MacWood. You know Nancy as a long-serving ANC Commissioner, retiring at the end of this year. In her capacity as Chair of ANC 3C or as single-member-district commissioner of ANC 3C-09, Nancy has always kept the CP Listserv community well-informed on everything within the ANC's purview -- meetings, notices of city projects, notifications about problems with city projects, heads-ups about looming issues, constituent service help -- there are literally thousands of messages posted on the Listserv in her official capacity as Chair or as SMD commissioners, and every one of them a model of clear writing, polite presentation, and civic responsibility. I will cite just one example, her November 3 message #194147  "To get help for someone in crisis" in which she organizes and presents new information from Lt. Bredet Williams of MPD 2D anout different city resources to call in different types of emergencies. You might just want to print out this message and tack it on a bulletin board. You can read Nancy's "Stepping down" message, posted on August 5, Message  #190837  - and you may feel some of the relief that I felt when I read the line, "I am committed to staying involved and using whatever expertise and knowledge I have acquired to benefit the community." It's too late for, "Nancy, don't go!" so we'll say, instead, please keep us posted on whatever you are doing next -- we know it will be good!
2; Shelley Borysiewicz. She's the children's librarian at Tenley-Friendship Library, the one who sends in all those notices of amazing, inventive, wacky, wonderful children's book programs at that branch and sometimes for activities for kids throughout the library system. While I know she doesn't create all these programs, she does such a fabulous job of communicating the excitement and allure of the programs all year round that it's only right to recognize her with a nomination. As an example of one of her posts, I'm quoting from her notice that the results of DCPS's "Evil Laugh" contest are in and available for viewing: "Thank you to everyone who submitted their laugh to DC Public Library's Second Annual Evil Laugh Contest. This fall, we asked you to share your most spine-tingling laugh and you didn't disappoint! From wee witches to confused cats to villainous vampires we are definitely shaking in our boots. Watch the round-up of evil laughs below and a special congratulations to all of our category winners! " (Sept 24 Message  #192519  )
3. Eleanor Oliver. A listserv member almost from Day One, Eleanor is the one who has so often taken us on walks down Memory Lane, filled with nostalgia for shops that used to be here or there, the colorful characters who used to work or live here, and a great deal of detail about how things were done back in the day -- and not just in Cleveland Park but in the Midwest and in Germany, and in a number of other places she's lived or visited in her four-score-and-more years of life. I'm going to give you a fairly long section of an even longer post (Message  #138386  , Aug 22, 2018), as it's one that I think gives you the fullest flavor (like Proust's madeleine) of her writing. 
"There were dry cleaners all over the place and one dry cleaner/furrier approximately where the CP Day Spa now is, called La Parisienne. We were in Chicago for 5 years when we came back and I brought my dry cleaning back to La Parisienne the proprietor, I think his name was Chris, said, “Mrs. Oliver where have you been?!” Now that is neighborhood! 
"Let’s not forget the toy store, Young Playways, with Mr. G. who would not sell guns or Barbie Dolls, and the Uniform store next door that had the same weary mannikins in the window wearing waitress outfits right out of diners on Rt. 66. There was a barber shop where Dolan now is located - he was a French guy with a name like Gabriel or Ambrose, I believe. But I always got my hair cut at the other barbershop called Tropea’s that was still in business a few years ago, where a wonderful barber named Dino also cut ladies and children’s hair—really well. The Tropeas were instrumental in getting the service lane added to the bock.
"There was a coin dealer in the space where the optometrist next to the Uptown now is. He would probably still be there but he had the misfortune of fencing stolen goods including things that had been stolen from CP homes only hours before. The victims of the burglaries found their stuff right down the street and the coin dealer was led away in handcuffs.
"There was a drug store on the corner where the Urgent Care Clinic now is and there was another drug store across the street where Palena was later located. A third drug store, a Peoples, later became the CVS. A great little restaurant with an international European menu called the Polonaise that served roast suckling pig on New Year’s Eve has been replaced by several other good watering holes and is now Nanny O’Brien’s.    
"The Roma was there forever and then it wasn’t. The Abbos lived on Newark Street. Mr. Abbo was struck and killed by a car on his way to the restaurant one morning. Mrs. Abbo kept up the tradition without skipping a beat. I don’t think anyone went into the Roma without receiving personal greeting from Mrs. Abbo. Her son, Bobby grew up in CP and later opened Poor Roberts where the bartender had been the sales lady at the Capezio ballet and theater supply shop next door before it  closed. They carried the copen-blue leotards that generations of little pre-ballet students had to wear at the Washington Ballet. She was also clever enough to produce the occasional Michael Jackson jeweled glove. I’m going to stop now, who wants to read through all this? Hardly anyone."
Eleanor, when you asked the question, "Who wants to read through all this?" and then answered it with "Hardly anyone," I need to let you know, albeit five years late, how wrong you were! When I called for nominations for the Listies, you were named again and again. People LOVE your Cleveland Park memories. And so by popular demand, you are nominated for the 2022 Cleveland Park Listserv's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Congratulations to all the nominees!

by Peggy Robin
Part 7 : Photo of the Year - NEW this year - we're now considering video along with still photos in this category!
So many great photos are cited in messages nominated in other categories, including Best Animal Story and Best Query. Be sure to click on the message link, whenever a photo is mentioned, and you'll see some of the pix that could have been contenders in this category, too! To avoid double-dipping, we limited the nominations to these five:
1. Eerie, knobby, green spheres on spikes. On Halloween Bill posted a photo of the spiked fence around Maret School, each spike topped by what looks a bit like a shrunken green head. Posters quickly supplied names for these odd-looking fruits: "monkey brains," "osage oranges," bois d'arc apples," "bodark apples," and "hedge apples," They're scary, no matter what they're called. See photo in Message #194001  
2. The National Cathedral in gingerbread. The photo of this amazing, edible edifice was taken by Karen Bowen, a news photographer in South Jordan, UT, and then the photo was tweeted and retweeted, till it ended up in my twitter feed, and I decided it had to go out on the CP Listserv (it's in Message #195501  , Dec 3), so that residents of the neighborhood where the actual National Cathedral is located, could see it and admire it. The gingerbread construction was a high school project of three South Jordan seniors, Ethan Williams, Namoa Tuikolongahau and James Southworth. When you see what these teens have been able to build out of baked cookie material, just imagine what they one day might be able to build from stone, steel, concrete, glass, or any other permanent materials!
3. The National Cathedral decorated with light. Here's the real Cathedral, bathed in reds and blues, the image captured by local photographer Jen Packard and tweeted @jpackardphoto on June 21, copied to the Listserv on June 22, in Message  #189331  . No need to say anything more - just let the image speak directly to you:
4. Rainbows on Rainbows on Rainbows. Here's another image that came to the CP Listserv (see Message  #183102  ) via Twitter. The photographer titled it "Rainbows on Rainbows on Rainbows" but I've titled it "Brandon's Rainbow" because it was taken and tweeted by @BrandonDuh - and you can see a larger and brighter version in his Twitter account - That image (posted on Twitter Jan 9 and on the CP Listserv Jan 10) seemed to herald a bright start to 2022.....
5. From DCPL's "Evil Laugh" video -- Click on the Youtube link in Message  #193890  . If you want to fast forward to our own little evil laughers from Tenleytown and Cleveland Park, go to minute 00:46 and 4:50, respectively. If you haven't watched the whole thing, you should! If we had four other nominees for video of the year, this would blow away the competition to take the Listy for Best Video. We are just sorry we don't have the names of the talented individuals at the DC Public Library to credit as the creative artists behind this nomination.

We've arrived at the category that is the Listserv equivalent of Best Picture at the Oscars: It's the POST OF THE YEAR! 
Here are five outstanding posts, each memorable and worthy in its own way. But only one will be chosen as the winner in the grand finale to the 2022 Cleveland Park Listies -- and you'll have to come back next week to the Still Life with Robin column to find out which one took the top prize!
The nominees are:
1. The 100th anniversary of the Knickerbocker Theater disaster of 1922. On Jan 27 Josh posted a notice about the commemoration of this terrible, tragic event: 28 inches of snow caused the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater to collapse, with the loss of 98 lives. (Message #183842  ) Seven posters sent in follow-up posts with stories of friends and family members who were touched in some way by the disaster, either luckily missing the event or losing a loved one. A night to remember.....
2. Thanksgiving wish. Brian's holiday message (# #195117 ) was brief but it was the soul of kindness, sending his good wishes to all in the CP Listserv community. Here it is, in its entirety: "To the old ones and the young ones, the bikers, walkers, and drivers, the smart growthers the responsible growthers, the preservationists, the old guard and the newcomers, the developers and the anti-developers… To all the different folks in Cleveland Park and Woodley Park….. Wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We are all fortunate beyond measure to live in this vibrant, wonderful neighborhood." Hear, hear!

3. A Life Saved on Klingle Bridge. Warren gave an eyewitness account of an incident in which an older woman was seemingly intent on taking her own life by jumping from the Klingle Bridge. A young couple stepped in to attempt to to talk her down, while others called 911. The poster stayed back and observed, having correctly gauged that it would not be helpful to have more people attempt to intervene. The police arrived and managed to get the troubled person into an ambulance -- and we are left hopeful that she will receive the mental health care she needs. The story is calmly but movingly told by Warren in message #187415 on May 4. 

4.  Meet Christian Warrior of Cleveland Park. There are some people you see all the time in the neighborhood but you never really SEE them. This message introduced you to one of those people, Christian Warrior (as he's renamed himself), a formerly unhoused person, who now has an apartment nearby and serves the community by regularly sweeping up litter along commercial strip of Connecticut Ave. In this warm and beautifully written profile by Cassandra, of Cleveland Park Main Street, we learn about Christian Warrior's love of rap, soft rock, and dancing. Cassandra's post (Message #195456  on Dec 2) touched many Listserv members, some of whom wrote in to the Listserv to thank her -- and thank her subject -- for letting them get to know this neighbor.

5. French president Macron knights long-term Cleveland Park resident. Leila was the one to post about this extraordinary event. While in DC to meet with President Biden and attend a grand White House dinner in his honor, French president Emmanuel Macron gave out Knighthoods - Chevaliers of the Legion of Honor - and medals to five American nonagenarians who fought in France during World War II. One of them was George Idelson, who until quite recently, lived on Newark Street -- and is well known in the community for his leadership of the CPCA and his activism in a wide variety of local causes. Whether or not Leila wins a CP Listy for her report of this high honor, we add our own congratulations to George Idelson, and we say, "Merci de votre service à la France, à la democratie, et à Cleveland Park!"
Next week - Saturday, December 31, The Cleveland Park Listies Awards Show concludes with the opening of the envelopes to reveal the winners in all categories. 

See you then!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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