© Dorothy S. Smith, May 2009
My mother-in-law typed up this memory on a manual Royal typewriter. She was 5 years old in 1923. When she visited Japan, it was the early 1950s.
Many years ago, when I was about five years old, there was an article in the newspaper about the Japanese cherry trees which Japan had given to the U.S. as a token of friendship. They had been planted around the tidal basin, and now they were in bloom.
Since we lived near Baltimore we were only an hour or so away from them, so my Dad decided to drive over to see them. That was on a Sunday. We made good time, but when we found the tidal basin so had thousands of others. It was one way traffic, and we moved forward one car length at a time. That stop and go back then meant shifting gears each time. By the time we got around and out of the traffic Dad knew something was wrong. Luckily there was a garage, but they could not work on the car then, so Dad left it there. We got to the W B & A (Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis) train and finally got to Baltimore.
That was not the end of it. We got on a trolley car and rode for another hour to get to the suburb of Catonsville, where we lived. I have no memory of eating, maybe a snack when we got home. Poor Dad. The next day he had to reverse the course, pick up the car and drive home.
We never did that again.
I did get to see cherry blossoms after all, much later. My husband's Army career included 2 years in Japan, and while the cherry trees were not all over the countryside, when we went to get on the ship bringing us home to the U.S. there were cherry trees (much larger than I remembered) in bloom. They were beautiful!