Our First Place In Washington, D.C.

When Kish and I first moved to Washington, D.C. in February 1981, we lived on the third floor of a brownstone at 1019 East Capitol Street.

It wasn’t a roomy place.  There was one bedroom and a bathroom, a narrow living room and a tiny kitchen.  But it was in Washington, D.C., and you could walk outside our front door, look down the street, and see the dome of the U.S. Capitol.  It had a neat little eating area where light would stream in through the windows in the morning.

We subscribed to the Washington Post and read the paper before work while we drank our coffee.  We had a car with a valid D.C. permit — no small feat given the byzantine D.C. bureaucracy — but we hardly ever drove.  We walked everywhere or took the Metro.  On pretty weekend days we often strolled down to the National Mall, bought croissants and coffee, and sat on a bench reading our paper as the joggers moved past and the tourists gawked and the shadow of the Washington Monument drifted across the green lawn.

Kish worked in the Senate and I worked in the House.  We walked down the street in the morning and parted ways at the corner next to the Library of Congress.  She turned right to go to her office; I turned left to go to mine.  We worked hard and paid our taxes.  Kish moved on to other jobs  after a while, and I moved on to law school, and then we moved to a larger place in Foggy Bottom.

I will always remember with great fondness our little space on East Capitol Street, however.  We loved it there — and, in retrospect, I think it is where I first started to understand what it meant to be an adult.

The Faithful Mug

Those of us who work in a white-collar office inevitably accumulate office paraphernalia.  We are allocated a cubicle, an office, or some other bland, generic space, and we bring in photos, artwork, and other items to personalize the otherwise depersonalized spaces.  And we end up forming attachments to some of those items — so much so that we cannot imagine what it would be like to be at work without them nearby.

The faithful Lauffer stoneware mug

So it is with my coffee mug.  It is a piece of light grey stoneware, with bold blue and brown horizontal stripes.  The stamp on the bottom says “Lauffer Handcrafted Stoneware Ovenproof Japan.”

I’ve had this same mug for 28 years.  It has faithfully accompanied me as I have studied for law school classes, worked on the Georgetown Law Journal, been a summer associate at two different law firms, clerked for a federal judge, and now worked at the firm for 24 years.  Jane Tucker, our former downstairs neighbor at 1019 East Capitol Street in Washington, D.C., got me the mug as a good-luck-in-law-school present in the summer of 1982.  It is a perfect office coffee cup — sturdy enough to stand some jostling and big enough to eliminate the need for constant coffee runs, with an ample surface area that allows the coffee to cool as I drink another slug.  The glazing makes it easy to clean off most, and I emphasize most, of the accumulated coffee crud each morning.  I appreciate its exquisite weight, and it feels good in my hand as I take the morning slurps.  I can’t imagine working without it.