1518 Pennsynvania Ave, SE

“Daddy’s used car lot was at 1518 Pennsyvania Avenue. Wow.!That address just came to me!” my 86-year old mother told me with a surprise in her voice. We were driving in DC where her granddaughter now lives on Capitol Hill. I knew the stories of my mom’s childhood in DC. But they all took place in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. The Streetcar down 16th Street. Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School. The Tivoli. This was the first time I heard about her dad’s job.

Her father, my grandfather, was born in 1889. And he spent his life selling cars. Really? When he was born, this kind of transportation hadn’t even materialized yet. As I did a little research, I learned the Model-T came about in 1908, as my grandfather was turning 19. Typing this now, I can imagine a boy on the cusp of adulthood being curious about this new machine. Spending time learinng about them. And making a living selling them.

In the 21st century in my state of Virginia, education is now focused on the 5-Cs: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, and citizenship. The idea is that we can’t even image the jobs in the future our students may have. So let’s focus on the skills they will need no matter the job. Looking back, it was the same for my grandfather, attending grade-school at the turn of the 19th century as he embraced a new mode of transparotation and made a living out of it!

7 thoughts on “1518 Pennsynvania Ave, SE

  1. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski says:

    So cool that your mom remembered that address! I agree- your grandfather must have been creative and embraced all the other C’s to sell cars when they were so new to the world!


  2. margaretsmn says:

    We keep repackaging the same basic principles of education but it all leads to the importance of being curious and creative, don’t you think? Imaging your grandfather’s life inspires me to better know my own.


  3. jumpofffindwings says:

    Terrific anecdote to lead to a powerful truth: a different (better, fingers crossed) world is always in a future teachers can imagine—and help their students imagine, too! Love this.


  4. Denise Krebs says:

    Sally, what a wonderful post and connection you made to your grandfather and his having a job in the shadow of the White House that had not been invented for previous generations. It is a great example of someone learning the five C’s!


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