For the past ten years I have been making an effort to visit all 50 states. As my personal quest nears its completion, I decided to write down recollections of the 46 I’ve seen so far, listed roughly in chronological order of my first visit. This multi-part series began on July 1.
Delaware was usually a pass-through state for me. When my family moved from New York to Virginia, we traveled back and forth several times. Delaware was always a good place to stop for lunch or dinner because, as I recall, it had little or no sales tax. As an adult, my wife and I took a day trip to Rehobeth Beach.
My mother had several relatives in Maryland. I can remember visiting them and listening to one of the cousin’s George Carlin albums with headphones. On the way there and back, we would stop at Maryland House on I-95. I have a vivid memory of attending an autograph-singing session with some of the Baltimore Orioles at Memorial Stadium. My dad was doing public relations for National Bohemian at the time. I can remember staying at the Cross Keys Inn on that trip. Years later I went back to the Cross Keys Inn for a job interview with a morning deejay named Glenn Beck. While I waited for the appointed time for the interview, I browsed in a bookstore and saw filmmaker John Waters browsing too.
Virginia will always feel like home to me. I graduated from George Mason University. I met my wife because we both worked at Wolf Trap, although at different times. Our kids were born in Virginia and we bought our first house there. My radio career was launched at WVBK in Herndon before I got an internship at WAVA in Arlington. Before my parents moved us to Virginia, we would visit relatives in Midlothian, a suburb of Richmond. My parents took us to Colonial Williamsburg, where I saw a slide show about archeology. I recall the professor lamenting that people didn’t write down when an everyday object, like a beverage bottle, changed. Nowadays there are plenty of people who write articles every time a new Coke bottle comes out. I always enjoyed visiting Virginia Beach and plan to get back there after my 50-state quest is complete.
While I was an intern at WAVA, my sister was considering a transfer to an art school in San Francisco. Our father had died the year before and I volunteered to travel to California with her for a campus visit. While we were there, we drove down Lombard Street and across the Golden Gate Bridge. About six years later, I made my first trip to Los Angeles when Don & Mike did a promotion with the Arsenio Hall show. We broadcast from a diner in Beverly Hills and sat in Arsenio’s audience. My wife and kids came along even though Frank Jr. was only a few months old at the time. I had no idea then that less than two years later, I would move to California and stay for ten years. We loved our community in Burbank and especially our parish, St. Finbar. We grew to prefer Disneyland over Walt Disney World. We spent a weekend in San Diego, a weekend in Napa and several weekends near Hearst Castle.
More states tomorrow!