The All-American Waldo Shirt

Can you find me in the courtyard of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum?

I dressed like Waldo for Independence Day this year.

I had it all going for me: the red-and-white striped shirt; the jeans; the dark glasses; the grin on my face.
Trust me: I didn’t intend on looking like a lost storybook character when I stood in front of my closet. All of us were wearing something red, white, and/or blue. But as I flipped through all my shirts, sweaters, blazers, dresses, and scarves, I realized I do not own a single patriotic garment.

Except for the striped shirt.

I worried I looked like a pirate. It was my kids who pointed out otherwise. I considered changing before we left, but then decided there will be no other day, except Halloween, when I can get away with wearing my Waldo shirt in public.

So we headed downtown.



We spent most of the day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

We checked out the current arcade exhibit, which was so surreal. There are booths where you can actually play some of the games on a giant screen, to include Super Mario Brothers.  And then they have the actual game consoles inside display cases.

This included an Atari console and a Nintendo system. So many memories. I remember my Dad staying up late playing Space Invaders, and fighting with my sisters over who got to play Mario Brothers, and being so bored when it was the second player’s turn.

And those songs! And the sound effects!

I told Miss C that it was pretty much my childhood in a box.
“You mean, your childhood stuff is in a MUSEUM?” she asked without a trace of irony.

After the museum, we walked a few blocks down to the Mall. It was still a few hours before the fireworks, so the crowds were pretty sparse along the paths. We found a nice place in the shade in front of the Smithsonian castle, and threw down our blanket.

Lola, Jaz, and I dozed off while Miss C and Martin played Frisbee. We watched people and helicopters, and the police officers on horses.

The Capitol building was to our left and the Monument was to our right. And just as we were packing up our blanket to leave, a friendly man approached us to give us a sticker advertising a political activist group.

“Well, look here! I found an all-American family, all dressed up for the holiday!” he exclaimed as he handed the kids a sticker.He smiled and handed me a sticker. “And I really like your shirt, Mom!”