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Day 59: Ms. Charlotte

charlotte-2On August 19th of 2010 I met 93-year-old Charlotte as she sat on a bench with her sister enjoying the parade of sailboats gliding through Annapolis’ gentle harbor. It was Day 248 of my Year of Giving and I was looking for someone to give my daily $10 t0. Sitting next to her sister Jewell, the New Olreans resident had been in the Baltimore-Washington area for less than 8 hours – having just arrived that morning.

Ms. Charlotte is full of life and has an inviting smile that makes anyone feel welcome. It wasn’t long before I was sitting next to her captivated by the stories of her 10 children and the travels she’s made around the world. My favorite story perhaps though was about her late husband. They went on their first date on a Saturday evening during the final years of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. On that date he asked her out for the remaining 51 Saturdays that year. Smart guy.

I visited with Ms. Charlotte in 2011. I was in New Orleans for business and wrote to her to see if she might want to get together. It wasn’t easy to schedule. She had plans to go to a baseball game on Monday night with one of her sons and Wednesdays were reserved for bridge – so we ended up meeting Tuesday evening. I picked her up and took her to a local restaurant that had fresh seafood and all the typical cajun delicacies.

Of all 365 people I met during my Year of Giving, Ms. Charlotte was one of my favorites and I wanted to send her a note today to wish her happiness on her 98th birthday.


Dear Ms. Charlotte,

Happy 98th birthday! I met you in the summer of 2010 when you were visiting your sister Jewell in Annapolis. I was unemployed and had made a commitment to give $10 to someone every day for a year. I met you and gave you my $10 on Day 248. I remember the day very well – you were wearing an elegant white outfit accented with a floral scarf.

I later enjoyed visiting with you when I was in New Orleans in 2011 and taking you to dinner. Your passion for life is contagious and I cherish the fact that our lives crossed paths.

charlotteI hope that your health is well and that you are still getting together with your bridge group on Wednesdays.

Have a wonderful birthday.

Warm wishes from Washington, DC.
Reed Sandridge


Day 42: The White House

Before you get all excited that I am firing off letters to President Obama – which I plan to do at some point – I should let you know that the house I lived in during college was infamously known as The White House. We threw parties there every week to help pay for college. Did we make money? Well, as an adult now I realize we probably should have been declaring income.

These are my friends Thom and Tressa - they didn't live there but they did meet in that kitchen and are married today. Those are some of the dishes that were there (literally sitting in the exact same spot unwashed) when we lived there in the 90s.

These are my friends Thom and Tressa – they didn’t live there but they did meet in that kitchen and are married today. Those are some of the dishes that were there (literally sitting in the exact same spot unwashed) when we lived there in the 90s.

Anyway, I got together with some of my roommates and friends from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in October and hung out in our old stomping grounds. The highlight was a visit to The White House. We were surprised by two things. First, the guys who live there now were there and let us in and second, the house looked (and smelled) exactly the same. In fact I’m quite sure the landlord has done nothing to that house, except raise the rent, in twenty years.

This post is dedicated to Brian, Emo, Doug, Dan and Dave.

day 42-2

Hey guys,

I’ve been meaning to drop you a note to say thanks for showing us around our old house when my roommates and I stopped by in October. We called it the White House back then. Anyway, it was cool to see it. It seriously hasn’t changed a bit especially the kitchen and bathroom. You guys were cool – we said to each other after we left that you reminded us a lot of ourselves 20 years ago.

Good luck to you,
Reed Sandridge (’97)

Day 17: Chaz, The Pug

I met up with some friends from my hometown last night and we ended up at a bar on H Street that I had never been to. The Pug is a bar. Plain and simple. In fact their website describes the place as, “No idiots. No bombs. No shooters. No specials. No politics. Relax. Drink. Be cool. Behave.”

Me with Chaz from The Pug

Me with Chaz from The Pug

What they don’t tell you is that you might have to wear this ridiculous hat. Yep, that’s me on the left sporting the obnoxious Cat In The Hat style hat. This photo doesn’t due it justice as the long top of the hat has fallen over and isn’t really visible.

The guy next to me is Chaz, a bartender there. My cell phone was dying (this happens all the time since I have an ancient Samsung S2) and I asked Chaz, who was standing steadily behind the bar, if he might be able to charge my phone. “Absolutely,” he said with a grin that should have warned me, “but there is a condition.” He explained that I had to wear that hat the entire time the phone was charging. “If I see you not wearing the hat, I unplug the phone. Got it?” I laughed and agreed.

The weird part was that despite being packed, not a single person in the bar asked me why I was wearing the pitiful head piece. I didn’t even really catch anyone staring at me.

So if you’re on H Street in DC and want a no frills, good time bar that doesn’t try to be anything that it isn’t, you’ve found your home at 1234 H Street. Cheers!






I found this in my pocket the next morning. It’s a Trivial Pursuit card from The Pug. I included it in my note to Chaz.


Great to meet you last night at The Pug – I appreciate you charging my cell phone and was honored to wear that ridiculous hat – very clever of you guys! I’ll definitely be back the next time I’m out on H Street.

Reed Sandridge