Bipeds of Brookland

Found 65 blog entries about Bipeds of Brookland.

Bipeds of Brookland: Bethlehem House
Bethlehem House
Left to right- Dominique, Dolores, Tom, Helen, Colleen

Bethlehem House was opened by Dolores Wilson in Brookland in 1986, after she had been a Catholic Sister for 37 years, and had worked at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, near Providence Hospital, teaching children with disabilities.  She first taught in a regular Catholic school but, “I had in my heart a desire to work with children with special needs and lo and behold the Kennedy Family came to build the Kennedy Institute.  In 1959 the Kennedy Institute was blessed and opened. I was there for 25 years.”  She recalls “Eunice (Kennedy) Shriver was our best friend, at the time we couldn’t afford to pay a physical fitness teacher so she came for two years, once

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Bipeds of Brookland: Julee Dickerson-Thompson
Julee Dickerson-Thompson

Julee Dickerson-Thompson was born in Brookland, a middle child of six, just after her parents had bought a house and begun renovating. “Which is why I have no baby pictures. They were knocking down walls around me. They went at it with a vengeance.”  Her father was an architect who also enjoyed playing tennis, which is how he met her mother.  “They met on a tennis court, and I met my husband on a tennis court. . . Tennis is such a family thing.” Her mother was an artist who started a program called ‘Second Time around Boutique.’  “She taught teenage girls to recycle, nobody knew what recycling was then.”  She made beautiful clothes out of tablecloths and upholstery fabric and ties.

Julee has followed in

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Bipeds of Brookland: Christina Scheltema
Christina Scheltema

Christina Scheltema’s grandparents were Dutch immigrants who met at the Dutch School of Landscape Architecture and came to the US in the 1920s. They settled in the Washington area and left her with a love for plants. “I’ve been gardening since I was knee high to a grasshopper.”  She studied Biology at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and now works as a regulatory manager for EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.

Christina has lived in Brookland and walked her two dogs around the neighborhood since 1994. When she moved “My mother asked me if there were any Catholics in the neighborhood and I laughed, and said ‘Mom, I’m surrounded.’”

She always appreciated the friendliness of neighbors. “I remember the

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Bipeds of Brookland: Rick Naylor

Rick Naylor
Rick Naylor  was born and raised in DC to a family that has been here since the 1820’s. When his father worked as a projectionist at the Howard Theater, he used to play poker with Duke Ellington. In 1954, his father bought a house in Brookland. Five years ago, Rick and his wife moved into the house he grew up in. “In every square inch, there’s a memory.” When he was 4 or 5 years old “the National Guard was camped out across the street after Martin Luther King, Jr., got shot.” Rick talks of playing basketball and riding sleighs behind Holy Name College, now Howard Divinity, and remembers his father talking about losing a framed newspaper article from the day Lincoln was shot. During his renovations, Rick found the article

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Bipeds of Brookland: Kelly King
Kelly King

Kelly King came from Texas to study dance at the University of Maryland and “fell in love with  four entire seasons.”  She appreciated exploring contemporary modern dance under Alcine Wiltz, while he was Chair of the Department of Dance, at University of Maryland.  She now is very happy to have a career as a dancer, and choreographer with 24 years teaching what she loves. “I offer dance in theaters, schools, corporations, studios, day centers, homes, and crosswalks.  I am closest to my definition of the divine when I am dancing.”

Kelly currently directs the Kaleidoscope dance ensemble once a week, with employees of the IMF and World bank from all over the world, and is a collaborator with Body Wise Dance where she

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Bipeds of Brookland: Paul Artisst
Bipeds of Brookland: Paul Artisst

Paul Artisst was born in DC and recounts sitting on a bush to watch Franklin Roosevelt’s Inauguration parade, being an official at Mike Tyson’s last fight, and many details from an extraordinary life in between.  Born in DC, he grew up in the segregated city suffering through the Great Depression.  His parents worked hard to support their family, always sharing with their neighbors and stressing the importance of education. He remembers wandering around downtown near the White House and swimming in the reflecting pool by the Lincoln Memorial and in the Tidal Basin. “It was enjoyable to be down there, and across the Tidal Basin, where the Jefferson memorial is now, that wasn’t there then.”

After being drafted and

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Bipeds of Brookland: Sr. Licia Lupinacci
Sr. Licia Lupinacci

Sr. Licia Lupinacci was born the ninth child of a family in a village in southern Italy.  She remembers Germans troops occupying a village nearby and hearing American planes bombing before Allied troops landed.  Two of her older sisters had joined the Little Workers of Sacred Heart and so she spent much time visiting the convent as a child.  At 16, she decided to become a sister, too.


At 20, she came to the US, landing at Ellis Island and speaking no English. She and other nuns traveled to DC to work at the St Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary on Taylor St.


In 1973, the sisters moved to their current house on 15th Street, NE. They furnished it with donations from neighbors. One day a neighbor

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Bipeds of Brookland: Jeremy Vera
Jeremy Vera


Born in Buffalo. Moved back to Puerto Rico. Hopped around California and Arizona as a high-schooler. Took a college internship in South Africa, then a Peace Corps stint in Guatemala. Finally, in August 2008, a permanent job in Washington at the Latin American Youth Center.


Jeremy Vera’s journey to Brookland is the definition of multicultural.


And it continues now, where he and his partner, Brian, host high school foreign exchange students through the Ayusa program.


“When I was sixteen, I met my first foreign exchange student, who became one of my best friends,” Jeremy recalls. “I started seeking out foreign exchange students as friends because I thought they were so interesting. I had

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Bipeds of Brookland: Sandy Hassan
Sandy Hassan
Sandy Hassan was born in Washington DC. “The first school that I could not go to, which was across the street from my house, was Phillis Wheatley, named after a black poet, and black kids couldn’t go there.” Instead she traveled by bus to get to another school at age 5. At the age of 10 she was finally allowed to go to Wheatley, thanks to the Supreme Court decision.

She served as a marshal at the March on Washington in 1963.  Unfortunately, her duties placed her far from the stage, but she did get to usher Malcolm X to the front. She was also member of SNCC  at Howard University‚Äč, and in the 1960s went with integrated groups to Virginia to see if they would be served in restaurants. “We never got served.”

She was a dancer

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Bipeds of Brookland: Daniel Ramos Durand
Daniel Durand

As a young boy in Lima, Daniel Ramos Durand had a habit of disappearing at parties.

“My family would ask, ‘Where’s Danny?’” he recalls. “And I’d be off playing with dogs in the backyard.”

In 1999, Danny came to the United States to work as a chef in the D.C. area. In 2004, he moved into a house on Irving Street where he currently lives with his wife, Elizabeth, their two cats, Luna and Sheba, and their black lab, Kala.

“The restaurant business burned me out,” he recalls. “I was working fifteen- and sixteen-hour days. My wife would only see me at night. So that’s when, in 2007, I began to follow my other passion, which is animals.”

Danny started out as a part-time dog walker for a company in Dupont

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