Bipeds of Brookland

Found 54 blog entries about Bipeds of Brookland.

Bipeds of Brookland: Rusty Hassan
Rusty Hassan

Rusty Hassan remembers listening to radio as a kid in Greenwich Connecticut. “Back then, Louis Armstrong would also get on top 40 radio.”  He was in the 7th grade and making a model airplane when he listened to a Benny Goodman Concert recorded at Carnegie Hall. “So, it was the first LP that I bought from Woolworths.”

Rusty listened Jazz all through high school, and “I took my collection, small collection then, to DC when I went to college at Georgetown.” There he discovered the Bohemian caverns where he saw John Coltrane and Miles Davis among other great jazz performers.  As a student he took over a radio show on WGTB and has been broadcasting jazz music on the radio and educating DC about the history of Jazz since

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Bipeds of Brookland : Maurice Saylor

Maurice Saylot

Some composers are satisfied with just trumpets and violins. Not Maurice Saylor. Instead, this Brookland-based composer champions theremins, bass accordions, toy pianos, washtubs – instruments, in his words, “reviled by society at large and ejected by people of good taste and common sense.”

Born in Neptune, New Jersey, Maurice moved with his family to Washington, D.C. at age 6. A music major at The Catholic University of America, he worked at the university’s music library after graduation, eventually holding every position there.

Two years ago, after 35 years in The Catholic University Music Library and coasting toward retirement, Maurice took a plunge. He chose to dedicate himself full-time to music.

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Bipeds of Brookland: Fr. Fred Close
Fr. Fred Close

Fr. Fred Close, the pastor of St Anthony Catholic Church, grew up in Washington, DC and worked 25 years for the Justice Department before he was called to explore the priesthood.

Fr. Fred worked for the Foreign Agents Registration Section, where anyone working for foreign clients doing political fundraising or political advertising had to register with the attorney general. “It was a wonderful education into world politics.” He had an injury which led to an adult conversion “which reoriented my life entirely.”  Fr Fred was ordained a priest in 2001 and appreciates the differences of this career. “You have mercy and forgiveness as the connecting point for all the people who fall short of the demands of the law.  It is

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Bipeds of Brookland: Gwen Foster

Bipeds of Brookland: Gwen Foster

Gwen Foster visited family in DC in 1979 and told her parents she wanted to move here, they replied, ‘You must be crazy!” She was raised in a family of teachers in Charleston, West Virginia. After graduating from West Virginia State University and teaching for ten years, she moved to DC, soon got married and was eventually hired at Francis Scott Key Elementary. She taught fourth grade there until her husband became ill and she retired in 2009. She cared for him for six years until he passed away.

After retirement “I wanted to do something that would help the neighborhood, and be involved.”  She became a volunteer at HSC Pediatric Center.  “I do morning with the group. (SenseAbilities Program) That’s my love,

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Bipeds of Brookland: Robert Malesky
Bipeds of Brookland: Robert Malesy

Robert Malesky has always had an abiding passion for local history. But it was only in 2007, after retiring from a 20-year career as a senior producer for NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, that Robert could devote himself full-time to exploring the storied past of the neighborhood he calls home.

“I wound up having heart surgery a month after I left NPR,” Robert recalls. “Part of the recovery was walking for a good bit every day. I’d go over to Catholic University [where he used to be a student along with his wife, Kee]. I knew a lot of the stories but, as I walked by these buildings every day, I kept wondering more about them. So I’d start stopping by the library after my walks, just to look up a couple things.”

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Bipeds of Brookland: Njambi Wynn

Bipeds of Brookland: Njambi Wynn
Njambi Wynn has taken DC public school students to perform in Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa. “The children loved it. We had a fabulous time. The children stayed with host families.  Living with a family is key. I raised money, I sold t-shirts. I asked everybody I knew, and every day I sold popcorn at lunch. You know you just try to come up with ideas to facilitate the trip.”

Njambi loves dance but “When I went to college there was no such thing as dance as a major, so I had to major in physical education.” While she was a PE teacher, a DC administrator developed a plan to integrate arts into the academic curriculum. “I did the dance movement component and we went into the elementary schools and we would train the

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Bipeds of Brookland: Andrew Knox

Andrew Knox

Andrew Knox has worked hard to eliminate environmental emissions from his home. “The basic idea of Net Zero is, we make as much energy from our solar as we use in a year, but over the course of a day right now we’re probably pushing some of our extra electricity out to the grid. On some cold nights we pull from the grid, but over the course of the year, it nets out.” 

He explains that most Net Zero house are new structures built to be efficient, but Andrew was interested in the challenge of converting an existing house to become Net Zero. The challenge included improving insulation as well as installing solar panels for electricity, a solar water heating system, and a geothermal cooling and heating system. The

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Bipeds of Brookland: Constance Gates
Bipeds of Brookland: Mrs. Gates
Mrs. Gates has an ear for music. “If I can hear it, I can play it.” Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1931, her family moved down the coast to LA before crossing the country to Charlotte, NC, with her father who was a minister in the AME Zion church. “My mother was a nurse.  She could remember when John Wayne walked into Queen of Angels Hospital, and the nuns went crazy.  She had never seen sisters go crazy.”

Mrs. Gates  has lived in Brookland since 1982. “I’m a 1953 graduate of Howard University School of Music.  I was the first black teacher hired to teach music in Bethlehem, PA.” She lived in the steel town for years with her first husband who was a minister. She taught middle school music and remembers the challenge

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Bipeds of Brookland: Alex Mathews
Alex Mathews

 

Alex Mathews was living in Hyattsville in 1978 when he drove through Brookland with an architect friend from NY, who said, “are you looking in this neighborhood? This is a wonderful neighborhood.” He believes “it was that architectural eye that caught their fancy on Brookland.” The house he found needed a lot of work. He fixed it up with the help of his father who was a plumber and was very good with his hands.

He remembers that in Brookland, “you couldn’t walk down the street without someone saying hello to you. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. The old timers wouldn’t only say hello, they’d cross the street and say hello. Everybody’s too busy for that now.”

Alex was one of the original subscribers

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 Bipeds of Brookland: Isaiah.

 Isaiah

Isaiah started playing chess when he was very young. He remembers playing often with a Boy Scout leader at the old coffee shop on 12th Street.  He also played on the chess club while a student at Elsie Whitlow Stokes PCS in Brookland. “Chess was more than a game for me, it had complexity and that’s what drew me to it.”

Isaiah graduated from School Without Walls and just finished his first semester at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), “I’m getting a BS in Mathematics. I was thinking of doing a dual in Math and Physics but the coursework is a lot.”  He has always enjoyed math. “In Kindergarten, I knew how to count by 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s without them telling me how. As I moved up I realized the math in

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