Dorothy van den Honert: In defense of a city trashed by Trump


PITTSFIELD — I don't often get in a snit about some lie President Donald Trump told because it happens so often I can't keep track, and, to tell the truth, I don't care. But he recently said disgusting things about Baltimore, a city I so love and admire that I can't let it pass.

I grew up in Baltimore and lived there until I went to Vassar, where I majored in math and minored in physics, partly because I liked them and partly because it was during the second world war and we gals could enjoy both without looking funny. I went on living in Baltimore untiI after the war when I met my Dutch husband, who was one of the European students who had never had a chance to finish their last year of engineering . Johns Hopkins engineering school in Baltimore offered the top ones a chance to finish their senior year and get their degrees for free!

But it gets better for me. The minister of the church in Baltimore I belonged to happened to know his Dutch family and offered to have the young man stay as a member of their family for his senior year!

So this lucky Hollander stayed in a city that housed Johns Hopkins Engineering School, the academic equivalent of Delft Engineering school in Europe. The Peabody Music Conservatory was seven blocks from our house, the world famous Walters Art Gallery right down the street, and Johns Hopkins Hospital a quarter of a mile from our front door. We had a pretty little garden in the back yard and there were trolley tracks all over town to enable transportation before cars reappeared. My sister and went to Western High School, a fabulous girl's public school, a few of whose students I still keep up with, and which had some of the best teachers I have ever had.

Baltimore is warm and rarely has enough snow to bother to plow. But one memorable day while I was living there, it snowed and snowed until there must have been six or seven inches on the ground! The city was in a state of shock and it took a while for the central roads to be all plowed. We lived in the middle of the city with a good six inches on the ground when a smart young man who was a student in a military academy took out his military-looking uniform, put it on and stood in the middle of the intersection of a couple of quiet roads, and when an occasional car arrived, directed traffic! The residents were tickled to death to be able to get in and out, and the local cops had enough sense to thank the lads for helping!

It was a long time ago and the world has changed a lot, but Baltimore hasn't changed that much. So when I read that Trump had described the town as "A rat infested mess where no human being would want to live," I sigh and conclude that it is his mind that is the "rat infested mess where nobody would want to live."

Dorothy van den Honert is an occasional Eagle contributor. 



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