September 30, 2015

1991 Is The Year That Defined My Life In D.C.

By Michael Martinez

Producer Michael Martinez (right) in a Dallas Cowboys jacket and his brother, PJ (left), shortly before his family moved to Jordan in 1988. They return to D.C. in 1991, and it's been home for his family ever since.

Producer Michael Martinez (right) in a Dallas Cowboys jacket and his brother, PJ (left), shortly before his family moved to Jordan in 1988. They return to D.C. in 1991, and it's been home for his family ever since.

The moments that shape our relationships with the places we call home aren’t always the obvious ones.

For nearly my entire life, D.C. has been that place. The newest issue of Washingtonian magazine, which celebrates 50 moments that influenced Washington during the past half century, reconnected me with so much of the local history I’ve lived through in my time here.

After reading a short piece Kojo wrote for the magazine (which is celebrating its 50th anniversary), about a year that’s personally significant to his relationship with D.C., I started thinking about whether I could pick a year for myself.

You’ll have to listen to today’s show or pick up a copy of Washingtonian to learn why Kojo chose 1989. But I’m happy to share why I chose 1991 right here: it’s the year my family moved back to D.C. after spending a few years living in the Middle East. We left Jordan in January that year, days before the start of Operation Desert Storm. I suddenly found myself back at Lafayette Elementary School in the middle of third grade. I had been out town for the final tailspin of the great Marion Barry scandal. 1991 was the year I caught up with the three years of American pop culture I missed while living abroad (See: Hammer, M.C.) and became reacquainted with the city we’d left, which had obviously experienced one hell of a whirlwind while we were gone. I loved everything about getting to know the city again – with the exception of the local pro football team.

My dad, who’s from Laredo, Texas, made sure I was a Dallas Cowboys fan before we left for Jordan – and made sure I rooted for the  Cowboys when we came back. My friends and classmates teased me to no end later that fall when their beloved burgundy and gold played their way to the Super Bowl. I’m proud to say I never caved on the football front, no matter how many times they sang the team song at school assembly.

We asked our Twitter followers to share what years of local D.C. history have a similar significance to them. Here are a few of the responses:

The October issue of Washingtonian is available now. You can hear editor Michael Schaffer discuss the issue with Kojo today at noon.

The Moments That Shaped The Face of Local Washington – The Kojo Nnamdi Show

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