It is hard for me to imagine that it has been nearly 10 years since I met up with my dad (fellow Huffington Post blogger Jim Moret) on that trip to Washington D.C. At the time he was senior correspondent for CNN and was sent to DC to fill in for our friend Wolf Blitzer, and cover the Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David between U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.
While the Peace Summit proved unsuccessful in its attempt to negotiate a "final status settlement" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it gave my dad and I an additional two weeks to spend in the nation's capital, dine in the finest restaurants and visit every major art institution. It was during the summer of 2000, at the age of 14, that my art education officially began.
I pretended not to flinch when boarding the plane for DC. While it my first time traveling alone, I put on a brave face for my mom and wore a guise that boasted, ''Don't worry, I can handle this.'' When I arrived to the Four Seasons in Georgetown later that evening in a rather preppy and coordinated outfit (perhaps deviating from the norm of a typical teenager), I was greeted by the staff who had been expecting me. While my dad instructed them that his daughter would meeting him at the hotel, we developed the growing suspicion they had other thoughts. As my dad and I often travel together, we find it utterly amusing when people think that we are couple -- it's weird, we know. But what was even stranger still was when I was taken to the Palm by former CNN anchor Roger Cossack. Roger was a bit of a local celebrity and when he entered the restaurant with me at his side, everyone assumed I was his girlfriend. Funny thing is Roger was always on the guest list to all of my pool parties as a kid.
While our suite at the Four Seasons screamed nothing less than first class, my fondest memories of that trip will always be meeting my dad at CNN during his lunch break and indulging in lavish steak meals in the middle of the day. Next we would head to the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Washington Memorial and the White House Press Room, plus attended all the exhibitions we had time for. While I had no formal art training, my dad and I engaged in hours of dialogue about architect's I.M. Pei's ingenious manipulation of space, and wondered about Lichstenstein's inspirations and methods for creating his pop art silkscreens.
Since that trip I traveled to Europe twice and toured all of Tuscany marveling at cathedrals, opulent decors drenched in history and tradition, and have confronted some of the world's greatest works in the Uffizi and the Louvre. While it has been a thrill to see works like Chimabue's panel or Valezequez's "Las Meninas" in person after studying them on projectors for so long, I know that my art training didn't start at USC, but during that one unexpected summer I spent with my dad in Washington D.C.
When we returned to Los Angeles, my dad purchased a beautiful Lichtenstein triptych print as a reminder of our trip. When I moved into my first apartment last year, my dad removed the piece from the wall of our home without any hesitation, loaded it my car and hung the piece in my new bedroom.
Our suite at the Four Seasons is but a beautiful memory to us now. We often reminisce about our trip from time, and it always manages to bring a smile to our faces. We also swear that our best meal was a giant sprinkled cone from Haagen Das filled with two heaping scoops, that we inhaled walking around Georgetown on a humid evening.
I wonder if I hadn't gone on that trip if I would have pursued a degree in art history in the first place.
Thank you dad for giving me my first crash course in art history. With Father's Day approaching, I can't think of a more appropriate time to express my gratitude to you for always thinking of Carly, Matt, Mom and I before yourself. I am looking forward to the relaunch of The Last Day of My Life with the help of Incognito Books, and know that your hard work will be met with more success.
I always got annoyed to learn that you could write pieces in a span of 30 minutes, while it often takes me hours laboring over each word. You often remind me that you are Hemingway and I am Proust. While I feel uncomfortable aligning my writing with that of the great French master, you made me realize that it's okay if it takes me forever to compose my thoughts -- eventually they will find themselves on the page.
Thank you for filling my childhood and adulthood with unconditional love, laughter and magic.
Happy Father's Day, Padre.