On January 2, 1936, the Bryant School, once located on Twelfth and B Streets Southeast, released for the day at noon. While her fellow classmates headed home, Juanita McGee, age six, didn’t make it back to her East Capitol Street home that afternoon.
Before your mind goes to a dark place, don’t worry. Juanita did eventually make it home.
Do you ever get the urge to explore? Not at some faraway destination, but the wanderlust to explore your surroundings. Your neighborhood, or the one four streets over. Maybe even through your small town or metropolitan area. Well, Juanita McGee knew that feeling well. In fact, on that Thursday afternoon, it wasn’t the first time she’d given into her wanderlust. Not even her second or third.
From September 1935 to January 1936, Juanita gave into her urge to visit “other places and other people” five times. She chose streetcars as her mode of transportation as the conductors never asked her for fare, though I do wonder if they asked her where she was heading. This was how she managed to get to a downtown theater on one occasion.
Her mother, Bertha McGee, never doubted her daughter for a second. She knew Juanita was smart enough to find her way through the city. Nevertheless, the police assisted with locating her wander-ful child, who had decided to visit the Sixth St. NW house of a friend.
We should all take a cue from Juanita McGee and give in to our wanderlust urges and explore our surroundings. You’ll never know what or who you may find.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I wonder what became of Juanita when she grew up. Did she continue to give into her wanderlust, or did she keep her promise to her mother. I guess somethings we are never meant to find out.