Written in 2012:
Again, the only reason to go to Maryland is to have crab cakes on the Chesapeake, see an Orioles game at Camden Yards, or visit the great Naval Academy in Annapolis. To think I almost went to graduate school in old downtown Baltimore at Johns Hopkins! It was the seventh state to ratify the Constitution. Though it is a small state, it is the fifth most densely populated and the nineteenth most populous. Several government agencies are located here. Baltimore is the most populated city, and Annapolis is the capital.
Maryland has an area of 12,407 square miles, or roughly the size of Belgium, without its great chocolates. Washington, DC sits on land that once belonged to Maryland. Chesapeake Bay nearly intersects the state down the middle. It is one of the few states with no natural lakes! As a border state during the American Civil War, it assumed characteristics of both the Union and the Confederacy. The population today is almost 6 million. Germans are the largest reported ancestry, though African Americans make up almost 30% of the state.
By far the most interesting place in Maryland is Annapolis, the capital, home of the US Naval Academy, and an otherwise quaint little town by most standards. With Maryland being a large producer of seafood, it is only natural that blue crab (crab cakes), striped bass, and oysters
make up large catches. Maryland has also become a state known for biotechnology, with Johns Hopkins University, many government agencies, Celera, Human Genome Sciences, and the Craig Venter Institute.
The US Naval Academy was founded back in 1845 and is the second oldest among the five service academies. It is a four-year coed federal service academy. The entire campus is a National Historic Landmark. Candidates to enroll must apply and be nominated by their Congressman. My second cousin went to the Naval Academy since he was a skilled lacrosse player. Thirteen hundred enter each year as freshmen or “Plebes”, and only about 1000 graduate. Graduates are commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy.
Rotunda at Memorial Hall, Annapolis
Students here are addressed a Midshipmen, which is an official military rank and pay grade. It took until 1949 for the Academy to graduate am African American, Wesley A. Brown. Joe Bellino from the Class of 1961 won the Heisman Trophy for outstanding collegiate football player. The Class of 1980 contained the first woman graduate, Elizabeth Ann Belzer of the Academy. By 1984, the top graduate was a woman, Kristine Holderied. Wendy Lawrence, Class of 1981, was the first woman USNA graduate to fly in space.
The list of alumni is equally impressive as any college or university in the world. These include: two Nobel laureates, former President Jimmy Carter (class of 1947), and Albert Michelson, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1907. Also Stansfield Turner (also a Rhodes scholar), astronauts Alan Shepard, Walter Schirra, Jim Lovell, former NBA star and MVP David Robinson, pro football star and Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach, the squirrelly Ross Perot, CNO Admiral Chester Nimitz, William “Bull” Halsey, Arctic explorer Richard Byrd, Hyman Rickover, Oliver North, Montel Williams, and author William Lederer (The Ugly American).
So, it must be crab cake time somewhere on the Chesapeake. Cheers!
Fast forward to 2022:
You know why I am here? To see my buddy, Dirty Pat, aka Big Sh*tty, and his wife Renee’ in Annapolis. My last visit was about 3 years ago, when I went to the Niners Ravens game with Dirty Pat, LA Ray, and Mark the Shark (CPA). Maybe I will get to see Little Sh*tty this time?
Anyway, it is always best to have a local guide me around a rather unexplored territory. In fact, I really do not know much about the east coast, other than what I read in history books or the internet. I was a subscriber to the Washington Post for many years.
Do you know the state motto? “Fatti maschii, Parol femine” means “manly deeds, womanly words” or so they say.
Grab your popcorn for the most controversial motto on the list. The state of Maryland says the motto translates as “Strong deeds, gentle words.” It’s a reasonable creed, not unlike President Theodore Roosevelt speaking softly and carrying a big stick with foreign policy. But Italian linguists are having none of it, claiming it’s a misguided translation of a sexist Italian proverb.
The Calvert family, including the original Lord Baltimore who founded the colony, used the proverb as a family slogan. Some historians and archivists have his back, claiming this was one of his many subtle jabs as a devout Catholic in Protestant England, and that he and his wife were intellectual equals. While the scholars argue it out, Maryland is left with a tradition that has some not so gentle words.
So much for state mottos! I am sure Dirty Pat can come up with a better state motto.