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Rose Park Dedicates Tennis Courts to Peters Sisters

October 14, 2015

Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans' proposal to the DC Council to symbolically designate the Rose Park tennis courts at 2600 O Street as the Margaret Peters and Roumania Peters Walker Tennis Courts was approved this summer and a formal dedication ceremony will take place on October 24, 2015.

Sisters Margaret and Matilda Roumania Peters (1915 – 3 Nov. 2004 and 1917 – 16 May 2003), nicknamed "Pete" and "Repeat," gained local distinction playing tennis on the clay courts at the Rose Park playground near their R Street home in Georgetown.

Trailblazers for black women in professional tennis, they played in an era when blacks were segregated from whites in both national and international competitions. In 1936 both sisters were invited to play in the ATA national championships in Wilberforce University in Ohio. The ATA had been founded in 1916 by a group of African American businessmen, college professors, and physicians who wanted to promote the game of tennis and provide a forum for competition at the national level. The ATA provided the finest competition for blacks in the United States at the time.

In 1937 the Peters sisters entered Tuskegee together where they would become the best African American tennis players in the nation at the time. They won fourteen doubles titles between 1938 and 1941 and between 1944 and 1953. Roumania also won ATA national singles titles in 1944 and 1946. In her second title she defeated Althea Gibson, who won ten ATA national singles titles before playing a pioneering role in integrating tennis in the United States and around the world.

After graduating from Tuskegee in 1941 with degrees in physical education the Peters sisters continued to play amateur tennis in regional and national ATA tournaments. They played matches in front of British royalty and celebrities including actor Gene Kelly who practiced with both Roumania and Margaret while in DC.

Margaret, who never married, briefly moved to New York after graduation and earned a master's degree in physical education from New York University. She later returned to Washington, D.C., to work as a special education teacher. She earned a second master's degree in special education from Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland. She died in November 2004.

Like her sister, Roumania also earned a master's degree in physical education from New York University after graduating from Tuskegee. In 1957 she married James Walker, a math professor from Tuskegee who came to the college after seeing a picture of Roumania in a newspaper. They had a daughter named Frances Della and a son named James George together. Roumania worked as a teacher at Howard University in the 1950s and in the D.C. public school system from 1964 until 1981. Roumania taught tennis to underprivileged children through the department of recreation. In 1977 both sisters were inducted into the Tuskegee Hall of Fame. Roumania died in 2003 from pneumonia.

Margaret and Roumania only recently began to receive national acclaim for their accomplishments on the tennis court. But the league that previously banned them from competing, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), only began to recognize the Peters sisters in 2003. The USTA presented Margaret and Roumania with an “achievement award” prior to a Federation Cup match and in 2003 the USTA inducted both sisters into the Mid-Atlantic Section Hall of Fame.

Thanks to the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research for background on the Peters sisters.

 


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Titi & Lashing: A Joy Forever

September 28, 2015

Titi at night (Photo by: Titi) Titi at night

Thanks to a pair of custom-designed Swarovski-studded jeans and the right audience, Titi's lash career was born. Yes, I said lash career. More on that in a minute.

It was ten years ago, and this DC native had never even heard the term stylist when she helped a friend volunteer at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Soon she was recruited for other shows because of those fabulous jeans, natural style and personal touch. From there, it was on to Europe where she freelanced for magazines and music companies. While the money was good, and the styling for stars seemingly glamourous, Titi found herself, "looking for that spark. It was all feeling like laborious work." The creative part, helping clients look great on camera and off she loved but most of the time she was collecting clothes and meeting deadlines.

(Photo by: Titi)

Growing up, her single and very stylish mom wanted her to stay culturally grounded and respect her Nigerian heritage, but also encouraged her to follow her passion for fashion. She came back home and started working at a spa. "I learned that, in addition to fashion, I also love beauty, skin care, all those things that keep you looking and feeling your best."

It was there that Titi discovered lashing, one of the new services the spa offered. It was 2007 and Titi needed her own lash extensions for a big event but her lash lady wasn't available. "I was literally cutting the lashes I bought in the drugstore and applying them individually on myself." Rave reviews and questions about who had done her lashes prompted friends to encourage her to get certified. "But who goes to school for lashes?" Titi asked. And then she surprised herself by getting trained and certified in five different lash enhancement techniques, and she's still at it, performing her magic on lashes and brows.

Titi outside of Georgetown Salon & Spa (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Titi outside of Georgetown Salon & Spa

While I was getting a Meta-Therapy facial at Georgetown Salon & Spa, Linda Hardiman, my wonderful aesthetician was explaining that Titi lashes even fooled her eye doctor. She asked him if she should remove her lashes. "Remove your lashes for surgery? What lashes?" He was incredulous that they weren't her own. I looked up at Linda's eyes. I'd been going to her for months and I too hadn't noticed. Before this conversation, my eyelashes were not even on that ever growing list of body parts that needed help.

After looking at dozens of photos of eyes and answering a battery of questions about my styling and shape preferences, Titi (who works across the hall from Linda) was ready to work. If ever there was a profession where perfectionism is paramount, this is it. She designs her lashes to be ultra lightweight and super soft (hollow and silk) so you barely feel them, unlike traditional lash extensions that can be too heavy and stiff. Light and comfortable, they can last from three to seven weeks depending on the life cycle of your own natural lashes. She attaches each strand to one of your own lashes with precision, and the look is seamless. Needless to say, I was dazzled. 

(Photo by: Titi)

No more wear and tear on my eyes by applying mascara, which I had been doing sometimes twice a day. Recently I was at the Armani cosmetics counter (after three weeks) when the sales person complimented me, asking which mascara I used. Thank you, Titi!

Indeed, she's absolutely fabulous but, after doing lashes exclusively for five years now, I wondered whether she'd ever grow tired of it. "I love the process, which allows me to be creative, I love the detail and I love the way I feel afterwards. Instant gratification knowing my clients are so pleased." So that's an emphatic 'no.' Ok then, where  would you like to be in ten years. Confidently, Titi replied, "I'll be a mogul with my own lash line." Well, the line is coming a lot sooner that. Stay tuned.

True to a Nigerian custom of naming a baby after the death of another, Titi's older sister died as an infant. How fitting that in the West African language Yoruba, her full first name, Titilayo means 'Joy is Forever.'


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Tom Anderson and Marc Schappell Host Trees for Georgetown Fall Fling

September 27, 2015

Betsy Emes and Jack Evans (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Betsy Emes and Jack Evans

Tom Anderson and Marc Schappell of Washington Fine Properties graciously hosted a lavish Fall Fling cocktail party at their historic Georgetown home Thursday evening in honor of Trees for Georgetown.

Betsy Emes, Lindsay Schappell, Susan Beimler, Bob Laycock, Jackie Pletcher (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Betsy Emes, Lindsay Schappell, Susan Beimler, Bob Laycock, Jackie Pletcher

Celebrating its 26th year, a committee of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, Trees for Georgetown is an all-volunteer group that has, since 1989, planted over 2,500 trees, contracted watering services and provided preventive maintenance for at-risk trees.

Trees for Georgetown partners with the D.C. Urban Forestry Administration and Casey Trees in an innovative program to plant residential street trees. Each tree costs about $1,000 to purchase and plant, funded entirely through gifts and grants.

Constance Chatfield-Taylor and Ray Kikulski (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Constance Chatfield-Taylor and Ray Kikulski

Host Committee Chair Betsy Emes gushed, "Trees for Georgetown owes so many thanks to the generosity of Marc and Tom for a beautiful, FUN party in a unique venue! And thanks goes also to the community for their ongoing support." 

Friends and neighbors gathered at 3142 P Street, a home built between 1790 and 1800, and known as the Bodisco House in 1927. 

According to documents in the Peabody Room of the Georgetown Public Library, Russian Ambassador Alexander de Bodisco married Harriet Williams, who was given away by Henry Clay there. "The marriage lifted the girl from obscurity to the highest round of the social ladder and the vast wealth of her husband adorned her with flashing jewels that became known the world over." The article continues, "the most superb fête ever given in the District, according to some historians, was given in this house in honor of the birthday of the Emperor Nicholas, when 800 guests were invited."

Newly engaged Jennifer Altemus and David Romm (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Newly engaged Jennifer Altemus and David Romm

Before the Civil War, 3142 P Street was the home of the Rev. Mr. Simpson, and later it became the residence of William H. Tenney, who owned a mill in Georgetown.

Stunningly redecorated by Susan Beimler Interior Design, the home is a testament to Anderson and Schappell's style and commitment to preserving as much as possible of the rich history of this iconic Georgetown residence.

Fall Fling co-chairs Constance Chatfield-Taylor and Jackie Pletcher joined Host Committee Chair Betsy Emes in greeting guests and sharing recent tree news.

On a perfect Indian Summer eve, friends enjoyed champagne and passed hors d-oeuvres in the lovely garden.

For more information on Trees for Georgetown, email treesforgeorgetown@gmail.com or call 202.337.6767.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Jane and Tim Matz in the breakfast nook (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jane and Tim Matz in the breakfast nook

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Susan Beimler in the kitchen with cheeses from Marc & Tom's Meadowwood Farms (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Susan Beimler in the kitchen with cheeses from Marc & Tom's Meadowwood Farms

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Georgetown Garden Club member Jane Matz (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Georgetown Garden Club member Jane Matz

 


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