The Rainbow MinuteThe Rainbow Minute
“Remembering Sweethearts, Walt and Pete, on this Valentine’s Day"
Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle first met in Washington D. C.
on horse-drawn streetcar number 14. It was a stormy winter night in 1865. Whitman, the passenger, was 45, and Doyle, the streetcar conductor, was 21. Doyle later remembered Whitman looking “like an old sea captain.”
From then on they were often seen on streetcars together or at the bar in Georgetown’s Union Hotel. Walt wanted to settle down with Pete, and often made the suggestion, but Pete’s obligations to his widowed mother and younger siblings made that impossible.
Walt and Pete’s favorite thing to do together was to hike along the Potomac River in Maryland, cross the river by ferry and then walk back on the Virginia side. When apart they exchanged affectionate letters, Walt sometimes starting with “My darling,” and ending with “my love to you always.”
“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns, and recorded at WRIR in Richmond, Virginia, and read by volunteers like me, Mike Mackenzie.
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