A reader of Metro Scene, a Washington lady of mature years who chooses not to be identified, had her memory tweaked pleasantly by our recalling the days when steamboats out of Baltimore did port calls on the Patuxent River almost as far upstream as Upper Marlboro.

She didn't travel the Patuxent, but recalls a similar trip by steamer from Baltimore, down Chesapeake Bay and then up the Potomac River to Washington. She made the trip in 1919, one year before the side-wheeler pictured above -- the Pennsylvania Railroad-owned Dorchester -- went into service on that route. (After service was abandoned in 1932, the boat was renamed the Robert E. Lee, fondly recalled by many Washingtonians as an excursion craft. She was scrapped in 1953.)

Here we pick up my reader's account of her 1919 journey with three other young women, two of them sisters:

"We took a train to Baltimore . . . and sailed at 5 p.m. . . . We went down the bay stopping at every wharf. We carried all kinds of things as we were told there were few good roads . . . . We picked up farm produce. On our later trip we even carried livestock.

"The food was excellent and, of course, everything was spotless. On the second day the captain found he knew the father of the sisters . . . so we rode in the pilot house and . . . one of us blew the whistle . . . .

"We took this trip on Saturday as we did not work in the afternoon in summer. Our ship landed back here at 7 a.m. on Monday in plenty of time to get to work at 9." The fare for such a trip if taken in 1921, a reference book indicates, was $4.68 for the travel and $2.25 to $4.75 for the stateroom.