Families Camp-In For Inauguration


Complete Inaugural Coverage




(CBS/Stephen Smith)
WASHINGTON - On most weekdays, the conference room at the law firm of Baach, Robinson & Lewis serves as the lunch room.

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, it became a bedroom for two families awaiting history.

With Barack Obama's inauguration at hand, the Bostwicks and Smiths camped out in the downtown law office at F and 12th Streets — just two blocks from Pennsylvania Avenue. The two clans planned the sleepover so they could attend Mr. Obama's swearing-in and parade together.

Dwight Bostwick, a lawyer at the firm, and Conrad Smith, a doctor from Pittsburgh, were college roommates at Stanford 30 years ago. Now, the two find themselves bunking together again — only this time they had company: Bostwick's wife Carolyn and their two kids, Ana and Ben, and Smith's wife Janet and their four children Katherine, Harrison, Elizabeth and Isabel.

The families are among many inauguration goers who are improvising their D.C. accommodations to avoid gridlock and be within striking distance of Tuesday's festivities.

"For us, it's really fantastic to be a part of history 40 years after Martin Luther King's speech," said Dwight, whose family lives in Chevy Chase. Md. "We're really able to live his dream by bringing our kids together."

(CBS/Stephen Smith)
Smith's son, Harrison, seemed to enjoy the camping atmosphere, tossing a football with his dad and rough-housing with his sisters.

"It's weird but I think it's kind of fun. It's not everyday that you get to sleep in an office," he said. "It's a really historic event... and it's going to be nice to say I was there."

Dwight's wife Carolyn admitted she was worried about the heat shutting off in the office overnight. But the legal confines proved toasty warm. ("It's really hot," said daughter Ana.)

After snacking on Nature Valley granola bars and playing board games - and after an impromptu sleeping bag race down the firm's front lobby - the families seemed pretty cozy as they prepared for their 6 a.m. inauguration wake-up call.

"It's not really roughing it," Conrad admitted.

Dwight's son Ben then stroked the conference room carpet from his sleeping bag. "I'm liking the tempurpedic floor," he observed.
  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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