Lots has been happening around here! We have a baby who crawls and we moved into a house!
The house is a sweet brick bungalow whose walls hold lots of quirks and stories. Luckily, the most difficult things we’re dealing with now are the lack of electrical outlets and mirrors. Coming from a 1950s condo where every room, save the kitchen, had floor to ceiling mirrors, I now find myself depending on Chris to give me proper feedback about what I’m wearing. It seems that in 1926, there was much less vanity.
This morning is the perfect example of what we go through each day before I rush off to work.
“Chris. How do I look?”
“Go into the light. Hmmm, no, that’s not light enough. No, this light, here in the kitchen.”
“Yes. Okay. Well, I think I read somewhere that navy doesn’t go with brown.”
“No, they go together. It’s a color wheel thing I think.”
“Okay, then you look great!”
We just love our new digs. The yard has room for sitting with baby and the block seems to be filled to the brim with lovely, friendly neighbors. Our house is in between houses owned by couples who have been living in their homes ten plus years and are the heartbeat of the hood.
It’s wonderful to me that this house has a long history. It’s been sitting on its plot since 1926. I want to know all its stories. So I started looking in the easiest places.
I pulled the 1940 U.S. Census and it was quite revealing. In that year there were four kids living in our two-bed one bath home. The oldest child was 15. The youngest, 7 months. Talk about a full house.
Well, what we found out from our neighbors was that Silvio – “Junior” – the oldest of those kids, was still living here until he died in 2007. That’s right. He spent almost his whole life in this house — from 1930 on.
Our neighbor told us she used to pick his brain all the time about what it was like in Capitol Heights in the old days, before it was known as Congress Park. The first time she asked him, he said, “Well, you know, Ann, there were a lot more children in those days. They’d run around from house to house causing all sorts of trouble.”
Ann reflected on this and thought it couldn’t be too much different than it was today. She was erecting a fence in her backyard because of the three boys who lived down the street and the constant whooping and hollering that seemed to always happen just as the sun peeked though her windows on Saturday mornings.
“You know, now everyone has fences in their backyards,” Junior continued. “It wasn’t like that back then. The goats all used to have free rein, nibbling down all the grass.”
Ann said, “Junior. There were goats?!”
More kids, more goats. Ah, the old days.
Certainly more stories to come as we continue to meet the other characters on our block.