Memories of My Childhood Home

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

Chevy Chase Maryland was a wonderful place to grow up.  Of course, I had no idea how fortunate I was to live within 2 miles of the Nation's Capitol and less than 3 hours from the Atlantic Ocean.

Roller SkatesI was busily living in my own little world... one where a dozen or more neighborhood kids felt safe playing outside, whether we were roller-skating around the block or clearing brush in nearby woods to create our own little miniature golf course (on private property, no less).  As you can tell, my memories of the home where I grew up are more about the neighborhood and the experiences than they are about the structure in which I lived.  Of course, my home was very much at the heart of these memories, since it was one where "everyone" gathered.


My home was a Gunnison house - My parents could not have been prouder of this little pre-fab home they built on a nice corner lot, perched at the top of a slight hill and looking out over the neighborhood.  It was 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, with a basement that was finished over time.  Eventually my dad built a garage behind the house and created a flagstone courtyard in the remaining space behind the garage and house.  Today this house is completely un-recognizable, with a second story added and the screened porch now an integral part of the finished living area.

I didn't realize that my next door neighbor was the White House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, or that I babysat for the children of a powerful union boss.  To me, they were just "the neighbors", and they and their children were no different from anyone else.



None of the moms worked outside the home in those days, and they were always available to cheer us on as we learned to do cart-wheels or perform magic tricks.  In the winter, they blocked off the road which was the primary entrance into our little neighborhood so we could safely go sledding on that road, which was a fairly steep hill. (At night, the grown-ups felt safe leaving kids alone in our homes and THEY went sledding on the same hill.  I was lucky to live close enough so I could sneak to the window and watch them from the dark interior of my house.  I did think they looked pretty silly!)

As we got older and braver, the adults didn't seem to worry about us as we headed off to the nearby country club to go sledding on a much steeper and longer hill on the golf course.  (We had no idea that Columbia Country Club was a very hotsy-totsy place with a decades-long waiting list and very elite, powerful and wealthy members.)

Cart Wheel


That same golf course provided a place to take our cocker spaniel for a swim to cool off on hot summer nights - it was, after all, before most homes in this area were air conditioned.  Often we would return home from the doggie swim to a softball game in the street right in front of my house where moms, dads and kids from tots to teens all played together.  No organized youth sports or Little League for us - who needed one, when this was so much fun?

Several times each summer we staged a gymnastics show, completely organized and choreographed by the kids to show off our latest accomplishments in somersaults and cart-wheels, dance moves, and tricks on the swing set.  (Oh, to be so limber and full of energy again...)  No wonder we all grew up to be successful adults, with so much confidence-building independence and recognition for our successes!


Booh!Neighborhood holiday traditions included an annual "spook house" in the basement at my home.  Several of us worked on it for weeks, without the help of any parents, and people came from all around to crawl through tunnels we created with chairs and walk on a sloping floor we created by placing bricks under one side of a piece of plywood saved from year to year.  Our visitors experienced sewing thread hanging from the chairs, feeling a lot like cobwebs, and they had the opportunity to see boxes full of fingers (actually, stubs of unpeeled carrots), dead babies (dolls) hanging by their feet from the ceiling, ketchup on the wall (which appeared to be blood), and other frightening sites in the dark windowless basement that ran the length of our house.

Wind (from an electric fan) accompanied by our own sound effects indicated the presence of ghosts who popped out of the dark to scare visitors with a loud "booh" or evil laugh and the flash of a camera...  We literally had a line outside waiting to pay their nickel to experience all this, 'though I still have no idea how the word spread.  Perhaps our parents were doing a little P.R. for us, without our knowledge.


Girl singingJuly 4 was another special occasion in the neighborhood.  Every family had their own family cookout at home and then wandered down to the same house each year before dark with their lawn chairs, blankets and bag full of fireworks.  We had a celebration that lasted long into the night.  It was so much fun... even if we had known that it was only a few miles away to see fireworks on the National Mall, no one would have considered missing our own holiday celebration.

And the neighborhood was alive with the sound of music throughout the Christmas holiday season, as kids of all ages bundled up for the cold and headed out to go caroling every night for a week.  Of course, every home greeted us with loud and enthusiastic applause, and it seemed like someone in the neighborhood was always prepared with cookies and hot chocolate or cider...  How did they know we were coming?  Haha.  (I'm betting the grown-ups got together and each picked a night, but they still won't admit it.)  Could it really have been just a coincidence?


Happy FamilyWhat a lifestyle!  Parents said good-bye to us each morning with a promise to whistle or ring a bell (each family had their own distinctive sound) to let us know when dinner was ready.  No one worried about sexual predators, kidnappers or bad guys of any description.  Perhaps parents were clueless about any dangers (and just lucky that nothing happened to any of us)... or maybe times have changed. 

I just know that I'm so grateful for growing up in a home located in a neighborhood like this... and during a time when creativity and relationships (not electronic devices) kept children entertained.  It was a good life and I wish today's children could enjoy the same experiences in their childhood homes.

Posted by

This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

Crofton real estate

HOME SEARCH          HOME BUYERS          HOME SELLERS          



This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
ActiveRain Community
Dedicated Bloggers
Family Ties
memories of my childhood home
chevy chase maryland

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Mary - 'Glad you enjoyed it.  Yes, we did have fun on those skates in spite of all the "issues"...

Hannah - Glad you enjoyed it!

Liz Moras - I did have a good life as a kid, no doubt about it.  And I was lucky to be spoiled rotten as an only child until I was 11.

Jul 26, 2009 01:34 PM #8
Carol Lee
Dilbeck Real Estate - Oak Park, CA
Realtor - Agoura, Oak Park, Westlake CA Homes

I had those same roller skates!  And similar memories, though in a different town.  Will try to do my own post!

Jul 26, 2009 01:54 PM #9
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

That reminded me of my childhood!  Very charmed life!  In honor I stayed home with my kids (had a daycare in my home to make it work while my husband went to school and worked.)  There is something to be said about that!

Jul 26, 2009 01:59 PM #10
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

thanks for sharing with us just how you became who you are.  lots of good ol' fashion upbringing in this post here Margaret!  Lee and I both come from very small towns...  I was born and raised in Hobart IN, and Lee's from Ft. Kent, ME (now known as Cross Lake).

Jul 26, 2009 02:20 PM #11
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Margaret I loved every word of this post.  I love the way you told this story and was delighted by the inside look at you.  I had some memories pop up as I was reading.  I still live in my small town America, but times have changed.

Jul 26, 2009 03:38 PM #12
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Carol - I look forward to reading it!  Gosh those skates do look like somethig out of the dark ages, don't they?

Renee - How nice that you could do daycare and stay home with your kids.  I really felt like a stay-at-home mom with real estate, because I planned my time very carefully and was around most of the time when my children were.

Lee and Pamela - As a youngster, I don't think most people know or care what's around their home - small town or big city.  They just live in their own little world, as I did.

Tammy - Thank you, I'm sure you had a very special childhood home in your small town America - are you going to write an entry for the contest?

Jul 26, 2009 04:00 PM #13
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Margaret I loved it.  My aunt had a whistle you could hear a mjile away.  She could curl her finger up under her tongue and shriek the loudest thing you've ever heard.  fun story.

Jul 26, 2009 05:15 PM #14
Fran Gaspari
Patriot Land Transfer, Inc. - Limerick, PA
"The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ


Nice post! How can we figure out how to pass this on to our children and grandchildren...??? Thanks,   Fran

Jul 27, 2009 05:04 AM #15
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Sally - My dad had one of those whistles, too.  Every dad had his own distinct sound, and then some homes had big loud bells.

Fran - I just don't know!  Even when my children were young, I let them go to the pool or golf course by themselves... Now, with my grandchildren, I don't let them go on the front porch alone - and their parents don't let them out of sight.

Jul 27, 2009 10:24 AM #16
Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES
Exit Preferred Realty - Bel Air, MD
Harford County Specialist

What a lovely description, Margaret. It's a shame that the security parents felt is not common place these days.

Jul 28, 2009 01:36 AM #17
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Linda, you're right.  I probably live in a community that's as idyllic as any in America, and hopefully kids do feel secure.  I think times have changed, and part of that change is that parents are far more cautious.

Jul 28, 2009 03:45 AM #18
Anne Marie Malf
Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals - Yardley, PA
Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA

Margaret - what a fabulous post - thank you for sharing such great memories of your childhood home.  As I read it, I was thinking how similiar your story is to mine - we had no worries back then, we simply played and were kids unlike kids today.  I feel so warm and fuzzy after reading your great story - thank you! ~Anne Marie

Jul 29, 2009 01:27 AM #19
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Anne Marie - It sounds like I'll enjoy reading your entry in this contest.  If I fail to comment, send me a link when you post it.

Jul 29, 2009 01:32 AM #20
Christine OShea
Christine E O'Shea Real Estate Broker - Naples, FL

I grew up in Baltimore outside of Towson (have to do my post).   Those were the good old days of playing and roaming without worry of harm.

Jul 29, 2009 01:45 PM #21
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana!

HIh Margaret

Love your post!  Sounds like we had simliar childhoods.  Loved your pictures!  I could have used some of them for my story.  Wasn't it fun writing your story.  I sure had a blast.  I found I could have gone on and one - memories kept coming back.

Jul 30, 2009 10:00 AM #22
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Anna - The pictures are all from, and I just converted them to black and white.

Christine - I'm off to read yours!

Jul 30, 2009 11:12 AM #23
Heather Chavez
Second Self Virtual Assistance - Caldwell, ID
Real Estate Virtual, Assistant (928) 692-3235

What a great post, Margaret.  I think a home is more than four walls and a roof.  It's the experiences we have that make a house home.

Aug 07, 2009 12:09 PM #24
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Margaret, I think we grew up in the best era! My story is also more about events than the homes we lived in. And your story brought back even more memories of my childhood. It's really great reading all these stories, what a great contest!


Aug 16, 2009 04:43 PM #25
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Margaret - I just realized as I was getting the points list together for the contest that I had forgotten to comment on your entry.  I enjoyed reading about your childhood memories.  I sincerely wish that my kids could grow up in an era where sexual predators were not a concern.  It sounds like you guys went "all out" on the spook house in the basement!

Aug 22, 2009 11:57 AM #26
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Jason, thanks for the comment.  'Turns out that was a really fun contest for lots of us and perhaps good for our children to learn about, as well.  As to the sexual predator issue, my sons are developing technology to help parents "guard their kids" and I'll recommend they include you when they get to beta testing.

Frank & Sharon - I agree. 

Heather - This contest was a great reminder that it is the experience and not the building that makes for fond memories of our homes.

Aug 22, 2009 11:24 PM #27
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Margaret Woda

Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Ask me a question
Spam prevention

Additional Information