Among the treasures of my oldest childhood memories is my first home in Falls Church, Virginia. This is where I came home from the hospital after my birth. This is where I met and bonded with my first playmates. This is where I learned to roller skate and ride a bike. This is where I made mud pies and played in the dirt. This is the Westlawn neighborhood.
I decided to take an online journey back after discovering old photos. It would be simple to just type in the address of 1008 Westlawn Drive and my old home would magically appear. What!?! The house numbers had all been changed to digits beginning with 6700. (Weird since my part of the street started Westlawn Drive…a current map even showed that.) How would I mentally retrieve images of the houses on the street by thinking of old neighbors down to the corner? I could not do it. Where to go now?
I googled the street name and tried to find where my home could be. I looked at real estate listing and Zoom. No answers. I typed in “neighbors on Westlawn Drive”…bingo I found a listing of names. I remembered that our next door neighbors had never sold their house and had passed it on to their daughter. Their daughter had never married. I knew their last name started with a P and was Italian in ethnicity. Well, double bingo! There was their name…yes, the daughter still lived there. At our house, the people that bought it from my parents in 1956 still lived there. Well, holy cow! I looked at the houses on Zoom. My home had 2 bedrooms and 1 bath and was a rancher. The current owners had added a second story, 3 more bathrooms, and 3 more bedrooms. My parents had paid $7,000 in 1950. This home was valued at over $850,000! My parents always said that if they had to buy that house again, they would not have been able to afford it…true.
In looking through my first neighborhood, many houses had been updated on the outside while others had not. My old neighbors had not updated the outside. I had remembered that there was a big rock at the end of their walkway…the rock was still there.
My next question about my oldest memories…why did the city of Falls Church change the house numbers…and where is that answer? I am going to find out.
PS I did use Ancestry to see if I could find any of my first neighbors. I found high school yearbook pictures of some of my friends. I could a death certificate for my neighbor, Tony P, in addition to his marriage certificate. I found neighbors on FindAGrave. I thank them for being such good people.