Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where we live shapes us, and we shape where we live. Here's what area residents have to say about where they live. An occasional Page Three feature.

Uniform Houses for Navy Families

A military jet roars overhead as I strap my kids into the bicycle buggy. Our neighborhood, the Landings at Cedar Cove, is adjacent to Patuxent River Naval Air Station. I ride past pastel Victorians, circa 1990, some with little matching lighthouses in the yards.

I pass my neighbor, out walking with her two kids, and say hi. Her husband is probably being deployed this summer. Mine is already gone. He's been sent to Djibouti, in East Africa, for 13 months, part of the global War on Terror.

This neighborhood is filled with military families and the families of federal workers and contractors. Houses often go up for sale because of reassignments. Still, neighbors know one another, and the women get together for bunco.

I turn the bike onto the main road and speed up, headed for the beach. We can't stay too long -- Daddy is calling tonight.

-- Jeanne Murray, Lexington Park

Not Ready for Guard-and-Gate Living

Our friends have joked for years about who will be the last baby boomer to retire from Northern Virginia. Some have already migrated to ubiquitous gated communities in the Carolinas with enticing names like Lockwood Folly. We've visited, but they're all a little too homogenous.

We've lived in our eclectic Arlington County neighborhood of Overlee Knolls for almost 30 years. Our friends across the street found out a few years back that they actually live in Highland Park. With no gate guard to check references, they lived in blissful ignorance, paying dues to the wrong community association.

In gated communities, square footage is an important conversation topic. In Arlington, proximity to the District, short walks to the Metro and great neighborhood restaurants are more important. Sometimes we think the time has come to move as they knock down another old house and replace it with two new ones (with more square footage). But we think we'll stay. The kids across the street are setting up. We bet you can't get a good warm cup of 25-cent lemonade in Lockwood Folly.

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