my neighborhood in 200 words

my neighborhood in 200 words

A soybean field in Port Tobacco, where life is reminiscent of a simpler era.
A soybean field in Port Tobacco, where life is reminiscent of a simpler era. (By Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)

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Wednesday, August 9, 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.

Welcome to Timeless Port Tobacco

We live in a rural area 35 miles south of the District in a place called Port Tobacco. We're on a road that winds through 50 acres of soybeans and ends at the Port Tobacco River.

Our lane is home to an interesting mix of farmers, watermen, restaurateurs and corporate types -- all five families live in small ramblers. No McMansions here. We couldn't knock down and build bigger, better homes if we wanted to, owing to the rules of Maryland's Critical Area Act, which is aimed at preserving the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Because we live along the shore of a bay tributary, we can't change the footprint of our houses.

Not all of us have computers in our homes or belong to gyms. And, though none of us is a member of a country club, we are a country club of sorts: We fish and crab together in the river and share our bounty with each other at summertime get-togethers. And the fridges in our garages always hold a supply of the 10-ounce cans of Miller Lite favored by drop-bys.

Over the years, most of us have volunteered with the fire department of Bel Alton, at Civista Medical Center or for the Charles County Sheriff's Office. In short, we enjoy helping other people and appreciate each other's company at the same time we relish our differences.

As a community, you can't say that we are educated like College Park, as diverse as Takoma Park, upscale like Chevy Chase or bustling like D.C., but you can say we are the face of Southern Maryland. In many ways, we offer a glimpse of simpler times.

-- Molli Yood, Port Tobacco

Another Baby Boom on Capitol Hill

The house we found near the Eastern Market Metro 26 years ago had everything we wanted: access to Metro, a garage, room for our young sons to grow into and a vegetable plot for me. We soon discovered something even more desirable on the block: five other boys about the same age as my sons.

They all grew up, went away to college and return only to visit. The block was not the same without children.

The family feeling was gone. My neighbors and I no longer stood on the sidewalk and talked. After a few years, a family with five children moved in. Then, a couple adopted two girls from Central America. Next, adjacent houses produced four girls in four years. At last count, we had eight preschoolers. Not only does the block have babies, but it also has babysitters.

A steady stream of strollers rolling by my house on the way to the playgrounds in Marion and Garfield Parks tells me that my block is not unique. Capitol Hill is experiencing a baby boom. I hope one day to watch Clara, Cruz, Alexandra, Nicholas, Thomas and Donte playing on the sidewalk just as I watched Brian, Sean, Mike, Chris, Greg, Matt and Adam years ago.

-- Margaret Missiaen, Capitol Hill


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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