For 22 years I lived in Hyattsville. I grew up there, went to school there and worked there for several years.

Then I got married and went to Nebraska, where my husband was from. I went as a young bride with a new life ahead of me. For 13 years we lived in various parts of the Midwest. We had four children.

When we realized relocation would be necessary for my husband to further his career goals, we decided to head for the East Coast and make a go of it. We stayed with my mother in the house where I was raised; we wanted the time to find the right place.

What a shock to see so many new buildings and people! Neighborhoods aren't neighborhoods anymore. Neighbors -- I should say people who live in houses nearby -- don't seem to think children need to play. They yell at them not to ride their bikes on the sidewalks in front of their houses, to stay out of their driveways, to stop making so much noise around their property. The residential streets have speed limits of 25 mph. But I doubt I have seen one car go that slowly. Cars don't slow down for the kids; they must think it's fun to play "chicken" with the children.

I'm beginning to think we made a mistake in returning "home." I'm beginning to think people wake up in the morning and calculate over their first cup of coffee just how nasty and generally disrespectful they can be.

There is a strong possibility that we may decide not to stay in the Washington area. I am not sure I want to raise our four young children in this environment.

What a shame it is to feel this way about coming home. PATRICIA A. CONOVER Hyattsville