I cried when I read Linda Wheeler's June 21 front-page article on urban renewal, "Broken Ground, Broken Hearts."

She told a wonderful, true story that has been suppressed for more than 45 years. I grew up on 11th Street SW between Maryland Avenue and C Street. Our house was a three-story, 12-room Victorian with a bay window on the ground floor and a mansard roof. It had five black-marble fireplaces, including two in the extremely large living room. Our house was not the grandest in the neighborhood either. The magnificent house directly opposite ours still had a big stable for the owners' horses.

My grandfather bought our house in 1907 so he could walk to work at the Bureau of Engraving. We walked everywhere: to the grocery store, to the downtown shopping area, to the movies. The car was taken out of the garage periodically when we needed to go to the country. Many, many books have been published through the years regarding Washington's history. Not a single one reflected the Southwest that I knew.

Our neighborhood was not in transition, nor was it ever a slum. People lived there all their lives and interacted with one another in a small-town way. There were flowers in the yards. Children skated on the brick sidewalks. My grandparents were 76 and 82 when they had to accept a paltry sum for their lifetime home, not to mention the trauma of having to move from a house they had lived in for more than 51 years.

JUDY UTTERBACK LOWE

Alexandria