Hi my name is Keith Brown,
Like other posters, I have some fond memories of the area. Whenever I am back in the area, I drive through the neighborhood. After 50 years things have changed but the area seems quite nice and friendly, although Annandale Road has really gotten busy. My middle brother contributed to some of the reminiscences in this post.
Our family lived at 1502 (now the 7100 block) Carol Lane between Annandale Road and Camp Alger Avenue (Our house was at the top of the street) from 1958 to 1961. I had two other brothers, one who was about 17 months younger and one who was born at Bethesda Naval Hospital while we lived on Carol Lane. Mom was busy with our youngest brother, which freed us to be on our own, especially in the summer. I attended Grades 1 -3 at Walnut Hill Elementary. We either walked or rode our bikes to school. When we lived there, Carol Lane terminated at Annandale Road.
1502 Carol Lane featuring various Brown family members and their Nash Metropolitan.
Many of the people on the street were folks who had been there for quite some time and also a lot of military. Word of mouth was that the area was family friendly and convenient to the Pentagon. My Dad was a Naval officer and pilot and was transferred to Rhode Island in 1961, but we stayed behind to finish out the school year. The neighbors across the street were Navy and also down the hill next door. The neighbors down the hill moved, but kept the house and rented it to three bachelor officers, which kind of spiced up the neighborhood.
One neighbor who was located at the bottom along Annandale Road, Mr. Hatch was a recipient of one of Chrysler Corporation’s gas turbine test vehicles. I remember that he allowed us to thoroughly check out the vehicle, even allowed me to sit the driver’s seat. What a great location! Our back yard seemed to go for miles as we had a meadow like yard (no fences between houses) and the woods in the back. Lots of poison ivy. Later this would be developed and houses built for Brandy Court.
My brother and I spent a lot of our summers exploring the area and hanging out in all of the wooded areas. From memory, my favorite entry and exit point was at the Creek at Camp Alger near Walnut Hill Elementary. I remember that there was this talk about an old man who was on the lookout for kids on his property and he would chase them off. I ran into this man once or twice and my memory was that he may have been gruff, but was not nasty.
You cannot see it from the picture, but we had a patio at the back of the house (not a porch), bridging the back of the garage with the back door. The patio had a "modern" shadowbox style privacy fence (my brothers and I think that our Dad built it) around two sides, and the fence was painted a brownish red stain, consistent with the exterior of the house.
The patio as well as Idjet, our cat, on the chimney and the Nash.
Mom and Dad placed the picnic table out there, and Mom would serve us Kool-Aid from a dark brown ceramic pitcher and peanut butter and jelly or tuna sandwiches for lunch. And a few times, we ate watermelon as a dessert and learned to spit the seeds great distances (or squeeze them between our fingers to see how far they would fly).
We caught lightning bugs off the patio and down into the open (i.e., non-wooded) areas in the side and back yard. I built a very small treehouse perch along the back yard fence line. Across the street was houses with heavily wooded area that we built a real treehouse with the help of Frankie Thigpen’s Dad.
We little kids and the grown-up neighbors played badminton there in the back/side yard. I was always perplexed as to why the adults--who must have only been in their mid-30s--seemed so clumsy with the badminton rackets, and on reflection, I've concluded it was because back then very few people did any exercising (unless cutting the lawn counts). On the subject of lawn mowing, I badgered my Dad to let me mow the lawn which you can see from the picture is quite steep. I then became the family gardener.
The house was well constructed, but I remember that downstairs the pipes would freeze in winter, which ultimately was remedied by opening up the wall and circulating warm air.
We had little chipmunk who took up residence in the woodpile in the garage. He would come up to the sliding glass door at the dining room and we would hand him peanut butter crackers. As I recall, he generally would lick the peanut butter off the cracker, and then lay the cracker back down on the ground uneaten. He may have even handed the cracker back to us a few times.
During the winter, the sliding glass door in the living room allowed for sun to stream in and I remember reading the comics on Sunday all cozy and warm, especially when there was snow. It seemed to me that we had a lot of snow, which resulted in snow days. Our home was at the top of hill and was great for sledding. My parents would park the 55’ Ford Station Wagon down the hill when it snowed since it was too steep to climb.
My Mom used to send me to the market on Graham Road and Route 50 on my bicycle. My bike had two metal baskets on the rear wheel. Can you imagine even attempting to do that today as an 8 year old?
Like others, my Mom would kick us out of the house with a lunch and my brother and I were not to return until dinnertime or later.
My brothers and I attended the internment of our parents at Arlington National Cemetery in October of 2009. On Sunday morning, one of my brothers and I drove through Broyhill Park and reminisced about many of the things discussed in this note. On Friday, when our parents were interred, it was a rainy, cold day. Sunday morning was bright in Broyhill Park, which is how I remembered it.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience to live in Broyhill Park, a really unique and nice place.
"1502" Carol Lane in November 2004