<bt>Name: Zula Dietrich.
I have three sons, one daughter and one grandchild
What made you decide to write a book about South Arlington?
I was born in Arlington in 1921 and have spent my life here. I still live in the house where I grew up. I have lived a few years here and there but have always returned to this house. I have seen the area change and evolve into what it looks like now. My neighbor, Les Garrison, who used to be the president of Aurora-Highland Civic association asked if I could write down some memories about our neighborhood in the early days. The stories was sent out to members as emails and got a great response. One memory led to another and I kept writing stories. After suggestions from readers and help from my son, a book was published. This book is autobiographical as to how I experienced what was going on in the neighborhood.
How would you describe your community?:
I love my community and how it is has managed to keep its identity even though its surroundings has changed a lot over the years. I am happy to have spent my life here. Many of the houses still look the same as they did in the 1920's when they were built. I think it represents middle America. Its not glamorous but still represents a good America. It is very close to Washington DC and is exposed to a lot of cultures, the world comes to us. We are not isolated and the small town feeling is still here even though a lot of people come and go.
How do you feel about the changes that has happened in South Arlington?
I would say they are both good and bad. Its is good because it has made life more convenient when we now have a grocery store close by and Pentagon City. But it is also bad because the area has changed too much in some places and looks completely different. Too much is being torn down and rebuilt into shopping malls and building complexes like Crystal city. We now have to have special parking permits on our cars to park on the street.
If you were king over your community everyone would ...
stop tearing down the houses and building mansions. One of the best things about my neighborhood is the variety of different houses. Not many of the houses look alike. I don't want people to continue rebuilding so that we end up with a building complex where everything looks the same.
I go out for lunch every day to Arlington's Diner. I love going there and always run into people I know. I m very people oriented and like to socialize. Other restaurants I like and go to a lot are Stars and Stripes and Tipo's Taco house. I love Pentagon City and all the stores there, its great for shopping. Marshall's and Best Buy are also nice to have near by.
One of my hobbies is my doll house. It was originally put together by my granddaughter but I have worked on it a lot and decorated all the rooms and have rebuilt parts of the house. I enjoy going antiquing with a friend and I often find furniture to my dollhouse. I also like to read, mostly biographies and historical novels. I used to play the piano but have had to give it up over the years. I have always loved to write and have written a lot of poems, letters and stories about things that have happened over the years.
I definitely want to stay here in Arlington. I don't' want to go to a retirement home in Florida. This is where my roots are and where I want to be. I don't have to live in this house but I want to live somewhere in the area.