Commentary: A Man (and Woman) About Town

Commentary: A Man (and Woman) About Town

In 1942, Cecelia and her husband, Floyd*, moved into a row home on Duke Street, promising to each other that it would be their last move.

When they were first married in 1936, after being introduced by her brother, Cecelia and Floyd lived with his parents. Understandably, the newly married wife wasn’t keen on this idea so they moved into a rental property that Floyd’s parents owned on Fayette Street and paid rent of $15 a month. Shortly thereafter, Floyd got a job at the Gulf gas station on Route 1 so they moved onto King Street, above Hamen’s Shoe Store. It was here that their first child was born.

After their daughter was born, they moved to Patrick Street, and Cecelia had their first son. They then moved to Lorton, to live with Cecelia’s mother, but moved onto Henry Street when she learned they were pregnant again. After their last child, another son, was born, they needed more space and moved into their Duke Street home in 1942.

When the family moved into the Duke Street home, renters were occupying the top floor so Cecelia and her family had sleeping rooms on the entry level and a kitchen in the basement. And though Cecelia could not bring herself to ask the renters to move out (after all, she was collecting $25 a week in rent), after a few years, the renters eventually left. For the first time, the family of five finally had the space they needed.

Though Floyd passed away in 1994, Cecelia still lives in the home they bought together, keeping the promise they made of “no more house moves,” even though it is difficult for her to keep up with all the house maintenance. Late last year, Cecelia received an application from Rebuilding Together to provide free home repairs so she applied, with the help of her caseworker.

An incredible team of volunteers from Community Praise Center met with Cecelia earlier this year to review her task list. Then, armed with supplies and tools, tens of volunteers landed upon her home to make much needed improvements, including replacing the kitchen floor, repairing lights, securing steps, painting, clearing out weeds and debris from her yard, fixing her bedroom window, repairing the front door, and washing her windows. All of the repairs and improvements the volunteers completed help Cecelia remain in her home, safely.

Rebuilding Together Alexandria is an award winning, non-profit organization dedicated to repairing and revitalizing homes at no charge for homeowners in need, including elderly, disabled, military veterans and families. To date, in-kind donations of labor and materials have resulted in $6 million worth of value on more than 1,547 properties. If you would like to apply, volunteer or donate, visit or call 703-836-1021.

RTA’s organizational policy is to not disclose full names