“Born and bred” in Alexandria, 70-year-old Elaine* loves the Del Ray home she has lived in for more than 50 years. Bought for $15,000 with her husband, it holds many great memories.
Growing up, Elaine and her family lived in rental properties throughout the city, first on Powhatan, then Wythe, and finally on Walnut. She attended George Washington High School in the morning and worked for the Department of Agriculture in D.C. the latter part of the day.
When Elaine wasn’t in school or working, she was hanging out at the roller rink on St. Asaph Street, which is where she met her husband when she was 18. They later married and when she found out she was pregnant, she stopped working, choosing to stay at home and raise her son and daughter. When the children went to school, Elaine went back to work — this time at Sterling Hardware on Duke Street, where her sister worked. Elaine fondly remembers some “interesting” customers at Sterling, including a former Redskins player who tried to convince her that the ‘Skins should be “her team.” And although Elaine was from the Washington Metro area, “D.C. never felt like home” so she picked the Dallas Cowboys instead as her favored team.
Elaine’s husband, Thomas, worked for the Washington Post, but after he lost his job during a union strike, he went to work as a paramedic for Alexandria, eventually as a paramedic supervisor. At some point, Thomas worked on taxicab radios, being the ham radio operator that he was. And although he didn’t like to travel, Thomas would not miss the annual ham field day wherever it was in the country. Elaine recalls Thomas telling her that he once reached someone in Germany.
Though her husband has since passed away, Elaine still lives in her home with a caretaker. And though not very mobile and dependent on oxygen, she loves sitting on her front porch, reminiscing about the days spent there playing Rummy with her neighbors many years ago.
To help protect her porch and home for years to come, Rebuilding Together is covering all expenses related to Elaine’s roof damage, caused by Hurricane Sandy, and will provide volunteers to make other general home repairs in the spring.
This holiday season, consider donating to Rebuilding Together so that we may continue to keep vulnerable homeowners like Elaine living in safe and healthy homes.
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 1,550 properties. If you would like to apply, volunteer or donate, visit www.RebuildingTogetherAlex.org or call 703-836-1021.
- It is RTA’s organizational policy to not disclose full names.