In 1957, Will’s parents gave each of their sons a plot of land on North Quaker Lane on which to build a home. “I think we only had $25, but we got a house built somehow,” remembers Will’s widow, Amy.
In the fields surrounding their new home, Will would pull the neighborhood kids around on sleds by the tractor he had owned at their previous home in Farmville, Va. The children would also “go across the way and sled on the hill and ice-skate on a nearby frozen pond.” In the warm months, kids would play kick ball and jump rope together while neighborhood parents watched and caught up on each other’s lives.
For many years, the community would throw Halloween block parties — with bands and cookouts and dancing contests! All the neighbors enjoyed this tradition. “You didn’t have a lot of money and you didn’t have a lot of things, but you were happy,” recalls Amy.
Will’s brothers and parents also lived in the same community and his mother was known as the “neighborhood mom.” Amy fondly remembers her mother-in-law often coming over to cook dinner for the family – cooking was not on Amy’s list of “most favorite things to do,” so after work she would come home and play with the children, clean up the house, and happily clean up dishes from a home-cooked meal made by her in-law.
Amy, looking around her home, has “so many wonderful memories in this happy place.” Rebuilding Together’s volunteers are happy to help maintain her home so she can safely live there, building more memories.
Rebuilding Together Alexandria, now Rebuilding Together DC • Alexandria, is an award-winning, mission-driven organization that creates healthy neighborhoods for residents by maintaining housing for low-income homeowners, revitalizing community spaces, and creating homeownership opportunities. Since 1986, more than 28,000 volunteers have worked on 2,200 projects, leveraging $8.8 million worth of in-kind value to Alexandria, and in 2019, we’ll bring our services to DC.
We are now accepting applications from Alexandria homeowners for free home repairs. Visit www.RebuildingTogetherDCA.org or call 703-836-1021.