Once I got my orders to report for duty on the Army Staff in the Pentagon, the question was where to live with my family while I do my duty in the Pentagon. No on base living quarters on that assignment!
There is plenty of civilian housing within daily driving distance of the Pentagon - in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, or Maryland.
The more important issue for me was whether to buy or rent. I knew that the probability was that, after a 2 or 3 year assignment in the Pentagon I would likely be sent to do duty in a troop unit again. And with US Military getting already more and more involved in South Vietnam, that is where I would be sent. And the family would have to remain in the States.
So the sensible thing would be to buy for our first time, rather than rent, a house. But where?
Classmate Paul and Ruth Gorman had already purchased a home in Annandale, Virgina. They suggested we look around there. That would have an added advantage. Both Patsy and Ruth had children close to the age of our youngest. It would be of great help to Patsy to live close to the Gormans, so the wives could share knowledge of schools, churches, medical facilities, stores and raising their kids.
And it was a reasonable 30 to 45 minute drive to the Pentagon, up the 'Shirley' Highway.
So I did indeed look there, and serindipitiously, a house owned by a Federal public servant was announced for sale - by owner. And it was only 2 doors away from the Gorman home on Bradley Circle! The price, as I recall, was $20,000 - which we could afford with a reasonable bank loan. Since the owner had said he was directly selling the house, rather than try to negotiate a better price I was ready to buy it for the asking price, and use only a lawyer for the closing, rather than pay 7% to a realtor.
That worked. We swiftly closed the deal, I got a loan from the First National Bank of Highland Fall, New York - the one I started with on graduation. And we moved in.
One of the pleasant surprises about that house, and the others along that side of Bradley Circle, was that their back yards dropped away to a wooded glen with one of those Virginia 'runs' - (creek in Colorado terms). A place where the kids would have to play out of sight, but not out of voice from the house.
The rear of the house being lower than the front, gave a bedroom and a recreation room looking out over the back yard and the woods. Very pleasant for a quite moderatly priced house.
Here is a front view of it from across the street. And you can note our trusty little Morris Minor, top up, in our driveway.
|Rebecca in the foreground admiring our first owned home|
Rebecca rememers "The Big Experiment"
Right after we arrived in Annandale in 1963 and bought the Bradley Circle House, someone(who was that?) decided that we needed a cat and a dog to complete the family.
So Sammy and Tinkerbell were purchased and promptly banished to the basement bathroom for the paper training and sleeping time.
I remember 'somebody' yelling about having to be the one to clean up every morning. I think it was David. Or maybe it was Mom. It certainly wasn't me for all I knew was that I had a kitten to dress up in baby clothes.
And the 'experiment' worked out so good, that we had kittens within 8 months."
Bailey and Mary Simpson's Visit
|The Grandparents while Bailey was in Walter Reed Hospital in 1965|
As Rebecca remembers it:
" My Grandfather Bailey Simpson had a heart attack around Easter of 1965 and was brought to Walter Reed Hospital. (He recovered!) To go visit him with my grandmother Mary Simpson was a big event for us kids.
This day was remarkable in one other way.
Ed and I had been told to take a nap before we set out on our big adventure. I think I did. But Ed had other plans.
While in his crib 'napping', he reached over and grabbed the big tube of Desiten that mom used on all her babies bottoms. When my mom came into wake him up, he had white Desiten cream smeared all over his body. I suppose to disguise himself from the enemy?
I heard a quick scream from mom "Oh, EDWARD!" and then the bath tub being filled with water. But if any of you have ever tried to remove white gooey baby cream, well it takes hot hot water and hard scrubbing. Something mom had no time for, nor did Edward have the tolerance for anything more than tepid water.
David and I were subjected to the smell of Desiten in the long long car ride and the whole time we visited the hospital. All the wrinkled noses and discreet sniffs were directed at ALL OF US.
Dang it if we couldn't get far enough away from Edward to show it wasn't me or David!
It took days for that smell to stop clinging to Ed. I think our clean laundry smelled like it for a week.
To this day, I still get that memory when I smell Desiten and I have tried mightily not to use on my children or grandchildren.
|Edward and Rebecca on Carriage Outing|
Rebecca memories "This picture is funny for several reasons.
One is that Edward is now baby number 3 to get "the carriage treatment". My mother was enraptured with English baby carriages all her life. It is a reoccurring theme that shows up to this day with grandkids and then great grandkids getting their picture taken in the latest version of "The Carriage".
David(1954) was the first to be spun around the neighborhood by dad, then I (1957) was duly spun around the sun porch at West Point. Edward got the little sister treatment by being spun around the yard in the fall of 1963!
Where this original carriage ended up I have no idea.
But when I was pregnant with Jennifer in 1982, mom 'suggested' that we buy a REAL ENGLISH CARRIAGE. Sure enough, she found a used one and presented it to me. She made sure I knew it cost a whopping $100 and to NEVER get rid of it.
It will make its appearance in photos of my family. David and Justin got the carriage treatment too in this same hand- me-down carriage. Now the great grand kids are getting "the carriage treatment". And the hand me down carriage resides in my basement waiting for another generation, much to my husband's dismay.
All because of mom's obsession with carriages.
The other part of this photo is the PROOF that Dad did do household maintainence at one point in his life.
Here he is painting the fence.
Edward and I must have been helpful entertainment. I am pretty sure I never dumped him on the ground from pushing him around. However, he did have a mishap that involved a basket."
|Edward at 5 days old, 1963|
Rebecca remembers: " This is a photo of Edward in the "family baby basket" at 5 days old.
Now in those days, there were no car seats or other means of securing the baby while driving.
This big boat of a car had loads of space in the way back, so that is where Edward would end up.
Mom says that one day in summer of 1963 we were sightseeing in our new home state of Virginia, and were coming off a round-about in Washington, DC when all of a sudden a thump and a "Waaaaaa" came from the way back of the car. Poor Edward had been rolled out of his baby basket onto the hard floor of the car. It was all quiet before so he must have been sleeping.
David had to reach over and grab shrieking Edward and pass him up to mom in the front seat.
I recall that mom was laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes....
Poor Edward, he was always crying about something in those days!"