Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

From 6th grade till 10th grade my family lived in Centreville-Clifton, Virginia. Our mailing address said Clifton, but we went to Centreville High School, and went to the Centreville church. For all intents and purposes, we lived in Centreville, and only the mailman disagreed. Centreville was where all the new homes were being built. When we moved out there to the country there was only 1 Braddock Road (there are too many to count now), and where 28 and 29 intersect was a simple stoplight of an intersection (not an entire cloverleaf overpass intersection). Centreville was a booming suburb, with yuppies flocking to it as fast as they could.
But just down the road from our little suburban world was the sleepy little town of Clifton. Inside the formal town limits of Clifton there were magical mansions, with gated driveways, palaces with 17 fireplaces, rolling fields and hills, horse country farms, and the cutest, quaintest little Main St in all of Northern Virginia.

When we were kids we had to pass right by this place every Saturday on our way home from soccer games. Many a soda and ice cream were purchased in this little country store. I couldn't help myself today and I stopped in there for lunch. It was still as good and as quaint as I remember it.

One of the little hidden gems right off of Main St.

I enjoyed a few minutes to myself on the bench, texting, and facebooking with my mother in London. Sometimes "it's a small world" is the understatement of the century.

I've always loved the white and green chapel on this street. I've never been inside. I'm afraid it would ruin my love for it, if it didn't live up to my little girl imagination!
This sign says that when this beautiful house was built in 1874, that Clifton was the biggest town in Fairfax County. (Now it is so tiny that most people in Fairfax County have likely never heard of it.) This house was renowned for its unique staircase inside, and for the unique fancy furnishings they sold. It is a private residence now, but I'd love to see the staircase!
I didn't get any pictures of the pretty mansions down in Clifton town.
But I did get a few pictures of the place I love the most-
My childhood home! My parents built this house when I was 11 years old. We moved out when I was 16. This is where my parents brought me home a baby brother, and then a baby sister. It is where I learned to drive. It is where Valerie and I had sleepovers in the motor home in the driveway, and made silly movies in the basement. It is where I first started sleepwalking, leaving the house in the middle of the night, walking to the neighbors, and back again, just to be locked out, so I snuck in the garage and slept on the trampoline (all in my sleep). It is where I backed out of the driveway, and ran over the mailbox (and didn't stop). It is where my friends came to teepee our house more than a few times. It is where I took voice and piano lessons. It is where I had my first kiss, and my first date. It is where Natalie and I would play "Seek and Hide" for hours on end. It is where I watched a tiny little seedling of a tree get planted in the front yard that is now bigger than the house. It is where I cut my eye open on the bathroom counter, and where Natalie got appendicitis- three times!

I knocked on the door and asked if I could take some pictures from the outside. The woman recognized my name and said she bought it from my parents 20 years ago! She invited me in and showed me around my childhood home. I cried. The vaulted ceilings are still beautiful, but not the miles high I remember them. The evil bathroom counter that cut my eye still has a sharp edge on it. The little nail holes, where my mom nailed the downstairs windows shut after my baby brother took a header out a window, are painted over, but I could still feel them.The floors are different, the furniture has changed, but it was still the setting of all my memories.
This is my childhood home.


  1. I love Centreville!

  2. Love it! Who says you can never go home again!

  3. I love this - thanks for the trip down memory lane! It reminded me of all the years (12) spent in my childhood home in Purcellville. It makes me homesick, but in a way I don't mind.


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