This isn’t the house in which we lived during most of my elementary school years, although as best I can tell, it’s the same model.
The street address is about 10 blocks from where we moved when I was 7 years old. I have vague memories of going with my parents to look at the model homes and then waiting anxiously while our house — the first of three that my parents owned — was being built.
I don’t remember the name of this model, but I remember the price was somewhere between $12 and $13,000. It had three bedrooms and two baths, although I can’t recall if the bath in the master bedroom suite was a full bath or just a shower. The address of our home was 5675 Harshmanville Road in Huber Heights, Ohio.
I also remember that the first phone number we had was only six digits, although we got a different, seven-digit number sometime in the first year we lived there. I actually think I remember both of those numbers.
We lived almost directly across the street from the elementary school, although it was several years before it was built. I went to both second grade and fourth grade in empty homes that were leased to the school district to be used as interim classrooms. Surprisingly at age 62, I remember the names of the five teachers I had in elementary school.
When we first moved there in 1957, there was still a lot of construction going on within walking distance. We used to head down to that area, where there were massive (to a 7-year-old) tunnels that went underground. We used to explore the tunnels, but when our parents found out, they made us stop. It turned out we were walking in what ultimately would be the sewer system.
Of course, all that was a very long time ago. We left Ohio for Virginia in January 1963, the year after Interstate 70 had opened for business just north of Huber Heights. We had moved to a bigger home in the new end of the development in 1961 when our family had grown from two children to five, and we moved east little more than a year later when my dad was offered a good job at the Pentagon.
Huber Heights is more than just a housing development now. It’s a city of its own. I stopped by and looked at our two homes when I was traveling home to St. Louis in the spring of 1985, but I haven’t seen it since. I don’t think I’ve set foot in Ohio since 1990, when my grandmother died at the age of 94.
In some ways, it’s embedded in the past, almost like Colonial Williamsburg, for me. But when I see pictures of houses that were built less than 60 years ago being gutted and remodeled for 21st century families, it says something nice to me. Our house there is valued at about $56,000, which probably says more about the stability of the housing market there than anything else.
What fascinates me about the remodeling is that when it’s done, a family will buy the house. Maybe it will be their first home, and maybe they’ll have two kids, ages 7 and 5. Their children will be able to walk to school in about two minutes, and if their mother doesn’t have a job, maybe they can hurry home at lunchtime and eat in their own dining room.
Just like things used to be.
At least for some of us.