My daughter and I recently became residents here at the Kensington Park Senior Living Community. This venture on a new way of life brought back memories of earlier times when my wife and I began our suburban living in the Kensington-area. The contentment of those early years was largely attributed to the bucolic setting which had somehow resisted the helter-skelter development elsewhere in Montgomery County, especially near the massive shopping malls.
The semi-rural setting then was in perfect harmony with the period stores along Howard Avenue, most notably Mr. Victor’s Variety Country Store and the family-owned and operated Mizell’s lumberyard. There were antique and secondhand book shops, as well as a small grocery store. One of the county’s first farmers’ markets was located in the B&O Railroad station parking lot. I can recall the annual Labor Day parades featuring the neighborhood children and local political candidates running for office. Commuting to Washington in those days was a pleasant 30-minute drive through Rock Creek Park. If you didn’t want to drive or carpool, there was the B&O commuter train which stopped at the Kensington station.
Daily excitement was experienced when the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department answered an alarm call. In those days fire stations were manned by a small number of full-time employees who were augmented by local community volunteers who were alerted by the sounding of the air-raid siren on the station roof. The arrival of the volunteers in their personal vehicles was chaotic and disruptive of local traffic. Luckily, firefighting in those days did not entail sophisticated equipment or procedures. In later years, televised “demolition derbies” brought back memories of those long ago scenes.
Taking up residence at Kensington Park, my daughter and I hope to recapture some of the satisfaction and contentment we remember from our early years in this neighborhood. Sometimes life really does come full circle.