Living In My Apartment In Bailey's Crossroads 

I lived in Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia, from late 1977 to the middle of 1980. (For a map of the area, click here.) Before that, I had been living and working in New Jersey. The manager I worked for in New Jersey changed jobs and hired me down to his new company in Falls Church, Virginia. I moved down and rented an apartment off Columbia Pike, near Lake Barcroft. At that time, the apartment complex housed many middle-class people like myself and was a pleasant place to live. Nowadays, the complex has many recent immigrants, so I think the area has changed since I lived there.

The apartment was less than a mile from where I worked, so the location was very convenient. I also liked being close to D.C., which I visited often, including regularly attending the National Symphony Orchestra. One thing I didn't like was the traffic in Northern Virginia, which was notoriously congested, even back then.

This was my first "home of my own" after college. When I worked in New Jersey, I lived with my parents at the house in Cresskill. I remember furnishing my apartment with some hand-me-downs from Cresskill, plus a few other inexpensive furnishings I picked up locally. I used a TV that I had found in the trash and rejuvenated. The apartment had a big walk-in closet, and I continued my pack-rat habit of collecting and saving all kinds of electronic parts and junk. This was before IBM PC's were available, and I started to build my own personal computer from scratch, based on my own design. This turned out to be a good exercise. I learned a lot about computer hardware, which helped my software career quite a bit.

[My apartment complex after a heavy snow]   [Snow in the main parking lot]
I remember my parents and sister visiting me one time during the winter. My parents stayed overnight but my sister was just visiting for the day, since she lived nearby in Washington, D.C. There was a slight change of plans, though—there was a huge snowstorm that dumped nearly two feet, and snowed-in everybody in the region until we could all dig out. In the left-hand picture, my apartment is on the ground floor, to the left of the main building entrance.

[Snow in the rear parking lot]   [Holmes Run Park]
Here's a picture of the snow in the rear parking lot. The snowstorm happened on February 19, 1979.   Nearby, just off Columbia Pike, there was a dam that held back Lake Barcroft, a private lake in the area. The stream that led away from the base of the dam passed through a linear park along its length, Holmes Run Park, pictured here. I remember the park being a pretty, woodsy area that was very close and convenient for a spur-of-the moment hike through the woods. Unfortunately, they buried a big sewer line down the middle of the park, and bad odors became a problem.

At the time, I worked as a computer programmer for the Pulsecom Division of Harvey Hubbell, Inc., at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Leesburg Pike in Bailey's Crossroads (although the mailing address was Falls Church). Their building had a very distinctive arched concrete canopy over the entrance, which we called "the potato chip". The company has since relocated to Herndon, VA; the old building in Falls Church was turned into a Circuit City store.

In early 1980, I changed jobs and began working in Gaithersburg, MD. It was a bit of a commute from Bailey's Crossroads, so I started thinking about moving. In mid-1980, I wound up buying a house in Frederick, MD, where I lived for almost 19 years.

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