BY PAULA MINAERT — My husband and I moved to Hyattsville in 1979. We went to St. Jerome’s for church and to the Safeway on Hamilton Street for groceries. (At that time, it was located at the corner of Queens Chapel Road.) We were part of a group of friends who moved here around that time. Over the years, we attended each other’s weddings and watched each other’s children. I firmly believe that we all raised our children together; I know we couldn’t have raised our three without their help.
Gradually, our world expanded beyond our circle of friends. Our children attended Hyattsville Elementary, St. Jerome’s, DeMatha, Seton. They joined the Scouts and the Prince George’s Pool swim team. We met more and more people. My husband played the organ for St. Jerome’s and I got very involved in the parish.
Why am I recounting this history? Because we are moving to New Hampshire and this is my last column. We’re starting a new chapter in our lives. We’re excited about it, and it feels like the right thing to do, but at the same time it will be wrenching to leave. We’ve made good friends here.
I will remember many things about Hyattsville. These are only a few.
I will remember our previous next-door neighbor, a man who went hunting regularly in Pennsylvania with his two beagles. He was retired military and kept a watchful eye on the whole block.
I will remember the various loose dogs I brought home and returned to their owners. One dog I returned three times.
I will remember that our daughter saved people’s lives three times, all before the age of 21. She and a friend were about 10 when they noticed a little boy face-down in the water at PG Pool and realized he was in trouble. They told a grown-up and he was rescued. As a teenager, she pulled a child to safety out of a collapsing moon bounce at Magruder Park. And finally, she put out a fire at our house. She was coming home late one night and noticed the mulch smoking next to the porch and ran for the fire extinguisher. A guest had tossed a cigarette into the mulch, not knowing that newspapers were underneath.
I will remember that one of our sons was in a band in high school that practiced in a friend’s garage on Emerson Street. One night the city police showed up to tell them to turn down the volume. Then the officer who warned them mentioned that he played in a band, too. The boys invited him to jam with them, and he did. (They didn’t remember his name.) Only in Hyattsville.
I discovered later, when I began working for the HL&T, that the officer was Sgt. Chris Purvis (and he plays a mean guitar). He was one of many people I met as I covered city council meetings, public hearings, football games, neighborhood news. It was fascinating to see how the city government functions and, even more, to learn about the different facets of life here in Hyattsville.
I am grateful I had the opportunity to do that, and to work with people who care as much about Hyattsville as I do. With this issue, Rosanna Landis Weaver joins the staff, and I give her my best wishes.
This is a great town. I will be making new memories up north, but I won’t forget all the ones I made here.