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Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?

We’re strange birds; we’ve lived in the same house for thirty years. It’s been a wonderful place to raise our four children: we live on a quiet cul-de-sac and that gave the children more safety than on a regular street. My youngest daughter (31) has friends that go back 27 years, when she entered a local preschool. She, more than the other three, has remained good friends with several of them, and it’s a source of happiness for her. I’ve enjoyed watching them go through all the phases of growing up too — some with problems — but all are responsible adults now.

When we moved here, it was more rural, though a growing suburb of Washington D.C. Three or four people owned horses, and one was a riding stable. That’s a settlement of about 20 homes now, closely spaced. The working farm across the road is now gone and supports about 50 nice homes. The apple orchard down the road closed about 5 years ago, sadly, and ginormous houses fill the area where apple trees used to grow.

Another 30 acre meadow (which would have made a fine vineyard — my husband’s hobby) now is also filled with homes that sell for about $1.3 million. Our relatively modest home is worth 5 times what we paid for it because the growth in this expending area has made our location now “close-in”.

More and more, young and moderate earning families are being priced out of our expensive market. Starter homes are being torn down to make way for another million plus house, because land getting scarce, and I guess the demand is there.

So, no, our town and nearby communities do not contain various classes and wage levels. You have to be pretty well-off to live here. In some parts of town, there is affordable housing in the form of very small older homes, and townhouses or condominiums, though the new ones of those are pretty upscale.

You see, we are heavily subsidized in our market by the government — lawyers, lobbyists, consultants — they all make more than federal workers, and spend their money to live in luxury. Government dollars at work for whom?

I’m a little jaded by all this nouveau riche development. I would like a more mixed community. I know many young families who are having to move further and further out to get affordable homes, and that just doesn’t seem right.

Obviously the more expensive homes bring in more property taxes, and no doubt that’s attractive to the county. We do have some of the finest schools in the country, and for that I am grateful, but schools don’t seem to be benefiting as much from the added tax dollars as they should.

So I am happy with my home and community and the benefits it provides, but we do pay state taxes, county taxes, (in addition to federal taxes), and they never go down. I might add that we have an growing commercial base too, so that should be increasing revenue… where does it go?

Our little corner of the world is understated and convenient. We have not had to suffer from increasing transportation problems — my husband is self-employed and until semi-retirement worked 10 minutes from home. I was a teacher, and always seemed to be going against traffic, so we have avoided some of the burdens and frustrations that others in our “close-in” community have. (My daughter recently moved back to this area after 5 years in Richmond, and from our house has an hour-and-a-half commute by car to her office in DC — a little longer than her expensive Metro commute.)

I’d like more diversity — the lure of a more middle-America town is tempting, but this is home. Hard to change after 30 years and lots of memories.

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