A Childhood Apartment… 30 Years Later

I finally had the chance to tour my childhood apartment at Steward Manor this weekend—the first time I’ve stepped foot inside since my parents and I moved in the summer of 1987. It’s amazing how every inch of space still holds so many vivid memories.

Even before starting Lost Laurel, it was Steward Manor’s history that first fascinated me. I’d begun researching it in earnest in 2010, visiting the rental office to copy vintage photos; and tracking down original plat survey drawings from 1959 at Ben Dyer Associates—the civil engineering company that’s still in business today.

I’d gotten a message from my friend, Joe Leizear, a longtime Steward Manor resident who became a maintenance man there himself. Joe shares a fascination for this kind of stuff, and knew I’d love to tour my old apartment when the opportunity arose. Sure enough, shortly after the most recent tenants moved out, Joe invited me to see it.

The tour wouldn’t have been complete without my oldest friends, Rodney and Ronald Pressley—twin brothers I’ve known since the first grade, and grew up with at the apartment complex.

It’s a surreal experience, walking through such a familiar place again after all these years… and it’s amazing how vivid the memories remain. Even with the many upgrades and changes—and even vacant—it still feels like it did in the 1980s. It felt like home.

5 thoughts on “A Childhood Apartment… 30 Years Later

  1. Linda Boettcher ( hiwell) says:

    I also have great membranes my grandmother and uncle live there her granddaughter Susie was married and the community room some 40 years ago grandmother’s last name was Howell and I have a very close almost 2nd mother many years ago ❤️ as far as I know that still lives there Lucy Leizer

  2. Rebecca L Costello says:

    That reminds me So much of our apartment
    4 Woodland Ct, apt 301
    79-82??

  3. Erik Washam says:

    This is fantastic. I’ve toyed around with the idea of trying to get into my childhood apartment up the road at Tall Oaks in Maryland City. It was Fountain Green Apartments, and then Town and Country Apartments back in the 70s when I grew up there. Hey Richard – do you happen to have any photos of Steward Tower when it still had the old sign on it? I’d love to see anything at all. It’s probably too much to hope that you’ve stumbled across a night shot with the sign lit up, but if you did, I’d be over the moon.

    • Richard Friend says:

      Erik, ask and you shall receive! Actually, I just happened to remember seeing this fantastic May 1980 Steward Towers shot from the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad archives. Enjoy. 🙂

      • Erik Washam says:

        Holy cow. This is NOT what I remember at all! I, too, am a graphic designer and artist and I have been doing sketches of things I remember from that period to work up into eventual paintings. This keeps happening to me: I have an image in my head of something from the 70s or early 80s. I do some thumbnails or cut out photos in old magazines that have the same “feel.” I get all of this stuff together in my sketchbook, ad then I track down the original if I can find it. It’s ALWAYS different. For example, in my memory the Steward Towers sign was green, in script, and toward the top of the building (and at an angle – If I find the sketch I’l send it to you. Hilarious.). It’s funny the way our brains conflate things. I probably mashed this one up with some luxury hotel I saw in a movie when I was a kid. I honestly believe I should stop trying to track these things down before I do the artwork and just look them up later once my work is done. That said, if you come across any images of the Golden Pagoda restaurant that used to be in the old Laurel Plaza down from the Grand Union, let me know. And thanks for sending this image, I really do appreciate it. I’ve enjoyed your blog, Facebook, etc, and purchased your book at the museum last year. They’ve inspired me to do my own personal works on the Laurel I remember as a kid (I still live here). Hope you don’t mind if I contact you again sometime, just in case I’m trying to find something else. Later, -EW

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