Why I Miss Harvey Road – The American Spectator

In 1953, my parents commissioned a famous D.C.-area architect named Mr. Palms to design the perfect fifties Modern house on Harvey Road in Silver Spring. Harvey Road was — and is — just off Dale Drive between Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue. It was a short walk from one of the greatest restaurants of all time as I saw it: Mrs. K’s Tollhouse.

My parents would have preferred to buy a home in Spring Valley or Wesley Heights or any one of many other fine, tree-lined ’hoods in the D.C. area. But those neighborhoods were “restricted.” That meant that Jews were not allowed to live there. It made me crazy with rage then and now.

But E. Brooke Lee, a major land baron in Montgomery County, and his glorious son-in-law, David Scull, a staggeringly handsome Princeton grad, World War II hero, and generally great man, and his daughter, Elizabeth Lee, did something wonderful.

With no one breathing down their shoulder, they set aside a chunk of land that would take Jews.

Soon, a talented builder named Nathan Platt, Lt., USNR, put up about 20 beautiful three- and four-bedroom houses on one-quarter acre lots. Half of the homes overlooked Sligo Creek Park, a highly wooded park with a long creek running through it. It was a big enough creek that it had fish in it.

At the end of the street were some lots open for individual builders. My parents had one of those, and on it, they built their dream house. It’s similar to our home in Malibu, only Malibu has a VERY large ocean behind it — and it has a grocery store called Pavilions that has the best fish and meat I have ever encountered.

The house was not air-conditioned at first, and I suffered. But in about 1957, after endless nagging by me, we got central air, the greatest invention since the Salk Vaccine.

Our street had 29 homes. Fifteen were owned (there were no renters) by Jewish families. There were only families. I do not recall one divorcee or widow.

A very small street, Grayrock Road, abutted Harvey Road. At the top of it lived the mighty Scull family. Their son, David Lee Scull, was as handsome as Mount Rushmore. He was also super smart.

His father was a Republican whose ancestors had founded Princeton. His mother, a goddess in my book, was a Democrat.

In the middle of the street was a home owned by the Greenblatts. Mr. Greenblatt owned a liquor store, as I recall. It was (as I recall) in the “colored” section of D.C. Mr. and Mrs. Greenblatt had a beautiful daughter named Roberta. She was one or two years younger than I was. She also had an athletic brother named Melvin. He was my sister’s age — my glorious sister Rachel, three years or so older than I was.

Across the street from them was Ronnie Schafer (sp?), whose father owned a photography studio. Its main function was to take photos of weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. There were no “Bat Mitzvahs” in those days. Girls had “Sweet Sixteens” or else “confirmations” or both. My sister, Rachel, was a super popular girl in the ‘hood. I was so proud of her you cannot calculate it.

In the summer, there were “fireflies” flitting around everywhere. They were glorious evocations of prehistoric times. There were ancient discolored rifle bullets from a battle nearby where the Rebels sought to take over Ft. Stevens and seize the Capital. NO ONE WAS EVER PROSECUTED FOR IT!!!!!

My wife and I still miss the fireflies. Many years ago, she awakened from a sleep and said, “Binjy, Binjy, the fireflies are back.” She was a Southerner, so there was no “Benjy.” There was just “Binjy.” We’ve been together since 1966, give or take a few years, and she’s a saint. WHERE ARE THE FIREFLIES? On long, humid Silver Spring evenings, Ronnie Schafer and Melvin Greenblatt would throw the football, what seemed to me, Brett Favre distances. It was awesome. I couldn’t throw the old pill at all.

In the fall, we would play basketball on a packed dirt lot behind the lovely homes of the Daumits, top-notch architect, the Sitnicks (top-notch trial lawyer), and businessman. I played every day and loved it.

In the spring, we would play softball. I loved it.

My next-door neighbor was Carl Bernstein, a very funny guy who turned out to be a super-famous journalist and society guy. His parents were actual Communists in a world and in a time when it was not cool at all. His father, Al, was a militant leftist. My parents were conservative anti-Communists. Never mind. We all got along, but what supreme happiness Carl must have felt when Nixon — the best friend the Jews have ever had — was deposed by the Communists.

Anyway, I miss Harvey Road. I miss the fireflies. I miss the footballs sailing through the air. Ten or 15 years ago, I spoke at a Jewish youth group memorial for a nice boy from Harvey Road named Philip Berg. There were a few guys from Harvey Road. They cut me dead.

I’m in the heart of Beverly Hills now, also surrounded by Jews. This time, very rich Jews. I don’t know the names of any of them. On Harvey Road, the doors were not locked, and any of us kids could walk in and play with our neighbors’ toys. Now, there’s private security everywhere in my hood.

David Lee Scull, still INCREDIBLY handsome, was the first man to write to me on my son’s death. I worship him even though he’s a Democrat. I start to cry when he answers the phone.

My wife is as anti-Communist as anyone could be. She walks on water. So does my sister. But she’s a Democrat.

Tommy would have loved the fireflies.

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