The Skyline subdivision developed after World War II when brick homes were built on both sides of Suitland Road. The area was bounded by Morningside, Suitland Parkway and Buffalo Sand & Gravel, and was adjacent to the I.C.E. Club (later, VFW Post 9619). There was one church: Morningside Baptist. One gas station: Morningside Esso.

And before long, Skyline School. The small shopping center boasted Skyline Restaurant, Clinton Oil Company, Morningside Variety Shop and Johnson’s Barber Shop.

The McHales bought a 10-year-old house on Skyline Drive in 1958 and watched our new community grow. That growth was thanks to GIs from Andrews, federal employees from the Census Bureau and other agencies, and lots of young families.

The Town of Morningside made several attempts to annex the area, which encouraged Skyline residents to establish their own government.

And so, in May 1970, several hundred residents met in the multipurpose room of Skyline School and voted to found a citizens’ association.

To be continued.

Community garden honors young cancer victim

Jelani Maximilien Cobb Graham was only six when he died of brain cancer at Children’s National Medical Center on Dec. 29, 2017. He was a member of St. Michael’s Truth Evangelical Lutheran Church — Our Savior Lutheran Church where his service was held on Jan. 9.

Jelani lived in Fort Washington and attended Maryland International School. And as a church member said, “He was smart, compassionate and a friend to all.”

Now he is being remembered with a community garden named for him: Jelani Graham Memorial Garden, on the grounds of the church in Temple Hills. His grandmother is one of the gardeners and Betty Cottrell of Skyline is working with her on a memorial sign.

The garden has been blessed by pastor the Rev. Grantson and will have a dedication later.

Changing landscape

The revitalized Landing in Clinton, corner of Branch Avenue and Woodyard Road, has sprouted new shops with more to come. I drove past these stores, most of which were open for business: Burlington Coat Factory, Ross Dress for Less, Tropical Smoothie Café, Firehouse Subs, Marco’s Pizza and Fitness for Less.

Several more familiar tenants are getting ready to open and more (according to one report) are coming up: Marshall’s, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-a, Quickfire Japanese Hibachi and Aldi’s.

No report yet what is going in on the site of the now closed Toys R Us.

The CVS in Clinton is being refurbished. Most affected is the pharmacy which is being enlarged, with more space for shelves and customer service.

Aquatic complex almost here

M-NCPPC is proud to introduce its new Southern Area Aquatic and Recreation Complex in Brandywine, conveniently located near Branch Avenue/Route 5 and Crain Highway. It will be the first multi-generational recreation complex in Prince George’s County, designed with every member of the family in mind.

It will include fitness and aerobic rooms, natatorium, gymnasium, café, hospitality spaces, programming and monthly and yearly memberships. In fact, it looks like you can already sign up. Go to pgsaarc.com.

There’ll be a lot more publicity about this new facility, which I suspect will be very popular.

Morningside memories

Larry and Jody (Bowman) Nyers recently traveled back to the area to attend an event at Silver Hill Fire Department and to visit their childhood homes. Here (slightly edited) is what Jody wrote:

“Larry grew up in Suitland (near La Reine High School) and I grew up on Larches Court. Both of our childhood homes looked very much as they did when we lived there in the ‘60s and ‘70s, except for fences and color changes to the exteriors. They brought back great memories.

“When we drove from Morningside, off Woodland Road, and headed to Suitland, what I recalled as a teenager took forever. This trip seemed much shorter. I guess everyone drove slower back in the day.

“The other changes to the area — roads, streetlights, and housing development — sure do show how the area has grown.

“It was a great drive down memory lane.”

LaBille, worked at my favorite fruit stand

James G. “Jimmy” LaBille, 63, of Indian Head and formerly of Auth Village, died on July 7 at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata.

He was born in Washington, D.C., to Joseph Francis LaBille Sr. and the late Margaret Ann Gibbs Brooks. He grew up on Auth Road and worked many years at the Fruit Stand on the corner of Auth Road and Branch Avenue.

He attended St. Philip’s School when the first and second grades were held at the new La Reine High School in Suitland, transferring when St. Philip’s opened its school building in September 1962. He graduated from Gonzaga High School in Washington.

Jimmy was a self-employed plumber and a member of the Bay Rod & Gun Club in Princess Anne. He enjoyed hunting, watching and coaching softball, rooting for the Nationals, Capitals and Redskins, and spending time with his grandkids who fondly knew him as “Poppie.”

He’s survived by his wife of 44 years, Pamela Krahling LaBille; his father, Joseph LaBille; daughters, Victoria Davis (Douglas), Valerie and Amber LaBille; four grandchildren and a great-grandson; siblings, Joseph Jr., Timothy, Catherine, Lawrence, Thomas and Charles LaBille; and father-in-law, Skip Krahling.

Milestones

Happy birthday to Hildagard Koenig, Aug. 17; my granddaughter, Heather McHale, Le August Brent and Mark Cummings Jr., Aug. 19; Melody Barnes, Aug. 20; Austin Michael Fowler and my daughter-in-law, Denise McHale, Aug. 21; Wayne Anderson, Barbara Phipps and Gavin Michael Glaubitz, great-grandson of the late Morningside mayor and Mrs. Gerald Glaubitz, Aug. 22.