Lisa Young, age 37, loved working at the Pentagon as a personnel assistant for the Army -- she liked the precision, the sense of purpose, the excitement.
But her first love was her daughter, Chaquita Young, who will turn 18 next month and is a freshman majoring in computer studies at the University of Maryland. Mother and daughter spent endless hours at home in New Carrollton or at the Pentagon City mall, near Young's office. They spoke by phone several times a day, loved being silly together and just generally having a good time.
"Her daughter was her life," said Wanda Rose, 42, Lisa Young's sister. "Chaquita and her mom did everything together. Thay had their own world together. It was just them two."
Lisa Young was raised in the East Capitol Dwellings apartment complex in the District and graduated on the dean's list from H.D. Woodson High School. She was studying to become a dental hygienist when she became pregnant with Chaquita. She elected to take the civil service exam and, in 1986, began working at the Pentagon.
Chaquita said she has long dreamed of becoming a top model and moving to New York City, with her mother coming along as her manager. She loved to tell her mother she would someday buy her a nice new home and car. Now, her mother's phone is forwarded to Rose's number, where Chaquita is staying for the foreseeable future. Long ago, Lisa Young asked Rose to take Chaquita if anything happened. Rose is trying to bolster her niece's spirits, and at the same time prepare her to grieve.
"I told her we have the plan A and the plan B," Rose said yesterday after a tearful 11 a.m. Mass at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Southeast Washington. "Plan A is, you always hope and trust. The Plan B is . . . we have to face reality."
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