@ryan I guess, before answering, I should have asked what it's going to be used for. Text terminal? Web browsing? Kitchen recipe machine?
@ryan for brand new experience and modern one i would try voidlinux with e24. Not sure how they are doing it but it works like a charm (Enlightenment). Everything else is too fat for that pc.
Lxqt might work and that would be my second choice.
Third is debian with openbox. Uset netinstall and just build up but disable apt suggested and recommended packages!
I have used all of them and i was impressed by all however it has been i while since i ran anything on 1GB of ram.
Come as you are, but be prepared to discuss all code, web development, cooking, dogs, and coffee.