Series Part 5 – Extracts from Dickeyville Days memoirs
By Nancy Sieck Lawson
Memories from Nancy Sieck Lawson
My parents lived at 5106 Wetheredsville Rd. from 1938 until 2001 when they moved to Mercy Ridge Retirement community near Towson. I have many memories of growing up in Dickeyville. It was a wonderful place for kids. We were able to roam wherever we wanted during the day & our parents never (most of the time) knew where we were. The freedom to roam like that does not happen too much today. When i think of some of the places we investigated I think we had an angel on our shoulders.
The stream behind our house was off limits. I can remember my Mother saying “do not rock step because if you fall in you will get typhoid fever”. That was a favorite place to visit & rock step. Crossing across the wooden dam was fun too when the water was low. Hate to think how many times i fell in, but always made sure i was dry when I went home. And great ice skating in the winter above the dam.
The streetcar trestle down Wetheredsville Rd just before the road became windy & wooded was a great place to go. We used to cross the trestle on the wooden planks. It had to be done when there was no streetcar coming as there was no room for the streetcar to get by you. I can remember crossing the trestle with my brother David & we would climb the hill just after the trestle & then slide down the hillside towards the water. It was a steep hill. If I am correct I remember the dirt as red colored. And I do not remember ever falling into the stream there. Do not think our parents ever knew about that.
The streetcar has been mentioned but that is a great memory. We went to Windsor Hills Elementary school so took the street car to a certain stop & then walked about 4 blocks to the school. I remember a conductor named Rosebud. He was a short man with a ruddy face & he wore a rosebud in his uniform lapel every morning. If he saw any kids running down the street to catch the car he would always wait. He was very pleasant & friendly. When the last ride in 1954 happened. I remember being on the streetcar with Mrs. Meeks & Suzanne & lots of other people- it was packed. It was a very sad ride for us. After that had to walk to Forest Park Ave to get a bus & then one or two transfers depending on where you were going to school. When they moved Western High School to downtown Baltimore in 1954 (I cannot remember the street name) we had to take 3 buses to get to school- a long ride.
Playing on the Methodist church lawn was like having our own private playground. Lots of time spent there. After the church was sold it was off limits I can remember playing hide & seek, all kinds of ball games & just hanging out over there.
I did a lot of baby sitting in my teen years. Some families/ kids I remember sitting for were Elinor Sandlass, Page & Pen Smith, Alan Naylor, Leonard & Lloyd kids, Barnard kids when John Barnard was minister at Dickey Memorial, & the Moos kids. Malcolm Moos was a speech writer for President Eisenhower so they usually went to D.C. when I sat. They usually got home around midnight or so but at 10 or 11 the TV went to a test pattern & I usually was asleep when they got home. Their knocking on the front door woke me & I had to run downstairs to let them in.
Another memory is Allison Sandlass’s wedding at the Naval Academy. Henry Sandlass was a painter as his avocation. I remember his paintings in their house .I have a watercolor painting of our house at 5106 he did around 1940 according to a note written by my father on the back . Henry did not sign it. I treasure this painting.
Kernan Hospital on Forest Park Ave. is a big memory for me. Several times [I] can remember some of our kids being taken there to have bones set or X-rays done after an injury. In the middle 1950’s for 3 summers I worked there as a nurse’s aide mostly in the infant’s ward. Was a wonderful experience. Lunch which was really dinner was served in the mansion every day for all of the staff. A real treat to be served a hot dinner at noon at a table with a white tablecloth!
Dickeyville Memorial Presbyterian Church was a big part of my growing up especially during the teen years. Elizabeth & Carl Steiner were the advisors for the High School Youth Group. They were so special to us & wonderful leaders but so much fun to be with. They were very welcoming to us in their home many times & led us through many experiences. I was married in the church in 1961 on a very hot (92) Baltimore summer day.
My father, was known to many people in the village as he was the walker & loved to stop to talk with anyone. He was proud of living in such a lovely area & it was very hard for him to leave. My mother loved Dickeyville in a different way. She was definitely not a walker, yet had many friends with whom she made many great memories. A great place to live!
By Nancy Sieck Lawson
Editor’s note: Please check back each Sunday to the Dickeyville Village blog to read extracts from the Dickeyville Days memoirs – a compilation of memories from previous Dickeyville denizens reflecting on a childhood spent growing up in the village during the 1940s, 50s, & 60s. We hope you enjoy their stroll down memory lane.