Series Part 21 – Extracts from Dickeyville Days Memoirs
By Karen Hudson Flowers, Kim Hudson Medlin & Kathy Hudson Callahan
Memories from Karen Hudson Flowers
The move to Baltimore was easy for us Hudson girls, but it was hard on Mom and Dad for two reasons. First, Dad had badly burned his hand the night before the move from Lynchburg, Va., and spent the hours before leaving in the emergency room. Second, our Grandmother Bryson and Aunt Evelyn had lived with us in Lynchburg and naturally moved with us to Baltimore.
Because I was 12, Kim was 7, and Kathy was 3 when we moved to 5003 Wetheredsville Road, we each have different memories of the “best years of our childhood,” but there are also common threads.
When I was challenged to really think about my four years living in Dickeyville, I realized the people I knew and came to love in that mystical village were the people who helped me become the person I am today more than any other place or time in my life. The people I met, the schools I attended, and the church I became a part of, challenged me to think for myself and to accept others who were not the same color, religion or the same socio-economic background.
Those ideas did not form while I was in Dickeyville, but the seeds for such thoughts were planted in the Dickeyville community and at Samuel Ready and at Western High School.
Prior to moving to Maryland, my family had lived in Charlotte, N.C., where I was born, and Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Lynchburg, Va. My dad worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and he had been transferred about every two years….until we moved to Baltimore…another reason for the significance of the four years in Baltimore.
I didn’t realize I was different from my classmates when I went into my first class at Samuel Ready, and my English teacher, Mrs. Matthews, said to the class, “We have a new student today. She is from the South.”
All eyes turned to me and everyone started shouting, “Say something! Say something!”
Not understanding what they wanted and why in the world they wanted me to say “something,” I blushed and said, “Suh-m-thin.”
And so, I realized there was a North, and there was a South.
My experiences taught me Northerners didn’t understand Southerners, and vice versa and I am afraid some of the misunderstandings still exist today – just like many other misunderstandings – because we don’t try to get to know why others think the way they do or act the way they do. We don’t try to understand, and if we can’t understand, then we just need to agree to disagree.
I know I am more “liberal” in my thinking today because I had the chance to live in a place that was different from the places I had lived before. Not better or worse – just different. Climate, culture, activities, food, and, yes, dialect! I could appreciate differences I had never known before.
History also shaped my sisters and my lives while we lived in Dickeyville.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
I was at my locker at Western when the news came over the PA he had been shot. On the bus ride home, we heard he was dead. It was my sister Kathy’s sixth birthday. My sister Kim remembers they were at Thomas Jefferson Elementary that day – Nov. 22, 1963, and when Mom came to pick them up early, they wondered why.
Life, itself, began shaping me into who I am today. The most important years of my life – 12 to 16 – were spent in Dickeyville.
I got my first driver’s license – and had my first car accident…had my first date, first kiss, first steady boyfriend, first broken heart, first prom. I learned how important friends were – playing pool, going to dances, forming a group to sing and play guitar, taking trips to the shore, going to Camp Glenkirk, sledding down the BIG hill near the Old Mill, going to Gamma Pi meetings, crying in the basement of the church, laughing at the antics of others by the Dickeyville stream, and scheming with my best friend, who remains a friend for life.
I am so glad I have an opportunity to go back and refill the empty place in my heart that formed when I left our mystical Dickeyville that awful summer in 1965. My family had to return to our roots in the South, this time to Atlanta, Ga., but I was never the same.
I love the South, and I am proud of being a Southerner. But the 12-year-old girl who said, “Suh-m-thin” in the fall of 1961 became a different woman because of the friends and experiences she had in Dickeyville. khf
Memories from Kim Hudson Medlin
Putting my thoughts about Dickeyville down was so much fun. I couldn’t type fast enough…my mind was just jumping. And this experience made me realize all over again: My favorite childhood memories are from Dickeyville.
I remember the train ride from Bristol, Tenn. – where Mom and Dad had dropped Karen and me off to stay with relatives while they went on to Maryland – to our new home in Baltimore. When we arrived, I was scared when I looked out the window and saw Daddy’s hand all bandaged up.
Our house seemed so big, four stories…a basement that had places to make forts…we created one under the steps leading to the first floor. There was even a bathroom in the basement…our “maid”, Margaret, used only that bathroom. (I remembered that when I read The Help!) I thought it was strange that she only used that bathroom. Funny how children notice differences like that. I remember talking to Margaret for hours on end….while she ironed. I asked her a million questions….she was always so sweet. Her daughter came to babysit Kathy and me at some point. Don’t know where everyone was, but we had a babysitter, which was rare.
There was a refrigerator in the basement….we were told never to play in the refrigerator. Mother told us a story about her playing in an old refrigerator when she was little and her friend left her in it. Luckily the friend came back to get her. Could have been tragic. She said she still had nightmares about it. It scared the fire out of me! It didn’t take much to scare me.
I went to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School: 2nd grade/Mrs. Jones; 3rd grade/Mrs. Snyder; 4th grade//Mrs. Baker. I had a little Jewish friend in my class named Abel. In fifth grade we went to a brand new school, and I had a male teacher, Mr. Petza. He was awesome. I remember vividly waiting in the car in front of the school on November 22, 1963. We were released early. Didn’t understand why we were getting out so early. We were waiting for Kathy…think she was in kindergarten. Nov. 22 is Kathy’s birthday.
We were always doing something. We were never bored.
I walked to Brownies around the block from TJE…maybe to a church. I remember it being fun. Loved earning badges – still have them. I also remember waiting in the car line at Samuel Ready waiting for Karen to get out of school. I remember going to the grocery store with mother near the Beltline and walking to a little store up the street off Forest Park.
At home we played Seven-Up on the outside white wall of the house between the patio/porch and the house. There was a crazy looking clothesline just outside our back door – a metal pole with plastic lines in the shape of a square.
We climbed on the Big Rock in backyard and played in an area just behind it, an area that led to woods behind the house. Oh, those woods were wonderful! We had such fun making piles of leaves to jump in.
Like all children, we sometimes did things were weren’t supposed to – playing in the Spring House at the end of Wetheredsville Road right past our house – was one of those times. We had been told not to play in that building. Not sure why. Just know we weren’t supposed to go play there. It had huge glass bottles in it. A truck would come and replace bottles or replenish bottles with water.
Thinking about the people near us….I remember the Trates, but I don’t remember who lived in the white house across the street from us. She was a teacher or studying to be a teacher…taught in downtown Baltimore in a poor area. She took me to a school ….she had an assignment, and I went to help her – be her guinea pig, I think – with a reading program in the summer. Just went one day. I think her name was Ms. Janette. She had a beautiful backyard with Black-eyed Susans. She was single and older. She and Mr. Trate worked in their yards a lot. They were next-door neighbors.
Another memory is of a neighbor’s little boy getting stung by bees …hundreds of bees. He had put his hand or head into a hollow tree up in the woods leading to the Wakefield area. Was his name Billy (Cunningham)?
I have lots of memories of the Parish Hall.
We went to Sunday School there. I got bookmarks for being able to recite the Psalms we were learning. I remember all the classes sang together in the main room of the PH, and then we went to our individual classes by age groups. I had a really awesome teacher who transformed the small room in the upper part of the PH into a tent where we had our class. She dressed up as biblical characters, and we studied Abraham, Jacob and Isaac.
Other memories from the Parish Hall were the Fall Festival – dunking for apples – plays by Dickeyville Players – Daddy played an attorney in one. He had to powder his hair to look gray, and he had to grow a mustache…I didn’t like it. And Karen said one time when there was a big snow, the community came together in the PH when no one had power.
I remember having a bicycle accident on the way home after leaving the Hallman’s where I had been playing. Ended up going to the hospital. Seems like Mrs. Hallman took me and Mom or Dad came to pick me up. Really not sure. I just remember being scared. I had to have stitches on my leg.
We all loved our house. Grandmother Bryson and Evelyn lived with us. They shared a room. Their room was right next to Kathy’s and mine. Kathy and I shared the maple bedroom suite that Karen has now.
Karen had the coolest bedroom in the attic. There was also a bed set up in another section to the right of Karen’s bedroom…kind of a storage area. Loved having spend-the-night company and sleeping up there – mostly when cousins Toni and Teressa came to visit. One April Fools Day, Mother came up to Karen’s room – obviously I had snuck upstairs to sleep with Karen – and told us to come look at the snow. When we rushed to the window…there was no snow. Mother said, “April Fools.” I always remembered that April Fools.
I loved watching TV in Mom’s and Dad’s room. The Wizard of Oz came on every spring. Sunday nights were special TV nights. Lassie.
I was pretty young, but I still remember some of my friends like Marci and Amy Trate, children of Bob & Martha. I remember when Amy was born…the tent/awning behind their house… Mr. Trate worked in the yard a lot…he had a boat, a schooner; they took me out on it once. The Trates moved from their house near us on Wetheredsville Road to one of the row houses on Pickwick Road. You could get to their new house by going down the dirt road, Cottondale Lane….along the creek….Glynn Falls which reminds me of feeding the ducks and watching people ice skate.
I also remember the Hallmans…..we played in one of the girls’ rooms. The Beatles were coming on the scene. We were mesmerized by Paul and Ringo and sang many of their songs like “She Loves Me” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Emily Parrott, who lived on Pickwick Road, was another friend. We spent the night with each other. Her parents taught me how to eat artichokes.
Patti (?), who also lived on Pickwick Road, was Catholic. I was intrigued with how devout she was…all the rules she had to follow. Not eating meat on Friday. I think she went to private school.
The Raileys on Tucker Lane – Karen was friends with Beverly; I was friends with Nancy, and Daddy went hunting with Mr. Railey. Karen and I remember Daddy always coming home with buckwheat flour, and we had buckwheat pancakes. khm
Our house link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/5003+Wetheredsville+Rd,+Gwynn+Oak,+MDfirstname.lastname@example.org,-76.701786,3a,66.8y,225.3h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sGCh0WHHBu5tto_HvTfD62w!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c81b971e0fb62f:0x93079c99858a9d50
Thomas Jefferson Elementary….looks just like what I remembered:
Samuel Ready School: waiting in the car line…my only memory
Memories from Kathy Hudson Callahan
I can remember some of the things my sisters have shared, but I was only 3 when we moved to Baltimore, so my memories are much shorter and more vague.
Kim is right. The Spring House was awesome. Guess I went with Kim, and I do remember we were scared of getting caught. I remember we could stop and get water – just took jugs and filled them up. Wish I had some of the bottles right now. They were so cool.
Seeing the Google map of Thomas Jefferson School brought tears to my eyes. It is just as I remember. Of course, I don’t remember much about teachers, but I do remember I had a black friend, and I remember for some reason that was unusual.
John F. Kennedy died while we were there. I remember my birthday party was cancelled. Karen says we just sat and watched the television all day. I was 6 years old.
I remember our house and the Big Rock. I remember the woods in the back. I watched a Hallmark movie once after moving to Atlanta and the house in the movie had a similar view. I remember thinking, “Wow. This was what our home in Dickeyville looked like!”
I remember filling up a birdbath for a neighbor – for pay – when they went on vacation. I filled the bath every day.
I remember going to downtown Baltimore to see “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” – with Patti Page – and being scared. When we got home I had nightmares the headless guy was coming up the stairs! What was mom thinking taking us to a movie like that!?! Lol
Other memories: getting a new green/white car . . . and a station wagon…..learning how to ride a bike AND riding with my boyfriend (not sure his name, seemed like it was something Goodrich haha)…getting turned over Dad’s knee, and he said I was going to get spanked, but he didn’t spank me – our soft hearted daddy….Karen’s room in the attic and her desk (tin) with the LOCKED compartment – she had the best room…Ralph – OHHHHHHHHH and Canoe and shirt loops!
I remember the church and bringing a bath rug to sit on in the room…Marci Trate and the Trates moving down to the river/dam and having the coolest house with swings…. a friend of mom’s (Karen says her name was Florie) who we went to visit on “Upper” Pickwick …she bought me a stamp sticker book.
Wow – guess I DO remembered a few things. khc