Series Part 14 – Extracts from Dickeyville Days Memoirs

By Jessica Masten Tye.

Memoirs from Jessica Masten Tye

Even though I only lived in Dickeyville as a child, from birth to the age of ten, it is the best place I have ever lived. I have been looking for something similar and have yet to find it. The quaint homes, the history, the dam, the woods, the neighbors, the parades, the garden club, the parties….I could go on and on. When people ask about living there, I often describe it as a little British village that happens to be just inside the boundaries of Baltimore City.

We lived at 2302 Tucker Lane, next to Mr. Poole and across the street from the Weber’s. Liz and I have been lifelong friends. I remember playing outside all the time, from dawn to dusk. Each family had their own way to call the kids home for dinner. My mother had a set of bells (which she still has to this day!) and she would call our names “JESSICA!”, “VALERIE!” We would spend hours walking through the woods, down to the empty lot. We’d walk to the Bottle Shoppe to buy penny candy, play kick the can, hide and go seek, climb the huge pine trees in front of our home. Our hands would be covered in sticky sap, but we didn’t care! Liz and I would ride our little red car around the sidewalk and driveway and pretend that we were driving to Florida for vacation. Ice skating at the dam was also a favorite activity, at least it was until Liz and I fell through the ice and my step-grandfather had to save us from drifting further out into the water. After that, I would only skate in rinks!

Among my most vivid memories, I remember walking to Miss Templeman’s for my weekly piano lesson. I remember hurrying home from a lesson so that I could watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on our one, and only, black and white TV. Our neighbor, Mr. Poole, would hand out candy, just because! Most of the time it would be those orange colored Circus Peanuts which tasted like banana. I remember walking along the stone wall that separated our property from Mr. Poole’s. The folks who lived across the street from Mr. Poole had a cat who had kittens. We went over to see them. I remember their tiny, sharp claws clinging to my shirt, penetrating it and scratching my skin. I have never been too fond of cats ever since…..perhaps that’s why!

Parties in Dickeyville were legendary. I remember an art party that my parents hosted in our backyard. It may have been village-wide, but I only remember the display in our yard. Paintings, drawings of all sort were displayed on the clothesline, all around the yard.

Halloween was always special there. I recall a party held in the church hall. There was one lady in the village who gave out toys for trick or treat. I can’t recall her name, but we always looked forward to stopping at her house. I’d like to think that she would be happy to know that I remember her kindness 45-50 years later. Christmas was also special. The houses were decorated so beautifully. One of my fondest memories was of Ray Lang dressing up as Santa Claus and coming to our house to give us gifts. One year, we heard jingle bells on the roof. I still wonder how he did that. I am convinced that he had some Christmas magic of his own! It was a tight community and just about everyone knew each other. That’s what made it special.

Years later, I was at my home in Carroll County and I had the news on. I wasn’t fully focused on the TV. but then I heard them mention that there was a fire in Dickeyville. I immediately became concerned. Then they said it was on Tucker Lane. My heart sank! When they showed the pictures, I was devastated to see my old house in flames! I was back in the village for David Weber’s funeral and I  walked up to the house to see what was left. Heartbreaking. The yard is still there, as are the numerous memories from my childhood home. It was a magical place to grow up

By Jessica Masten Tye

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.