Alvie Spencer

Alvie Spencer was born in Patapsco, MD. Alvie talks about how small the town was with only a few hundred children living there.

Transcription

ALVIE SPENCER: My name is Alvie G Spencer, Jr. I was born in Patapsco, Maryland.

INTERVIEWER: When? When’s your birthday?

ALVIE SPENCER: 1933.

INTERVIEWER: What– what month?

ALVIE SPENCER: February 19, 1933.

INTERVIEWER: February 19, 1933. And which– what was your address to the house where you were born?

ALVIE SPENCER: The address back then was just Patapsco Road, Patapsco.

INTERVIEWER: Oh that’s it? None of the houses?

ALVIE SPENCER: There were no house numbers.

INTERVIEWER: No house numbers. So how did people get their mail?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well there was– we had a local post office here. And we had a– a little cubbyhole in the post office. You went down and picked up your mail.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Now was that for just people on Patapsco Road, or was that the whole area?

ALVIE SPENCER: No. We had a post office here for Patapsco.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Now when you talk about Patapsco, do you– what area– how much area did that involve? Because Patapsco has two roads, doesn’t it? So it sort of splits now. What was it like before?

ALVIE SPENCER: Geographically it was pretty tough to define. But it was the main road that goes through the community right now. And then the railroad tracks was important, because there was some– some homes on the railroad tracks.

And then the road, which is I think they currently call it Wesley Road, for a distance was considered Patapsco. And– and that was about it. I mean, there was no strict municipal boundaries or anything like that.

INTERVIEWER: So how many people in the community, when you were a child, about?

ALVIE SPENCER: Strictly a guess, from my point of view. I’d say several hundred max.

INTERVIEWER: Several hundred max. And what were the names of your parents?

ALVIE SPENCER: Alvie G Spencer. I’m a junior. And my mother’s name was Myrtle Marie Shamer Spencer.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. She was a Shamer. OK. OK. And can you tell us what the neighborhood sort of looked like when you were growing up?

ALVIE SPENCER: Not too much difference than it is now, really. It was pretty much the same. I’d– I can’t say a dramatic difference.

INTERVIEWER: Pretty much all as it was.

ALVIE SPENCER: As it is.

INTERVIEWER: As it is. OK. And can you tell me what you remember about, you know, about the kids that were your neighbors, and that you grew up with?

ALVIE SPENCER: You mean the names of them?

INTERVIEWER: Uh, yeah. Or you can tell me the names, or anything about them in particular. Or where they are now. Or .

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, a good portion of them are dead now. They’ve gone. But the the Blizzard families were local, and the Sykes family, and McMillans, and they were the ones my age. And most of those are gone.

INTERVIEWER: So how long was your family in this area? Have they been in this area for many, many generations?

ALVIE SPENCER: My grandfather bought the house that I was born in in the late 1800s. And then my father bought the house from him.

INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. Great. In the late 1800s. So the house was already built.

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, the house goes back long before that.

INTERVIEWER: How old was– is the house?

ALVIE SPENCER: The house was, I think, best guess, was built in the late 1700s.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

ALVIE SPENCER: And it’s built, too, over the years. It started out as pretty much, you know, a small house, which was– which was the kind of house that was built in the late 1700s. It’s been rebuilt, too.

INTERVIEWER: And did your family have that house, for what, more than 100 years? I mean, generations of your family?

ALVIE SPENCER: My dad died, and my mother died in 1983. So the house was sold after that. So it was approximately a hundred years. Yes.

INTERVIEWER: A hundred years. It’s interesting isn’t it? The families that have been in the area have seemed to have always been here.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Extraordinary. So the– what was your first– do you remember your first job?

ALVIE SPENCER: My first job was after I left here, really. I went away in 1952 to school. And I really didn’t come back. I mean, I’d come back to visit my folks, but that would be it.

INTERVIEWER: Mm. But as a child, did you have– what was life like for you as a child?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, we listened to the radio before television days. And then, later on, television came on. Baseball was a big deal around here. Practically everyone played baseball. And pitched horseshoes. And played typical childhood games.

INTERVIEWER: Well, like what? What were the typical childhood games?

ALVIE SPENCER: Hide-and-seek, and things like that. Many of them which I’ve forgotten, really.

INTERVIEWER: What I’d like you to tell me about is what it was like, maybe if you could remember back as maybe a 10-year-old boy. And how did your day begin? Because none of these houses– did they have– they didn’t have indoor plumbing, did they?

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes, we did.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, you did. OK. OK. All right. So what was– what was life like for you as a 10-year-old?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, I just hung out, I guess you’d say. And if any of the neighborhood kids were available to play games, we played. There was a baseball diamond here in the community. And we used to congregate there and play ball.

INTERVIEWER: And where did you go to school?

ALVIE SPENCER: I went to Sandy Mount Elementary School, Westminster High School.

INTERVIEWER: Westminster High School. And what time did you have to get up in the mornings to get ready to go to school?

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh, about 7 o’clock.

INTERVIEWER: 7 o’clock. And how did you get to school?

ALVIE SPENCER: School bus.

INTERVIEWER: The school bus came and got you? Oh, that’s great. OK. Um, what about– let’s see here. What was your– can you tell me what your school was like? I mean, what was– what was your class size? Maybe your teachers? That sort of thing?

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh, I’d say the average class size was probably maybe 25 or 30, thereabouts.

INTERVIEWER: And how do you think it compares to schools today, as to when you were growing up?

ALVIE SPENCER: Dramatically different.

INTERVIEWER: In what way? Can you name any of the differences?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, they taught the basics– reading, writing, and arithmetic.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

ALVIE SPENCER: And history, and the basic courses, which now I don’t think they teach in the same fashion. It’s all core curriculum, they call it today.

And, uh the teachers were a lot different. I think you got a lot more personal attention. And you got a lot of discipline. And there was no hesitancy about whippin’ ya if you got out of line.

And I didn’t get whipped, but I got my knuckles slapped a number of times. And that was the first phase, I mean, was getting your knuckles slapped by Miss McGure. But then Mr. Griffey, who was the sixth grade teacher and the principal– he had no hesitancy at all about taking you out and whippin’ ya with a big old paddle.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

ALVIE SPENCER: Absolutely.

INTERVIEWER: What were the sort of indiscretions that you would do that would get you–

ALVIE SPENCER: Anything that was considered mischievous, or that was bothering the rest of the class.

INTERVIEWER: Would that be just talking, or–

ALVIE SPENCER: It could have been, if one were persistent in doing that.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And can you tell me about some of the people that you knew? You told me before when we talked on the phone about the tremendous history and things like that that you were very interested in sharing. What were some of the things you wanted to relate about what it was like here in not only Patapsco, but in Carroll County?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, I remember hearing stories. My grandfather was the railroad foreman on the railroad when the wreck occurred in 1905. And the wreck occurred just south of here. And I forget how many number of people were killed, but there was quite a few. 30 or 40, somewhere in that magnitude. But that was a big discussion piece, was what happened during the wreck, and how it occurred, and the events leading up to it, and– and the aftermath.

INTERVIEWER: What do you remember about that? I know you weren’t alive then. But what do you remember about–

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, I just remember hearing stories about what had occurred. It happened on a Saturday afternoon in July. And the southbound train apparently had a lot of railroad workers on it who were working on the railroad– the Western Maryland Railroad. And they were coming home for the weekend.

And the northbound train apparently was heading for Pen Mar Park– up in that general area. And there was a breakdown in communications. And there’s been a lot of discussion as to how that occurred. In any event, it did occur.

And back then you had steam engines. And when these two steam engines collided, there was explosions. Boilers burst. And when they burst, there was– a lot of people were scalded.

And the one train was apparently carrying a lot of lard in transport. And the lard, when the boilers exploded, the lard exploded also, I guess, you’d say. So there was a lot of people covered with lard– boiling hot lard. And there was also bodies apparently strewn along the railroad track, and in the general area.

So that sort of resonated with me as a kid, you know, hearing these stories. And like I said, my grandfather was a– was a foreman on the railroad. So you know, he was– he would pass these things onto my dad.

And then my uncle, Emil Cables, was also a– a witness. He saw– well, he didn’t see the wreck. But he was there soon after the wreck. And he told many, many stories about what happened.

INTERVIEWER: Is there any way to identify exactly where the collision occurred? Because I can’t figure out exactly where it was.

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh, yes. I could take you to the spot today.

INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me what sort of indicates it? Or Is there?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, the nearest intersection would be where Tank Road runs into– it crosses the railroad tracks. And it would be just on the Patapsco side from that. There’s a house down there today which is almost right across the road from where the wreck occurred.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ALVIE SPENCER: And Tank Road got its name because there was a water tank there. And when you had steam engines, you had to fill the tanks periodically. And there was a water tank there.

INTERVIEWER: Ah. OK. That’s interesting. Um, let’s see.

What was your sort of favorite thing to do or place to go in Westminster, or in Carroll County, as a kid? What did you sort of enjoy?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, the big deal back then was, well, as a youngster, going to town on Saturdays with my parents, go shopping and go to movies.

INTERVIEWER: Go to the movies.

ALVIE SPENCER: And quite often some of us would get on the train and head to Westminster early in the afternoon to see a double-feature Western. And then our parents would come up later, pick us up, and bring us home.

INTERVIEWER: Let’s go back to that. You say you got on the train. Then how did you do that?

ALVIE SPENCER: Here at Patapsco, there was the passenger trains ran. There were several passenger trains that ran every day to Westminster from here.

INTERVIEWER: So it just– where– where– they went from Westminster?

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh, no. The train actually started down the road, I assume in Baltimore. It went all the way up to, I believe, to Hagerstown.

INTERVIEWER: So you could just hop on the train. What did it cost to ride the train, if you were going to go from here to Westminster?

ALVIE SPENCER: It was pennies. I think maybe, $0.20, $0.25 if I’m ever right. It wasn’t much.

INTERVIEWER: Really? And as a kid, I mean, kids could just get on the train, and go up to Westminster.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: And so what was– does Westminster look pretty much the same as when you were a kid, or do you think it’s changed?

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh, no. Westminster was changed rather dramatically. I mean, then it was essentially one Main Street. But the Main Street and Green Street were the two dominant streets. And Green was primarily residential, and Main Street had all the commercial activity.

INTERVIEWER: Did you– did you get married in Carroll County, or?

ALVIE SPENCER: Ah, yes. My first marriage was in Carroll County.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah? And what church did you get married in?

ALVIE SPENCER: The Catholic church in Westminster.

INTERVIEWER: OK. What was the name of that church?

ALVIE SPENCER: St. John’s.

INTERVIEWER: St. John’s. Is that the one that’s still there today?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, it’s moved. It used to be on Main Street.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Oh, OK. And do you remember, or can you describe any sort of summertime fairs, or Halloween, or Christmas, or any other special times of the year, what it– what it was like for you?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, at Christmas time, we always– the church always had a Christmas program.

INTERVIEWER: What did you do in your family, in your house? What did you have for Christmas?

ALVIE SPENCER: You mean what we got to eat?

INTERVIEWER: No.Well, yeah. What did you eat? That’s– that’s a good question.

ALVIE SPENCER: I think it was either turkey or chicken, as I recall. It’s been many years ago. I forget the menu.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, yeah. Of course. Of course. And but what was it like? I mean, do you sort of remember waking up Christmas morning? And what was that like for you?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, it was the same sort of event. I mean you were anticipated gifts and so forth. So you had trouble sleeping the night before. And you got up early, and went down and saw what Santa Claus brought.

INTERVIEWER: What sort of gifts would you have gotten as a child? You remember any of your favorite toys?

ALVIE SPENCER: Uh, games, baseball gloves, things like that.

INTERVIEWER: You see, kids today have completely different kinds of toys and games. So that’s why I’m asking you that. So a baseball glove. Like board games.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yeah. An erector set, and chemistry sets, and things like that.

INTERVIEWER: Things like that. OK. What was your favorite toy? Do you remember? Did you have a favorite toy?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, I had an electric train that I would like to play around with.

INTERVIEWER: Do you still have a– do you still like trains today? Or? Have you any interest in trains today?

ALVIE SPENCER: Not that much. No.

INTERVIEWER: No? OK. All right. And– and you went to St. John’s Church. Is that right?

ALVIE SPENCER: No. I did not.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, no. You just got married. So what church did you attend?

ALVIE SPENCER: Didn’t– to be truthful, I didn’t attend any for many years.

INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. All right. And what was your favorite thing to do in the summer? So, you know, what would– what would be the one thing that would really, you would look forward to in the summertime?

ALVIE SPENCER: I loved to play baseball.

INTERVIEWER: You loved to play baseball.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: And I noticed just down the street here, there’s a stream. Did you swim in the stream here?

ALVIE SPENCER: Used to be a pond down there. Yes, there was a swimming hole. Called it the Mud Seal, I think it was.

INTERVIEWER: Called it the what?

ALVIE SPENCER: I think that they called it the Mud Seal, I recall, something like that.

INTERVIEWER: Ah. Now is that down under the other bridge? The Wesley Bridge?

ALVIE SPENCER: It’s down near the bridge, yes, where the river bridge crosses the river.

INTERVIEWER: So you and your friends would go down there and swim in the water.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And did you ever travel– did you ever walk up the streams to see where they went, or–

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh yes. Oh, many times.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah? Could you tell me what that was like? Because I’m curious about that. What’s up these streams? How far up can you go?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well–

INTERVIEWER: Because the headwaters are around here somewhere. It comes out of the ground.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yeah. I don’t remember exactly how far we went up to. There was one area they used to call, refer to as Harper’s Ferry up there. And Charles McMillan and I used to journey up there periodically along the river.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah? Yeah? What would you do when you went up there? What would you look for?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, nothing specific that I can recall. Just to see whether the– see what was there. And it was just sort of, I guess you’d say speculating.

INTERVIEWER: Great. Now I’m going to– I’m going to stop asking you questions. I’m just going to let you talk. Because you had a lot of things you wanted to tell me about. And I want you just to go ahead. And you were talking about some of the people. And you talked about McDaniel College, and the football. So whatever you wanted to tell me, you go ahead and just start talking about it.

ALVIE SPENCER: Well there’s several facts I think pertinent to Patapsco that maybe most people don’t– don’t know. And one is that we had three Major League Baseball players come out of Patapsco. And there would have been a fourth if it weren’t– wouldn’t have been for the unfortunate fact that one fellow was killed in a train wreck travelling between cities.

INTERVIEWER: Oh!

ALVIE SPENCER: And so–

INTERVIEWER: Do you remember the names of these people?

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes. There was Ben Spencer, who was one of my ancestors. And Ray Spencer was killed. He was killed in Illinois. He was playing in the Triple-A for Dayton, Ohio at the time in the Cleveland Indians system. And–

INTERVIEWER: And when was that? Do you remember when that was?

ALVIE SPENCER: That was in 1918 I think, or 1919 I believe. And he would have made the major leagues. There’s no doubt about it. Because he was the best hitter in the Triple-A American Association back then. And Ben Spencer played with the old Washington Senators.

John Flyter, who is Adelle Grey’s father, played with the Philadelphia Athletics He had a long baseball career. He played 17 years professionally. And he was from Patapsco.

And the fourth was a gentleman named Harry Fanwell. And he also played with the Cleveland Indians. He was a pitcher. And they were all four from Patapsco.

INTERVIEWER: Ah. Right here. So these were– these were people that maybe you didn’t know, though. They would’ve been before your time.

ALVIE SPENCER: I knew Mr. Flyter. The rest of them passed on before I– well, actually, Mr. Ben Spencer, now, he’d be a cousin of mine. He– he died in in his 70s. And I remember talking to him many times.

But Mr. Fanwell moved away from here after his baseball career. And– and he died years and years ago. And of course Mr. Flyter, I forget the year he passed away. But he lived here for a long while after his baseball career.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Now you know the old church that’s up the road here that’s on the other side of my house, that’s really just used as a warehouse. Can you tell me anything about that building?

ALVIE SPENCER: The only thing I

INTERVIEWER: It’s coming down, apparently. It’s falling down.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes. The only thing I remember my mother saying is that there was a split in the Methodist Church way back around the turn of the century. And it was the split occurred because of changes in thinking and methodology, and so-forth and so-on. And that was what was considered a Methodist-Episcopal branch, and then the Methodist-Protestant branch. And one of the churches– and I don’t remember which is which– was the one you’re referring to. And the other one is the church on the hill.

INTERVIEWER: So what– what happened? Do you know?

ALVIE SPENCER: Later on there was a consolidation, because it became inevitable that they couldn’t survive financially. And so there was a reconciliation. And– and the one branch was sort of merged into the other.

INTERVIEWER: So they came back together.

ALVIE SPENCER: Came back together.

INTERVIEWER: And then what happened to the building?

ALVIE SPENCER: The building was a residence for many years– at least while I was growing up, people lived there.

INTERVIEWER: They had no running water and no electricity, though.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yeah, that’s correct.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah. So how did– your house had indoor plumbing, but a lot of these houses didn’t. And they had– did everybody have electricity? I guess they did.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes. During my time, yes.

INTERVIEWER: During your time. OK. OK. All right.

What sort of clothes did you wear? Where did your clothes come from? Did your mother make them? Did– because store-bought clothes weren’t as common as they are now.

ALVIE SPENCER: Most of mine were store-bought. My mother, one of her– she never claimed to have a lot of ability when it came to making clothes. So, most of mine came from the stores.

INTERVIEWER: Most of yours came from stores. OK. Great. And how many brothers and sisters do you have?

ALVIE SPENCER: I had one half-sister.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And what’s her name?

ALVIE SPENCER: She’s passed on. Her name was Mildred Spencer.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And you have any children?

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes I do.

INTERVIEWER: Well, who are your children?

ALVIE SPENCER: Terry Spencer, Craig Spencer, and Jennifer.

INTERVIEWER: Now is Terry a boy or a girl?

ALVIE SPENCER: Terry’s a boy.

INTERVIEWER: A boy. OK. And do they still live in Carroll County, or?

ALVIE SPENCER: All three of them do. Yes.

INTERVIEWER: They do? OK. And they have children?

ALVIE SPENCER: Yeah. Well, Jennifer does.

INTERVIEWER: Jennifer does? What– what’s the name of the grandchildren?

ALVIE SPENCER: Um.

INTERVIEWER: Oh-oh. Now this is on tape and you forget the name of your grandkids. OK. We’ll– we’ll edit that part out.

ALVIE SPENCER: Isn’t that terrible? This is a senior moment.

[LAUGHTER]

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh God! Oh, God.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Well.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yeah. Forget that one.

INTERVIEWER: We’ll forget that one. OK. Grandkids will come on later. It’s OK, Alvie.

ALVIE SPENCER: It’s an odd name. That’s the reason why I’m having trouble.

INTERVIEWER: Something like Taylor, or Harlow, or Madison, or Chandler, or something like that, you know. The names today are very different.

ALVIE SPENCER: Come back to me. Ask me that one later.

INTERVIEWER: All right. All right. Now it’s interesting that so many of the people that grew up here, the families are still here. Why do you think that is? Still here in Patapsco? I mean, the names are named– the roads are all named after the families. And the families are still here. What do you think is the reason why?

ALVIE SPENCER: That’s a good question. I can’t answer that.

INTERVIEWER: But, it’s true, isn’t it?

ALVIE SPENCER: It’s true, yes.

INTERVIEWER: It’s true. There’s something– there’s something about the place– maybe– I don’t know– maybe magical, in a sense. Something, something that just keeps the people here. It must offer the people something. I mean.

ALVIE SPENCER: As I said, I can’t answer that. I don’t know.

INTERVIEWER: You can’t answer that. Now where do you live now?

ALVIE SPENCER: I live about two miles from here.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. So you’re still in Carroll County.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: OK. So you went away to school, and then you came back.

ALVIE SPENCER: I came back. Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Did you– did you find things had changed much?

ALVIE SPENCER: You referring to Patapsco?

INTERVIEWER: Yes.

ALVIE SPENCER: Somewhat, but not dramatically so. No.

INTERVIEWER: Are the people very different today than they were when you were a kid?

ALVIE SPENCER: No, most of the people, are either are contemporaries, or else offsprings of contemporaries.

INTERVIEWER: It’s wonderful isn’t it? And if you were to describe what is best about living in Patapsco, or living in Carroll County, what– what would that be?

ALVIE SPENCER: I guess the main thing is the fact the community, the fact that you knew everyone, and everyone I think was concerned about their neighbors, and compassionate people, kind and generous people.

When I was a youngster, and people were sick, you know, there was no hesitancy at all about people going to tend– tend after them, or look after them. It was that kind of community. It was a very close-knit community.

INTERVIEWER: Would you say that’s pretty much the same for the whole county? Do you think the county’s pretty much like that?

ALVIE SPENCER: No. Not at all.

INTERVIEWER: Not at all.

ALVIE SPENCER: Not at all.

INTERVIEWER: So Patapsco is a very unique spot within Carroll County.

ALVIE SPENCER: I think Patapsco– and I’m sure there’s other communities within Carroll County that have the same personality, the same character. But never having lived in any of them, I can’t, you know, I can’t give examples. But there’s a number of small communities in Carroll County that haven’t changed over the years.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And can you– can you think of perhaps one really vivid memory that stands out from your childhood? Something that really you remember to this day?

ALVIE SPENCER: One thing that comes to mind was the war years, and how the–

INTERVIEWER: Which war?

ALVIE SPENCER: The Second World War.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ALVIE SPENCER: And how the community came together to look after their serviceman, the– the people who were drafted into the Army, Navy, and so forth. And they were tough years. And we had several of them were killed.

And the women in the community, especially, got together and put on plays to raise money, to send money to the servicemen. And that went on for all during the war years, really.

INTERVIEWER: They actually sent money to the– the men in the service? Now why did they do that?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, they did it because they felt that they were– they were serving for them, looking out for their security, and that there was a small price to pay.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ALVIE SPENCER: And so they sent them food boxes and money. And the women would put on these plays. And they would take them on the road.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes. They were in such demand that they’d– they’d go to Hampstead and Manchester, and other places to– to put on these shows.

INTERVIEWER: Now these are the women of Patapsco.

ALVIE SPENCER: They were the Patapsco women.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my. Can you remember any of the ladies that were maybe were involved in that?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, certainly Vera’s mother, Miss Doris Barrack was involved. And–

INTERVIEWER: I didn’t hear the name.

ALVIE SPENCER: Doris Barrick.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Doris Barrick. Uh-huh.

ALVIE SPENCER: She was involved. My mother was Myrtle Spencer. She was involved. Miss Thelma Shafer was involved. Was Myrtle Moser, who has passed on. She’s– well, they’ve all passed on, really– was involved. Miss Ruth Knight I guess is the only one I can think of off-hand who’s still living.

INTERVIEWER: Now what were these plays? What sort of plays were they? I mean, since the men were pretty much gone.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: What were the plays about? Do you remember any of the plays, or?

ALVIE SPENCER: The only thing I remember was– they had some sort of a take-off on the Grand Ole Opry.

INTERVIEWER: And the ladies got up and sang and played instruments?

ALVIE SPENCER: Oh yeah, it was musicals.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

ALVIE SPENCER: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: My gosh. I wonder if anybody ever got that on tape? Filmed that?

ALVIE SPENCER: That was prior to high-tech.

INTERVIEWER: It was prior to that. OK. All right. And what you would have liked most about–

Was there– what did you like most about living here? What did you like most about growing up here in Carroll County, and in Patapsco in particular?

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, I think I referred to it earlier. I mean, just the fact that the close-knit community and companionship. And I lost track of a lot of my contemporaries as I went on. But they were certainly rich and fulfilling years.

INTERVIEWER: Wonderful. Wonderful. Is there any particular thing you’d like to for people to remember, people that– you want people to know?

ALVIE SPENCER: About what?

INTERVIEWER: About anything to do with living in Patapsco, or living in Carroll County.

ALVIE SPENCER: I think we’ve hit them all. I can’t recall anything we’ve missed.

You feel like we’ve pretty much covered all the bases that– that are important to you.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes, ma’am.

INTERVIEWER: Important to you. So– so now that you’re grown up, and you just live a couple of miles of away– and that’s interesting, because you could have gone to live anywhere.

ALVIE SPENCER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Why have you stayed here?

ALVIE SPENCER: My first wife died. And when I remarried, my second wife is from Western Pennsylvania. But she was on the faculty at the medical school in Baltimore.

And when she got accustomed to coming up here in Carroll County, she felt that this was a more desirable place to live than the Baltimore suburbs where she was living. And so she fell in love with the area. And so we built a home, just like I say, just several miles from here.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. All right. Well, Alvie, thank you very much. I am very grateful. And there’s nothing else you’d like to share or let us know.

ALVIE SPENCER: I think we’ve hit all the high points.

ALVIE SPENCER: We hit all the high– and did we get the name of your wife, now? Is she still alive, your wife?

ALVIE SPENCER: My second wife, yes.

INTERVIEWER: Yes. What is her name?

ALVIE SPENCER: Her name is Barbara White.

INTERVIEWER: Dr. Barbara White. OK. And is she still practicing?

ALVIE SPENCER: She’s– yes. She’s– she’s a scientist and medical doctor and PhD and all of that stuff.

INTERVIEWER: Where– where– where does she practice?

ALVIE SPENCER: She was on the faculty at the medical school in Baltimore, University of Maryland medical school. And then she decided she had enough of academia. And she’s moved on. She’s with MedImmune corporation doing clinical research.

INTERVIEWER: Clinical research. Ah, that’s wonderful.

ALVIE SPENCER: In the inflammation area. She’s a rheumatologist and an immunologist.

INTERVIEWER: Oh! That’s great. That’s great! OK. So how do you pretty much spend your time now?

ALVIE SPENCER: I read a lot. And I play tennis. And I am still running. And I still lift weights.

INTERVIEWER: Incredible. And your– your weight hasn’t changed probably 10 pounds your whole life.

ALVIE SPENCER: Nope. I am college weight. 160.

INTERVIEWER: That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much for your time–

ALVIE SPENCER: Well, thank you very much.

INTERVIEWER: –today. I appreciate it.