Ed Gardner 2

Ed Beard shares more about Sykesville and his life in Carroll County.

Transcription

INTERVIEWER: Hey I’m uh, John D. [INAUDIBLE], and joining me today, again, is, uh, Ed Gardner. Uh, it’s January 23rd, 2009. Uh. Uh. He is uh, uh going to be interviewing for a second time. The last time we were together Ed was, uh, some weeks ago, and you gave a lot of information about Sykesville, where you grew up. And you have a lot more information, and that’s why you’re back today. To share that with, uh, Carroll County and future historians. Uh, let’s uh, let’s review a little bit. Uh. Where’d you grow up in Sykesville?

ED GARDNER: Uh. First Street in, in Sykesville.

INTERVIEWER: And what– is there is the house still there?

ED GARDNER: Oh yes.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: And

ED GARDNER: The, uh, property is, uh, now part of the nursing home.

INTERVIEWER: Ah, OK. And how long has it been in– how long before that had been in the family, the house? Uh.

ED GARDNER: Oh. Uh. 75 years.

INTERVIEWER: 75 years. Now you said– told me earlier that it was about two acre, uh, lot.

ED GARDNER: Yea. Two acre parcel ran from First Street through to Second Avenue.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. And, uh, you had a cow, and what else did you have?

ED GARDNER: My father, in the earlier years, had a, had a cow. Uh. And then after I came along, we had, uh, hogs. Uh. We had, uh, two chicken houses. Uh. We had our own chickens to kill, to have for the year, plus, uh, the eggs that they produced. And, uh, when we didn’t have electricity, uh, my father, uh, would raise the peepees at the gas station in Eldersburg. Uh. Because you needed electric birders, and they didn’t bring them home, uh, until they were able to be without, uh, heat

INTERVIEWER: And your father’s name, full name.

ED GARDNER: George Nathaniel Gardner.

INTERVIEWER: And your mother’s.

ED GARDNER: Mabel Bennett Gardner.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And, uh, so you actually– he took them to the service station. Where’s that. Uh.

ED GARDNER: In Eldersburg at the crossing of 32 a 26.

INTERVIEWER: And that’s where the Exxon station is now. Is that correct?

ED GARDNER: Yes. Uh huh.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Uh. What is the house been changed at all, as far as.

ED GARDNER: Oh yes. They’ve added onto it. It looks nothing like it did when I lived there.

INTERVIEWER: Is that right.

ED GARDNER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of architecture was it? Was it any special.

ED GARDNER: Uh. No. Just, just a regular farm type house.

INTERVIEWER: Farm type house.

ED GARDNER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Nothing fancy.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm. OK. Yeah you’ve shared with me a list of, uh, of a lot of memories that you’ve had, uh, as you looked over the last DVD we did. And, uh, uh, maybe you want to talk about some of the businesses that we’re in Sykesville then, and, and the people who ran them.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Yes. I overlooked, uh, quite a few, uh, that would be of interest. Uh. William F. Arrington and Son had, uh, a pole line, uh, construction, uh, for the electric lines along the major highways. Uh. They went as far away as, uh, Cumberland and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Uh. They had, uh, multiple crews that worked out of, uh, Sykesville, doing that work. Uh. We had, uh, two trucking companies that worked out of Sykesville. Uh. Verdon Linton and, uh, Grover Lions. Uh. And did general hauling. Uh. Originally construction company that operated right out of downtown Sykesville with, uh, grading and road building. And they also, uh, helped out in the heavy winters, opening the county roads in the lower part of the county.

We had a family by the name of Resnick that started out in town as– in a grocery store. And later on they, uh, sold the grocery store and went into a furniture and household appliances. And moved, uh. Had originally on Main Street but then moved further up on Springfield Avenue and built a large new store that is now, uh, Dunnrite patio furniture and that type of stuff. But they had all lines of furniture and household appliances and, uh, bottled gas, uh, delivery. Uh.

We had a, a Joseph Spineke had a shoe repair shop. And it was top notch. He was, uh, a craftsman. Uh. He, uh, made, uh, custom boots for the horse people in, uh, Howard and Carroll county. Uh. The building was moved back off of Main Street, and a store was put in its place. The [INAUDIBLE] that I’d mentioned in the later date. But the building is owned now by the town, and it, uh, was made into, uh, a duplex. And they’re now talking about moving it again and making room for another, uh, a larger municipal parking lot. Uh.

We’ve talked a little about, about, uh, food. We have, uh– we had two sit down restaurants and two, uh, stores that had the. The drugstore had a soda fountain. And we added a– R. K. Barnes had a, like a novelty, uh, store with a soda fountain, and they served sandwiches. And that was, actually, the, uh, teen hang out in the ’40s. They had a jukebox and a, a dance floor. And, uh, at that time, I wasn’t old enough to go in, but I could stand out on the sidewalk and watch the, the, the teenagers jitterbugging. And that was a big deal.

INTERVIEWER: Sure.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Then there was a time period where you couldn’t even buy a hot dog in Sykesville. Uh. But, uh, now we have, uh, uh, two very nice sit down restaurants with, uh, Beck’s and Baldwin’s. And two ladies have opened up a, a really an upscale tea room. That is doing good and it’s wonderful. Uh. And then further up, uh, uh, Springfield Avenue, up in the residential area, uh, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Zimmerman had a little tea room and, uh, deli.

And, uh, they did a lot of business with the patients at Springfield State hospital before the hospital had a canteen of their own. The, uh, patients, uh, that had ground privileges or had money to spend, could call them, and a gentleman by the name of Reds Baker used to pack up a car load of stuff. And, sometimes, he would make as many as two or three deliveries a day, uh, over to the patients at Springfield hospital.

INTERVIEWER: You talked about [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: About the weigh train on the last day. Uh. And I overlooked, uh, two things. Uh. There was a sideline that came from the Vienna railroad, up through the residential area, uh, and to Springfield State hospital. And, uh, they made two or three trips a day, depending on the need. But that was terminated when the powerhouse at Springfield was converted from coal to oil. Uh. Because the main use of that line was to get coal into the powerhouse, where they generated their heat and everything. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: Is that what you refer to as the dinkie?

ED GARDNER: Ah dinkie, yes. Uh. When the, uh, line was terminated and the engine was sold. And the curator at the Gate House Museum Jim Purman, uh, who was a historic curator. And, uh, he tracked the sale of that to, uh, a lumber yard down in Virginia somewhere. And made some attempt to raise money to buy it and bring it back, but, uh, it never, uh, materialized.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little about the Gate House Museum.

ED GARDNER: Uh. That was, uh, started, uh, the downtown in the townhouse. Uh. Uh. The Grand Am of Sykesville, Miss Thelma Wimmer. Uh. She went around and collected artifacts from people that she knew were hoarding them up. And, uh, uh, it just took off. And, uh, uh, uh, now, uh, uh, with, uh, Jim Purman’s help, who has passed away several years ago. Uh. A lady by the name of Kari Greenwalt is the curator there now. And, uh, they have, I guess, almost a overgrown their, uh, space there, in the old gate house. And there is some talk about, uh, moving it, uh, to a proposed park area in the old apple butter warehouse, uh, just across the bridge in Howard County in Sykesville.

INTERVIEWER: Is Sykesville partly in Howard County, then and.

ED GARDNER: Well most of the– well, all the town is in Carroll County.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, this property happens to be in, in Howard County. And there was a deal struck, uh, several years ago, uh, to make that, uh, abandoned property a park. And it’s in the works, uh, to develop that into a park area, uh, for the use of the locals.

INTERVIEWER: Now the house where the, where the town council is, and the mayor. They’re actually in a house, uh, uh. Who, who owned that house, and how long have they been in there?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Well. It’s a large, large home, uh, in my, uh, memory. Uh. Mr. Jim Ridgely, uh, that had the construction company, lived there. Uh. It is a large, large house. And the town acquired it. And, uh, has since, uh, made additions onto it for, uh, a meeting room and, uh, offices for the town. And they built a building off from it, for the police department and for maintenance for the, uh, uh, town vehicles. Uh. The trucks that collect the garbage and remove the snow and what have you.

INTERVIEWER: Uh. Of these businesses, when you were a little, a little boy, very small, you said you– you were free to go around town. Did you, uh, did anyone, kind of– did you like one of the proprietors more than another? Did you, kind of, get close to any of them, as a little boy? And how are they [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: Oh. Absolutely. Um in a. Uh. I’d mentioned, uh, the, the Spinikki family. Uh. They were Italians. Uh. One of the children, Fred, was my age. Uh. There was, uh.

INTERVIEWER: Fred, Fred what’s the

ED GARDNER: Spinikki.

INTERVIEWER: Spinikki. OK.

ED GARDNER: Uh. When they retired they have moved here, to Westminster. But, uh, they had an older girl and, and son that were older than I was. And then they had a child late in life, uh, Joe. But Mrs. Spinikki was, uh, a jolly lady. Uh. Short, heavy set, with big brown eyes. And when she would see me on the street, she would pat me on the head and said Eddie how is Mabel and George. I mean, uh, it was just like a big family.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, the Resnicks uh, their daughter was in my class in school. Uh. But they, uh, lived over top of their, uh, store when they had the grocery store. But when they went into the furniture business, they moved to Baltimore. And, uh, but stayed very close contact with, uh, uh, people in Sykesville. Uh. My family, when my sisters married and moved away, they brought their husbands back to Sykesville to buy furniture.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: Because of the, the close knit, they knew that they would get a deal and would get quality products from the, the local businesses that we had dealt with for years.

INTERVIEWER: Now did you mention a butcher shop at all? Did you have a butcher shop or.

ED GARDNER: They, uh. No. The, uh, the grocery stores did a lot of custom cutting. Uh. They had a butcher, uh, uh, Henry Forsyth in Sykesville. Uh. Had Mr. Fred Durney was his butcher to do custom cuts. And the, uh, meat came in by quarters or sides and was broken down at the store. Uh, the Harris’, uh, grocery store, uh, gentleman by the name of Leslie Holman was the meat cutter there. And practiced the same way. The meat came in, uh, I think was mostly from S K in Baltimore, in either quarters or sides. And it was broken down, and the hamburger was ground and, uh. I know, I worked at Henry Forsyth’s, for a little while. And, uh.

INTERVIEWER: What did you do for him?

ED GARDNER: Everything. Uh. Nothing came prepackaged then. He bought– he had his own truck and went to town and, and brought the produce back. And, uh, he had to weight the potatoes out in five pound bags and, uh, just such things as that. Uh. A lot of stuff was bulk. He had the bulk cookie rack and, uh, uh, that. He had home delivery. Uh. People would call their orders in, and then he would take the order off of a clipboard and go around, fill it, and box it up. And, um, a gentleman by the name of Bill Hudson, that worked at Springfield, would come in, in the afternoons and, uh, gather all that stuff up and deliver it into the wee hours of the evening. Come in 6, 7 o’clock at night, making his deliveries.

INTERVIEWER: Now you said, uh, that uh like, we have– nothing was pre-packaged. How did your dad, uh, receive cars? Uh. Tell me a little bit about that.

ED GARDNER: They came in on the, uh, on the, the flat freight cars. Uh. And they weren’t assembled like, uh, the cars that the dealerships receive today. Uh. You had the, uh, the drive train with the wheels and axles on it and then from the windshield forward. But, uh, you stocked the body. And if a person wanted a two door car, you put a two door body on it. If they wanted a four door car, you put a, uh, sedan four door body on it. Or if they wanted a pickup truck, you put a cab and a pickup body on the, the same chassis. Uh. A lot of people didn’t realize that.

INTERVIEWER: Now that was whe– when you had Model T’s. Was it. How long did it continue? Uh.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

INTERVIEWER: Do you know?

ED GARDNER: Just mostly through the, the Model T. And then the beginning of the Model A era.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Because, uh, uh, the– I think the– I think my dad lost the business in early ’30s. So, uh. But they were starting to come through factory assembled them.

INTERVIEWER: Uh, so your dad, kind of, transitioned to the service station. Is that what he did? Uh. From Ottawa Bell.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. But well, not directly. He, uh, he had a, a little shop that’s no longer there on, uh, uh, Springfield Avenue. It was, uh, just a carriage shed that, uh. He just, uh, worked on people’s automobiles. Uh. And you have to understand, when you sold an automobile back in the late ’20s, you not only sold the car and maintained it, but you had to teach the person to drive. Uh. And there’s a lot of, uh, stories out of that. Uh. Where a man that had never driven a piece of machinery but was always used to driving horses. And he run up to a place where he had to stop and instead of hitting the brake, he’d holler whoa. Uh

But, uh, my father had some amusing stories. And I only ever came across one person that, uh, that remembers that. Uh. And that happens to be the, the wife of the gentleman that bought the building and turned it into a bowling alley. Uh. Ms. Hurt. She told me, one time, that she remembered coming to Sykesville with her father, uh, to get his car serviced. And he remembered that, uh, he appreciated, uh, George Gardner teaching him to drive.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, that was, uh, really unique.

INTERVIEWER: Whe– when did your dad move out to, uh, to the, uh, corner there?

ED GARDNER: Uh. I think the date was probably about, uh, 35′, 36′.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: It was before I was born, in 1937.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But the, uh, uh, the building was, uh, uh– it was just a little one room for his, uh, accessories for, like for oil, and stuff.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: There wasn’t much. Uh. He did more repairs, uh, tire repairs, rather than tire sales. Uh, because he didn’t have the, uh, the area to, to stock that, uh, kind of stuff. First you had, in the winter time, you had your antifreeze, which wasn’t permanent, at the time. It was zerone, which was really a pain because, uh, if you’ve got a cold snap, people were lined up to get their antifreeze tested. Because, uh, your zerone evaporated. And if you had a long driveway, and spun and overheated your engine, you might have been below zero when you started, but by the time you got into your house, you’ve probably lost all your– the strength of your antifreeze.

And, uh, that was, uh, a big change, when they, uh, after the war, when permanent antifreeze, ethylene glycol antifreeze. It was permanent, and you had to sell the people on the fact that it was permanent. They didn’t need to test it all the time. That once it was installed, unless it leaked out, um, and they were safe. But the, uh– and there was no inside place to repair, there. We had a grease pit, as you pulled the car over. And then you went down the ladder into the pit to, uh, work underneath the vehicle. Uh. Which was, uh, very unsafe because it was a greasy, oily mess down there and there was always a chance of fire.

And,uh. if you would have a fire, I mean, you’re down in that hole. And it’s really a, a death trap.

INTERVIEWER: Has that happened in– have you–

ED GARDNER: I have heard. I have heard stories. Uh. I, uh, didn’t– I wasn’t old enough to, to work at the station, but I was there, as a child. Uh. And, uh, the service stations, even the ones that were in Sykesville, uh, they had the same facility. They had a pit, rather than, uh, than lifts to raise the car in the air. I, uh, had an incident, one time, riding my bicycle, seeing how close I could ride around, around, and around one. And, uh, they had a little brick lip, and my front tire hit that little lip and flipped me down into the, into the pit.

INTERVIEWER: Did you get a broken arm or anything?

ED GARDNER: No, I didn’t break anything. Just, uh, bruised my pride and, uh, had to explain my greasy clothes when I got home to my mother.

INTERVIEWER: You know, you said to me earlier about what your father taught you. You said that, uh, you did a lot of your learning, uh, from the seat of your pants. And, uh.

ED GARDNER: Yes

INTERVIEWER: Your father was very instrumental in teaching you about mechanics and so on and his philosophy. Can you talk a little bit about that.

ED GARDNER: His philosophy was to do something and do it right. Uh. And because we were a local business working with local people, that kept their vehicles for a long time, in that period. You didn’t have people trading every year, uh, like you do now. Uh. He would remind me that when I put something together, that nine times out of 10, if, uh, it had to come down again, I would be the one to do it. And to forget about these miracle cements that, uh, put things together forever. Because you don’t want to have to tear it apart with a sledgehammer and bust it up. You want it to come apart so it can be repaired.

And I associated myself, uh– I was lucky to, uh, work with, uh, good mechanics that were my mentors. And, uh, I learned a lot from them. And that gave me a lot of basics. That was another thing that my dad said. Don’t always blame the new boy on the block. The new inventions, he meant.

And he said that because the old principles are still there and, unless something miraculously happens, they’ll never change. Your basics are always there. It doesn’t– your problem doesn’t always have to be with a, a new engineered addition. That a lot of mechanics would try to blame on the, the new inventions, rather than, uh, fall back on the old standby.

INTERVIEWER: Your, uh, father seemed to have a lot of wisdom. Also by the seat of his pants. I mean, you said his, his, uh. I sense that his temperament. He had a very good temperament, very even, is that right? Pretty–

ED GARDNER: Uh, he could be riled.

INTERVIEWER: He could be.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, but yes, he was a good teacher. He had a lot of patience. Uh. There was one thing that, uh, I will never forget. Uh. When he first, uh, turned me loose to replace a water pump on a, an old flat-head model Ford. He heard me tapping it with a hammer and tapping it with a hammer, and he came by. And, uh, I told him it wouldn’t come loose, and I had done everything appropriate.

But he said, go up into that water jacket and get that other bolt out that’s up in there. Uh. Which wasn’t visible. You couldn’t see that. You had to know that, that bold was there. Uh. But it was just such things as that. Uh. He had a, a good sense of humor. Uh.

A lot of times, uh– I know several times people would ask, uh, either for directions or ask for a person. One time a man would ask for Mr. Walter Brizell. And my father said, you’ll find him just about a mile up Liberty Road at Wesley Freedom Church. And the man said, well, was he the custodian there? And my father said, no, he’s dead there. Just, just such things as that. And, uh, being there on that corner in Eldersburg all those years, uh, uh. There were just such circumstances like that, that arose. Uh.

We had a, a Guhno state policeman, one time, that, uh, followed the customer into the station and wrote him a speeding ticket. And, uh, my father approached him and asked him, please don’t to do that again. Either stop them before or after they leave the station. And he pointed to his Corporal stripes on his shoulder and said, uh, this authors– gives me the authority to do this. And my father told him, yes, I wore one of them in World War I, but I didn’t let it make a fool out of me. Uh. Just, just such things as that.

INTERVIEWER: Now could you, uh– you talked about the freezer, uh, uh, company, too. [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: Yes, uh, before the time of home freezers, uh, we had a freezer plant, uh, in Sykesville. Uh. You could rent, a, a box to buy a, a side of beef or, like, when we killed 25 or 30 chickens. Uh. You could– my dad had a box there to put that in. Uh.

At the gas station, we dealt with a lot of farmers that bartered. They would, uh, buy us so many hundreds of gallons of gas, for a side of beef. And my dad would accept that as payment for that market price for, uh, the gasoline that they bought to use in their tractor. Uh. And, uh, we would have that to cut up and, and put in the, uh, freezer box.

At one time, my dad had three freezer drawers there. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: How big are they? How big are the drawers?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Oh, about a, a foot deep and, maybe, three foot wide and five foot deep, in a drawer.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. OK

ED GARDNER: You could get a pretty good portion of, uh, meat in there. Uh. At the time, that there was one in Sykesville, there was one in Ellicott City. And also, uh, Wagner’s in Mt. Airy. But, uh, the advent of, of, of home freezers put them out of business. Uh.

The Resnick family bought the one that was bes– it was actually beside their store. So they bought the one in Sykesville and turned it into a warehouse for their furniture.

INTERVIEWER: How did they do the refrigeration? Was it, uh, just like, like it is today or.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] electric.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Freezing. Uh. And of course, the, the one in, uh, in Mt. Airy is, uh, a meat store, butcher shop, now. But it– I don’t think that it, it any longer rents, uh, space for freezing. They use it all themselves.

INTERVIEWER: Where did they, uh, do venison? Uh. When the hunters came in, did the hunters all do their own or, uh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. The majority of the time, back then, they did but, uh, uh, now the, uh, the local butcher shops, uh, butcher the, uh, venison. Uh. Bullocks, there on Route 32. Uh. Wagner’s in Mt. Airy, uh, do a lot of, uh, of game for the hunters.

INTERVIEWER: What, what were your tr– you know, as a little boy before– when did you go to the service station? When did you start working there? How, how old were you?

ED GARDNER: About, uh, 14.

INTERVIEWER: 14.

ED GARDNER: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: And how– did you work s– like part-time after school?

ED GARDNER: Oh yeah. Yeah. The weekends and, and after school. Uh. I couldn’t, uh, do much. Anything that I had to do was, was on premises because I had no driver’s license.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: My dad tried to, to get me privileges to drive. But, uh, uh, the magistrate wouldn’t go for it. I had wait till I was 16.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. Now, at that time, like, if you had a tractor, farm, farm kids could drive a tractor, couldn’t they?

ED GARDNER: Yes. Yeah, the, the farm boys could get by with it because, uh, uh. They even drove the, uh, the, the big trucks with a– hauling hay and everything.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, I wasn’t allowed to do that.

INTERVIEWER: Now, before you went to your father’s, what kind of chores did you have at home with the animals? Did you have any particular chores?

ED GARDNER: Yeah, feed chickens, uh, uh, gather eggs, uh, uh, mow the lawn, uh, which was rather large. Plus I had to.

INTERVIEWER: How did you mow the lawn? What what did you use?

ED GARDNER: By hand. By hand.

INTERVIEWER: Was it a hand push mower?

ED GARDNER: Hand, hand push mower. Uh. We later got a power reel mower but, uh, uh, the earlier years was a hand reel mower. I used a little ingenuity. I put a rope in front of it and had one of my friends pull, while I guided. But, uh, uh, we later got a, a power lawnmower. And, uh, I also mowed, uh, a couple lawns in town, to get extra money.

INTERVIEWER: Now did you a– did the animals eat some of the grass, or did you have to mow the whole two acres?

ED GARDNER: Uh. No. Uh. There was about an acre and a half of grass that had to be cut. Uh. When I was, uh, that age, we had no animals that were, that were out loose. Uh. We had done away with the cow. Uh. The hogs were in a pen. They had to have the food cared to them. Uh.

Sunday mornings, the hogs always got a treat. They got a cooked meal. My dad would get day old bread and, uh, and, uh, add the chicken land mash to it and water and cook it down on an old stove, my mother had out on the back porch. And, uh they would really get into that, uh the slop.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah–

ED GARDNER: And–

INTERVIEWER: Go ahead.

ED GARDNER: And grained corn and, uh, pull the lambsquarter and weeds from the garden and throw over the fence to the hogs.

INTERVIEWER: Now, say in August, where you cut that grass, uh, that, that’d take you a little while. Didn’t it?

ED GARDNER: Yes, and we had apple tree in the yard, and, of course, they had to be gathered up, before you mowed. Uh, It was an extensive job.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. I see.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And if the, uh, if you let the grass– if we had an extensive raining period, and the grass got heavy, then it had to be raked. Because it, it couldn’t lay on the, the grass and, and kill the grass. It had to be raked and removed.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. Yeah. That had to be pr– pretty big job I would say.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Yes. [INAUDIBLE]

INTERVIEWER: Keep, keep you out of trouble, I imagine.

ED GARDNER: Oh, absolutely. And, uh, the several lawns that I mowed in the community, uh, [INAUDIBLE] gave me, a, a different outlook on, uh, on adults to, uh, kind of, guide myself and my adulthood, the way I treated children. Uh.

They arranged for me to mow their yard with my mother. And, uh, my mother bargained for at $0.75 an hour. So they would time me, when I would mow the first time. And, uh, like say if it took me an hour and a half, uh, that came to a $1 and $0.50. So that’s what they would pay me, every time I mowed the yard.

But if they had an apple tree, and I had to gather the apples and carry them off, before I started mowing, I got no extra money, for the extra time.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, one lady– I was mowing the lawn for her. A friend of mine came by, and, and I stopped, and we talked for a little while. And when I finished mowing, and put the mower away, and went to get my money, she docked me $0.25 because I stopped and talked to my friend for awhile.

INTERVIEWER: Is that right.

ED GARDNER: Well after I got to be older, I realized they cheated me because my time was already clocked. And, uh, they weren’t timing me each individual time.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: So, uh, uh, adults need to be aware. [INTERPOSING VOICES]

INTERVIEWER: So that, that [INAUDIBLE] as an adult, and how you look at children. And you treat children was much different from that experience.

ED GARDNER: Absolutely. I, I, I have always treated the children to respect me, not, not only them. But after they got to be older, too. Not to, uh, have any, uh, grudges against that man that, that did him wrong.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh.

INTERVIEWER: Did you have a bakery in town?

ED GARDNER: No. Uh. We had a gentleman. I talked about, uh, all the businesses that had been in the, uh, building that, uh, my dad had to dealership. We had a man that tried to, to run a donut shop, there. He bought a donut machine.

INTERVIEWER: Uh. What year was that, would you say?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Mm. Late ’40s, I guess. But it didn’t go.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. It didn’t hardly last three or four months, I guess.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: It really lost big time. Uh. It just, it just didn’t go.

INTERVIEWER: So you uh– the grocery store sold some sweets, cakes, or a.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Packaged.

INTERVIEWER: Packaged.

ED GARDNER: Uh. From the, the [INAUDIBLE] commercial bakeries.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Because, you see, a lot of the women were, were at home. You didn’t have the women working out of the home. And they did their own baking.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, uh, we very rarely ever bought anything, uh, in the sweet line, from the store. Uh. My mother made, uh, cakes, and she made, uh, baked bread. And, uh, during the holidays, she would start in, uh, late October, early November, making fruit cakes for Christmas. And, uh, people laugh when I tell them that, uh, she’d mix them up in a wash tub. Because she made 25 or 30 fruitcakes.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, would wrap them in cloth and, uh pour brandy over top of them. And put them in a wash boiler and pack them away, down in the basement. And we had fruitcake to eat at Easter.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: And bake cookies and get the tins from the postal department. And send ci– uh, cookies to the service men during World War II.

INTERVIEWER: Huh.

ED GARDNER: That was a, a big thing for my mother because, uh, she had a son over there.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, everybody was, uh, involved with the war effort in World War II.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Paper drives. Scrap metal drives. Uh. The high school kids would collect. And it was a central area, at the school. And then the trucks would come in and, and gather up what, uh, the kids had collected around, over the community.

INTERVIEWER: Ah. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Bundles of newspaper and, and piles and piles of tin cans, uh, for the war effort.

INTERVIEWER: Did you have, uh, ration books, then or.

ED GARDNER: Ration books. Absolutely. Yeah. Uh. Uh. My wife is German descent, and she has cousins in Germany, that we visit quite often. And they visit us. And they didn’t realize that the United States was as hard up, and, and there are citizens sacrificed, as much as we did. They, uh, thought that we were, really, the crown jewels. That we were really living it up. You know. They didn’t, they didn’t realize the hardship that we faced. Uh.

I couldn’t have a pair of hard shoes because, uh, my father needed shoes. Uh. My sisters needed shoes that worked in defense work. And we didn’t have enough stamps for me to have shoes. I ran around house bare-footed. I had a dress pair of shoes that I wore when I went to church. But, uh, I didn’t wear them out playing in the yard. You know. They had to be kept nice.

INTERVIEWER:So you went barefoot. Uh. During– now what’d you do during winter months, and, uh.

ED GARDNER: Oh. We had, uh, galoshes.

INTERVIEWER: Galoshes.

ED GARDNER: And, uh we had a– you could get one pair of shoes.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But you just, uh, treated them very good.

INTERVIEWER: Very good.

ED GARDNER: Yes. And, of course, that’s where Mr. Spinikki came in, with the half souls and heels.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And shoes were quality. They were real leather. They weren’t, uh, paste board tops like they are now. Sometimes your cheaper shoes. Uh. I can remember, uh, before Mr. Spinikki went out of business, he would look at a pair of shoes and say no good, no good, with his Italian accent.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. The, the, the top wasn’t worth putting a new bottom on.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. So, uh, and that. In the, uh, gas station, that was, uh, a thing that my dad had to confront, too, with the rationing. You had, uh, uh, stickers for your window, on your car, that allotted you to your gallonage of gasoline. And, uh, a lot of people would, if they had the money, they would think that, uh, my dad should sell them the gasoline, whether they were, uh, qualified to get it or not. And that, uh, made some enemies.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm. Course your dad could get in trouble, too, if he did sell.

ED GARDNER: Oh, yes. Yes. Right. And then the, uh, the, the farmers that, uh, because of the, uh, tractor age just coming on, they didn’t have storage for gasoline on their farms. Uh. Because some of them only had just one single tractor. And, uh, they would bring a 55-gallon barrel in a pickup truck, and get it filled at the station. And, uh, my dad would keep a record of that because that was, uh, road tax free.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, every quarter, my dad would give those farmers their statement, or to get their road tax money back, off of that, uh, fuel that they used on the farm, in their tractor.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. OK

ED GARDNER: And, uh. Where now, most of the farmers that, uh, have all this big equipment that burn thousands of gallons of fuel. They have their own storage tanks, you know, and get, uh, home delivery now.

INTERVIEWER: Uh. The, uh, rat– ration book, itself, did people just carry it around? What was it like?

Yeah It was, uh, uh, a book about, uh, six or eight inches long, by about four. And, uh, the stamps were just like postage stamps, only, uh, they weren’t square. They were, kind of, triangular. And, uh, you had so many stamps for– I forget how it was all– de– but you had, you had your sugar stamps. And you had, uh, uh, they were designated for different things, and you only had so many stamps.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Then when your stamps were gone, um, and, uh, you couldn’t buy.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Who distributed, distributed them in town? How did that work?

ED GARDNER: I am not sure. I’m not sure where they– how they were distributed.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But I remember them very well. I mean, uh, uh. And not only the, uh, the stamps but, uh, you had the saving stamps was a big promotion, even in our schools. You had to, uh, the military man on the stamp, you’d, uh, buy saving stamps.

INTERVIEWER: And what are– what were those? Uh. Explain those a little bit more.

ED GARDNER: Uh. They were just in, in– you could buy, I think it was just for like $0.25. Where a savings bond would be, maybe, $25. You could get a, a savings stamp.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, it was big in the schools. And then after the war, they discontinued the stamps. And the, uh, schools made an arrangement with the bank, for a saving system. And you could just deposit $0.2 or $0.3, on banking day. And that went on until I was, like, in the six or seventh grade. And then, uh, when the banks started discontinuing their services that cost too much money for them to, to fool with that little bit of money. So, uh, that was, uh, went by the wayside.

INTERVIEWER: Speaking of stamps. They also had, uh, the other kind the stores gave you. Right? Uh.

ED GARDNER: Oh. The S&H.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. S&H.

ED GARDNER: Yeah, well the– there was more than just the S&H. There was, uh, there were several of those. Where you saved them in a book. You got so many stamps for each dollar you spent. And then when you got a book full, you could redeem them for so many dollars worth of merchandise.

It was a big deal. Uh. A lot of gas stations did it. Uh. Clothing stores. Grocery stores. Uh. My father never got into it, at the gas station. But, uh, a lot of the, uh, the stores did. And it was a big deal, I mean to save savings stamps. And I think S&H even had their own stores that you could go and redeem for premiums at their, their stores, rather than, uh, than turning them in for the dollar value.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me, uh, about the funeral home. Uh. Where was that before they moved out, and so on. And who–

ED GARDNER: Right, right down in town. Right at the, at the, the beginning of Main Street. Uh. And Central Avenue goes down into town and becomes Main Street. The funeral home was right there. Uh. Mr. Harry Weer and later, uh, Luther Haight was, uh, a partner. And it was, uh, Weer and Haight. And, uh, now they’re both deceased, and it’s, uh, in the Haight family. Uh. Brian.

Harry Weer, Brian’s father, was deceased several years ago. And now it’s, uh, Brian. And, I think, his sister, Paige, is also, uh, a partner there, along with his mother.

INTERVIEWER: And they’re located down on, uh.

ED GARDNER: It’s out on 32. 32.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Area called Grand View.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

ED GARDNER: Is, uh, is what that little settlement is called there on that hill.

INTERVIEWER: As a little boy, what were funerals like, then? How did you look at them? Was it a scary thing? Was it a respect thing?

ED GARDNER: It, it wasn’t scary, but it was very somber. Uh. The, uh, first funeral I can remember attending was my grandmother’s. Uh. Very somber. Uh. And then I, kind of, debated, uh, funerals, for a long time. Uh. And when I started losing my own friends, and started going back, the atmosphere has really changed. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: How so?

ED GARDNER: Well, it’s not that somber attitude anymore. It’s more jovial.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And I think it’s a show the times, too. Because, uh, you never went to a funeral home without a, a white tie– white shirt and tie and, and jacket. Uh. I was in Haight’s just the other day, and, uh, a man came in that had been jogging. With his, uh, Spandex and tank top and his water bottle, on his hip. And, uh, you would have never have gone into a funeral home in the 40’s like that. Uh. That would have been disgraceful.

INTERVIEWER: Did the women wear black then or, uh was it.

ED GARDNER: Yes. And hats. Uh. You didn’t go into a church or a funeral home with your head uncovered. Uh. But there, again, it’s just the changing times.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Of how times have changed. Everything is more casual. I haven’t got used to seeing in the newscaster on TV, yet, without a, a tie.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And now it’s common practice. You see your newsreels, your, your government, uh, attache people. Tie less. Open collar.

INTERVIEWER: You sh– you mention newreels. Was there, was there– there was a movie theater in Sykesville, wasn’t there.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Uh huh.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little bit. I think we talked a little bit about that last time. But.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Uh. There was, uh, over top of the arcade building. Uh. You could see a, a feature length film.

INTERVIEWER: And where was that ar– the arcade building? Where?

ED GARDNER: It’s on the, uh, right hand side, uh, uh, three quarters of the way down, uh, Main Street on. Going south, it would be on the right hand side. It was over top of the, uh, the State Bank. The building was called the arcade building.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. It was a regular size, uh, uh, theater room. I don’t– it probably held, uh, maybe 100 people.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh

INTERVIEWER: Do you go there, see movies, uh.

ED GARDNER: Yes, on, uh, Saturday, uh, nights, uh. I guess, the earliest time I can remember, you could get in for a quarter. Uh. Course, uh, being a small operation, uh, you could get a small bag of popcorn, but they didn’t have any drinks. There was no drink fountain or anything or a candy bar, uh, sales like you do in the theaters now.

INTERVIEWER: Did they have a projector room so you.

ED GARDNER: Projector room. Yeah. Mr. Dave Dean was the, uh, projectionist. And, uh, his, uh, mother sold tickets. And, uh, you could have– you’d have your, uh. Talking about your newsreels. Course it was before television. When the show started, you started with your newsreels. Of, a– Of course, the war going on in Europe was popular. All that, uh, morbid bombing and, and the air raids. Anything that was current in the news was about 15 minutes or maybe. And then you had your Looney Tunes, your comic strip. Uh, uh. And then you might have a selected short. That would be The Three Stooges or, uh, uh, something along that line. And then you’d have your feature film, for $0.25.

INTERVIEWER: Wow.

ED GARDNER: And it was a big deal, when it went up to 35. Because that was really getting into your allowance, when it went up $0.10. Oh. But then, uh, but that waned, uh. Two local men, Ted Barnes and, uh, uh, shucks, I can’t think of his partner now, took it over. And it lasted up into, uh, the early 50’s. And then they formed a, uh, three partnership. And went out just past Eldersburg on route 32, and put in a drive in movie theater. On the Ruby properly.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ED GARDNER: And that lasted about 10 years. And it’s, uh, got houses on it now. But, uh, that was the extent of the, uh, movies in the area, for that period of time. Uh. [INAUDIBLE].

INTERVIEWER: The newsreels. Did you, uh– was that something everybody looked forward to? I mean, did they– was it a major source of your news? Or newspapers were probably pretty.

ED GARDNER: Newspapers. Newspapers and radio.

INTERVIEWER: Now did you have a local newspaper there?

ED GARDNER: Sykesville Harold.

INTERVIEWER: Sykesville Harold.

ED GARDNER: Mr. Fred Church at the Sykesville Harold. Uh It was interesting, too, the type was set by hand. Uh. There again, the, uh, two ladies that set the type, uh. Mrs. David Dean and, uh, lady by the name of Spariger. And it was hot up in the third story of that, uh, building where the paper was. The type was all set by hand. Uh. The plates put over on, uh, the table and, and inked down with the roller, and the press brought down over them. And done just one sheet at a time.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my.

ED GARDNER: And put together and folded and stacked up and put out on the.

INTERVIEWER: How many sheets was there, generally, in a paper?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Four, four pages, which would then, uh, uh, two double sheets.

INTERVIEWER: Two double sheets.

ED GARDNER: With the advertising and, and everything. And the local news and, uh. The, uh, Gate House Museum has, uh, in their archives, has quite a few of the– I don’t know whether it is actually complete, but, uh, I know they, uh. You can go there and research, uh, history out at the Sykesville Harold. There at the Gate House Museum.

INTERVIEWER: You mentioned, uh, the– we’ve got just a little bit of time left. Uh. You mentioned, uh, $0.25 to $0.35 for a movie. What other– what were the prices of, say, an ice cream cone or candy for you, when you were that age? What– give us some idea of, of a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. Or.

ED GARDNER: Well, you had penny candy. You had the Mary Janes, and, uh, uh, they were a penny. But then, the majority of your candy bars were a nickel. And, uh, I can remember.

INTERVIEWER: Were they the same– about the same size they are now or comparable?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Larger.

INTERVIEWER: Larger.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Uh. I remember, I guess, when I was in about the seventh or eighth grade, uh, Curtis came out with the large Baby Ruth. It was a quarter pound.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. For, uh, like, $0.12 or $0.15. And, uh, my golly, now, I mean, the, uh, big dollar and $0.35 or $0.40 Hershey and Mr. Goodbars are not even a quarter pound.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Right.

ED GARDNER: There wafer thin and, uh, only just a little larger than the nickel candy bars were, when I was seven or eight. So, uh, so.

INTERVIEWER: Milk. Was bread, uh, or milk or, uh, give us some other ideas about.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Probably

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: About $0.10 a loaf, uh, milk, probably, $0.25 for a, a quart. Uh. There

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: Half gallon was the, uh, didn’t come in until I was, like, in junior high school. You get, what, a quart of milk. And, of course, they were recyclable bottles.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

INTERVIEWER: You had a milkman deliver.

ED GARDNER: Yeah, you had milk delivery but, uh, the stores, uh, that handled milk were in returnable bottles. You didn’t have the waxed, pasteboard cartons that were throwaway.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, like I say, it was– you bought it by the quart.

INTERVIEWER: You paid a deposit on the bottles, too, didn’t you?

ED GARDNER: You’d deposit. Right. The same way with the soda bottles. You, you had $0.02 deposit on the, uh, 16 ounce bottles, and then the large bottles were a nickel. And, uh, you would get that back, uh. It was a big deal for me, as a kid. When I was running around town, I’d pull my wagon. And because a lot of people would those bottles away. And they’d be laying in the ditch, and you’d gather them up and, uh. Just going around a couple blocks around, I could get, uh, 10 or 15 bottles. And take them to the store and turn them in. And get enough to get, maybe, a couple candy bars.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Did, uh, did you d– we did that with hangers for dry cleaners. You got a dry cleaners or anything like that?

ED GARDNER: Dry cleaners came, uh, door to door.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Yeah. We had mentioned that in the, uh, the last tape.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. That’s true.

ED GARDNER: Uh. These returnable bottles. A lot of people think we ought to go back to it. Uh. And it, it was good, but it was one filthy, stinking mess. When I worked in the grocery store for Mr. Henry Forsyth, that was one of the jobs. Straightening out those bottles because they had to all go back in their right places.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: To go to the right distributor. And I mean to tell you, when that warehouse room was over 100 degrees in the summertime and that little bit of pop was still in those bottles, would stink to the heavens. And then you’d have people that smoked and would put their cigarette down in the bottle.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh.

INTERVIEWER: So they wouldn’t return them clean. They would just return them.

ED GARDNER: No, no. Just, just the way. I mean, you’d buy a soda out of the soda machine. And there was a rack of cases, beside. You drink it, then just stick it in the, in the box. And it would go back. I’ve, uh, drank coke and had a cocoon of a worm, in the bottom of a bottle that had been processed and supposedly steamed clean and filled with coke.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: And when you’d empty the bottle, there was a, a worm cocoon that didn’t get, uh, cleaned out of that returnable bottle.

INTERVIEWER: I’ll be darned. Well [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: In these, uh, the bottle racks, especially Coca Cola, would have the plant name on the end of the bottle where the Coke was bottled. And that would be a big deal. You’d bet who paid, on who drew the bottle out of the box that was the furthest away. And you’d be surprised, with Westminster Coca Cola, being bottled right here in Westminster, uh, it still wasn’t the majority of the bottles that you would pull out of that, uh, coke. You would get them from all over the United States.

INTERVIEWER: I’ll be darned. Uh. We’re just– I think we’re just about at the end of this tape. Uh. And I’m sure you have another– another, a long time to, uh, do here. We have a little time, yet. Uh.

ED GARDNER: Well, I would like to mention the Quincy Morrow company. We hadn’t mentioned that. Uh. The majority of that property is a municipal parking lot now. But, uh, used to be just uh, uh pole barn buildings. And there has been worked out, in all kinds of weather, making shipping pallets and spools for Baltimore gas electric and for the telephone company. And, uh, it was, probably, eight to 10 men that worked there year round. Snow. Blazing hot, during the winter. And, uh, a man by the name of Baker, did the hauling.

And they were– those pallets were shipped all over the country, wherever manufacturing areas that needed those pallets for shipping. And, uh, like, the schools, for wire. And usually when, uh, the phone company and the power companies got done with those spools, they would just roll them down over the bank, wherever they were working. And a lot of times, the fellows that were on those crews would say, we dumped so many spools down over, say, Rain Cliff Road last week.

Well, that word would get out, and the people in town would go get them and put them in their backyards and use for picnic tables. And you just put a tablecloth over them, and they even had a hole in the middle if you wanted to manufacture an umbrella.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But nobody was the wiser. And the smaller ones, you’d have a kid table. I mean, uh.

INTERVIEWER: You also talked about part of it could be used.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Oh. When they, uh, they cut the last board, you had a natural straight side and a semicircle. And if you had a, a rose bush or grape arbor or any vine-type plant, you could go down there in their scrap pile, and pull out those pieces. And the only thing you needed was uprights. And you had a, a grape arbor or a rose arbor or something to train your vines on. And, uh, people would also get those scrap for kindling to start their coal and, uh, block chunk wood fire from there.

INTERVIEWER: You mentioned, when we talked earlier, also, about uh, people. One man, being able to dig, to shovel dirt to open [INAUDIBLE].

ED GARDNER: When we started putting in, uh, inside bathrooms, uh, there was no such thing as, as back hoes. And if there were, they were very scarce. Uh. You get a man to hand dig your, uh, your sewage trenches, your pit for your, uh, cesspool and septic tank. And a man could do that, in a couple days.

INTERVIEWER: One man.

ED GARDNER: One man.

INTERVIEWER: How deep were they, generally?

ED GARDNER: Well, your drainage ditches were about waist high, and, of course, your, uh, uh, uh, dry wall or cesspool or for your septic tank, had to be, like, six foot deep, by 10, 12. At our house, our, our cesspool was about four foot wide, uh, eight foot deep, and about, uh, 10, 12 feet long.

INTERVIEWER: And he did it all in a day. One man.

ED GARDNER: Uh.

ED GARDNER: I mean, day and a half.

ED GARDNER: Garfield Dorsey did ours. Garfield Dorsey was a black man in Eldersburg who did a lot of digging. He dug graves at the churches, and he dug, uh, sewage systems, when you’re putting in bathrooms. And he did ours, trenches, the pit for the septic tank, and the pit for the cesspool in two days. But it was all easy digging. There was no, no stone.

INTERVIEWER: No stone.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, a lot of that stuff was done by hand.

Ed Gardner 2

INTERVIEWER: Hey I’m uh, John D. [INAUDIBLE], and joining me today, again, is, uh, Ed Gardner. Uh, it’s January 23rd, 2009. Uh. Uh. He is uh, uh going to be interviewing for a second time. The last time we were together Ed was, uh, some weeks ago, and you gave a lot of information about Sykesville, where you grew up. And you have a lot more information, and that’s why you’re back today. To share that with, uh, Carroll County and future historians. Uh, let’s uh, let’s review a little bit. Uh. Where’d you grow up in Sykesville?

ED GARDNER: Uh. First Street in, in Sykesville.

INTERVIEWER: And what– is there is the house still there?

ED GARDNER: Oh yes.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: And

ED GARDNER: The, uh, property is, uh, now part of the nursing home.

INTERVIEWER: Ah, OK. And how long has it been in– how long before that had been in the family, the house? Uh.

ED GARDNER: Oh. Uh. 75 years.

INTERVIEWER: 75 years. Now you said– told me earlier that it was about two acre, uh, lot.

ED GARDNER: Yea. Two acre parcel ran from First Street through to Second Avenue.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. And, uh, you had a cow, and what else did you have?

ED GARDNER: My father, in the earlier years, had a, had a cow. Uh. And then after I came along, we had, uh, hogs. Uh. We had, uh, two chicken houses. Uh. We had our own chickens to kill, to have for the year, plus, uh, the eggs that they produced. And, uh, when we didn’t have electricity, uh, my father, uh, would raise the peepees at the gas station in Eldersburg. Uh. Because you needed electric birders, and they didn’t bring them home, uh, until they were able to be without, uh, heat

INTERVIEWER: And your father’s name, full name.

ED GARDNER: George Nathaniel Gardner.

INTERVIEWER: And your mother’s.

ED GARDNER: Mabel Bennett Gardner.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And, uh, so you actually– he took them to the service station. Where’s that. Uh.

ED GARDNER: In Eldersburg at the crossing of 32 a 26.

INTERVIEWER: And that’s where the Exxon station is now. Is that correct?

ED GARDNER: Yes. Uh huh.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Uh. What is the house been changed at all, as far as.

ED GARDNER: Oh yes. They’ve added onto it. It looks nothing like it did when I lived there.

INTERVIEWER: Is that right.

ED GARDNER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of architecture was it? Was it any special.

ED GARDNER: Uh. No. Just, just a regular farm type house.

INTERVIEWER: Farm type house.

ED GARDNER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Nothing fancy.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm. OK. Yeah you’ve shared with me a list of, uh, of a lot of memories that you’ve had, uh, as you looked over the last DVD we did. And, uh, uh, maybe you want to talk about some of the businesses that we’re in Sykesville then, and, and the people who ran them.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Yes. I overlooked, uh, quite a few, uh, that would be of interest. Uh. William F. Arrington and Son had, uh, a pole line, uh, construction, uh, for the electric lines along the major highways. Uh. They went as far away as, uh, Cumberland and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Uh. They had, uh, multiple crews that worked out of, uh, Sykesville, doing that work. Uh. We had, uh, two trucking companies that worked out of Sykesville. Uh. Verdon Linton and, uh, Grover Lions. Uh. And did general hauling. Uh. Originally construction company that operated right out of downtown Sykesville with, uh, grading and road building. And they also, uh, helped out in the heavy winters, opening the county roads in the lower part of the county.

We had a family by the name of Resnick that started out in town as– in a grocery store. And later on they, uh, sold the grocery store and went into a furniture and household appliances. And moved, uh. Had originally on Main Street but then moved further up on Springfield Avenue and built a large new store that is now, uh, Dunnrite patio furniture and that type of stuff. But they had all lines of furniture and household appliances and, uh, bottled gas, uh, delivery. Uh.

We had a, a Joseph Spineke had a shoe repair shop. And it was top notch. He was, uh, a craftsman. Uh. He, uh, made, uh, custom boots for the horse people in, uh, Howard and Carroll county. Uh. The building was moved back off of Main Street, and a store was put in its place. The [INAUDIBLE] that I’d mentioned in the later date. But the building is owned now by the town, and it, uh, was made into, uh, a duplex. And they’re now talking about moving it again and making room for another, uh, a larger municipal parking lot. Uh.

We’ve talked a little about, about, uh, food. We have, uh– we had two sit down restaurants and two, uh, stores that had the. The drugstore had a soda fountain. And we added a– R. K. Barnes had a, like a novelty, uh, store with a soda fountain, and they served sandwiches. And that was, actually, the, uh, teen hang out in the ’40s. They had a jukebox and a, a dance floor. And, uh, at that time, I wasn’t old enough to go in, but I could stand out on the sidewalk and watch the, the, the teenagers jitterbugging. And that was a big deal.

INTERVIEWER: Sure.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Then there was a time period where you couldn’t even buy a hot dog in Sykesville. Uh. But, uh, now we have, uh, uh, two very nice sit down restaurants with, uh, Beck’s and Baldwin’s. And two ladies have opened up a, a really an upscale tea room. That is doing good and it’s wonderful. Uh. And then further up, uh, uh, Springfield Avenue, up in the residential area, uh, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Zimmerman had a little tea room and, uh, deli.

And, uh, they did a lot of business with the patients at Springfield State hospital before the hospital had a canteen of their own. The, uh, patients, uh, that had ground privileges or had money to spend, could call them, and a gentleman by the name of Reds Baker used to pack up a car load of stuff. And, sometimes, he would make as many as two or three deliveries a day, uh, over to the patients at Springfield hospital.

INTERVIEWER: You talked about [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: About the weigh train on the last day. Uh. And I overlooked, uh, two things. Uh. There was a sideline that came from the Vienna railroad, up through the residential area, uh, and to Springfield State hospital. And, uh, they made two or three trips a day, depending on the need. But that was terminated when the powerhouse at Springfield was converted from coal to oil. Uh. Because the main use of that line was to get coal into the powerhouse, where they generated their heat and everything. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: Is that what you refer to as the dinkie?

ED GARDNER: Ah dinkie, yes. Uh. When the, uh, line was terminated and the engine was sold. And the curator at the Gate House Museum Jim Purman, uh, who was a historic curator. And, uh, he tracked the sale of that to, uh, a lumber yard down in Virginia somewhere. And made some attempt to raise money to buy it and bring it back, but, uh, it never, uh, materialized.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little about the Gate House Museum.

ED GARDNER: Uh. That was, uh, started, uh, the downtown in the townhouse. Uh. Uh. The Grand Am of Sykesville, Miss Thelma Wimmer. Uh. She went around and collected artifacts from people that she knew were hoarding them up. And, uh, uh, it just took off. And, uh, uh, uh, now, uh, uh, with, uh, Jim Purman’s help, who has passed away several years ago. Uh. A lady by the name of Kari Greenwalt is the curator there now. And, uh, they have, I guess, almost a overgrown their, uh, space there, in the old gate house. And there is some talk about, uh, moving it, uh, to a proposed park area in the old apple butter warehouse, uh, just across the bridge in Howard County in Sykesville.

INTERVIEWER: Is Sykesville partly in Howard County, then and.

ED GARDNER: Well most of the– well, all the town is in Carroll County.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, this property happens to be in, in Howard County. And there was a deal struck, uh, several years ago, uh, to make that, uh, abandoned property a park. And it’s in the works, uh, to develop that into a park area, uh, for the use of the locals.

INTERVIEWER: Now the house where the, where the town council is, and the mayor. They’re actually in a house, uh, uh. Who, who owned that house, and how long have they been in there?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Well. It’s a large, large home, uh, in my, uh, memory. Uh. Mr. Jim Ridgely, uh, that had the construction company, lived there. Uh. It is a large, large house. And the town acquired it. And, uh, has since, uh, made additions onto it for, uh, a meeting room and, uh, offices for the town. And they built a building off from it, for the police department and for maintenance for the, uh, uh, town vehicles. Uh. The trucks that collect the garbage and remove the snow and what have you.

INTERVIEWER: Uh. Of these businesses, when you were a little, a little boy, very small, you said you– you were free to go around town. Did you, uh, did anyone, kind of– did you like one of the proprietors more than another? Did you, kind of, get close to any of them, as a little boy? And how are they [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: Oh. Absolutely. Um in a. Uh. I’d mentioned, uh, the, the Spinikki family. Uh. They were Italians. Uh. One of the children, Fred, was my age. Uh. There was, uh.

INTERVIEWER: Fred, Fred what’s the

ED GARDNER: Spinikki.

INTERVIEWER: Spinikki. OK.

ED GARDNER: Uh. When they retired they have moved here, to Westminster. But, uh, they had an older girl and, and son that were older than I was. And then they had a child late in life, uh, Joe. But Mrs. Spinikki was, uh, a jolly lady. Uh. Short, heavy set, with big brown eyes. And when she would see me on the street, she would pat me on the head and said Eddie how is Mabel and George. I mean, uh, it was just like a big family.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, the Resnicks uh, their daughter was in my class in school. Uh. But they, uh, lived over top of their, uh, store when they had the grocery store. But when they went into the furniture business, they moved to Baltimore. And, uh, but stayed very close contact with, uh, uh, people in Sykesville. Uh. My family, when my sisters married and moved away, they brought their husbands back to Sykesville to buy furniture.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: Because of the, the close knit, they knew that they would get a deal and would get quality products from the, the local businesses that we had dealt with for years.

INTERVIEWER: Now did you mention a butcher shop at all? Did you have a butcher shop or.

ED GARDNER: They, uh. No. The, uh, the grocery stores did a lot of custom cutting. Uh. They had a butcher, uh, uh, Henry Forsyth in Sykesville. Uh. Had Mr. Fred Durney was his butcher to do custom cuts. And the, uh, meat came in by quarters or sides and was broken down at the store. Uh, the Harris’, uh, grocery store, uh, gentleman by the name of Leslie Holman was the meat cutter there. And practiced the same way. The meat came in, uh, I think was mostly from S K in Baltimore, in either quarters or sides. And it was broken down, and the hamburger was ground and, uh. I know, I worked at Henry Forsyth’s, for a little while. And, uh.

INTERVIEWER: What did you do for him?

ED GARDNER: Everything. Uh. Nothing came prepackaged then. He bought– he had his own truck and went to town and, and brought the produce back. And, uh, he had to weight the potatoes out in five pound bags and, uh, just such things as that. Uh. A lot of stuff was bulk. He had the bulk cookie rack and, uh, uh, that. He had home delivery. Uh. People would call their orders in, and then he would take the order off of a clipboard and go around, fill it, and box it up. And, um, a gentleman by the name of Bill Hudson, that worked at Springfield, would come in, in the afternoons and, uh, gather all that stuff up and deliver it into the wee hours of the evening. Come in 6, 7 o’clock at night, making his deliveries.

INTERVIEWER: Now you said, uh, that uh like, we have– nothing was pre-packaged. How did your dad, uh, receive cars? Uh. Tell me a little bit about that.

ED GARDNER: They came in on the, uh, on the, the flat freight cars. Uh. And they weren’t assembled like, uh, the cars that the dealerships receive today. Uh. You had the, uh, the drive train with the wheels and axles on it and then from the windshield forward. But, uh, you stocked the body. And if a person wanted a two door car, you put a two door body on it. If they wanted a four door car, you put a, uh, sedan four door body on it. Or if they wanted a pickup truck, you put a cab and a pickup body on the, the same chassis. Uh. A lot of people didn’t realize that.

INTERVIEWER: Now that was whe– when you had Model T’s. Was it. How long did it continue? Uh.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

INTERVIEWER: Do you know?

ED GARDNER: Just mostly through the, the Model T. And then the beginning of the Model A era.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Because, uh, uh, the– I think the– I think my dad lost the business in early ’30s. So, uh. But they were starting to come through factory assembled them.

INTERVIEWER: Uh, so your dad, kind of, transitioned to the service station. Is that what he did? Uh. From Ottawa Bell.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. But well, not directly. He, uh, he had a, a little shop that’s no longer there on, uh, uh, Springfield Avenue. It was, uh, just a carriage shed that, uh. He just, uh, worked on people’s automobiles. Uh. And you have to understand, when you sold an automobile back in the late ’20s, you not only sold the car and maintained it, but you had to teach the person to drive. Uh. And there’s a lot of, uh, stories out of that. Uh. Where a man that had never driven a piece of machinery but was always used to driving horses. And he run up to a place where he had to stop and instead of hitting the brake, he’d holler whoa. Uh

But, uh, my father had some amusing stories. And I only ever came across one person that, uh, that remembers that. Uh. And that happens to be the, the wife of the gentleman that bought the building and turned it into a bowling alley. Uh. Ms. Hurt. She told me, one time, that she remembered coming to Sykesville with her father, uh, to get his car serviced. And he remembered that, uh, he appreciated, uh, George Gardner teaching him to drive.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, that was, uh, really unique.

INTERVIEWER: Whe– when did your dad move out to, uh, to the, uh, corner there?

ED GARDNER: Uh. I think the date was probably about, uh, 35′, 36′.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: It was before I was born, in 1937.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But the, uh, uh, the building was, uh, uh– it was just a little one room for his, uh, accessories for, like for oil, and stuff.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: There wasn’t much. Uh. He did more repairs, uh, tire repairs, rather than tire sales. Uh, because he didn’t have the, uh, the area to, to stock that, uh, kind of stuff. First you had, in the winter time, you had your antifreeze, which wasn’t permanent, at the time. It was zerone, which was really a pain because, uh, if you’ve got a cold snap, people were lined up to get their antifreeze tested. Because, uh, your zerone evaporated. And if you had a long driveway, and spun and overheated your engine, you might have been below zero when you started, but by the time you got into your house, you’ve probably lost all your– the strength of your antifreeze.

And, uh, that was, uh, a big change, when they, uh, after the war, when permanent antifreeze, ethylene glycol antifreeze. It was permanent, and you had to sell the people on the fact that it was permanent. They didn’t need to test it all the time. That once it was installed, unless it leaked out, um, and they were safe. But the, uh– and there was no inside place to repair, there. We had a grease pit, as you pulled the car over. And then you went down the ladder into the pit to, uh, work underneath the vehicle. Uh. Which was, uh, very unsafe because it was a greasy, oily mess down there and there was always a chance of fire.

And,uh. if you would have a fire, I mean, you’re down in that hole. And it’s really a, a death trap.

INTERVIEWER: Has that happened in– have you–

ED GARDNER: I have heard. I have heard stories. Uh. I, uh, didn’t– I wasn’t old enough to, to work at the station, but I was there, as a child. Uh. And, uh, the service stations, even the ones that were in Sykesville, uh, they had the same facility. They had a pit, rather than, uh, than lifts to raise the car in the air. I, uh, had an incident, one time, riding my bicycle, seeing how close I could ride around, around, and around one. And, uh, they had a little brick lip, and my front tire hit that little lip and flipped me down into the, into the pit.

INTERVIEWER: Did you get a broken arm or anything?

ED GARDNER: No, I didn’t break anything. Just, uh, bruised my pride and, uh, had to explain my greasy clothes when I got home to my mother.

INTERVIEWER: You know, you said to me earlier about what your father taught you. You said that, uh, you did a lot of your learning, uh, from the seat of your pants. And, uh.

ED GARDNER: Yes

INTERVIEWER: Your father was very instrumental in teaching you about mechanics and so on and his philosophy. Can you talk a little bit about that.

ED GARDNER: His philosophy was to do something and do it right. Uh. And because we were a local business working with local people, that kept their vehicles for a long time, in that period. You didn’t have people trading every year, uh, like you do now. Uh. He would remind me that when I put something together, that nine times out of 10, if, uh, it had to come down again, I would be the one to do it. And to forget about these miracle cements that, uh, put things together forever. Because you don’t want to have to tear it apart with a sledgehammer and bust it up. You want it to come apart so it can be repaired.

And I associated myself, uh– I was lucky to, uh, work with, uh, good mechanics that were my mentors. And, uh, I learned a lot from them. And that gave me a lot of basics. That was another thing that my dad said. Don’t always blame the new boy on the block. The new inventions, he meant.

And he said that because the old principles are still there and, unless something miraculously happens, they’ll never change. Your basics are always there. It doesn’t– your problem doesn’t always have to be with a, a new engineered addition. That a lot of mechanics would try to blame on the, the new inventions, rather than, uh, fall back on the old standby.

INTERVIEWER: Your, uh, father seemed to have a lot of wisdom. Also by the seat of his pants. I mean, you said his, his, uh. I sense that his temperament. He had a very good temperament, very even, is that right? Pretty–

ED GARDNER: Uh, he could be riled.

INTERVIEWER: He could be.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, but yes, he was a good teacher. He had a lot of patience. Uh. There was one thing that, uh, I will never forget. Uh. When he first, uh, turned me loose to replace a water pump on a, an old flat-head model Ford. He heard me tapping it with a hammer and tapping it with a hammer, and he came by. And, uh, I told him it wouldn’t come loose, and I had done everything appropriate.

But he said, go up into that water jacket and get that other bolt out that’s up in there. Uh. Which wasn’t visible. You couldn’t see that. You had to know that, that bold was there. Uh. But it was just such things as that. Uh. He had a, a good sense of humor. Uh.

A lot of times, uh– I know several times people would ask, uh, either for directions or ask for a person. One time a man would ask for Mr. Walter Brizell. And my father said, you’ll find him just about a mile up Liberty Road at Wesley Freedom Church. And the man said, well, was he the custodian there? And my father said, no, he’s dead there. Just, just such things as that. And, uh, being there on that corner in Eldersburg all those years, uh, uh. There were just such circumstances like that, that arose. Uh.

We had a, a Guhno state policeman, one time, that, uh, followed the customer into the station and wrote him a speeding ticket. And, uh, my father approached him and asked him, please don’t to do that again. Either stop them before or after they leave the station. And he pointed to his Corporal stripes on his shoulder and said, uh, this authors– gives me the authority to do this. And my father told him, yes, I wore one of them in World War I, but I didn’t let it make a fool out of me. Uh. Just, just such things as that.

INTERVIEWER: Now could you, uh– you talked about the freezer, uh, uh, company, too. [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: Yes, uh, before the time of home freezers, uh, we had a freezer plant, uh, in Sykesville. Uh. You could rent, a, a box to buy a, a side of beef or, like, when we killed 25 or 30 chickens. Uh. You could– my dad had a box there to put that in. Uh.

At the gas station, we dealt with a lot of farmers that bartered. They would, uh, buy us so many hundreds of gallons of gas, for a side of beef. And my dad would accept that as payment for that market price for, uh, the gasoline that they bought to use in their tractor. Uh. And, uh, we would have that to cut up and, and put in the, uh, freezer box.

At one time, my dad had three freezer drawers there. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: How big are they? How big are the drawers?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Oh, about a, a foot deep and, maybe, three foot wide and five foot deep, in a drawer.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. OK

ED GARDNER: You could get a pretty good portion of, uh, meat in there. Uh. At the time, that there was one in Sykesville, there was one in Ellicott City. And also, uh, Wagner’s in Mt. Airy. But, uh, the advent of, of, of home freezers put them out of business. Uh.

The Resnick family bought the one that was bes– it was actually beside their store. So they bought the one in Sykesville and turned it into a warehouse for their furniture.

INTERVIEWER: How did they do the refrigeration? Was it, uh, just like, like it is today or.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] electric.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Freezing. Uh. And of course, the, the one in, uh, in Mt. Airy is, uh, a meat store, butcher shop, now. But it– I don’t think that it, it any longer rents, uh, space for freezing. They use it all themselves.

INTERVIEWER: Where did they, uh, do venison? Uh. When the hunters came in, did the hunters all do their own or, uh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. The majority of the time, back then, they did but, uh, uh, now the, uh, the local butcher shops, uh, butcher the, uh, venison. Uh. Bullocks, there on Route 32. Uh. Wagner’s in Mt. Airy, uh, do a lot of, uh, of game for the hunters.

INTERVIEWER: What, what were your tr– you know, as a little boy before– when did you go to the service station? When did you start working there? How, how old were you?

ED GARDNER: About, uh, 14.

INTERVIEWER: 14.

ED GARDNER: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: And how– did you work s– like part-time after school?

ED GARDNER: Oh yeah. Yeah. The weekends and, and after school. Uh. I couldn’t, uh, do much. Anything that I had to do was, was on premises because I had no driver’s license.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: My dad tried to, to get me privileges to drive. But, uh, uh, the magistrate wouldn’t go for it. I had wait till I was 16.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. Now, at that time, like, if you had a tractor, farm, farm kids could drive a tractor, couldn’t they?

ED GARDNER: Yes. Yeah, the, the farm boys could get by with it because, uh, uh. They even drove the, uh, the, the big trucks with a– hauling hay and everything.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, I wasn’t allowed to do that.

INTERVIEWER: Now, before you went to your father’s, what kind of chores did you have at home with the animals? Did you have any particular chores?

ED GARDNER: Yeah, feed chickens, uh, uh, gather eggs, uh, uh, mow the lawn, uh, which was rather large. Plus I had to.

INTERVIEWER: How did you mow the lawn? What what did you use?

ED GARDNER: By hand. By hand.

INTERVIEWER: Was it a hand push mower?

ED GARDNER: Hand, hand push mower. Uh. We later got a power reel mower but, uh, uh, the earlier years was a hand reel mower. I used a little ingenuity. I put a rope in front of it and had one of my friends pull, while I guided. But, uh, uh, we later got a, a power lawnmower. And, uh, I also mowed, uh, a couple lawns in town, to get extra money.

INTERVIEWER: Now did you a– did the animals eat some of the grass, or did you have to mow the whole two acres?

ED GARDNER: Uh. No. Uh. There was about an acre and a half of grass that had to be cut. Uh. When I was, uh, that age, we had no animals that were, that were out loose. Uh. We had done away with the cow. Uh. The hogs were in a pen. They had to have the food cared to them. Uh.

Sunday mornings, the hogs always got a treat. They got a cooked meal. My dad would get day old bread and, uh, and, uh, add the chicken land mash to it and water and cook it down on an old stove, my mother had out on the back porch. And, uh they would really get into that, uh the slop.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah–

ED GARDNER: And–

INTERVIEWER: Go ahead.

ED GARDNER: And grained corn and, uh, pull the lambsquarter and weeds from the garden and throw over the fence to the hogs.

INTERVIEWER: Now, say in August, where you cut that grass, uh, that, that’d take you a little while. Didn’t it?

ED GARDNER: Yes, and we had apple tree in the yard, and, of course, they had to be gathered up, before you mowed. Uh, It was an extensive job.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. I see.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And if the, uh, if you let the grass– if we had an extensive raining period, and the grass got heavy, then it had to be raked. Because it, it couldn’t lay on the, the grass and, and kill the grass. It had to be raked and removed.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. Yeah. That had to be pr– pretty big job I would say.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Yes. [INAUDIBLE]

INTERVIEWER: Keep, keep you out of trouble, I imagine.

ED GARDNER: Oh, absolutely. And, uh, the several lawns that I mowed in the community, uh, [INAUDIBLE] gave me, a, a different outlook on, uh, on adults to, uh, kind of, guide myself and my adulthood, the way I treated children. Uh.

They arranged for me to mow their yard with my mother. And, uh, my mother bargained for at $0.75 an hour. So they would time me, when I would mow the first time. And, uh, like say if it took me an hour and a half, uh, that came to a $1 and $0.50. So that’s what they would pay me, every time I mowed the yard.

But if they had an apple tree, and I had to gather the apples and carry them off, before I started mowing, I got no extra money, for the extra time.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, one lady– I was mowing the lawn for her. A friend of mine came by, and, and I stopped, and we talked for a little while. And when I finished mowing, and put the mower away, and went to get my money, she docked me $0.25 because I stopped and talked to my friend for awhile.

INTERVIEWER: Is that right.

ED GARDNER: Well after I got to be older, I realized they cheated me because my time was already clocked. And, uh, they weren’t timing me each individual time.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: So, uh, uh, adults need to be aware. [INTERPOSING VOICES]

INTERVIEWER: So that, that [INAUDIBLE] as an adult, and how you look at children. And you treat children was much different from that experience.

ED GARDNER: Absolutely. I, I, I have always treated the children to respect me, not, not only them. But after they got to be older, too. Not to, uh, have any, uh, grudges against that man that, that did him wrong.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh.

INTERVIEWER: Did you have a bakery in town?

ED GARDNER: No. Uh. We had a gentleman. I talked about, uh, all the businesses that had been in the, uh, building that, uh, my dad had to dealership. We had a man that tried to, to run a donut shop, there. He bought a donut machine.

INTERVIEWER: Uh. What year was that, would you say?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Mm. Late ’40s, I guess. But it didn’t go.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. It didn’t hardly last three or four months, I guess.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: It really lost big time. Uh. It just, it just didn’t go.

INTERVIEWER: So you uh– the grocery store sold some sweets, cakes, or a.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Packaged.

INTERVIEWER: Packaged.

ED GARDNER: Uh. From the, the [INAUDIBLE] commercial bakeries.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Because, you see, a lot of the women were, were at home. You didn’t have the women working out of the home. And they did their own baking.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, uh, we very rarely ever bought anything, uh, in the sweet line, from the store. Uh. My mother made, uh, cakes, and she made, uh, baked bread. And, uh, during the holidays, she would start in, uh, late October, early November, making fruit cakes for Christmas. And, uh, people laugh when I tell them that, uh, she’d mix them up in a wash tub. Because she made 25 or 30 fruitcakes.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, would wrap them in cloth and, uh pour brandy over top of them. And put them in a wash boiler and pack them away, down in the basement. And we had fruitcake to eat at Easter.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: And bake cookies and get the tins from the postal department. And send ci– uh, cookies to the service men during World War II.

INTERVIEWER: Huh.

ED GARDNER: That was a, a big thing for my mother because, uh, she had a son over there.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, everybody was, uh, involved with the war effort in World War II.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Paper drives. Scrap metal drives. Uh. The high school kids would collect. And it was a central area, at the school. And then the trucks would come in and, and gather up what, uh, the kids had collected around, over the community.

INTERVIEWER: Ah. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Bundles of newspaper and, and piles and piles of tin cans, uh, for the war effort.

INTERVIEWER: Did you have, uh, ration books, then or.

ED GARDNER: Ration books. Absolutely. Yeah. Uh. Uh. My wife is German descent, and she has cousins in Germany, that we visit quite often. And they visit us. And they didn’t realize that the United States was as hard up, and, and there are citizens sacrificed, as much as we did. They, uh, thought that we were, really, the crown jewels. That we were really living it up. You know. They didn’t, they didn’t realize the hardship that we faced. Uh.

I couldn’t have a pair of hard shoes because, uh, my father needed shoes. Uh. My sisters needed shoes that worked in defense work. And we didn’t have enough stamps for me to have shoes. I ran around house bare-footed. I had a dress pair of shoes that I wore when I went to church. But, uh, I didn’t wear them out playing in the yard. You know. They had to be kept nice.

INTERVIEWER:So you went barefoot. Uh. During– now what’d you do during winter months, and, uh.

ED GARDNER: Oh. We had, uh, galoshes.

INTERVIEWER: Galoshes.

ED GARDNER: And, uh we had a– you could get one pair of shoes.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But you just, uh, treated them very good.

INTERVIEWER: Very good.

ED GARDNER: Yes. And, of course, that’s where Mr. Spinikki came in, with the half souls and heels.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And shoes were quality. They were real leather. They weren’t, uh, paste board tops like they are now. Sometimes your cheaper shoes. Uh. I can remember, uh, before Mr. Spinikki went out of business, he would look at a pair of shoes and say no good, no good, with his Italian accent.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. The, the, the top wasn’t worth putting a new bottom on.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. So, uh, and that. In the, uh, gas station, that was, uh, a thing that my dad had to confront, too, with the rationing. You had, uh, uh, stickers for your window, on your car, that allotted you to your gallonage of gasoline. And, uh, a lot of people would, if they had the money, they would think that, uh, my dad should sell them the gasoline, whether they were, uh, qualified to get it or not. And that, uh, made some enemies.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm. Course your dad could get in trouble, too, if he did sell.

ED GARDNER: Oh, yes. Yes. Right. And then the, uh, the, the farmers that, uh, because of the, uh, tractor age just coming on, they didn’t have storage for gasoline on their farms. Uh. Because some of them only had just one single tractor. And, uh, they would bring a 55-gallon barrel in a pickup truck, and get it filled at the station. And, uh, my dad would keep a record of that because that was, uh, road tax free.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, every quarter, my dad would give those farmers their statement, or to get their road tax money back, off of that, uh, fuel that they used on the farm, in their tractor.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. OK

ED GARDNER: And, uh. Where now, most of the farmers that, uh, have all this big equipment that burn thousands of gallons of fuel. They have their own storage tanks, you know, and get, uh, home delivery now.

INTERVIEWER: Uh. The, uh, rat– ration book, itself, did people just carry it around? What was it like?

Yeah It was, uh, uh, a book about, uh, six or eight inches long, by about four. And, uh, the stamps were just like postage stamps, only, uh, they weren’t square. They were, kind of, triangular. And, uh, you had so many stamps for– I forget how it was all– de– but you had, you had your sugar stamps. And you had, uh, uh, they were designated for different things, and you only had so many stamps.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Then when your stamps were gone, um, and, uh, you couldn’t buy.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Who distributed, distributed them in town? How did that work?

ED GARDNER: I am not sure. I’m not sure where they– how they were distributed.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But I remember them very well. I mean, uh, uh. And not only the, uh, the stamps but, uh, you had the saving stamps was a big promotion, even in our schools. You had to, uh, the military man on the stamp, you’d, uh, buy saving stamps.

INTERVIEWER: And what are– what were those? Uh. Explain those a little bit more.

ED GARDNER: Uh. They were just in, in– you could buy, I think it was just for like $0.25. Where a savings bond would be, maybe, $25. You could get a, a savings stamp.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, it was big in the schools. And then after the war, they discontinued the stamps. And the, uh, schools made an arrangement with the bank, for a saving system. And you could just deposit $0.2 or $0.3, on banking day. And that went on until I was, like, in the six or seventh grade. And then, uh, when the banks started discontinuing their services that cost too much money for them to, to fool with that little bit of money. So, uh, that was, uh, went by the wayside.

INTERVIEWER: Speaking of stamps. They also had, uh, the other kind the stores gave you. Right? Uh.

ED GARDNER: Oh. The S&H.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. S&H.

ED GARDNER: Yeah, well the– there was more than just the S&H. There was, uh, there were several of those. Where you saved them in a book. You got so many stamps for each dollar you spent. And then when you got a book full, you could redeem them for so many dollars worth of merchandise.

It was a big deal. Uh. A lot of gas stations did it. Uh. Clothing stores. Grocery stores. Uh. My father never got into it, at the gas station. But, uh, a lot of the, uh, the stores did. And it was a big deal, I mean to save savings stamps. And I think S&H even had their own stores that you could go and redeem for premiums at their, their stores, rather than, uh, than turning them in for the dollar value.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me, uh, about the funeral home. Uh. Where was that before they moved out, and so on. And who–

ED GARDNER: Right, right down in town. Right at the, at the, the beginning of Main Street. Uh. And Central Avenue goes down into town and becomes Main Street. The funeral home was right there. Uh. Mr. Harry Weer and later, uh, Luther Haight was, uh, a partner. And it was, uh, Weer and Haight. And, uh, now they’re both deceased, and it’s, uh, in the Haight family. Uh. Brian.

Harry Weer, Brian’s father, was deceased several years ago. And now it’s, uh, Brian. And, I think, his sister, Paige, is also, uh, a partner there, along with his mother.

INTERVIEWER: And they’re located down on, uh.

ED GARDNER: It’s out on 32. 32.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Area called Grand View.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

ED GARDNER: Is, uh, is what that little settlement is called there on that hill.

INTERVIEWER: As a little boy, what were funerals like, then? How did you look at them? Was it a scary thing? Was it a respect thing?

ED GARDNER: It, it wasn’t scary, but it was very somber. Uh. The, uh, first funeral I can remember attending was my grandmother’s. Uh. Very somber. Uh. And then I, kind of, debated, uh, funerals, for a long time. Uh. And when I started losing my own friends, and started going back, the atmosphere has really changed. Uh.

INTERVIEWER: How so?

ED GARDNER: Well, it’s not that somber attitude anymore. It’s more jovial.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And I think it’s a show the times, too. Because, uh, you never went to a funeral home without a, a white tie– white shirt and tie and, and jacket. Uh. I was in Haight’s just the other day, and, uh, a man came in that had been jogging. With his, uh, Spandex and tank top and his water bottle, on his hip. And, uh, you would have never have gone into a funeral home in the 40’s like that. Uh. That would have been disgraceful.

INTERVIEWER: Did the women wear black then or, uh was it.

ED GARDNER: Yes. And hats. Uh. You didn’t go into a church or a funeral home with your head uncovered. Uh. But there, again, it’s just the changing times.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Of how times have changed. Everything is more casual. I haven’t got used to seeing in the newscaster on TV, yet, without a, a tie.

INTERVIEWER: Oh yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. And now it’s common practice. You see your newsreels, your, your government, uh, attache people. Tie less. Open collar.

INTERVIEWER: You sh– you mention newreels. Was there, was there– there was a movie theater in Sykesville, wasn’t there.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Uh huh.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little bit. I think we talked a little bit about that last time. But.

ED GARDNER: Yeah. Uh. There was, uh, over top of the arcade building. Uh. You could see a, a feature length film.

INTERVIEWER: And where was that ar– the arcade building? Where?

ED GARDNER: It’s on the, uh, right hand side, uh, uh, three quarters of the way down, uh, Main Street on. Going south, it would be on the right hand side. It was over top of the, uh, the State Bank. The building was called the arcade building.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: Uh. It was a regular size, uh, uh, theater room. I don’t– it probably held, uh, maybe 100 people.

INTERVIEWER: Mm hmm.

ED GARDNER: Uh

INTERVIEWER: Do you go there, see movies, uh.

ED GARDNER: Yes, on, uh, Saturday, uh, nights, uh. I guess, the earliest time I can remember, you could get in for a quarter. Uh. Course, uh, being a small operation, uh, you could get a small bag of popcorn, but they didn’t have any drinks. There was no drink fountain or anything or a candy bar, uh, sales like you do in the theaters now.

INTERVIEWER: Did they have a projector room so you.

ED GARDNER: Projector room. Yeah. Mr. Dave Dean was the, uh, projectionist. And, uh, his, uh, mother sold tickets. And, uh, you could have– you’d have your, uh. Talking about your newsreels. Course it was before television. When the show started, you started with your newsreels. Of, a– Of course, the war going on in Europe was popular. All that, uh, morbid bombing and, and the air raids. Anything that was current in the news was about 15 minutes or maybe. And then you had your Looney Tunes, your comic strip. Uh, uh. And then you might have a selected short. That would be The Three Stooges or, uh, uh, something along that line. And then you’d have your feature film, for $0.25.

INTERVIEWER: Wow.

ED GARDNER: And it was a big deal, when it went up to 35. Because that was really getting into your allowance, when it went up $0.10. Oh. But then, uh, but that waned, uh. Two local men, Ted Barnes and, uh, uh, shucks, I can’t think of his partner now, took it over. And it lasted up into, uh, the early 50’s. And then they formed a, uh, three partnership. And went out just past Eldersburg on route 32, and put in a drive in movie theater. On the Ruby properly.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ED GARDNER: And that lasted about 10 years. And it’s, uh, got houses on it now. But, uh, that was the extent of the, uh, movies in the area, for that period of time. Uh. [INAUDIBLE].

INTERVIEWER: The newsreels. Did you, uh– was that something everybody looked forward to? I mean, did they– was it a major source of your news? Or newspapers were probably pretty.

ED GARDNER: Newspapers. Newspapers and radio.

INTERVIEWER: Now did you have a local newspaper there?

ED GARDNER: Sykesville Harold.

INTERVIEWER: Sykesville Harold.

ED GARDNER: Mr. Fred Church at the Sykesville Harold. Uh It was interesting, too, the type was set by hand. Uh. There again, the, uh, two ladies that set the type, uh. Mrs. David Dean and, uh, lady by the name of Spariger. And it was hot up in the third story of that, uh, building where the paper was. The type was all set by hand. Uh. The plates put over on, uh, the table and, and inked down with the roller, and the press brought down over them. And done just one sheet at a time.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my.

ED GARDNER: And put together and folded and stacked up and put out on the.

INTERVIEWER: How many sheets was there, generally, in a paper?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Four, four pages, which would then, uh, uh, two double sheets.

INTERVIEWER: Two double sheets.

ED GARDNER: With the advertising and, and everything. And the local news and, uh. The, uh, Gate House Museum has, uh, in their archives, has quite a few of the– I don’t know whether it is actually complete, but, uh, I know they, uh. You can go there and research, uh, history out at the Sykesville Harold. There at the Gate House Museum.

INTERVIEWER: You mentioned, uh, the– we’ve got just a little bit of time left. Uh. You mentioned, uh, $0.25 to $0.35 for a movie. What other– what were the prices of, say, an ice cream cone or candy for you, when you were that age? What– give us some idea of, of a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. Or.

ED GARDNER: Well, you had penny candy. You had the Mary Janes, and, uh, uh, they were a penny. But then, the majority of your candy bars were a nickel. And, uh, I can remember.

INTERVIEWER: Were they the same– about the same size they are now or comparable?

ED GARDNER: Uh. Larger.

INTERVIEWER: Larger.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Uh. I remember, I guess, when I was in about the seventh or eighth grade, uh, Curtis came out with the large Baby Ruth. It was a quarter pound.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, yeah.

ED GARDNER: Uh. For, uh, like, $0.12 or $0.15. And, uh, my golly, now, I mean, the, uh, big dollar and $0.35 or $0.40 Hershey and Mr. Goodbars are not even a quarter pound.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Right.

ED GARDNER: There wafer thin and, uh, only just a little larger than the nickel candy bars were, when I was seven or eight. So, uh, so.

INTERVIEWER: Milk. Was bread, uh, or milk or, uh, give us some other ideas about.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Probably

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: About $0.10 a loaf, uh, milk, probably, $0.25 for a, a quart. Uh. There

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: Half gallon was the, uh, didn’t come in until I was, like, in junior high school. You get, what, a quart of milk. And, of course, they were recyclable bottles.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

INTERVIEWER: You had a milkman deliver.

ED GARDNER: Yeah, you had milk delivery but, uh, the stores, uh, that handled milk were in returnable bottles. You didn’t have the waxed, pasteboard cartons that were throwaway.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: And, uh, like I say, it was– you bought it by the quart.

INTERVIEWER: You paid a deposit on the bottles, too, didn’t you?

ED GARDNER: You’d deposit. Right. The same way with the soda bottles. You, you had $0.02 deposit on the, uh, 16 ounce bottles, and then the large bottles were a nickel. And, uh, you would get that back, uh. It was a big deal for me, as a kid. When I was running around town, I’d pull my wagon. And because a lot of people would those bottles away. And they’d be laying in the ditch, and you’d gather them up and, uh. Just going around a couple blocks around, I could get, uh, 10 or 15 bottles. And take them to the store and turn them in. And get enough to get, maybe, a couple candy bars.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Did, uh, did you d– we did that with hangers for dry cleaners. You got a dry cleaners or anything like that?

ED GARDNER: Dry cleaners came, uh, door to door.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK.

ED GARDNER: Uh. Yeah. We had mentioned that in the, uh, the last tape.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh. That’s true.

ED GARDNER: Uh. These returnable bottles. A lot of people think we ought to go back to it. Uh. And it, it was good, but it was one filthy, stinking mess. When I worked in the grocery store for Mr. Henry Forsyth, that was one of the jobs. Straightening out those bottles because they had to all go back in their right places.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

ED GARDNER: To go to the right distributor. And I mean to tell you, when that warehouse room was over 100 degrees in the summertime and that little bit of pop was still in those bottles, would stink to the heavens. And then you’d have people that smoked and would put their cigarette down in the bottle.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

ED GARDNER: And, uh.

INTERVIEWER: So they wouldn’t return them clean. They would just return them.

ED GARDNER: No, no. Just, just the way. I mean, you’d buy a soda out of the soda machine. And there was a rack of cases, beside. You drink it, then just stick it in the, in the box. And it would go back. I’ve, uh, drank coke and had a cocoon of a worm, in the bottom of a bottle that had been processed and supposedly steamed clean and filled with coke.

INTERVIEWER: Uh huh.

ED GARDNER: And when you’d empty the bottle, there was a, a worm cocoon that didn’t get, uh, cleaned out of that returnable bottle.

INTERVIEWER: I’ll be darned. Well [INTERPOSING VOICES]

ED GARDNER: In these, uh, the bottle racks, especially Coca Cola, would have the plant name on the end of the bottle where the Coke was bottled. And that would be a big deal. You’d bet who paid, on who drew the bottle out of the box that was the furthest away. And you’d be surprised, with Westminster Coca Cola, being bottled right here in Westminster, uh, it still wasn’t the majority of the bottles that you would pull out of that, uh, coke. You would get them from all over the United States.

INTERVIEWER: I’ll be darned. Uh. We’re just– I think we’re just about at the end of this tape. Uh. And I’m sure you have another– another, a long time to, uh, do here. We have a little time, yet. Uh.

ED GARDNER: Well, I would like to mention the Quincy Morrow company. We hadn’t mentioned that. Uh. The majority of that property is a municipal parking lot now. But, uh, used to be just uh, uh pole barn buildings. And there has been worked out, in all kinds of weather, making shipping pallets and spools for Baltimore gas electric and for the telephone company. And, uh, it was, probably, eight to 10 men that worked there year round. Snow. Blazing hot, during the winter. And, uh, a man by the name of Baker, did the hauling.

And they were– those pallets were shipped all over the country, wherever manufacturing areas that needed those pallets for shipping. And, uh, like, the schools, for wire. And usually when, uh, the phone company and the power companies got done with those spools, they would just roll them down over the bank, wherever they were working. And a lot of times, the fellows that were on those crews would say, we dumped so many spools down over, say, Rain Cliff Road last week.

Well, that word would get out, and the people in town would go get them and put them in their backyards and use for picnic tables. And you just put a tablecloth over them, and they even had a hole in the middle if you wanted to manufacture an umbrella.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

ED GARDNER: But nobody was the wiser. And the smaller ones, you’d have a kid table. I mean, uh.

INTERVIEWER: You also talked about part of it could be used.

ED GARDNER: Yes. Oh. When they, uh, they cut the last board, you had a natural straight side and a semicircle. And if you had a, a rose bush or grape arbor or any vine-type plant, you could go down there in their scrap pile, and pull out those pieces. And the only thing you needed was uprights. And you had a, a grape arbor or a rose arbor or something to train your vines on. And, uh, people would also get those scrap for kindling to start their coal and, uh, block chunk wood fire from there.

INTERVIEWER: You mentioned, when we talked earlier, also, about uh, people. One man, being able to dig, to shovel dirt to open [INAUDIBLE].

ED GARDNER: When we started putting in, uh, inside bathrooms, uh, there was no such thing as, as back hoes. And if there were, they were very scarce. Uh. You get a man to hand dig your, uh, your sewage trenches, your pit for your, uh, cesspool and septic tank. And a man could do that, in a couple days.

INTERVIEWER: One man.

ED GARDNER: One man.

INTERVIEWER: How deep were they, generally?

ED GARDNER: Well, your drainage ditches were about waist high, and, of course, your, uh, uh, uh, dry wall or cesspool or for your septic tank, had to be, like, six foot deep, by 10, 12. At our house, our, our cesspool was about four foot wide, uh, eight foot deep, and about, uh, 10, 12 feet long.

INTERVIEWER: And he did it all in a day. One man.

ED GARDNER: Uh.

ED GARDNER: I mean, day and a half.

ED GARDNER: Garfield Dorsey did ours. Garfield Dorsey was a black man in Eldersburg who did a lot of digging. He dug graves at the churches, and he dug, uh, sewage systems, when you’re putting in bathrooms. And he did ours, trenches, the pit for the septic tank, and the pit for the cesspool in two days. But it was all easy digging. There was no, no stone.

INTERVIEWER: No stone.

ED GARDNER: But, uh, a lot of that stuff was done by hand.