Eleanor Smith

Grew up in Baltimore, Eleanor went to Douglas High School. She came to Carroll County in 1996.


ELEANOR SMITH: I left Baltimore County. Went to Baltimore City. Went to Douglas High School. Graduated from that. Then I got myself a job. And I was working for this man. I’ve been knowing him because he lived across the street from us.

And I tell him– [LAUGH] I tell him I wasn’t going to working him long. He said, we’re sure going to miss you, Eleanor. I said, I’m sorry. I said, because I’m not going to work any more. Because I don’t like playing yo-yo. I’m going home. [LAUGH]

INTERVIEWER: And what did he have to say about that?

ELEANOR SMITH: He didn’t say nothin.’ [LAUGH] What could he say?

INTERVIEWER: Right. What– when did you come to Carroll County?


INTERVIEWER: When did you come to Carroll County?

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, about four years now, hasn’t it Ella?



ELLA: She’s been living with my husband and I. She started in 1996.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, 1996. You’ve been in Carroll County since 1996. OK. So, um, tell me a little bit about your life. Where’s a good place to start?

ELEANOR SMITH: Well, I worked for a private family a long time. And I worked in kitchen one time. Worked for three or four years in the kitchen. And making crab cakes, and everybody loved them. [LAUGH]

ELLA: What restaurant was that? What restaurant?

ELEANOR SMITH: It’s called the Getsus.


ELEANOR SMITH: All the way up.

INTERVIEWER: And, uh, tell me about your– did you have any siblings? Any brothers or sisters?

ELEANOR SMITH: All my brothers are all dead, and my sisters are all dead.

ELLA: She has one brother that’s living.


ELLA: And the brother lives in Silver Springs.


ELLA: OK. But she is– there was 13. She tells me there was 13 siblings.


ELLA: And so Mervin, um, Parker is the only surviving brother now.


ELLA: And Eleanor has outlived a– a son and a daughter.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, really.

ELLA: Um-hmm.

INTERVIEWER: Wow. OK. So, um, tell me about what happened today. Why– why are you here today?

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, well, just to get out of the house. [LAUGH] It’s [INAUDIBLE] to the house. [LAUGH]

INTERVIEWER: What– what– oh, go ahead.

ELEANOR SMITH: Ella’s the one that got me out. [LAUGH]


ELEANOR SMITH: [INAUDIBLE]. I probably would have been still there. [LAUGH]

INTERVIEWER: [LAUGH]. Tell me– tell me– when were you born?


INTERVIEWER: When were you born?

ELEANOR SMITH: Where was I born?

INTERVIEWER: When? What year were you born?

ELEANOR SMITH: 1906 or seven, something like that. I don’t know. [LAUGH]

ELLA: July the 2nd, 1907.

ELEANOR SMITH: That’s right. [LAUGH]

INTERVIEWER: OK, so she’s 102 then.

ELLA: She’s 101.


ELLA: 102 July the 2nd.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, wow. July 2nd. So that’s coming up. That’s coming up really soon.

ELLA: Um-hmm.

INTERVIEWER: That’s coming up really soon. So you’ve seen a lot in your– in your time. In your life.


INTERVIEWER: You’ve seen a lot in your lifetime.

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, yeah. Used to dance. [INAUDIBLE] now.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about that. Where’d you go to dance?

ELEANOR SMITH: Not far from Eldersburg.


ELLA: Were there any places in Woodstock?

ELEANOR SMITH: Then at Woodstock, too. Then I used to do– they used to give dances down then. And we used to go down there. And one of the guys got on my nerve– I told you about that.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about it. I want to hear about that.

ELEANOR SMITH: No, I’m not going to tell ya.


I’m not going to tell ya that one.


ELLA: What kind of dances did you like?


ELLA: Did you like to do the Charleston or the Hucklebuck or what?

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, yeah. But this particular time we were just doing our new dance. And the guy got all funny. So I pushed him back. I said, “Get the hell away from me.” [LAUGH]

INTERVIEWER: I guess he listened to you, huh?

ELEANOR SMITH: That was it.



ELLA: So her husband, her husband has passed.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Can you tell me a little bit about you– your late husband?


INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me about your husband?

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, he was a fine man.


ELEANOR SMITH: I never found another man like him.

INTERVIEWER: What did he do for a living?

ELEANOR SMITH: He worked for a– in a– where– it’s mill, some kind of mill. Paper mill, something like that. Yeah. Years ago. That’s why he got all that dust in his lungs.

ELLA: Um-hmm. I know he worked in some type of factory or some type of [INAUDIBLE].

INTERVIEWER: OK. And, um, tell me about your children.

ELEANOR SMITH: Well, I had two. Both of them are dead. So left me all alone. [LAUGH] I had a boy and a girl.

INTERVIEWER: Did they have any children?


INTERVIEWER: No. No. OK. Uh, want to go back. Do you remember, um, things like, uh, World War I, the Great Depression?

ELEANOR SMITH: I hear them talking about it. I see it on television.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, really?


INTERVIEWER: What do you remember about it on tele– seeing– about seeing it on television?

ELEANOR SMITH: Do I remember what?

INTERVIEWER: What do you remember about it when seeing it on television?

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, man. That be so many years ago. My lord. [LAUGH] What?

ELLA: During the time when there was a depression, and your mother and father were living, um, what are the few things that happened during that time? Do you remember what you may have had to eat? Maybe where’d your father work at? I know you’ve seen a lot of changes over the years.

ELEANOR SMITH: No. In that time, um, my father was– was milking the cows around in the barn.

ELLA: Um-hmm. Did you– Did you have–

ELEANOR SMITH: And, um, the child always wanted to go with him. One of, uh–

ELLA: Raymond.

ELEANOR SMITH: Yeah. And, uh, he would go around the barn and stand there and look. My daddy would milk the cows. Then of course we had all this milk given to us because all went to college. One of them great big gallon thing full.

ELLA: Um-hmm.

ELEANOR SMITH: So I remember we used to make butter and everything. Got homemade butter. [INAUDIBLE].

ELLA: Did you plant a garden?


ELLA: Did you plant a garden?

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, yeah. Had a beautiful garden. The [INAUDIBLE] would go by us and tell my father, “Mr. Parker, you sure have a beautiful garden. No weeds.” I say, “Yeah, I guess so. We all had– got every day to pull all the weeds out.” [LAUGH] And everybody called– [INAUDIBLE] oh, such a beautiful garden. No [INAUDIBLE], no weeds at all! [LAUGH]

ELLA: You got to do the picking, huh?


ELLA: You had to pick all the weeds out of the garden.

ELEANOR SMITH: Yeah. We had to.

ELLA: 13 of you, wasn’t it?


ELLA: Was 13 children of you, wasn’t it?

ELEANOR SMITH: Yeah. Um-hmm.

ELLA: Um-hmm.

ELEANOR SMITH: It was all together.

ELLA: Picked all them weeds.

INTERVIEWER: Where were you in that 13? What– what did you fall? Were you the first or were you the last child? In the middle– in the middle somewhere?

ELEANOR SMITH: No. [INAUDIBLE]. George and Eva. I guess I’m about the fourth child or fifth. Something like that. I know my sister Geneva was the oldest. [COUGH]

ELLA: What school did you go to?


ELLA: What are some of the schools that you went to?

ELEANOR SMITH: Well, uh, I started right in Granite. The school wasn’t very far. Had to walk there.

ELLA: How long a walk was it?

ELEANOR SMITH: Because my brother Mervin used to come up, because he was working in the morning before going to school. He would say, “Now, look, I want you all to be ready when I come out there because I’m not going to be late for school [INAUDIBLE].” [LAUGH]

So we had to be ready when Mervin came by, so we– he could get us to school on time. [LAUGH] Now they’re all dead.

ELLA: She had one son and one daughter.

INTERVIEWER: One son and one daughter.

ELLA: Um-hmm.

INTERVIEWER: What– what do you miss– what do you miss today that you– that you, uh– maybe what do you wish you could have today that you had growing up? What are some of the memories that you wish you could still have?

ELEANOR SMITH: I wish nothin’. I’m happy with my days.

INTERVIEWER: You’re happy– you’re happy with your days.

ELEANOR SMITH: I’ve been happy with my days. There’s nothin’ wrong with them.

INTERVIEWER: That’s great. That’s great.

ELEANOR SMITH: Now I’m enjoying my days.

ELLA: That’s true.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have any, uh, messages that you’d like to put out to anybody, anybody that, that, um, you know, maybe taking life for granted or something like that? Would you have anything that you’d like to say to them?

ELEANOR SMITH: Take a life boy, for what?


ELLA: What he’s asking, do you have any words of encouragement for other people today, since you have lived a long wonderful life. Do you have a message you would like to share with other people?

ELEANOR SMITH: I don’t talk to that many people. You know that.

ELLA: But you do like to go to church.


ELLA: You do like to go to church.

ELEANOR SMITH: Go to church.

ELLA: You do go to church.


ELLA: Um-hmm.

ELEANOR SMITH: Had– had to go to church for the Lord, you know that. [LAUGH]

ELLA: One of the things that, uh, she always tells me is that, um, when I would ask her why her life was so enriched, and she would say, um, her mother sat them all around the table.


ELLA: Your mother sat you all around the table.


ELLA: And did what?

ELEANOR SMITH: Said prayers.

ELLA: Bible study.

ELEANOR SMITH: Yeah. That would be every morning the school was closed, and we didn’t had to go to school early in the morning. She sat us all around the table and start reading the Bible. And we had to sit there till she finished, you know.

ELLA: And she said that, um, one of the scriptures was that she really likes to share with other is honor your mother and father that your days upon the earth may be long. So she [INAUDIBLE] that.


ELLA: [INAUDIBLE] scripture.

INTERVIEWER: All right. Well, thanks for joining us today, Miss Eleanor.

ELEANOR SMITH: Oh, you’re quite welcome.

INTERVIEWER: And you look– And you look beautiful. You–


INTERVIEWER: You– you look like you had– you’ve had a well life.

ELEANOR SMITH: I’m glad I’m able to tell you something.



ELLA: Now she has a song she would like to sing.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah. I would like to hear this song. I heard a little bit about it–


INTERVIEWER: –early. You have a song you’d like to sing?

ELEANOR SMITH: “I don’t like to play in your yard.”

ELLA: Um-hmm.

ELEANOR SMITH: [SING] I don’t like to play in your yard. I don’t like you anymore. You’ll be sorry when you see me sliding down the cellar door. You may hollow down the ranch, but you may climb an apple tree. I don’t like to play in your yard, and I don’t like you anymore. [LAUGH]