Mary grew up in Baltimore but after she got married her and her husband dreamed of living in Carroll County. It took them a couple of tries but they finally moved to Westminster, MD where they still live today.
KIERA SCOTT: Good afternoon. My name is Kiera Scott, and I am interviewing with Mary Dietz. It is– what is it? It is Thursday, October 28, and we are in the Office of Student Engagement area at McDaniel College.
So the first question I have for you Mary is where did you grow up?
MARY DIETZ: I actually grew up in Baltimore in a suburb known as Brooklyn.
KIERA SCOTT: Great. And how long have you lived in Carroll County?
MARY DIETZ: I’ve been here for 17 years.
KIERA SCOTT: Nice! So can you tell me about your move to Carroll County.
MARY DIETZ: Yes. My husband and I were married, and we thought we wanted to live out here– a nice place too, safe– and have our children grow up. When we first got married, we lived actually in the house I grew up in. And we saved our money, and we couldn’t quite afford to get all the way out here. So we moved to Baltimore County. We lived in Reisterstown, and then after we were there for about seven more years did we– was the market and the timing right for us to move. And we made it out here, and I live like five minutes from the college.
KIERA SCOTT: Great. So it was your intention for a long time.
MARY DIETZ: It was. It was our intention.
KIERA SCOTT: What drew you to this area?
MARY DIETZ: I would say that was more my husband. He is more aware of surroundings and safety and environment. I would probably be happy anywhere, but we live together, so we must both be happy. That’s why we’re here.
KIERA SCOTT: Good point. So what was the area like when you moved here?
MARY DIETZ: I would say it was pretty similar, but it was a little less crowded, a lot less buildings, and a lot more building of houses. I remember looking out my kitchen window and seeing a lot more trees. And now I see a lot more houses up on the hill. And of course, I also see trees because the trees have grown up that had been planted in my yard and my neighbors. But you know what I mean.
KIERA SCOTT: Yes. Great. So then would you say the town was more rural or urban then?
MARY DIETZ: I would say it was a little bit of both, like you could tell it was a little more country, but it still was urban–
KIERA SCOTT: OK
MARY DIETZ: In my opinion.
KIERA SCOTT: And what did your family do for entertainment during your first year or two that you live in Carroll County.
MARY DIETZ: Well, I wouldn’t say that we’re major people that go out quite a lot. First of all, I had a three-year-old, so there wasn’t a whole lot of going out and doing very many things. And we were still getting adjusted to living out here because my husband worked in Baltimore, and I actually worked in Owings Mills. And then picking up our son from daycare, you’re pretty much tired.
And the weekends, sometimes, we’re actually going to visit family who lived back in Baltimore. So it wasn’t– it was the occasional going out to dinner. That was about it for us.
KIERA SCOTT: Like what places did you go out to eat?
MARY DIETZ: Oh, it wasn’t really anything fancy, probably fast food or Harry’s, something like that.
KIERA SCOTT: Tell me about Harry’s. I don’t know about Harry’s.
MARY DIETZ: You don’t know Harry’s?
KIERA SCOTT: No.
MARY DIETZ: Harry’s is right on Main Street. I don’t know how many years ago, I think they actually had a fire in the kitchen. I’m not sure how long they were closed, but they remodeled. It’s really very nice. They’re very famous for their hamburgers. They have a nice section where you can eat outside and a beautiful spot inside to eat. It’s just regular food, but a little nicer atmosphere than your fast food.
KIERA SCOTT: And would you call that a local spot?
MARY DIETZ: Yes. Yes, I would call Harry’s a local spot.
KIERA SCOTT: Great. That’s Interesting.
MARY DIETZ: See, you should check it out.
KIERA SCOTT: Yes. And what changes have you seen in the country?
KIERA SCOTT: Well, as I said, it’s a lot with the building. So with that, brings jobs, which is a good thing, but then it takes away somethings too. And then the, I guess, more country feel is– some of it is gone, not all of it, but some of it. I’m still fine with how it is, but others who were born here may not be.
KIERA SCOTT: That makes sense. So what is one place that you can think of that used to be Carroll County, but is no longer here as a result of all the buildings.
MARY DIETZ: We were just having a conversation about this on a walk the other day with the ladies I walk with at lunch. And there was a department store right on Main Street. It was called Mathers, and that is no longer here. And I didn’t go in there too much, but I do remember going in there. It was just like your old time department store where everybody knew your name when you came in, and there were clothes folded nicely on these little bins and then maybe they had little extra stock underneath. And it was just your old time feel to the store, and it’s no longer here.
I forget exactly where it was on Main Street. I’m thinking it’s right around where Coffee Music was, but I’m not positive. I’m probably wrong.
KIERA SCOTT: Interesting. That’s more than what I knew. Great. So what experiences did you have with rural Carroll County life before urbanization. Or did you have any?
MARY DIETZ: I don’t know that it was– I don’t know for me that it’s been that different for me personally. I can’t recall that I did anything differently than I do now.
KIERA SCOTT: That’s a good point. So how long have you worked in Carroll County?
MARY DIETZ: I’ve worked– I write that down because I had to think about that. How many years has it been? Did I write down– nine years.
KIERA SCOTT: And what positions have you held since you lived here in the county?
MARY DIETZ: I work part-time at Kohl’s department store. They’ve been around for nine years. I’ve worked there since the store opened. I remember being very excited when they were coming because I love to shop at Kohl’s, but I had to go to Hanover, and that’s a little bit of a trek.
And I’ve also worked for Carroll County public schools. I was a Special Ed assistant. And now I’m working at McDanial College.
MARY DIETZ: Just tell me about those work experiences.
MARY DIETZ: Well, I’m still currently employed at Kohl’s because I like the discounts. It’s hard to give up after nine years. I enjoy being with people, so that is a great job for me. I work in customer service, so I see a lot of people coming to bring back their stuff. And it’s fun for me.
Working in a Carroll County public schools, I did enjoy– in fact, I really was very happy to be there. I wasn’t really looking for another job, but found out about this, and I had worked at the college a couple years ago and was let go from my position. So I really wanted to get back here too. So it was very tough for me to decide do I want to apply for the position or not because I really am happy where I am, Because I love working with kids.
I was actually helping them with math, seventh grade math. But I really enjoy being here at McDaniel.
KIERA SCOTT: That is good.
MARY DIETZ: Does that answer your question?
KIERA SCOTT: Yes, it definitely does. So how has the social climate in Carroll County changed as the population became more diverse?
MARY DIETZ: I’m thinking that we’re experiencing growing pains. I noticed that a lot when I was in the school system. We have a lot more children struggling with the English language, and so I’m not sure we’re up to speed on meeting their needs. And if we’re having trouble communicating, then we’re going to have trouble in other areas.
KIERA SCOTT: That’s a great point. So can you describe your personal experiences during any major national events that may have occurred while you were in Carroll County.
MARY DIETZ: I do you remember when 9/11 happened. And I remember having the comfort of my neighbors just gathered around the bus stop waiting for our kids to get home that day and just talking about how awful things were after having watched the news and all that was going on that day. And I’m not one that generally watches the news because there is so much tragedy that goes on around us.
My husband calls me Pollyanna because I really don’t like the news. I don’t want to know all the awful that’s going on. I want to focus on the positive things that go on around us, so I just really avoid the news. But that day, of course, I watched.
And as we were waiting at the bus stop, just being grateful for what we had in our life and just wanting to grab our kids and hug them as they got off the bus that day was something that I remember, just having the comfort of my neighbors just right there on the corner. It was really quite nice.
KIERA SCOTT: So tell me about any important issues or difficulties you can recall having since the time you lived in the county.
MARY DIETZ: I’m seeing a lot– like I said with housing development– I see our roads getting a lot more crowded. I’m seeing– I don’t like to focus on that, but I see a lot of people being short-tempered because they’re in a rush. I don’t believe a lot of people work in Carroll County that live in Carroll County, so they’re spending a lot of time driving, and then they’re tired.
And then we don’t have that friendliness that we should have no matter where we live. So I wouldn’t like that anywhere. And then I’ve also noticed, like you said with changes, the shopping around here has changed, some I think for the good, but for that little department store, Mathers, not so good. But I am Kohl’s is here, not that they put them out of business. Probably, Walmart put them out of business.
But they do bring more jobs, so we have to take the good and the bad. And I would like to focus on the good.
KIERA SCOTT: I think that. So now describe to me the most significant change that you’ve seen in Carroll County over the years since you’ve lived here.
MARY DIETZ: The most significant change?
I would have to say that it would be our surroundings. I think that we have a lot more conveniences than we probably did before. But with that, on the downside, comes a little bit more crowded. Perhaps, if we just slow down a little bit, we can enjoy both, the conveniences and more people. That’s just more people to get to know.
KIERA SCOTT: I think that’s a great perspective. And what do you perceive are the benefits, disadvantages, or both to the urbanization in Carroll County? You touched on several of them.
MARY DIETZ: I think I probably have. There’s more jobs to be– But again, we’re getting crowded. We’re more rushed, so we’re less friendly. I’m not saying that’s everybody, just a few. But sometimes, the few and their attitude overflows and takes over. I don’t like that affect that it has.
KIERA SCOTT: Totally understandable. And what would you tell a friend who had never going to Carroll County about this community?
MARY DIETZ: I would say that it is a diverse community. I would also tell them that it is eclectic. I would say that we do have a country feel, but yet, we do have conveniences of a city. I think everything’s very close being right here in Westminster. I went to someone else’s house about 12 miles away, and I thought I was in the middle of nowhere.
I have streetlights where I live. They did not. And it’s just a different feeling, so to me, I live in the city. They lived in the country, and we were only about 12 minutes apart.
KIERA SCOTT: That’s funny.
MARY DIETZ: So you can have a little bit of everything out here, whatever you desire. It’s a nice place to live. It’s an even better place to work.
KIERA SCOTT: Excellent! So is there anything that you can think of that comes to mind when you think about Carroll County that you’d like to share with me?
MARY DIETZ: I think people should experience it for themselves, give it a chance, and look for the good no matter where you are.
KIERA SCOTT: I love that.
MARY DIETZ: Thank you.
KIERA SCOTT: So you’re sure that’s everything?
MARY DIETZ: I think that’s everything.
KIERA SCOTT: That’s great. Well, I want to thank you for taking this time out to do this interview with me.
MARY DIETZ: Well, thank you for choosing me.
KIERA SCOTT: You’re welcome. And I’ve learned a lot more about– I thought I knew a lot about you, but obviously, I’ve learned some more about you. And I like your perspective on things, is what I can say.
MARY DIETZ: Thank you.
KIERA SCOTT: So once again, thank you.
MARY DIETZ: You’re welcome.