Mary Lee Schmall (2)

Mary was born in 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was born in the beginning of The Great Depression. She talks about what it was like to grow up in those times and how her parents were able to support a child even through the hard times.

Transcription

INTERVIEWER: So did you have– I mean, I’m assuming because you were so interested in not sticking to the norms of things back as your were growing up that you encouraged the same for your son or–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No, I didn’t.

INTERVIEWER: No?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: If I had encouraged anything, he would’ve done the opposite.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Well, so then you were– so maybe you were encouraging him. You were just doing it the reverse–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: In the reverse way.

INTERVIEWER: Reverse psychology.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah. I guess. I don’t know, but, um, it was funny. When he was, um, about 30, he said to me, now I know what you were doing. He said I was really afraid of you.

INTERVIEWER: He said he was afraid of you?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Interesting.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because I said I see young people all the time throwing their lives away, and I know they’re going to be so sorry. And I didn’t want that to happen to him.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So when he got out of college, he couldn’t get a job, and he went to the Army into the OCS program. It’s the best thing that ever happened to him. It gave him the discipline he’d been fighting all those years, and he even says, you know, that was the army that really turned him around.

INTERVIEWER: Right, right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because he was– he’s still socially minded, but, you know, if there was, you know, something to do that was fun that went got first.

INTERVIEWER: That was first choice.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. And that was not what I wanted to be first choice.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So we had–

INTERVIEWER: He learned his way. Like you said, through the Army, whomever, he– he came to it.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So you– you instilled what you instilled in him. He just didn’t realize it until the Army got a hold of him.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Then it was like, oh yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, that’s what she was up to. So it’s difficult being a parent because you’re doing the best you– you think you’re doing the best you can.

INTERVIEWER: Sure.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And children don’t always think you’re doing the best.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, mm-hm. Mm-hm. I understand that. I understand that now.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Yes. Yes.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And– and that’s difficult.

INTERVIEWER: It can be. It can be very frustrating.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Because you– you want them to be able to say, oh, you know–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –this is for my own good. They love me.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: And to them you’re just ugh. You know?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. I mean, you go through all that childhood, all those childhood traumas, and then when they’re 16, they think you don’t love them, you know? But it comes around. Yeah. You just have to be patient.

INTERVIEWER: I know. I’m– I’m– if you don’t mind me just interjecting a little bit. Just exactly what you’re saying because that’s exactly where I am. My son is 16, and I– I fight– I don’t want to say fight, but I struggle with– with– I mean, he’s a great guy. He’s a great kid–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh yeah, he must be. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, but he’s– but he’s just– he’s typical. He’s a typical 16 year old, and I struggle with that distance between us because, you know, as a parent, you just so–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –want the connection, and you just–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well Craig was very– his father was very easy going with him. He could do anything he wanted, so I was the disciplinarian. So you always get the bad name when you’re the disciplinarian.

INTERVIEWER: Yes. Yes.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So–

INTERVIEWER: I could say the same thing– right– at my house, my husband is much more laid back. They have a different kind of relationship than myself and my son.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I said the only thing that keeps me going is that he knows what my values are, and even if he doesn’t follow them, he knows he’s in conflict with what I value. And I think so many parents nowadays coddle their children so. Anything they want to do, anything they want to get, they get. And it’s like instead of sticking to this principle– and I always said to him, you’ve got to expand your horizons because so many of what I’ve observed in Carroll County is that they’re so provincial and don’t look beyond. And I said, you know, there’s a big world out there, and you’ve got to explore it. Of course, he has. Just got back from Warsaw, and he’s going to Australia, so he’s– but one time I said I want to have a talk with you. He said, oh, is this the expanding your horizons talk again?

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So I didn’t really expect him to expand it quite as much as he has.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, well.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right. Well then, let’s– let’s step back again if you don’t mind.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No.

INTERVIEWER: Um, back to, OK– so when you were back here in Carroll County, you were raising your son. Your husband had achieved his chiropractic–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Whatever.

INTERVIEWER: Status? Whatever you want to call. He was a chiropractor. I know you said he got– he lost the job, that initial job.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, and then he set up his own practice.

INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. So then that was– that was a big accomplishment.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, yeah. Uh, he was supposed to sign a paper that he would not open up an office within so many miles, but he had never signed it. They had never gotten that far because the fellow had had this– this heart attack.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK. Wait, wait. Can I just– So I– just that this was something that was supposed to be done to make sure that your Craig wasn’t taking business away from–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Right, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –the current chiropractor.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So– so he had never signed it, and so he just walked down the street and rented an office. And then my father paid him a weekly salary until he got set up.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And his father helped him set up the office, so he had a lot of help.

INTERVIEWER: What was– what was Craig doing– was Craig doing something specific for your father that he was being paid?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No, no, no.

INTERVIEWER: He was just–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He was just paying him.

INTERVIEWER: –giving him an allowance.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So that we wouldn’t lose our house and everything, because remember the mortgage was $100 a month.

INTERVIEWER: $100 a month. That’s right. That’s right. That’s right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I was talking– after Craig died, I was talking to the lawyer, and I said I’d like to put Craig’s name on the house. He said no. Don’t do that. I said why? He said because when he sold– if he sold the house, he would have to pay capital gains from $18,000 to whatever he it for, whereas he inherited it just from the day I die how much it’s worth to how much he sells it for.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Oh my goodness.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I would never have thought of that.

INTERVIEWER: No. No. And that would be right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: That would be a tremendous amount of money.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I would hope. I think it would go for more than $18,000.

INTERVIEWER: Well, I think– I think so. Even in today’s economy I think you’d get more than $18,000.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. So–

INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness. So, OK, then what– where– when did you become affiliated back again with Western Maryland? When did you–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I got a phone call from Dr. [INAUDIBLE] and they needed somebody to monitor one of the labs. And I said, all right. I will try it. And so we hired somebody to stay with Craig, and I did one lab a week. And from there, it just mushroomed, you know? I came back every year, and every year it was more– until it worked into a full time job, which was fine, but while he was little, I was just working part time, and that was fine. But at least I felt that I was giving myself some security.

INTERVIEWER: Sure. Right. Right. As you explained before, right?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah. Because when Craig got cancer, I mean, he wasn’t making anything.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And this could have happened earlier on.

INTERVIEWER: Right. No one ever knows.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Well, then you were working full time at Western Maryland.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Um, and I know– let’s see– actually I don’t remember. I– I know– I thought I remembered when you retired from there, but I don’t remember the year you retired.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Uh, 2007.

INTERVIEWER: OK, so then how many– how long were you there? How long did you–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I was there for– from 1964 to 2007.

INTERVIEWER: That’s phenomenal. That’s phenomenal. Logistically, too, how perfect was that for you?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, it’s a great, except I– I– of course, Craig just worked a mile away. I only had– I have a 2001 Buick that has 23,000 miles on it, and I have Craig’s car, which is a 2003 car, and that has 10,000. And I’m not supposed to fill up the gas tank because the gas gets old before I can use it.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Oh, OK, because of the minimal amount of driving that you do.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and of course I have these two cars, and I have to have the station wagon for the dog. I tried getting him in the Buick, and that was disastrous experiment. His legs got caught, and he was flailing, and I was flailing, and, oh, it was just terrible. So here I am with two cars and no place to go.

INTERVIEWER: One person and nowhere to go. Aw. Well, let’s also step back. When did you get– you said you had dogs. I’m going to go back to dogs–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –because I know how– how much of a part of your life they’ve been from what you’ve said to me earlier. Um, so you had dogs growing up?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, I had– the most significant dog I had growing up was an English sheep dog, who was the smartest dog I’ve ever had. He was wonderful. And, uh, of course when I lived in Chicago I just had pet rats.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

[LAUGHTER]

Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Big as dogs. And then we moved here. Somebody gave us a little black puppy, and it was adorable. And it would go around going yip, yip, yip, yip. And then one day he came in, and he goes ruff, and I go oh my gosh. What have we here? Well he was a big– turned out to be a big dog, and he got hit by two cars down here one night.

INTERVIEWER: Aw.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Then we had part German Shepherd. She also got hit. This is before we had a fence. Then we had, um– oh, then we had a black and tan Doberman, and he died of cancer. Then we had a red Doberman, and he died of cancer, and then this one. And we’ve got them all buried out here.

INTERVIEWER: Aw.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So–

INTERVIEWER: I– I– I know– Just also to state kind of on the record I know I have known of you or know you for a while, but I– though I don’t know about you, so to speak, because of my mother obviously knowing you, um, and I know how, um, you had that longevity with Dobermans obviously wither her being–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: –someone who has that breed.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah, I love Dobermans. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Um, I don’t know how significant of your– in your life they are to you, especially–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –Jackson anyhow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Especially Jackson, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: As I saw when I first came in. That’s why I wanted to bring that up, because, you know.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah, dogs are a very important part. Now, when Jackson dies, he’s going to have to be created, because I would have to bring in a backhoe to bury him.

INTERVIEWER: Aw.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: There’s just no way I could do that.

INTERVIEWER: And also, again just for the record, I want to state, because you live– I see you’re, like, right off 140.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. And 97.

INTERVIEWER: And 97. Right. So the proximity to where we were talking– when we were talking about Western Maryland–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –is– is– so very, very close.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Um, um, and you– it’s beautiful property, by the way.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Thank you. Well, I like it because it’s private.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Um.

INTERVIEWER: Well, yeah. You have that feel, even though you are kind of right–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –right off of the areas that you are.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Right. I mean, I’m close to Safeway. I’m close to the–

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –mall. Everything.

INTERVIEWER: But you’re kind of tucked in there.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And like a lot of people who lived in Carroll County said they didn’t even know this house was here.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And it’s been here for 120 years.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Well let’s talk go– OK, so you have seen obviously a lot of change happening in Carroll County.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, gosh. Yes.

INTERVIEWER: So we’ll focus on that for a bit. Um, just even– just I’m sure everything building up around you you.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Well, I’ll tell you one significant change I found. When I used to go to the grocery store, I’d always have to figure in extra time because I’d see people I knew, and we’d talk.

INTERVIEWER: OK. OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Now I go out and nobody looks familiar to me.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. And I– I said who is living in these houses in Meadow Creek? And they said people from Baltimore.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Mm-hm. Lot of commuters.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. So, um, there’s just not that feeling. You don’t walk down the street anymore and see so many people.

INTERVIEWER: And know the people are seeing and can relate–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –and all that. Sure. Sure. Which I guess is typical, um, of most areas anymore. You know–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, I’m sure. I’m sure. I just feel that Carroll County missed opportunities to keep it better. I think the city has expanded much too much because they say, oh, it’s extra tax base. Well, it’s also extra traffic. It’s extra school. It’s extra everything, and I can’t see– I think there’s a– a number of like deer in a forest. You go beyond that– that number, and it starts to have an opposite effect.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I think– I think that has happened here, particularly with places like Meadow Creek. Uh, It looks as if they took houses and just threw them in the field.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I mean, it’s just horrible.

INTERVIEWER: Now, is that– just– just– just so I know. Is that the area that’s built up down here like across Safeway and all that?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: That’s what you’re talking about?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Yeah, I know where you mean, then. Yes. I remember– I remember when that was– I mean, just open field.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Because when I lived in Westminster, it was just open.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: So I can even appreciate what you’re saying.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: When I drive by now, it’s– it’s so–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Now I can still– I see beautiful sunrises from the front of my house.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Beautiful. And beautiful sunsets, but in one part, there are all those houses sticking up, which makes it not so beautiful.

INTERVIEWER: Not– not what you–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But it’s still pretty. I mean, it’s to be– I– I love to come– I get up very early in the morning, and I come out, and I watch the sunrise, because then I know I’m still alive.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: Yes. So, um, living here in this house in particular since 1961, obviously all the changes you’ve seen– was there ever a time that you thought of leaving Carroll County again, or were you always set in one–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, I didn’t– I’m a city person.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. So–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I would love– would have loved to live in the city.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: In a city, not Chicago, however. However, now I’m glad I’m not living in a city.

INTERVIEWER: OK, because of the stage of life you’re in now is retirement, or–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Everything. Everything. I go Ascension Episcopal Church, which is a very close loving community. It’s very small, but everybody’s there to help you out, and everybody’s so friendly. And it’s just a wonderful– a wonderful atmosphere. And people said I always thought you’d move to Washington to be with your son. I’d said I don’t know anybody there, and he’s off to Timbuktu and everything. I said I would be there all by myself.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I would not know anybody. And I have my doctors here.

INTERVIEWER: Sure.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You know, everything I know is here. So right now I’m glad I do live here.

INTERVIEWER: Stayed put. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, because I think when you get to my age, you need stability and familiarity that you wouldn’t get if you– if you moved.

INTERVIEWER: Sure. Sure.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And of course, I could never live with him for more than 15 minutes.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He’s a wonderful son. He’s good to me, but we could not live together.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. I can appreciate that can be difficult.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, I couldn’t do that. We’re so– you know, he’s 49, and he’s lived alone for so long, and now that I lived alone, we’re both very set in our ways. And we took a vacation together, and that was fun.

INTERVIEWER: That’s nice thought.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But, uh, you know, I’m just glad to be here.

INTERVIEWER: Well you know you have him. You know he’s there to help you.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: You can depend on him, but yet you have your distance to live your lives as you choose right now.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Now the house is much too big for me. I don’t need all this space. However, what would I do with my stuff?

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I just don’t know what do I would do with it all.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And it all means something to me. I mean, you know, like that was my mother’s. That with my mother-in-law’s. That was my mother-in-law’s.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You know?

INTERVIEWER: It’s sentimental.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: It’s not just–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –it’s not just material. It’s–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I didn’t buy it at a store.

INTERVIEWER: Right, exactly.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, um, so, you know, that would be difficult to leave.

INTERVIEWER: To part with.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Sure. Sure. Sure. Now, raising a child here in Carroll County, um– if you don’t mind me stepping back to that again– what, like– what– what– what did you pursue for your son that you’re– Craig, your son Craig– regarding, like, like education. Where did he go to school here in Carroll County?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He went to so many different schools. It’s really kind of funny. We thought we’d moved.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. He went to, uh, East End. You know, that– that, um, was the bed and breakfast.

INTERVIEWER: No, I– no.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: On, um– it was the Y for a while, too.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: East End athletic club down there. He went there first for two– two grades. And the he went to West End, and then he went to the one, uh, across from the county building that’s a now special school–

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –that they were refurbishing for the special school, and they were hammering the whole year.

INTERVIEWER: Oh jeez. While classes were in session?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: They’re hammering and– and–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He’d come home and say, mom, I have a headache.

INTERVIEWER: Aw.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No wonder. And he went to East Middle. I don’t remember if he ever went to Western Middle or not. He went to East Middle, and then he went to Westminster High School.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Was there a reason? Why was there these changes in schools at– at a younger age?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, they were redoing the– the– I don’t know. They were redoing the schools or something. They were– I don’t know. There was some reason he was being.

INTERVIEWER: So this was the school system did it.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Not you all didn’t move him for whatever reason. It was just the way it happened.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, it was the way it happened.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And so he went to Westminster High School, and then we had to decide on a college. And he applied at Western Maryland, was turned down.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He was put on a a waiting list.

INTERVIEWER: Oh that’s–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I was furious.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You– you were furious at the college?

INTERVIEWER: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: For turning him down?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Well, I knew what kind of students they were getting in there.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I knew that he was much better than that, and I don’t know why they put him on a waiting list, but I didn’t really want him to go there anyway because I felt he needed better exposure. He had been here all his life, and I kept saying about Carroll County, and he said, mom, I’m from Carroll County. And I said, oh, I forgot about that. And, uh, so we visited several colleges, and we went to American University. And for some reason we just felt right at home. We went during the week when the students were there, yeah, and just walked around campus. And they have a school of international service, which is what he wanted. And so he decided to go there, and he was very, very happy there.

INTERVIEWER: There you go.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And he even goes back to speak to students.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, that’s wonderful.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: They invite him back to– to talk.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So, uh–

INTERVIEWER: That’s wonderful.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Tell them about his experiences.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh. Mm-hm. So do you think he– when he looks back then, um, would you say– could you– I don’t know– you’re speaking for him, but would you say he– he– was he glad he– he was raised in this area, you think? Or was there–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I think so, yeah. I think he was. We had wanted him to go to private school.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And he did not want to go because he wanted to stay with his friends.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So–

INTERVIEWER: Which is typical. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I think it would have been even easier for him to get a job had he gone to private school and probably easier to get into college, but, you know.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, but he’s done, you know–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, he’s done very well.

INTERVIEWER: From what you say, he’s travelling. He travels all over.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh gosh, yes. He’s had so many experiences.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: As a matter of fact, a couple weeks ago, our rector and his wife were invited to the agency for a retirement ceremony. They’re walking through the hall, and this young man came walking the other way. And he said, Ron, Becky. And they looked at him, and they said, Craig. I mean, thousands of people work there, and for them to run into each other– it was really, really a strange experience.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah, that is something. Wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: You had mentioned about, um, your husband Craig, who had– that got– he had cancer.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: So you obviously had, you know, quite a– I guess quite a battle with that. Um, what stage of life was that for him? How old was he if you don’t mind me asking when he got sick?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He was 70.

INTERVIEWER: When he got sick?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I think he was sick before that, but when he was diagnosed–

INTERVIEWER: Diagnosed.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –he was 70. And he said a funny thing to me. He said, you know, if I were 50, I’d really be upset, but when you get to our stage of life, you can expect that better.

INTERVIEWER: OK. I mean, you’ve lived. People– I said I have not desire to live till 100, because I don’t understand what’s going on now with the music, and the dress, and all the things that are going on, you know, Lady Gaga. And, uh–

INTERVIEWER: She must really stick with you, because that’s the second time you’ve mentioned her.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, although they say she’s very nice, but she certainly looks bizarre.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, uh–

INTERVIEWER: I know of her, but I’m not familiar with her music either.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I don’t either. And, uh, it’s just, you know, a strange world, and it gets– and it gets stranger. And I don’t think I want to be a part of it. Just to say it again, I’m 100 years old, so what’s that?

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right. So was he– so he wasn’t already retired from his practice when he got sick?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-mm. Mm-mm.

INTERVIEWER: Wow, OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-mm.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Now, he had cut down hours, but he wasn’t retired.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, usually if you’re in business by yourself, you don’t retire.

INTERVIEWER: Don’t tend to retire. OK. That’s good to say.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because you don’t have a pension, you know?

INTERVIEWER: But he was still, you know–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Mostly still working and all that.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: At age [INAUDIBLE].

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And he even thought he was going back.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, he thought he would battle through this and then go back to work, but he never–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No, No. Just kept going down, down, down, and it’s very difficult to see somebody die by inches.

INTERVIEWER: Just, like, so slow?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Oh, no. He was only sick for eight– diagnosed for eight months.

INTERVIEWER: Before he passed?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, wow. OK. OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Then we had to get busy and disassemble his office, and trying to make– you know I was making up W2 slips. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was telling somebody the other day the IRS had sent some important papers, I put them on the coffee table upstairs. When I got back, Jackson had shredded them.

INTERVIEWER: Oh no.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And so I taped them together, and I wrote and note, and I said you’re not going to believe this, but the dog ate it.

[LAUGHTER]

And they accepted it, so–

INTERVIEWER: That’s good. That’s good.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: They probably said, boy, we got a hot one here.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: But no, really. The dog ate it. Oh my goodness gracious.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So that was– that was– that was hard because every day I’d go to the mailbox I’d think, oh, what’s waiting for me now?

INTERVIEWER: Right, because I guess he handled–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, I didn’t really know anything. He had kept pretty good ledgers and everything.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But there were some things– like something that just had letters, I thought, what is that? And then finally, something came in the mail, and I realized it was the malpractice insurance.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And there were all these things that I didn’t know anything about that I had to–

INTERVIEWER: You had to run.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –kind of get rid of.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, oh, wow. OK. So that– that would be hard.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So now, though– so he passed– how long ago has it been since he passed?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Uh, seven years.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK. OK. So you obviously had to make a lot adjustment–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –at this time.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I got so much bad advice. One, sell the house and move to a condo. I mean, did I need that upheaval? No.

INTERVIEWER: Right. No.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Retire? I didn’t need that either. And you’re really– you really should, they say, go on as you are for at least a year.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, yes. Mm-hm. I’ve heard that, too. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I had gotten rid of a lot of stuff. As a matter of fact, I got rid of too much, but I gave away all my luggage because I said I’ll never go anyplace again. And then next Christmas we were invited to Colorado.

[LAUGHTER]

And then I said I gave away the big coffee urn because I said I’ll never have another party, and then I had my college reunion, you know? So you never know.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, you hosted your reunion?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, that year.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I was still working, and I didn’t really want to, but I kind of got talked into it, and it was difficult trying to get everything together.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right. RIght.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And of course, this property is a lot to take care of.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Yeah, I mean you have a lot property. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. I was just in the hedges trying to get rid of some dead wood, and it’s just always something that needs to be looked after.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And it’s not like a live in a cute little suburban house with a little yard.

INTERVIEWER: No, no, you do not.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So there’s this just a lot to think about.

INTERVIEWER: Sure.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I thought I consider it now my job, surviving.

INTERVIEWER: Just– OK. Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Just so it doesn’t fall down. That’s all I ask.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right. And, I mean, you– I’m assuming– like you even mentioned– Craig, your son, Craig–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –does, you know.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He wants the house.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: That’s what he says now, whether he’ll really want it or not.

INTERVIEWER: Well, since, um– since your husband’s passing then– then you two have done a lot of things together, you and your son?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, we went to, uh, England a couple years Ago

INTERVIEWER: Oh, wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And we went to the Cotswolds and stayed at a bed and breakfast, rented a car, and then every day we’d take a day trip someplace. That was really, really a nice trip.

INTERVIEWER: That is nice.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But he– I can’t leave Jackson, so I can’t go any place for, um–

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, um, he goes so many different places that he’s– to him a vacation is staying home.

INTERVIEWER: That would make sense. That’s right. He probably doesn’t get that kind of opportunity too often, does he?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, well, no I know is that something– can you just say what he does, or–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He– well, he’s a senior analyst for the CIA.

INTERVIEWER: OK. OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, uh, he just got back from– he went to Berlin, went to Stuttgart first, then to Berlin, then to Warsaw. And Sunday he flew from Warsaw to Frankfurt, and from Frankfurt to Dulles, and got in about 8 o’clock. Got home around 9:00 and had a flooded basement.

INTERVIEWER: Oh no.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And had to go to work the next day. So–

INTERVIEWER: I guess a job like that you don’t exactly call out sick or take a personal day.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No. Well, he said he was so far behind, you know, being out for two weeks that he had to go in. He had a lot of work to do. So–

INTERVIEWER: Wow, so he really has had a lot of exposure in his life.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh my gosh.

INTERVIEWER: You know.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He’s been to–

INTERVIEWER: Reaching new horizons, you know? Exploring.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, Japan.

INTERVIEWER: Expanding his horizons.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: China, Korea, of course. Many times to Korea. Malaysia. And, uh, he’s going to Australia. He’s been to Sweden. I– I can’t even think of all the places he’s been.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So, I mean he goes all over, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Which, I guess, I mean, as wonderful as that is, do you ever– do you ever find yourself worrying because he is travelling so much?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: As a mom. You know, as a mom.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I always feel better when he’s home.

INTERVIEWER: Sure. Just to know he’s–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –safe and sound.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, wow. Wow. That’s wonderful though.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Because he’s really had so much experience.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And then he was the briefer to Vice President Cheney for a couple years.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And he would go to different places with him.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh. Wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But that meant he had to go to Jackson Hole for Christmas, so he wasn’t home for Christmas.

INTERVIEWER: Does he ever talk about wanting to, like, settle down and– and– and stay put again, or that’s–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No, he loves his job. It’s– as we were saying, if you’re not passionate about your job, if you’re working and counting the years to retirement, you’re in the wrong job.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. I think that’s very valid advice there.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Yes. Yes. Um, I can appreciate that.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, now see my husband, Craig, loved what he was doing, and my son Craig loves what he was doing, and I liked what I was doing.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I know so many people who are just, you know, just a drudge to go to work.

INTERVIEWER: I guess that’s the difference when they say between having a job and career.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Right.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So–

INTERVIEWER: Well, he was– your son then was very fortunate to– to grow up around parents that were able to find those niches.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, I think so, and I think he realizes that.

INTERVIEWER: You know, and then he could really– so he had that desire to– to– to–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: To strike out.

INTERVIEWER: –really do what he wanted.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: You know? That– that’s wonderful.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. And to feel comfortable in many kinds of situations.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And we used to go to Bermuda every January for several days, and we stayed at Elbow Beach. And for dinner you dressed in evening clothes, and had an orchestra, and he did that from the time he was little.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He was little, and one time he wanted to order from the menu, and he saw the– the soups, the appetizers, and he said to the waiter, I’ll have the “consume.”

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: Aw.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But that made him comfortable in that kind of situation where his friends were going to McDonald’s.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Well, it sounds like he had such a cultured, well rounded–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, he was exposed to a lot of stuff.

INTERVIEWER: –life. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: You know? So that’s wonderful.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So I think that helped him in feeling comfortable in any situation.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, like, he can talk to 300 or 400 students, and it doesn’t bother him.

INTERVIEWER: Right. That’s great. Great. Great. Oh, and he has a lot to share.

INTERVIEWER: So– a lot to offer.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah. Well that’s– my music teacher used to say to me, if you get nervous when you’re performing, it means you’re thinking about yourself and not about the music.

INTERVIEWER: Hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So if you’re really into your subject–

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –wheter it’s music, or biology, or whatever–

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –and you stand up to talk, you want to share it with people.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And you don’t think about being nervous.

INTERVIEWER: That’s a very valid point.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: My– my niece was here, and she was going to substitute in school, and she bugged out because she said I would be so nervous standing in front of students. She said, I don’t know how you did it. I said, well, [INAUDIBLE], if you’re really into your subject, that’s what’s foremost in your mind.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: It’s not am I doing this right, or, you know, what do people think. It’s that at all. It’s your subject.

INTERVIEWER: Which is more natural because that’s–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: That’s what you–

INTERVIEWER: –your passion is.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: RIght. Him. That’s– that’s actually–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –something worth remembering. I like that.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, well I– yeah, my music teacher was the first one who had said that to me, and I used to think about that.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. That’s really– yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, that’s good. I like that.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Yeah. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Do you ever still– because I see you have a piano here– do you ever–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I have two of them.

INTERVIEWER: –still play? Oh my gosh. I’m looking at this side. I see the one. Yes, you do have two.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. I don’t often. Although a New Year’s resolution I made was to play every day a little bit.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I broke my arm a couple years ago, and I have trouble with my hands. And I figured rather than going to a physical therapist, I could probably do the same by playing the piano. Now, I don’t always keep up with it.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But I, you know– I try.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, at least I do more than– and– and sometimes I play in church, or I play someplace and I have to practice. Then I do.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But that– that is– was my 60th birthday present to myself– is the Steinway.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, wow. OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I had always wanted– there are three things I always wanted– I thought I wanted– a Jaguar, a Steinway, and to live in Georgetown. I had my Jaguar, and I got that out of my system real fast.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because even to have the oil changed is like $1,000, you know?

INTERVIEWER: Really?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: If I got away with less than $1,000, I was happy.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, they always found other things wrong.

INTERVIEWER: Other things wrong. OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Gosh. And then people get the wrong idea about you if you have it. So I– I had it, and it was fun, but I got rid of it.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And then I got the Steinway. We went to the store, and I was going to buy a used Steinway. And I saw the new ones, and I went right over there. And Craig says, hey, I thought you were going to get a used on. I said, changed my mind.

[LAUGHTER]

And so I got that, and I have never really regretted doing that. That was a good purchase.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So my mother had left me money, and that’s the reason I could that. And the third thing is to live in Georgetown. So the other day I found an ad for a retirement home in Georgetown. I said, uh-huh, maybe I could try that for a while.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Seriously? You think you would consider it?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Consider it?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, it’s both short term and long term, and there’s no entrance fee, and you pay by the month. So if I had to go to the hospital or something and couldn’t take care of myself, that might not be a bad thing to do for a month or whatever.

INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. All right. Well, then you would–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because I’d have to go someplace.

INTERVIEWER: –satisfy all your wishes.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, that would be the– my bucket list.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, your bucket list. Yeah. Aw.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So but you– but you’ve got to have time to think about those things, and you can’t do that if you’re running here and there and constantly, you know, have the TV blaring or with the cell phone in your ear, and iPod, iPad, whatever.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: My son said to me one time, I don’t know how to tell you this, mom, but I bought an iPod. I said, you bought an iPod?

INTERVIEWER: Now, how did you feel? Did you– being in– working at the college, working in education, and with all the technology changes over the years– so how did that impact– did that impact you in your profession? Because not only if the college obviously–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –upgraded or whatever, but then you had the students that were so–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –mind set on the, you know, current technology, and–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Well, some of it worked out very well because we had got to the point where we could put a slide, and it would be projected on a screen, and you could say, now, this is what you’re looking, whereas before we could just describe it.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And go around from microscope to microscope. That was wonderful. Um, they were determined that we were going to use computers, and the computer programs were so childish– games to me– that they wanted us to use that I just felt– again, I felt that you weren’t– you weren’t exercising the brain.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You were just pushing buttons and seeing, you know, little yellow balls going around, and I’m not sure you’re really learning anything. So I realized– well, I realized that I was not anxious to participate in all of that. I think some of the things are really good.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But I think that some of things really impeded the thought process.

INTERVIEWER: Were there are aspects that you were able to sort of stay more old school with how you handled your classroom, or–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, definitely.

INTERVIEWER: Without any– did I cause some friction?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: My first– my first introduction was I said I’m from another planet.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I don’t believe in political correctness. I believe in good manners, and this is the way it’s going to be. It’s either my way or the hallway.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I just played a wedding for a student, and he said– yeah, he said. I told my table you better behave. You better not get us in trouble with her.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: The wedding party table– the– the table at the wedding you’re talking about?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No, no.

INTERVIEWER: At the lab.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: The table at the lab.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, oh, oh, OK. I thought you meant he was sort making a joke.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, no, no. He said you better not get us in trouble with her.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I said, well, that’s true. That’s the way– that’s the way I was. I had certain standards. Um, I threw a couple kids out of class.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: They couldn’t believe it.

INTERVIEWER: You stood your ground. You had–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. I checked with the dean first, and I said, can I do this? And he said, yes. If they’re being disruptive, certainly. And one of them I threw out because he thew a scalpel at somebody.

INTERVIEWER: Oh.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Just jokingly. I mean, he wasn’t– but nevertheless, that’s not– it wouldn’t have been a joke if it hit him. And I threw him out of class, and he turned out to be a Westminster policeman.

[LAUGHTER]

And I had my pocketbook stolen, and I went down to the police department. And I didn’t recognize him at first, but he said to the policeman, you better watch that lady. She’s a tough one.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: OK. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I didn’t really mean to be tough, but that’s the– that’s the way it was going to be.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Now, a lot of professors felt they had to be popular with the students.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I always kept that little–

INTERVIEWER: Boundaries there.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Right. RIght.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I mean, I wanted to be nice to them and helpful, but they had enough friends. They didn’t need any more friends. It’s just like parents who want to be friends with our kids. They don’t need friends. They need parents.

INTERVIEWER: Right. RIght.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, uh, I just think there should be that– that distance.

INTERVIEWER: Right. The boundary–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –to show the difference between the two. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: No, that makes sense. That definitely makes sense.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I would say to my nephew, who’s a really smart kid, and he said one teacher wasn’t very good. And I said, you realize that you can learn even from a bad teacher.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I said a teacher only opens the door. You’re the one who walks through, and just because you have a bad teacher doesn’t mean that you can’t go on your own. As a matter of fact, a bad teacher may be a good thing.

INTERVIEWER: Forces you take more responsibility for yourself.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Right. That makes sense, too.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And of course, a lot of times they think it’s a bad teacher, and it isn’t at all.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But they’re– they’re bound to– well, students tend to do that if they don’t do well. It’s somebody else’s fault.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Yeah, sure. They try to rationalize so it’s not on them. Yeah. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Like, one of the students, whom I caught in a big fat lie– he said, well, you’re so rigid. And I said, it took you all semester to figure that out.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: You’re right. That’s who I am. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I said, if you think I’m rigid, try making a mistake on your IRS form.

INTERVIEWER: RIght.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You’ll know what rigid is.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I, mean they’re– they’re just so used to having people bend for them.

INTERVIEWER: That’s true. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I wasn’t brought up that way.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I didn’t bring up my son that way.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Now, I would– there was one time when I felt the teacher was way out of bounds, and I went to bat for my son, but if I thought it was my son, then– then I wouldn’t.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because you know how some parents are.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I don’t think I could ever teach in public school because I don’t think I could stand it with the parents.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Not my son.

INTERVIEWER: RIght. Right. It’s always–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, guess what, lady?

INTERVIEWER: It is your son. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Um, well, let’s see. Would you– is there any advice that maybe you could give if somebody was watching this just to say, you know– any advice at all just, you know, growing up in this day and age compared to what you’ve experienced?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Simplify.

INTERVIEWER: Simplify. I like that. Mm-hm. Keep it simple.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I have a good friend who’s 90 and lives in California.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And she is epitome of simplification, had a beautiful home, but it was, like, furniture that she’d inherited. She didn’t go out and buy a lot. She had beautiful jewelry, but very few pieces. Everything was simplified.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And it makes it so much easier.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I mean, you go back to the quality versus quantity again.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Better to have a few good pairs of earrings than drawers full.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I know when I travel– when my husband and I traveled, we always used to carry a carry on now matter how long we were staying. We were in Italy two weeks with a carry on. And we met the group at the college, and they said, well, where’s your luggage, and we said, well, this is it. Well, that’s carry on. Where’s your luggage? I said, no. That’s– that’s it. And I’d wear the same pair of earrings all the time. You know, people bring in–

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Why? Why, you know?

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, uh, I had my stuff all coordinated so it all went together, and, you know, by the end of the trip I didn’t look too good, but I said I’ll never see these people again. Who cares?

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. RIght.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: In fact, somebody in the Hanover side even wrote an article on us about the carry on.

INTERVIEWER: Really?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. And when my son and I went to England, we just had the carry on. And while everybody was still down looking for their luggage in the carousel, we had gone through immigration and everything, and we were on our way to the car. And it’s just simpler.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So I feel simplicity is–

INTERVIEWER: Simplicity is great advice.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –is the way to go.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you’re right, because I think discussed earlier on as we started, right, everything has become everything.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, there’s too much. You go into a store–

INTERVIEWER: Oh, yes.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And there are rows and rows of blouses.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Now, where are all these people going to wear all these blouses?

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I don’t understand that.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And yet Americans are so poorly dressed, you know, why even have a store?

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, uh, it just– even in the– the big stores in New York–

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –they have this– the clothes are jammed in. It’s not good for the clothes, and how do you pick anything out? I don’t know.

INTERVIEWER: I feel that way when I just got to look for, like, a tube of toothpaste. It’s like–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Choices. There’s too–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Too many.

INTERVIEWER: –many choices.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I mean, even cranberry juice. I’m always buying the wrong one because I don’t see all the–

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –ingredients. And, you know, why can’t you buy cranberry juice?

INTERVIEWER: RIght. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, uh, it just– you know, too many choices, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So simplify. That’s–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Simplify, I think, is the–

INTERVIEWER: [INAUDIBLE].

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. I know I– I got rid of so much stuff. I don’t have much stuff in my attic at all.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I have a barn full because I have a boat in there and all my outdoor furniture, but I cleaned– pretty well cleaned that out, and my two guest rooms have all empty drawers. People can’t believe that. I said, yeah. Why– why have stuff in the drawers? Nobody is in there.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So, I mean, I– I think you really have to do that. Simplify and opt for quality.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right. Well, that’s very, very, very good sound advice. Definitely. Definitely. Are there any other things you can think of, like, even regardw– well, to anything. Anything for yourself or just even Carroll County specifically that you–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I think if Carroll County would opt for quality, they wouldn’t build things like Meadow Creek.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: So you– that’s probably the fourth time you’ve mentioned that–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I know.

INTERVIEWER: –so that’s really.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I know, it’s horrible.

INTERVIEWER: That’s really–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And of course, I think 140 is terrible, and they want to put a bike path on it.

INTERVIEWER: They do?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I said, a bike path? I said I don’t even like to go on 140 in my car.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Oh, I never– I didn’t know that. They want to put a bike path.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, yeah. And, you know, pedestrians– and it’s like the college. Why they– they have the parking lots all outside and the things that have public venues you have to walk so far to. And somebody said, oh, do you like the new courtyard in the science building? I said I liked it better when it was a parking lot.

INTERVIEWER: I remember that. Yeah. I remember that. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I mean, I– I dont’ go over there nearly as much as I would if there was a place to park that was halfway close.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I said not everybody, and not every handicapped person is a wheelchair case. There a varying degrees of handicap. Sometimes you just can’t walk–

INTERVIEWER: That’s true. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –that far.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And so somebody said why did you retire? I said because I couldn’t find a parking space.

[LAUGHTER]

And that’s not far from the truth.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because one day I was– the weather was terrible, and I had to walk so far, and I thought, do I need this? No, I don’t need this in my life.

INTERVIEWER: Well, you have lived, it sounds, a very interesting life. Um–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I really have. I’ve met a lot of interesting people.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have– yes. Yes, you do, and you have a lot of great advice. You have, like I said, a wonderful sense of humor. I really appreciate your sense of humor, because I think– I personally think being able to laugh, and– and– and find humor, and– and all that I think is so important for anybody.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, often with the humor you’re getting at the truth, too.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But the greatest thing that happened to me, I guess, at the college was a trustee, who was a graduate, who teaches at Harvard Medical School. He came to me. He says I just want to tell you what an influence you had on my life.

INTERVIEWER: Wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I said, my gosh, you know? Me?

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I thought that was just the greatest compliment of all.

INTERVIEWER: Yes. Yes. That’s fantastic.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because he certainly is an outstanding person, and I just didn’t realize.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of influence you have.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, well, you know, I’ve had several death threats, too.

INTERVIEWER: Seriously?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Seriously. Somebody shot, uh, a pellet through my office window.

INTERVIEWER: Really? You mean a student?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: You told students on campus when you were–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Cause they were druggies, and I said to this one– I said I wish you’d come to lab when you weren’t three inches off the ground.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Oh my gosh.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And then another one who was institutionalized threatened me in front of my class. I said, Stuart, when you threaten somebody, you don’t do it in front 30 witnesses.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: He was a real danger, and he was institutionalized, though.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But– yeah. And– and faculty people would say they got gifts from people. I said how is that? All I ever get are death threats.

INTERVIEWER: Death threats. Wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Anyway it was just such a fulfilling experience to meet the students who were so motivated.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You don’t get that in all departments.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But the one’s in, you know, in the health sciences are really motivated and serious. And– and that was very challenging.

INTERVIEWER: Very challenging to find students that way or you mean challenging to have–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: To me.

INTERVIEWER: –the students.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: To have. Yeah. Well, I taught, uh, botany for five years with Mike Brown, and we had a student one year who would ask questions all the time. And Mike and I would go over the labs ahead of time, and I say, Mike, what is this? He said, oh, I don’t know. I said, well, we better find out.

INTERVIEWER: Because you know that–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because that kid is going to ask us, and then we’ll look like fools. So we learned. We learned a lot of botany.

INTERVIEWER: Perpetuated your knowledge just from–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But that’s very stimulating to have a student like that.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So, I mean, you have this– and also I’m glad I worked with young people because I understood my own young person, my own son, better– that I wouldn’t go off half cocked if he did something wrong because I know–

INTERVIEWER: Typical for the age or whatever.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I would not have had any kind of communication with that age group otherwise.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Well that’s a very valid point.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So that– so that was good for both of us.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Even though he didn’t think so.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: It was.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And as I say, I still keep up with some of the students.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And, um, it– it’s just really– it was really a very fulfilling experience.

INTERVIEWER: Well, it’s safe to say, too, that you’ve had– outside of even just living in Carroll County, you’ve had quite an impact to other people in Carroll county.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: I mean, that’s– you know?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: They figured I had had 5,000 students.

INTERVIEWER: 5,000? Really? Wow.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because, see I had– I had a lot of labs. One semester I had seven labs.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And so a lot of people passed through my–

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –my doors.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Whether they liked it or not.

INTERVIEWER: And they had to. Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So– and it was just very stimulating to meet some really smart people.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: There was a 16 year old, who was just brilliant.

INTERVIEWER: 16 in college?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, wow. OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And he came to me one day and asked a question, and I explained it to him. And he walked out, and I thought– he asked me a question. So I mean, you know, it kept you on your toes.

INTERVIEWER: Sure. Sure. Sure.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: That’s better than playing bridge all day.

INTERVIEWER: Well– well, you seem– I mean, you seem like someone who– who would inspire that from people, too. I mean, you– I’m sure you kept your students on their toes. You seem like, you know?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I guess, because I like my subject.

INTERVIEWER: Right, well like you–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Again.

INTERVIEWER: Like what you said. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: If you like your subject–

INTERVIEWER: Just a natural passion.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. It comes out, and you want to share it.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: If you’re bored, not so good.

INTERVIEWER: Well, whether you were considered a hard– hard teacher or not, you obviously were, um, I would say, from even just talking to you now, you were– you were a positive influence, I’m sure, to many. So that has to–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I hope. Either positively loved me or hated me.

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: Well, even if– even if it wasn’t– even if it wasn’t that they loved you, then still. You still–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I had one–

INTERVIEWER: You gave them something to think about.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I had one obnoxious student. He said, I just want to let me give you a suggestion. I said, well when I get advice, it’s usually from somebody who knows more than I do. Not somebody who knows less.

[LAUGHTER]

And he went, oh.

INTERVIEWER: I like that.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Gosh, he was obnoxious.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But then I found out that his parents had just separated, and evidently he blamed his mother, and he had this thing against women.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And we had two women professors and me.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And he just– you often– you often don’t know, you know, what is behind–

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –what they’re saying.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, and that’s true. I mean, you couldn’t, you know? You couldn’t always know that.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I had a student who came in one day roaring drunk, and we had a test. And he doing it, and the whole time he was copying from a person. I never said anything. So the next week I gave back the papers, and he didn’t have a mark on it, and he says you didn’t mark my paper. I said that’s because you took your answers from here, so I gave her the grade.

[LAUGHTER]

He said, oh. He said, well that’ll never happen again. I said I’m going to tell you it’ll never happen again, but I never said anything to him.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I never said you’re cheating or you’re drunk or anything. I just let him go.

INTERVIEWER: Let him go. He still suffered the consequence. Right. No grade.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Made an impact.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah. And probably did make much more of impact than if you were just, like, scolding him at that moment, you know?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Or something like that. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: That’s funny. That’s funny. I like the way you think. That’s good. That’s very good.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Very good. Um, is there anything else that you just– just in your history that you just want to think that you’d want to make sure you mention, or–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh dear. I don’t know.

INTERVIEWER: I mean, if not, that’s fine, too. Whatever. Just want to make sure.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I– I had this crazy sister.

INTERVIEWER: [INAUDIBLE]. Just turn it over. One more that way. Yep.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I– I did have this crazy sister that I had to deal with–

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –which was not pleasant. I think she was an undiagnosed bipolar.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because she used to get real hysterical, and then we’d say– they’d say don’t upset Norma, and that’s when I’d go up in my room. And I had trouble with her until the day she died. Um, I had my mother for three and a half years when my sister could’ve easily taken her. She didn’t have a job or anything.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK, but maybe mentally– I mean, mentally she wasn’t able to take of her.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, she was an alcoholic.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK. I’m sorry. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And a chain smoker. She died when she was 80. All– all my– most of my relatives have been in their 90s when they died. I have a picture of my great great grandmother, who was born in 1802 and died in 1899. So, you know? And my sister lived till 80 with all that. Yeah. And I said, my gosh. You got to hit us over the head with a hammer before we die, but I’m not– that I’m going to live that long, but, you know?

INTERVIEWER: You never know. Nobody knows, right?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I had a great great aunt who was hit by a car in her 90s. Didn’t run over her, just hit her and knocked her over. And she said, and that poor man was so upset. And I told him, don’t worry. It’s just an old house dress.

[LAUGHTER]

Nowadays they’d be sued.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness, yes. Oh, yes. Uh-huh. We are very sue-happy in this society. Yes.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So that’s what I mean by simplifying.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: We are so manipulated, I feel. And everything is run by fear. Oh my gosh, you have a high cholesterol. Uh, you know, you have this. You shouldn’t eat– you shouldn’t put Fixodent on your teeth because you’ll get too much zinc, and everything is fear.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And why can’t you just–

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: –live and–

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You die, you die.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And– and I don’t think we need all that, but of course, that’s greed on their part.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And that’s– that’s too bad, but you really have to work to keep it simple.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You really have to concentrate on keeping it simple.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, that’s a discipline in yourself that– that–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Yes. I agree that would be– that would be difficult.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because I see so many of my peers who have just a whole tray full of medicine.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I said my gosh, you know? Why would you need all that medicine? Wouldn’t it be easier just to die?

[LAUGHTER]

INTERVIEWER: Oh my.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Roll over and die? It would be a lot cheaper, and of course Medicare D is such a scam it makes Bernie Madoff look a rank– like a rank amateur. I’m going to cancel that, and everybody said, you’re going to cancel that? And that’s right. They don’t pay for a lot of things, and I had a copay of $24. When I went to refill it, it was $104.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Oh my goodness.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And the congressman who put that through Congress now works for the pharmaceuticals at $2.5 million a year. Is that not something strange?

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And so you’ve got to question things. You’ve got to question why is this like this?

INTERVIEWER: Right. So I guess we– people nowadays we just– so accepting of just.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: See, we’re so brainwashed.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Manipulated is the word you used.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Uh-huh. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And I know I had to have my blood pressure checked at this Chesapeake physicians thing, and they wanted to charge me a $20 copay. I said they’re just going to check my blood pressure. She said, I know, but that’s the visit. I said. I can go to Walmart and get it done for nothing.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And she said, well, OK. And so I said, OK, I’ll go to Walmart. I mean–

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Most people would say, oh, well, all right.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Most accept it.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right, but not you.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No, no. No, no. You’ve got to stand up for yourself.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And that’s not like me at all, but it’s become me because I just feel that– that we are manipulated, and we need to fight back.

INTERVIEWER: That’s good advice, too. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, very good. Yeah. Well, I– I– I have a lot of respect for– for what you’re saying. I really do, and admit to being those people that are a little more– I don’t know if it’s the lack of self confidence, but uncertain about being able to fight back.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So I admire your–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, well–

INTERVIEWER: –confidence in what’s best for yourself.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I know my doctor– I want things explained to me. I said everything in statistics. Well, 2% of these people who do this die or whatever. I said that’s not science. Science is in the laboratory and you explain why they’re dying. And their– their– their research consists of sitting at a computer and figuring out statistics. That’s not scientific research. And also the people who worked on the research for Lipitor were in some remote village in Uzbekistan or something. That wasn’t done here.

INTERVIEWER: You know what? That is so interesting that you say that because I just myself was taking that, and I all of sudden after about two weeks– I broke out here and here.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: My arms and my chest. I broke out in this, like, rash. I’m still– it’s like you can see the scars.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, and that’s the only thing I could think of that did it to me– was Lipitor.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I took it for one week, and I had nerve damage which has become permanent in my feet.

INTERVIEWER: Oh my gosh.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And then he– he tried Crestor. It did the same thing. I said, I’m sorry. I’m not taking any more statins. I’d rather have a high cholesterol. They wanted me to take Fosamax for my bones and all this other stuff. I said, look, a broken bone every once in awhile is not going to upset me. And it was funny, when I broke this, it didn’t show up on the x-rays for awhile, and by the time it did, it was healed. It was a month later it was healed.

INTERVIEWER: Hm. OK.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So he says it’s crooked. I could break it again. I said I don’t think so. Let’s just leave it crooked. So I can’t play the piano as well. It’s OK. The world is not losing Van Cliburn. So I mean, you know, you just have to–

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You get caught in this medical spiral, and it’s hard to get out.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Mm-hm. Right, because right, no matter what you do or don’t do–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, yeah. I mean, you end up with a heart bypass or something, you know?

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right. It still ends up being a problem.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. I agree with you do. I really do. I really do. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, yes, that was fun. I kind of ran over at the mouth, didn’t I?

INTERVIEWER: No. No. Not at all. You have been fantastic. You– I’m so–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: I lived in an interesting time.

INTERVIEWER: Well, you have. You have, and you have a lot to offer. You have a lot to share.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Depression, the World War II– that was a wonderful time to– to live in a way because everybody was so united.

INTERVIEWER: Hm. Yeah, you certainly don’t have that anymore.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And– and they say the ’50s nothing happened. Well, Eisenhower is the one who got the national highway going.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And also DNA structure was discovered, which is probably one of the greatest discoveries of all time. And you know, like a lot of the dramatic art people say, you know, oh nothing happened in the ’50s. I said you’re not talking scientifically. You know, if they would look back, they discovered a lot of things about photosynthesis, a lot of basic science things were worked on. So it’s the ’60s, I think, went down the drain. Everybody is fornicating half dressed.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And drugged out in some field.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: That’s progress?

INTERVIEWER: For some, yes. Right?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So I mean, you know, I– I just feel I was able to– to live in a good time when things were simple, and basic, and–

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Right. Yes. And you have seen a lot of– a lot of change. A lot of change.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: I mean, I know just in my 40 years, you know, changes I’ve seen. So I– I– I can’t even quite wrap my head around–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –you know, your lifespan.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: My– my father had a 1933 Essex that you had to crank up to start.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And then we– we worked our way up to a 1936 Buick that had a starter. Well, we just thought we were Vanderbilts. I’m going to tell you. That was a great– you didn’t even need a car robe.

INTERVIEWER: I don’t know what a car robe is.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Because it had a heat– well, you always had to keep a car robe because you didn’t have heaters in the cars.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. Oh, OK. OK. You mean–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You had to have this little blanket.

INTERVIEWER: OK, to cover yourself with–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –while you’re in the car.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: OK. Mm-hm.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah. I mean, that was just a fantastic thing. And one of the greatest things that ever happened to me was in my childhood. I remember was going to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. That is– in fact, I have a whole display in the bathroom on it.

INTERVIEWER: Very cool.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And they had a parachute thing, and my father took my sister up. And they came down, and she threw up when she got off, and I thought that was the greatest thing in the world.

[LAUGHTER]

Isn’t it funny what you remember?

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yep. Yep.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Good.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, that’s funny. That’s funny.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: So it’s been good.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I thank you so, so much for allowing me to come into your home–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –to sit down, to talk to you, to get to know you. Like I said, I know I’ve know you–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Sure.

INTERVIEWER: I’ve know of you for a lot of years–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –like I said earlier.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: No more than your mother knows.

INTERVIEWER: But I certainly didn’t know you as person, you know, as far as your background or anything, so this has been very enlightening, and really– you’ve given– I feel like I’m walking away with some good sound advice that is really worth me thinking about for days.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, good. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So see, you influenced–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: You’ve had quite a an influence in just a couple of hours.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh dear, that’s frightening.

INTERVIEWER: No, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. The world would be a better place with more– more like you.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, because– because I had the privilege of having quiet time to form original thoughts.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Yeah.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And to process things.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Critically think things through, or, you know, that’s–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: You can take– you can take your facts– like my students never wanted to memorize anything. Oh, you could look at it in the book. I said you’re going to find out how valuable memory is when you get to be my age.

INTERVIEWER: When you start to lose, right?

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah, you think what’s her name, you know?

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: And it’s a valuable tool.

INTERVIEWER: Mm-hm. Yes, it is.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: But putting– relating all these facts, that’s where the real dimension comes in and the intellect, that thinking on that deeper level, being able to relate it, and– and we don’t give ourselves time for that.

INTERVIEWER: Right. Right. Well, and like you– so many things are done for us where we don’t have to.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Exactly.

INTERVIEWER: It’s amazing the basics– I was just saying this the other day to someone. You hear this from a lot people– spell check on the computer. I was just saying this to my middle– I have two step sons. I was just saying this to my middle son yesterday. There are words that I, by no means, should I not know how to spell, but I really have to stop and think sometimes–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Right, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: –because I’m constantly letting the computer tell me.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Right.

INTERVIEWER: And you do. You lose it.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: And it’s so– it is so true. It is so, so true.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, I hope I’ve helped your–

INTERVIEWER: Oh, this has been fantastic. Really, it really has. I mean, I thank you for allowing me to come.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, you’re quite welcome. I enjoyed it.

INTERVIEWER: share your experiences. And– and– you know, and the idea is just, you know, to get with someone who you’re really not familiar with to– to learn.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh.

INTERVIEWER: To learn, to allow–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Oh, I see. Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: –you, the person, to give an oral history–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Mm-hm.

INTERVIEWER: –like I said that would be archived, but yet allow me, you know, as the interviewer, someone– you know, give me a chance to learn something new about someone I didn’t– wouldn’t have known otherwise, you know? So–

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Well, good.

INTERVIEWER: So that’s quite benefit for both.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: OK, good.

INTERVIEWER: So I thank you.

MARY LEE SCHMALL: Good. Good. Good.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you so much.