Zadie was born in Baltimore and eventually in 1934, moved to Westminster, MD. She talks about how she ended up living in Carroll County.
INTERVIEWER 1: Well, good morning.
ZADIE BREHM: Good morning.
INTERVIEWER 1: Tell me your name.
ZADIE BREHM: My name is Zadie Smith Brehm.
INTERVIEWER 1: We’re here today, we’re going to talk about areas of Carroll County. So Mrs. Brehm, I’m going to ask you some questions. When were you born?
ZADIE BREHM: I was born in Baltimore in an area called Grey Matter, and I lived for a few years there. And moved onto that section called Hampden, and then another called Mount Washington. And then eventually in 1934 moved to Westminster.
INTERVIEWER 1: Mrs. Brehm, what brought you to Westminster?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, my father worked with the gas and electric company in Baltimore. And when the gas and electric company, in the 1933, 1944 year while they planned and everything like that, when they bought the gas and electric company here in Westminster, he was sent up to be the general supervisor of the electric distribution in Carroll County. And he brought with him my mother and seven daughters.
INTERVIEWER 1: So where did you live in Westminster?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, I first lived at 26 Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a house owned by Dr. J.J. Stewart who lived further on up Pennsylvania Avenue. And that was in 1934 that I came in, I guess about August we came up. And my baby sister had been born in ’34, and then we came up after she was born.
INTERVIEWER 1: So that was probably close to the college, wasn’t it?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, it was very close to the college. In fact in my early years, the college each year at Christmastime had a program and all of the children in the area were invited to come and be part of the program.
They gave the birth of Christ program on the porch of one of the administration buildings up there. And all us kids took part in that. It was really a nice thing.
INTERVIEWER 1: And what kind of program was that?
ZADIE BREHM: It depicted the birth of Christ, and it was a Christmas program. I can remember that Dr. Shroyer who was a professor at the college at that time.
His daughter was a beautiful, beautiful woman and she played Mary, and she had the doll for the baby Jesus, and then all of us children would be there. And we sang a Christmas carol, “Away in a Manger” for them at that time as I remember. And it was fun. It was fun.
INTERVIEWER 1: That was Western Maryland College.
ZADIE BREHM: That was Western Maryland College, which is now McDaniel, yes. We often say Western Maryland instead of McDaniel because our daughter attended Western Maryland, and it’s kind of hard to get used to McDaniel.
INTERVIEWER 1: Do you remember anything about your neighbors on Pennsylvania Avenue?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, I do. Our neighbors were a fairly close-knit bunch on Pennsylvania Avenue. When I lived at 26 Pennsylvania Avenue, our neighbors on this side toward the Main Street and Western Maryland Railway were Mr. and Mrs. Starner who lived right next door to us.
And Mr. and Mrs. Lepbo, and the Krimrines. Mr. Krimrine had a watch shop on Pennsylvania Avenue just a few doors down from his home. And Mr. Engler and his family, and the Jenkins’. And Mr. Roy Shipley who had a grocery store on– it’s just right there at the turn of Pennsylvania Avenue off of Main Street.
That was years ago. In fact, Mr. Shipley built his house on Pennsylvania Avenue and people came from all over it. They stuccoed it and put glass particles in the stucco, which made the house kind of unique. It’s gone now. There’s an apartment house on Pennsylvania Avenue in its place.
INTERVIEWER 1: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a house like that.
Now, You told me your father worked for the gas and electric company.
ZADIE BREHM: He did.
INTERVIEWER 1: And he was a supervisor.
ZADIE BREHM: Yeah– Well, his office title was general supervisor at that time. He directed all of the electric distribution in Carroll County.
He came in and the gas and electric substation was, at that time, where the maintenance building now is, where the water company on the old Manchester Road, right at the corner of Cranberry Road.
And they later moved into the back of the building on Main Street where the gas and electric company receipts and billing and appliance sales was held. That was near the corner of Main Street and Center Street, and his offices were in the back. And Mr. Charlie Schafer who ran the business management end of the gas and electric company had his offices in the front.
INTERVIEWER 1: And where did you go to school?
ZADIE BREHM: I went to West End School, which is in back of Pennsylvania Avenue, and it’s now a senior center. It’s been redone. But I went there in ’33 to ’34. The grades were from one to four at school there at that time.
And then I went to the Westminster Elementary School, so termed, which was a couple of portables that were at what was the old Westminster High School. And then I went to what then was the new Westminster High School and is now the East Middle School.
Westminster schools have changed a lot since I came in. My husband went to what was termed the Graceland school for his first four years. That was near the corner of Green Street and Center Street, but now is an apartment building, I believe.
INTERVIEWER 1: How big were the classes, do you remember?
ZADIE BREHM: I would say, just remembering back now as a child, and the people that I remember in our classes, that we had 25 in the fourth grade. And in the fifth grade, I was privy to be in a fifth/sixth grade.
We have no gifted/talented children at that time. But we did work in– I worked some sixth grade work when I was in the fifth grade. But it was with a group of sixth graders who were working sixth grade level. There were about maybe 20 of us– 20, 25 of us in that class also, and some of us were fifth grade, some of us were sixth grade.
And then in the sixth grade, we were back to about 25 in the classes. And our graduating class in 1943 was 143 people.
INTERVIEWER 1: Do you remember the names of any teachers?
ZADIE BREHM: The teachers?
INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah.
ZADIE BREHM: Oh, yes. Miss Manahan was my fourth grade teacher. And Miss Dorsey was my fifth grade teacher. And Mr. Scott Couchman was my sixth grade. I could probably go on all through the– my teachers were important to me. I really loved them.
I even had, in the Bare Hills School, I had a Miss Fidman who taught both first and second grade because it was only a two-room schoolhouse. And they were just such lovely people that I really– and I enjoyed school. I can’t see why children have a hard time with it now.
INTERVIEWER 1: I know I could remember maybe two or three of my teachers.
ZADIE BREHM: Oh, my, well– Our seventh grade teachers here in Westminster were so very interesting. We had a Miss Rachel Buckingham who was our grammar and math teacher, and she was really very strict, but she taught you a lot. You just couldn’t help but learn from her.
And Miss Alma McCaffrey was our geography teacher had been everywhere, and she taught me to appreciate that. So now when– in the later years of my life I wanted to go everywhere.
INTERVIEWER 1: I want to ask you about your mother, OK? Do you remember where she shopped for her groceries?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, when we were in Westminster for just incidentals, when we lived at 26 Pennsylvania Avenue, she would shop at Mr. Roy Shipley’s store. It was a little general store. And then another few steps down the block toward the railroad tracks in Westminster, let’s see, we had Mr. Roy Shipley’s.
And then there were a few houses, and then there was a shoe shop– Mr. Belnoski’s shoe shop where we had our shoes done. At that time we had our shoes half soled and new heels put on them.
Then Mr. Milton Sullivan had a general store next to that. And I can remember him so well. He was a dearest person. And we went in there and we bought our penny candy in there.
And when the Carroll Theater came across the street from him, one of the first pictures that they showed was Snow White. And that man took every child in the neighborhood to see that show– every child. It was really a thing that sticks deep in my memory, because he just was just such a wonderful person.
And so that’s where she shopped mainly. Now, if she wanted to do heavy shopping, as we called it, she’d go one up Main Street to the A&P store. The A&P store– the Acme store was on the corner of the Railroad Avenue across from G.C. Murphy, and she would shop there occasionally.
But her store that she liked to shop in then was the A&P store.
INTERVIEWER 1: I’m getting back to something you said about candy– penny candy. It actually was a penny, wasn’t it?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, it was.
INTERVIEWER 1: And how much candy did you get for a penny?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, gee, there was a lot of different candies.
INTERVIEWER 1: I mean did you get one piece or what?
ZADIE BREHM: Depending. There was a little pan and spoon that was spoon candy, and you’d get one of them for a penny. But if you got what they called the baked beans, which was a little hard candy, the grocer would take a spoon or scoop and you got a little handful of that for a penny.
And then I remember at Mr. Sullivan’s store, he had little chocolate patties, and they were a penny. But when you broke that, if it was white inside, that was all. But if it was pink inside, then you got another free piece of candy. So that made them two for a penny.
INTERVIEWER 1: When you were a child, did they have those wax models of–
ZADIE BREHM: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And they were a penny– they were a penny. And we had licorice strips that had dots on them, and I guess they were about maybe a foot long and about inch and a half wide, and they’d have all these little dots of sugar on them. And they were a penny. Gee, we had a lot of penny candy.
INTERVIEWER 1: And lollipops, too?
ZADIE BREHM: Lollipops, definitely. Oh, definitely. The Dum Dum lollipops were big even then. We didn’t have the ones with the safety handles on them, just the ones with sticks on them. But they were a penny, and you got a big lollipop. The Tootsie Roll pop was even a penny then. You could get that for a penny when it first came out.
INTERVIEWER 1: So when you went into the stores, did they have the candy in different jars, and did you say, “I want one of those things?” How did that work?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes. Jawbreakers were in jars. You could get a jawbreaker for a penny. They had red and black, depending on whether you wanted it hot or red hot. And they had little pieces of licorice in the jars, and butterscotch lozenges in the jars.
Oh, golly, I don’t even remember all of them that they had because the candy shop at Mr. Sullivan’s shop was really big. He catered to us children when we went in there. It was really good.
INTERVIEWER 1: Why did they call them jawbreakers?
ZADIE BREHM: Why did they call them jawbreakers? Gee, I think maybe you’ve never had any. They were about almost an inch in diameter when we first got them. And they were really, really hard. You’d put them in your mouth and it filled your mouth, and you could not chew them. You couldn’t break them with your teeth. That’s why they were called jawbreakers.
But if you worked on them long enough, they changed flavors. The outside was really hot, then it would get soft to a kind of a little anise flavored center. They were really good. I don’t use them anymore. They still have them out there, though.
Now, there was another candy shop in Westminster, too, on down the block, and it was called The Maryland Candy and Tobacs Company. And when I was about 10, then I was permitted to be one of the children that would go down there, and Mr. Scheer, Harry Scheer had punch cards.
And the punch card had about 30 or 40 numbers on it, and you’d get a punch card and you’d take it around and sell it to your friends. When they would pull a tab off of it, it would tell them whether they had one penny for the pull or whether they had two pennies for the pull.
And at the end of the time when you sold your punch card, there was a seal on the top of it. And that seal was pulled and it would name the winner of the box of candy that was the prize for it. And if you sold those, you got candy for selling them. So the whole neighborhood sold those things.
INTERVIEWER 1: I don’t think I ever saw one of those.
ZADIE BREHM: Never saw one of– oh, my. And you know what? I think now the Maryland State legislature is so worried about gambling, when I think back, I think when we broke those patties, we were gambling.
INTERVIEWER 1: Right.
ZADIE BREHM: And they used to have little machines that you could put a penny in the top of it and the penny would go down through a series of nails, and if it fell into the right slot, you’d get a nickel candy bar. So that was gambling a long time ago.
INTERVIEWER 1: You told me you graduated from Westminster High School.
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, I did.
INTERVIEWER 1: Tell me about Westminster High School.
ZADIE BREHM: Westminster High School, well, as I say, I really enjoyed school. And I went from the Westminster Elementary School, as we termed it at that time, after my sixth grade into the Westminster High School at seventh grade.
Yeah, seventh grade. That’s when I had Miss Rachel Buckingham was my homeroom teacher, and that’s when I had my first real experience of changing classes.
We changed class from Miss Buckingham to Miss Rinker for art and English appreciation, and then to Miss McCaffrey for geography or social studies, they call it now. And then the freshman year I was in Frank Clark’s class. Frank was a science teacher, but Mr. Engle taught us business, and then Mr. Curbinsites taught us mathematics. And we had very, very good assemblies then at that time, at the sophomore year.
Gee, and you know we had a really, really good group of people in those classes. I can remember quite a few of them.
INTERVIEWER 1: Tell me about any people you remember.
ZADIE BREHM: There were a lot of farm boys who came to the classes. And at that time– the whole time I was in high school we were in the process of war overseas. And Mr. Sitz, Edward Sitz was our principal.
And there were times when he would make a call over the speaker system and say that anyone interested in cutting asparagus for the B.F. Shriver Company would be excused from school for the afternoon. And you’d be surprised how many people would go sign up. And that was a plus in our school time.
One of the bad things of our school year was that we graduated at a time when our travel was restricted. We were the first class, I believe, that did not getting a Washington trip for a class trip as a graduating class. But we were also the first class to use cap and gowns.
Now, they were old gray things, but we did use cap and gowns.
INTERVIEWER 1: Now, who is the B.F. Shriver Company?
ZADIE BREHM: The B.F. Shriver Company was a canning factory company on the, I say Manchester Road. I guess it’s Route 26, just outside of Westminster. And they had a number of farms around.
And on one side was the canning factory. They canned peas, beans, potatoes. And on the other side they had what were called the haunty shacks. People came and they lived in those buildings during the harvest seasons and worked the fields for B.F. Shriver Company– picked beans and they were brought, then, into the factory where they were canned.
And I encountered that as I was in school, because as I say, they used to call for anybody who wanted to, to go help harvest the crops– the asparagus, and beans, and peas, and so forth.
And then I was a freight clerk at the Western Maryland Freight Office, and while I was there, B.F. Shriver Company was doing potatoes for the government. They were canning all the potatoes that were part of the food rations for the services. I can remember those so well. 10 pages of forms we had to fill out for that.
INTERVIEWER 1: So when you were through with school, when you graduate high school?
ZADIE BREHM: I graduated in 1943.
INTERVIEWER 1: And did you get a job? What did you do?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, I did. Well, while I was in school I worked the last part of school, they made the call to the girls in the secretarial division. And three of us went to what’s now the City Hall and worked with the agricultural, stabilization, and conservation committee.
It was during rationing time. Some of us worked with rationing papers for tires, and some of us worked for quotas for fields and things of that sort, and we typed up papers and did filing and things of that sort.
And then after school was over, well, right before school was over, I worked with the G.C. Murphy Company. I think every girl in Westminster must have worked for G.C. Murphy Company at one time or another. And I was in the hardware department there at G.C. Murphy Company.
G.C. Murphy was where Johansson’s now is. And then I worked for F.W. Woolworth, which was up near John Street, what is John Street now. Well, F.W. Woolworth was torn down so that John Street could be widened.
But I worked there, and the day school ended and I went in to fill out papers that I had already talked with the manager there and he promised me a full-time job. And I went in to fill out the papers, but my brother-in-law called me and he said don’t fill out those papers. There’s a job opening at the Western Maryland Railway Company and I think you could fill it.
So instead of filling out the papers, I went to the Western Maryland Company and I filled out the papers and got my job at the railway company.
INTERVIEWER 1: And how old were you then?
ZADIE BREHM: I was 16, almost 17– not quite 17.
INTERVIEWER 1: So what did you do at the railway company?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, I replaced a man who had gone to Cullen Station because another man had gone into the service. So Dick Bang had gone down to fill in, and I took that job there.
And my job was to make up the freight bills for freight, and then accept the invoices as freight came in, and bill out to the local establishments that were receiving freight, and call all the people and tell them that their fr was in, and have them come in and sign. I had to look up all the routings and figure all the ratings for how much cargo cost to send.
My boss there was Don Falable, and there was a freight clerk there who was Weller, Dick Weller. And Dick did all of the real bull work, or the handling of the freight, and what I did was all the paperwork of the freight.
INTERVIEWER 1: And you were the first female clerk with them?
ZADIE BREHM: The first female clerk at Western Maryland Railway in Westminster, yes, I was.
INTERVIEWER 1: Were there any other women working there?
ZADIE BREHM: No, no. It was just a three-man office. Dick did all the hauling, I did all the billing, and Don Falable, he did all of the busy work, and he also was the station master for the station that was there.
We had passenger service going through there, but through Westminster. A lot of people got on the train in Westminster and either went to Union Bridge in Highfield for their work or else they went into Baltimore for work.
INTERVIEWER 1: So the station is right near where the library is now, isn’t it?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, no. The station was down closer to the tracks. It has been torn down, of course. And what is back there? There was a bank building there. And that was the passenger station.
The freight station was where Baumgardner’s fireplace and patio sales is on the other side of the track.
INTERVIEWER 1: That still looks like a depot.
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, it does. It’s just been taken over by new management, but it still looks like the freight station to me.
INTERVIEWER 1: So tell me what you remember about rationing, about food rationing?
ZADIE BREHM: About food rationing?
INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah.
ZADIE BREHM: Well, as a girl at home, I can remember that we had to be careful using sugar. We didn’t over-abuse that. And had to have tires. You had to wait until you could get the number of tires. I don’t remember the number of tires you could get for a year.
But with the food, we had food stamps and we had little coins that we used for meat rations. And you could get so much meat per person. So of course we had quite a few because there were seven of us girls and mom and dad.
And sugar I remember we got five pounds every month or something like that, because to us, that was a real drawback, sugar usage.
INTERVIEWER 1: And what else was rationed? Sugar, meat, what else?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, our canned foods were rationed, too. We had a lot of things you could not buy that were in cans. And the tires and gasoline was rationed. I think now the high prices of gasoline, that’s bad. But years ago we had a poor supply of gasoline because it all had to go to the military.
My husband could really have told you about the gasoline because he drove more than I did at that time. And I do remember that his class– they had different classifications for how you drove, an A or B or C. I think farmers would get A classifications, and they had fuel tanks on their farms. And my husband came from a farm, but he had a C sticker. And yet, when we needed to go someplace, a lot of times we called on Charlie Brown to drive us.
So he was getting gas, but of course he was sparing with it because they had to use it on the farm.
INTERVIEWER 1: How much gas did you get a week or month?
ZADIE BREHM: You know what, I really don’t remember the amounts of the rationing things. I did have, until just a few years ago, I still had a ration book and several of the ration coins that we had. And that had on the book the amounts that you could get. The amounts were so varied that it’s kind of hard to tell.
INTERVIEWER 1: Were clothes rationed?
ZADIE BREHM: No. Clothes were not rationed. I bought my clothes differently then. I didn’t go in and put them on a charge card and take them home with me. When I was working, my dad said, you pay your bills as you go along.
So we used a lot of times the layaway plan. You’d go in and you’d see a dress you really want, but you put it on layaway, and when you could finish paying for it you got your product. But it was part of I rationing because we had to ration our funds, too.
INTERVIEWER 1: What’s your favorite places you went to here while growing up?
ZADIE BREHM: My favorite places as children? Well, as children, of course, we went familying. And in my [AUDIO OUT]. Yeah, we visited from family to family.
Like when we first came to Westminster, and I was still small then, and I can remember my sisters– we had a piano, and my sisters would have parties and Miss Maisy Starner who lived next to– we called her Aunt Maisy because her children and some of us were the same age and they were at the parties and all.
My family might have the party, but the family next door, Aunt Maisy, generally baked the cake. And I can remember my father sticking me through the kitchen window to reach out to Aunt Maisy, and she would reach through her kitchen window to hand me the cake for the party. Our houses were close together, and our friendships were close.
And then we also went to the West End playground, that’s little shore, and went to West End playground– it was open at that time, the school playground. It had swings on it. The kids from Union Street would come down and we all played on that playground.
And then we went to church every Sunday, and there was some activity going on with our churches. We belonged to different groups in the church. And then also, we listened to the radio in the evening with our families. It was more family than it is now.
INTERVIEWER 1: Did you go to movies?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, we went to the movies. We went to the movies on Saturday. My father and I used to love to go see the Westerns. And we would go every Saturday to see the Westerns.
And then if you didn’t have a heavy school load or something like that, you may be permitted one movie during the week. But on Saturdays they always had the serials. And you could go and you could watch Zoro this week, and then next week you hurried back there to see the end of that Zoro and get the new one. It was a real draw for us.
And of course, on Wednesday night I think it was, Wednesday night the Old State Theater used to have dish night. And if mama got everything done and everything and she wanted to, we would all go to dish night.
INTERVIEWER 1: What’s a dish night? I haven’t heard that.
ZADIE BREHM: Well, dish night was they had the regular movie, and then they would stop the movie between the showings and they’d have a drawing, and someone would win dishes. And it was called dish night. It was really something.
And then I think that the talent– they would have a talent show once in a great while. And some of the kids from the neighborhood would take part in that talent show, and people from Westminster would take part in the talent show.
INTERVIEWER 1: So how many movie theaters were there in Westminster?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, early on there was just one, the State Theater.
INTERVIEWER 1: And where was that?
ZADIE BREHM: That was on Main Street, and it was in the area of the building where the Carroll County government now has. Well, it’s almost at the corner of John Street now, but you have to remember that John Street was altered.
There was the movie house, and then next to the movie house there was a sewing factory years ago. And then there was a fire and the sewing factory was demolished, and the State Theater was removed, and that whole corner was renovated.
INTERVIEWER 1: It that near where the old post office was in that area?
ZADIE BREHM: You know, my husband and I were thinking about the old post office, and I cannot remember where the old post office was.
INTERVIEWER 1: Well, it’s still there, that big building.
ZADIE BREHM: Oh, no. That, to me, is the new post office. That post office was built I guess somewhere in the ’50s, or maybe in the late ’40s– maybe in the late ’40s. I don’t remember exactly, but that post off– now, that could have been the site of the old post office. I really don’t remember about that.
But where that post office sits at the corner of Center and Main where that building sits now, there was other activity in there. I can remember the old Schafer store was in there, and that was a general everything store.
They sold clothing, they sold warehouse products, they sold hardware, they sold candy. In fact, a lot of us would sneak out of school and go up to Schafer’s and buy candy during school times when we weren’t supposed to do that.
INTERVIEWER 1: I was just trying to picture where that movie theatre was because–
ZADIE BREHM: Well, the movie theater, as I say, that has been taken down. That area has been taken down. J.C. Penney was in the building where the office buildings for the Westminster and Carroll County are now– that building that’s on the corner of Main Street. So that whole corner was totally renovated.
The West side of that John Street was totally renovated. The East side, not as much so. But where the bake shop, the Heinz bake shop, there’s a parking lot there now. That’s where there was a store when I came to Westminster.
It was a– they had a newsstand, they had a magazine stand, they had a small counter in there that you could go in and have a Coca-Cola or ice cream or a sandwich or something. And the proprietors there were Mr. and Mrs. April was their name.
Oh, golly, that was such a long time ago. You know, when I think back on up Main Street when we first came to Westminster, past April’s store there was the Colonial Jewelry shop, there was a haberdashery. And you went a little further and there was Nussbaum and Jordan.
And I can remember so well in that section on Saturday night– practically everybody went downtown Saturday night just to walk the streets of Westminster. And always during the summertime there would be this big black man who would walk up and down the streets with a sign on him telling you about the baseball game that would be held on Sunday. Everybody should come.
Westminster had a team called the Westminster Tigers. My brother-in-law played with them for a while. And everybody went out on Sunday to see the Westminster Tigers play.
INTERVIEWER 1: Where did they play?
ZADIE BREHM: They played in the area which is now the playground– in that area. It wasn’t the playground then and it wasn’t–
INTERVIEWER 1: Near the armory.
ZADIE BREHM: Near the armory, near the armory side. It was just the armory field then, and they played there. A lot of old Westminster people played there.
INTERVIEWER 1: You have a good memory.
ZADIE BREHM: Well, yes and no. I think back to some of the stores, I mean– you asked what we did. There were so many things. Westminster was a busy place. It was a really busy place. And with the freight coming in, and the people moving back and forth to and from Baltimore.
And as I say, clear up to Highfield with their businesses and their jobs to travel on the trains. And all of the stores that were in town. And the sewing factories. We had two or three sewing factories that I can think of.
INTERVIEWER 1: Do you remember any of the names of those factories?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, we called it the good grief sewing factory. It was the Greif Sewing Factory, which that was the one that maintained the longest.
And one was located over the store that was on the corner of John Street. One was located about a half a block down the street further. And there was one up near– I forgot– another movie theater in town, and that was the old opera house.
I didn’t go up there a lot because we walked every place we wen, and walked from one end of Main Street to the other is, it’s a mile. So that was a lot for kids to do.
INTERVIEWER 1: Now, you went to the Carroll Theatre also?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes.
The Carroll Theatre opened in the late ’30s, mid to late ’30s. And we went there also, yes. As I told you, that’s where Mr. Sullivan took us to Snow White. That was the first that I can remember that the Carroll Theatre opened. And the same gentleman who had been the head usher at the State Theatre actually was at the Carroll Theatre for a while.
INTERVIEWER 1: You said you went to church. What church did you go to?
ZADIE BREHM: Well, that was a long walk. We went from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Methodist Church. If we went to the– it was the MP Church, Methodist Protestant Church where the Gilbert-Lamb Trophy Company is now on Main Street. It’s up in the, I guess the 200 block of Main Street.
We went to Sunday school there, and then we went on up to church to the ME Church which is located where it is now.
INTERVIEWER 1: Now, the church you’re talking about, that became the library, didn’t it?
ZADIE BREHM: Yes, it did. Yes, it did. For a while it was the Davis Library.
INTERVIEWER 1: And the other church is, what, a block or two further East.
ZADIE BREHM: A block or two further East. And that’s been in that position, although it’s been remodeled and things of that sort, but that’s been in that position ever since I can remember.
And then just beyond that where their parking lot is was The Democratic Advocate, the newspaper.
INTERVIEWER 1: That’s one I hadn’t heard.
ZADIE BREHM: You hadn’t heard of them? Yeah, Mrs. Minnick used to be in there. We’d stop by there and talk to her when we came down from school, and she was such a nice person. That’s Zemanick’s mom, our County Commissioner.
INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah. So you still go to the same church?
ZADIE BREHM: No. No. In October before I was married in December, I joined the church of my husband’s family.
We now go to Leister’s church. Leister’s a Lutheran church on Leisters Church Road. He went there his whole life. And I just believe that it doesn’t matter kind of which church you go to, just so long as you go. My father and mother taught us that, I guess.
We went to the church that they picked out, and they often picked out a church that was close. I can remember in Hampden we went to the Episcopal Church because that was the closest church. But we had to go every Sunday to church or Sunday school or else we couldn’t go any place else that day. So we were raised like that. We don’t do that same thing today, unfortunately.
INTERVIEWER 1: What did you like most and least about growing up here in Westminster? What did you like most and least?
ZADIE BREHM: What did I like most about growing up here in Westminster? I’d say Westminster’s a friendly town.
We had no problem that I can– you know my first big problem in Westminster came, and I cried so, the day that I found out that my best friend couldn’t go to the same school that I went to. And we were both nine years old and she lived right beside the school, but she couldn’t go there.
She was a Black girl, and she had to go up to the other end of town to Robert Moton School. And I never could understand that. I lived on one side of the school, she lived on the other side the school, and we were making plans to meet in the classroom. But that was one thing that I couldn’t understand. I had never met that situation before.
And then other times, I don’t think I ever had a real problem in Westminster. Is that possible?
INTERVIEWER 1: Well, if you don’t remember it.
ZADIE BREHM: It’s the way that I really feel about Westminster. I really feel that it has a good attitude. It’s a town that, as far as I know, people can come to, and have to, really.
Well, our farm, 149 acres, when we felt that we could not financially take on forming anymore, we began to develop the land. And there are now like 120 houses out there, and it’s one of the nicest areas in Westminster. It really truly is. It has never made us feel so sorry that we ever left the farm.
INTERVIEWER 1: Getting back to this, about the Black schools and the White schools.
ZADIE BREHM: Yes.
INTERVIEWER 1: So the Blacks had more than one school, one school, or do you know anything?
ZADIE BREHM: Only one that I know of and that was Robert Moton, and they all went there. They went there from first grade to graduation class. Now, I do know that they had some good basketball teams come from out of there.
And my friend and her brother had to go up there, because they lived on Union Street and had to walk clear to Robert Moton. At that time of my life, it just didn’t seem right. Elizabeth and I played together, why couldn’t we go to school together?
INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah, that’s changed.
ZADIE BREHM: And there were– we knew everybody on Union Street. Everybody on Union Street worked. Mr. Pre– Prelance worked at the gas and electric company where my father worked. And Elizabeth’s father worked downtown. I just couldn’t understand that. It was one of those things.
And I came from a family– my mother came from the South. And I didn’t regard Elizabeth beneath me. I was never taught that. I have never been able to really fathom the North and South situation as it stands today, especially. That’s another day I guess.
INTERVIEWER 1: Mrs. Brehm, I’m almost running out of tape, so I’m going to–
ZADIE BREHM: Well, I hope you can edit it and get something.
INTERVIEWER 1: Oh, yeah. I just wanted to– well, things I was going to ask you. If you were to describe what is best about Carroll County to someone who’s never visited, what would you say?
ZADIE BREHM: What would I say about Carroll County? Well, most everyone that I know in Carroll County still respects Carroll County.
We still have– well, when my husband and I built the restrictions for the development that we made on the farm, the County said you should put in restrictions. And we said, well, we will, but we want to put them in our way.
And so our restrictions say that we expect everyone there to maintain a clean, green atmosphere. OK? And that we want everyone there to not provide a nuisance to a neighbor. And it just seems to me like that’s Carroll County.
I know there’s a political at attitude in Carroll County, and there are things that I could say to people that would be pro and con on that. But coming to live in Carroll County, yeah, come to live in Carroll County. It’s a very nice place to live. It’s a good place to raise your children.
Whether it’s safe or not depends on what happens to you. I just don’t think that anyone can help you with that. You make your own life, and if you come to Carroll County with the right attitude, you’re going to enjoy it.
We have enough entertainment here. We have enough history that you can really take your time and enjoy all of that. If you don’t have anything else, we have the parks and recreation services have done a good job. There’s something for your children to do at all times.
I just think that Carroll County’s a good place. We’ve raised six children here, and I would advise anyone to come. Our children mostly have stayed here. One of them went to Ohio, but that’s because she got married and her husband took her. And another is in New Mexico, but that’s because his job took him there. And the rest of us are still here.
So I’d say it’s a good place to come to.
INTERVIEWER 1: I thank you. I’ve got to stop now as well. I’m about out. I thank you very much for your memories. I think that this is going to be very interesting to future students.