Elizabeth V. and George F. Gardner Part 2

Susan Meehan: This is Susan Meehan, and today is Wednesday, September 10, 2014, and I am here with Elizabeth and George Gardner in the recording studio at the Cumberland County Historical Society. We are continuing an interview that began on August 17. The last time we met, the Sentinel photographer took pictures of you in the interview, and these pictures were published with a story about your financial support for the Gardner Digital Library. I guess you're accustomed to seeing your picture in the newspaper more than once. Several people have inquired to me about the baseball caps that you were holding. I don't know whether you got comments from people about those or not.

George Gardner: I had a comment from a friend who said he didn't recognize me with a ball cap on.  I said, "That wasn't a ball cap. That was a--" what was the name of the park? Black?

Elizabeth Gardner: That was Blackpool.

GG: Blackpool Pleasure Beach, yes. That wasn't a baseball cap.  It might look like a baseball cap.

SM: I used the opportunity to tell people that they could look forward to seeing the full interview online, so that was a nice preview of coming attractions. Was there anything that, when you read the article, that you would like to add to what they said that was not covered by the reporter?

GG: I think he did a good job. I really didn't see anything that he got crossed up.

SM: I thought it was a wonderful way to announce what's happening.

GG: I think it has done a lot of good in that respect. I've had a lot of people approach me and say, This was a great idea, they want to be a part of it, and we've set up several interviews with Blair Williams already on this. I think we have the opportunity, with the Sentinel, to announce now and then that we've had interviews; that would get them to let people know that it's actually functioning. I think it's a good way to get to the public.

SM: That's a good idea. How is it that you came to be involved with the Historical Society?

GG: I think Bill Duncan called me up one day. I may have been involved with the Historical Society before that. It goes back beyond that. I joined the library committee early on, probably in the late '80s or early '90s someplace, and recognized that the library was in need of having the electronic upgrade that other libraries had started. Elizabeth and I made a donation to get the library into the electronic age. I think that was in the early '90s someplace. We bought, I think, three computers at that point, and of course I stayed with the library committee. I was interested in the library, much more than in the museum part of the Historical Society. We brought the electronics along, we got rid of Dewey Decimal and the card file system, and it seems to be there must be twenty, thirty workstations in the Society right now, a lot of electronic equipment. In fact, we're upgrading, because of this project, we're upgrading the regular system that we have. We have three servers, and we're upgrading that so that everything will be compatible. I went from the library committee, of course, on the technical end of that. When Bill Duncan became president, he called me up, and he said he wanted me to come on the Board of Directors, or whatever it's called, trustees. I said, "Why?" and he says, "I need somebody to help us with all these old buildings."  I said, "All right, I don't know whether anybody can help anybody with old buildings, but I'll give it a shot." Ann Hoffer was struggling with how to cope with the old building, and she and I got together, and we didn't always agree on everything. We managed to sort out how to stabilize the Oddfellows building; everyone calls it the West High Street building, but it's got I-O-O-F on the front, and I call it the Oddfellows building. We managed to get that stabilized by putting a roof on so that the water didn't come clear down to the first floor every time there was a little bit of rain. Other facets of the buildings that the Society has, the one next door between us and the restaurant, we managed to get that closed down at least so we didn't have an undesirable clientele coming in that door. It wasn't a good idea. I helped them a little bit; I don't know whether I did everything that I could, but the biggest challenge with old buildings is where you get the money to do anything that you need to do. It's still a challenge. Of course, the biggest challenge that a museum has is how to take care of all of the objects, including the books and everything else that are in the library, with a proper building. Ann had gone before me and got a new building built for most of that, which we're in the basement of right now. So I helped Bill with that and stayed on after he left the presidency. It was very interesting; there are so many different ideas from the Board of Trustees in a group like this. It was very interesting. I'm not a historian myself, not a librarian, but I found it very interesting palling around with some of those types like yourself.

SM: I was thinking about how we use Past Perfect as our software in the library and that takes care of the historical categorization of all of our things, and how you are more future perfect because you tend to see future things, and that has helped the Society a lot as you look ahead. I also wonder how you see a parallel between what is happening in the library with our migration to digital things and in your working world when you were with cable. Do you see cable being replaced by satellite elements and digital elements eventually, or has it already been? I don't know.

GG: The television cable industry is going through a tremendous change period. The original television cable industry was to supply entertainment into the home. It has now morphed into the Internet, which supplies service to businesses, it supplies telephone services to business and to home, and also with Netflix putting entertainment on the Internet, it is starting to change from being the primary supplier of entertainment services in the home to one supplying a network for other people to supply that entertainment service like services like Netflix. So yes, it is changing; it is going to continue to change. I'm no longer involved in it, I've been out of the cable industry for fifteen years, but I've watched it change, and it's going to change more. The satellite services provide a definite element that is missing in the ordinary land-based cable television service because when you get a density of customers that's below a certain level; you can't afford to supply it because the customer can't pay the freight. So the satellite services give service to people in farms or rural areas where there's just no way that the cable television service can be extended. Yes, that whole business is changing. As far as how it is used in anything as far as libraries or museums, I think the Internet is the place where that shines because everything that's available in a fixed location can be put on the Internet, or at least be promoted on the Internet, so that people know where it is and how to go to it and to use it or get whatever they need from it.

SM: Do you have a prediction about the future of books?

GG: Books, in my estimation, are going to be around forever. It's just something that I don't think an electronic form of transmission or storage can ever supply. They may be a little different. I wish books were printed on paper that never destructs, but there's a cost element there. I still believe that a lot of people prefer books, even myself. When I buy something on the Internet, and it's only available on the Internet, I can't get a hard copy of it, I don't use it as much. Then when I want to find it, I sometimes have trouble finding it. With a book, you know where it is. It takes up space, but at least you know where it is.

SM: And you can't share it with other people the same way as handing a book.

GG: Exactly, unless they pay for it.

SM: I like the phrase that I read, and one of your longtime associates used, that you were a man who could see around corners.

GG:  I don't know how you do that.

SM: I think these are the qualities that have made your association with the Society a real plus.

GG: I think seeing around corners is just sort of taking a chance that some people don't want to take.

SM: Or seeing possibilities that other people don't see.

GG: Yes, there are those possibilities, and it requires taking a chance because you don't know all of the ways to get there. You have to figure them out on the run. A lot of people don't like to do that. They like to have everything written, you do it this way and you get there. It's not always that way.

SM: Elizabeth, I think you were attracted to this quality. You took a chance, didn't you?

EG: Yes, yes.

GG:  Oh I think she took a big chance. I was a complete unknown as far as she was concerned.

SM: Could you tell us a little bit more about your time in Boiling Springs and what Boiling Springs was like when you were in school?

EG: Yes, I remember getting on the bus and going back, and it was about six miles to go to school. I thought it was just really something that I had never done or ridden on a bus before. And I saw the school, and it was so much fun going to see that and the playground. We all liked it. Then I remember first grade and how we went into school, and then in second grade, I remember that the first thing we did was the teacher would call us to be very quiet, and she would read the Bible. Then we would stand up and cross our heart over the flag and say that, and after that she would read The Bobbsey Twins, a chapter, and we liked them.  As time went on, I was so happy that I could play in this little band.

GG: The rhythm band.

EG: It was a rhythm band, and I felt so upset because every week I went I got a different instrument to play, and I was thinking, Oh I must not be very good at anything. It took a couple years for me to understand that, and Mr. Brenneman said I could play all of them.  When we were in our rhythm band, at a very young age, it was great for us because we had a couple years to learn a lot about what you need to be able to enter the senior band . He would come to our house, everybody's house, in the evening and he'd give us a lesson. When I first started, apparently my mother must have told him that I chewed the reeds; I didn't want to practice. So he brought me a whole box of reeds.  That's how he got a very good band because he was interested in the children, and I remember the day he taught me how to march, we had a class of marching. Then we were put into the band at a very early age. They didn't have a small band; they didn't have the things that you have today because that was in the thirties.

SM: Were there band competitions at that time?

EG: No, that was when I reached high school. We had competitions all the time. Everywhere we went we won, and I was so happy because we just had a good band.

SM: What color were your uniforms?

EG: Oh I didn't like them; purple and white and yellow.

GG: You've learned to like purple and white now.

EG: I don't know why I put this jacket on.

SM: Were they shiny?

EG: It had some shining, the things that we had, but mostly the purple was there, outstanding, and he did that. He said, "I'm not changing any color because this is royal." He wanted us to have a royal color.

SM: What were your interests, then, other than band in high school? Did you like the academic subjects or the business subjects?

EG: I loved reading and all of the English and history and that sort of thing. Math was not for me, and I found out why; my daughter finally found out why. I had been ill, and I had sleeping sickness then, they called it.

GG: This is in third grade?

EG: In third grade.

SM: Was that mononucleosis?

EG: Yes, and it was viral. I missed so much school, and when I went back to the school I was so good at spelling--I loved spelling bees--and reading, but I was awful in math, and they didn't, I think, realize that I'd missed something. My daughter said, "Mom, you never learned it. You just didn't."

GG: She was out of school, apparently when basic math was taught in third grade.

EG: For quite a while. So it was always lower for me, but I passed it. I wanted to go to college, and that was what I was working for.

GG: You told me about your report card in first grade.

EG: Oh yes. I'd take it home, and it'd always be the same: She annoys others.  I liked to talk.

SM: You said in our last interview that you had been involved with nurses' training at the Carlisle Hospital? Was it there?

EG: I was not an RN [registered nurse] because I was older and had my children, and I couldn't get to school for that, for what I wanted then. So as God always did, he opened the door, and the next week I saw a friend. She said, "Oh this can't be you." I said, "I know I'm looking for a job, but I don't even know what to do, what I could do." She said, "There's a LPN [licensed practical nurse] class coming," and she said, "You could go, it's next week, and you've got to go sign up right now." So the next day I did, and I was very happy that I did do it because I wanted to have something that I was interested in. My father always wanted me to be an RN, but I just couldn't get it because of that. I was very lucky, and we had a very good professor, and she would take us over to Dickinson, and we'd look at the fellows who were in medical school. We didn't do any work, but her husband was a librarian, and she wanted us to see some of the things they were doing. It was about a year, and then I worked for the hospital a year. Then I was asked to go to this area where this doctor was going to be and get a job if he could. Because I had to work on Christmas Eves and I had work, I couldn't be with the girls much, and I said, "I would like to do something that I could make both work." She said, "There is a doctor looking for somebody," and I did go. He said he would call me in two weeks after he decided who he was hiring. I went home, and he called me the next day, and I was with him.

GG: Dr. Armstrong.

EG: I had to leave him, I told him, at seven years because I was getting married, and I had to spend a year with the children to see that they could adjust. I did that, and then another door opened. I was ready to come back in the next year, and Dr. Ely in Mount Holly needed somebody, and they called me. I went, and then he left seven years later, and the girls I worked with in the hospital said, Why don't you come in? Dr. Cox needs somebody.  So I never had to look for it; it came to me. I was very happy because each of them were wonderful doctors who could teach you every day, and that's what I wanted.

GG: You worked with Dr. Cox until he retired, and then you went with Dr. Stoken. Do you want me to tell the story about Dr. Stoken?

EG: No.

GG: I will anyway. She actually helped Dr. Stoken transfer Dr. Cox's patients over to Dr. Stoken, and all the paperwork involved with that. I asked her to go someplace to ride a roller coaster, and Dr. Stoken decided that rather than give her the time off, that he'd have a retirement party for her.

EG:  I was ready to retire.

GG: So he actually paid for a retirement party, and she retired.

SM: These are wonderful doctors; they all have such nice reputations.

EG: Yes, and they both were--and Dr. Armstrong, Carlisle was very fortunate to have him, really. I learned to know him and his wife, and to make extra money, Saturday night I went out and stayed with his boys while they went out for dinner or something. When the doctor died, I went to the funeral and I said, "Boys, I guess you don't remember me." He said, "How could we forget you?"  One's a doctor now, like he wanted to be.

GG: He specializes in hands, doesn't he?

EG: Ned, yes. His father, Dr. Armstrong, always wanted fingers and hands to operate on, and Ned did that.

GG: Ned Armstrong.

EG: I kept in touch with her (Mrs. Armstrong) until she died.

SM: When you went through the LPN program--you know I've written about the Carlisle Hospital somewhat.

EG: Right.

SM: That program was quite successful, wasn't it, for a number of years?

EG: Yes.

SM: Was it all your work in the hospital except for your visits to Dickinson, or did you work the lab?

EG: We were in the hospital all the time. She would just take us over to let us see the lab, and I would stand and look at the brain, lots of brains, and I thought, "Where do you start?" Well you don't start at the brain. It was just interesting what they were doing.

SM: What were your uniforms like?

EG: They were very nice, but they were gray.

SM: Was it an apron?

EG: Yes, and they put us over there for when we had to go and wear our uniforms for capping. And I sang; they wanted me to sing, what was it, "Just One Little Candle." I can't remember.

SM: Was that the Florence Nightingale--

EG: It was, yes, and then when we graduated my children saw me, and they came back to that area.

SM: That's a good model for them.

EG: Then one time I had to learn all of the spelling of all of the words I would be repeating and so on and learn. Phyllis was about eleven years old, and I said, "Here, you tell me what to say, and I will spell it." She did, and she would go to church and the teachers said, “What is she learning all these words for?” I said, "She's helping me."

GG: She became a librarian.

EG: Yes, she did, and a math teacher too.

SM: When you were at the hospital, was this prior to the final enlargement? Was this in the sixties?

EG: Yes, I was there very early, in the early fifties.

SM: Was the capping ceremony out on the lawn?

EG: No, it was over at Dickinson in one of their buildings because the teacher's husband was there, and he arranged that, I guess, for her to do that.

SM: Did you know Violet Green?

EG: Oh yes, yes I did.

SM: Quite the person, I think.

EG: Yes they were. There were two of them, yes, there was another one too. It was just wonderful working with the girls, but I wanted to do so much like they did and I couldn't. So I had luck to find out where I could learn more.

SM: It seems like you made a very good compromise to be able to work and raise your children and combine the two.

EG: Yes, and Mildred Hertzler said to me, "They said mothers can't work and have children be going to college." And she said, "You and I did it," because she was my teacher when I was in fifth grade, I think. So when I was there and our children were all through college, she said that to me.

SM: While you were doing all this, weren't you also still singing in the church choir?

EG: Oh yes, and I did study singing because  I love music, and I liked Broadway and the opera. Every chance I could get, I was there, and it was always for a day, and I was still going to be very happy  that. I could get up  in the morning and go to work even if I didn't get home until one o'clock. I went once a year, and I wanted to know with a person who does sing--man or woman--where's the talent.. I want to know the talent, hear the talent, and those two places were wonderful places to go. You have to know what you're learning there. It's given to you; you're born with it, but teachers are very important. So if you want to hear something good, you have to work at it.  I  just enjoying the singing. 

SM: I think you did better than that.

GG: She had a local voice instructor, Joan Boytim, and you actually had a voice instructor in Philadelphia, didn't you?

EG: I went with my teacher's voice, and she was a professional. She kept all of the ones in New York at the opera in tune, because they have to study all the time. I guess it was--she just died last year in our church--Emmy Truxell, and she would go, and she found a young boy in her class. She said, "He was just so terrible, I didn't know what to do with him because he just was not good." He came three times, and she said, "I have to make a decision," and she did, and he ended up being in the opera in New York for years. She said, "He had a cold, and I didn't care." But he went to her three times, and she found a child that she could make, and she did.

SM: Did you ever sing at any weddings?

EG: Lots of weddings; I started as a little girl, practically. I had to sing at weddings, different people getting married, and then as I was studying. I started at eleven years old to sing, to go to a teacher, so from there on until I graduated, I was at a lot of weddings.

SM: "Oh Promise Me," is that what you sang?

EG: I used to sing The Book of Ruth too. I did a lot of different things, so I enjoyed that. It was fun, and I kept on studying just to know what I could learn from a musician, to know because that helps me with all of the bands, that sort of thing. Everybody has to be well trained, and we have great trainers today.

SM: Do you find--and you would both know this because you've both been involved with the musical community in Carlisle--that Carlisle has an unusually rich musical community? Don't you think?

GG: Exactly, yes. It's amazing; I see it in the Carlisle Band where we need someone. Someone that's playing a certain instrument will, for whatever reason, leave the community or not be able to play, and someone else pops right up to do it. I've been absolutely amazed at the talent in the Carlisle community. We attract people too; the Carlisle Band is amazing. It attracts people from Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Newville, Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, that regularly play in the Carlisle Band.

SM: Dave Rohrer, currently the director--

GG: Yes, Dave Rohrer, we have actually two. Bernie Pitkin, who lives in Shippensburg, his wife teaches at Shippensburg University, he is our basic conductor. He's been there for about fifteen years. Dave Rohrer, since he's retired, he's sharing that responsibility.

SM: Just to clarify, he had been the music director at Carlisle High School, the band director.

GG: Yes, he was at the Carlisle High School. Of course, when I talk about the Carlisle Band, I talk about the band--that's actually the name of it, the Carlisle Band--that is the community band that was founded in 1842, as compared to the Carlisle High School Band, which I have no idea when that was formed.

SM: In your time with the Carlisle Band, did you ever march with them?

GG: I used to march with them, yes, back in the seventies. We were down in Cleversburg marching one time, which is south of Shippensburg, and it's got cobblestone streets. Of course, marching with a clarinet with cobblestone streets is not easy, and I stumbled, almost fell, and I decided that's enough of that. I was getting old enough that I decided no more marching. But yes, I marched with the Carlisle Band.

SM: I think I understand that recently they've done a revitalization of their building within the last couple of years.

GG: Yes, we've been very fortunate, we've had some help to replace the HPAC [heating piping air conditioning] systems and things like that. Our practice room right now is limiting the size of the band. There are times when there's no space for anyone else. In fact, I sometimes  practice sitting in a doorway.

SM: Tell a little about what Carlisle was like when you came to live in Carlisle in the sixties. I think you built your house; can you tell us about the neighborhood? Was that the end of Carlisle at that time?

GG: It was more or less on the edge of Carlisle. The street was unpaved; it was muddy. I looked at a lot of houses along with my wife, and we didn't like any of them, so I decided to build. Fortunately Roy Wenger had laid out the Mooreland area down there; he was a minister and also a businessman. He had a shop at the corner of West Louther and North Hanover Street. Roy had one lot that he had saved for his son at the corner of Glendale and Hillside. So I went to see Roy, and told him thatI had a real estate agent looking for a lot. He said, "Roy won't sell it because he wants to save it for his son." I talked to his son; the son says, "I live on a farm. I'm never going to live in town. You'll have to ask Dad." I went to see Roy, and Roy interviewed me; I guess that's the only way that I got the lot. Finally he said okay, he would sell it to me. It's an interesting lot, it's not exactly square. There were huge hackberry trees in a rock outcropping; it goes diagonally through the lot. I was faced with, "What do I do? I want to put the house right where the trees and the rocks are. Now it won't work." So I cut down a few of the trees and put the house behind the rocks and the trees, but as I was trying to dig a foundation, it was rock too, added to the expense.

SM: That whole area is quite rocky.

GG: It has a lot of rock that is very close to the surface, yes. But we managed to get a house on the lot, and we've lived there ever since.

SM: Was that street completely built by the time you built or were there vacant lots?

GG: The development that Roy had put in there, it was a farm, and it cornered at Glendale and Hillside.

SM: Was that the Zeigler farm?

GG: I don't remember. If I ever heard, I don't remember. But he had developed it, and this one corner lot there he had saved for his son, but the rest of the development was in place. It's just that there weren't any roads except mud.

SM: In what year was that?

GG: This was 1964, and apparently when they developed areas, they didn't require that the developer put the roads in. We had to wait for the borough to put the roads in.

SM: But you did have running water.

GG:  Yes, even in floods. The 1972 flood came by; we were high enough that we didn't get any water in the house, but it filled the basement. Of course, I had been after the borough to put the storm drain in because the Hillside Drive is actually an underground stream. It's the Mully Grub, and during the 1972 flood, it surfaced. The Mully Grub swamp was open at that time before they built the homes down by where Walmart is now. Back then it was an open swamp, and the underground stream, which you could hear--the road would open up every now and then, Hillside Drive, and you could stand there and you could hear the stream down in there running. Then the borough would come along; they threw a lot of concrete in it and covered it back up. Pretty soon it was open again, and they'd come back and fill it back up. But that stream is still there; it surfaces whenever there's a lot of flooding. Fortunately the borough did put the storm sewer in after the flood. We haven't had any problems since.

SM: Is that the same Wenger that had the meat business? Is that the same family?

GG: No, it might've been the same family, but it wasn't him. Roy actually operated a store; it was a women's apparel store at the southwest corner of West Louther and North Hanover Street.

SM: Was that the name of it, Wenger's?

GG: Yes.

SM: Did you ever purchase anything at Wenger's?

GG: I didn't.

EG: Yes, I did.

GG: It was a women's store, so I never purchased anything in there.

SM: What is your Agnes story? Do you have an Agnes story about the flood?

EG: I could tell you the flood was at our area. We didn't get anything except wind. But I had a daughter who was in Harrisburg somewhere because she was working at a bible school where they were in a forest, and they said that was getting pretty full and, and I was expecting to get some bad news, but thank goodness I got good news. But I didn't see any of the waters at all, and when I came into Carlisle it looked like a lot of the houses were sitting in a lake. It was amazing.

GG: Especially on Hillside Drive.

EG: Yes.

SM: Was there flooding in all the downtown area?

GG: No, it was mostly out where we are. Glendale Street flooded, any of the low areas there that were in that Mully Grub area, they all flooded.

SM: Is the Mully Grub the one that comes down on West Street at where Dr. Colestock's office used to be, at the corner of West and Walnut?

GG: Yes, Walnut Bottom Road goes into--what's the name of the street that Walnut Bottom turns into?

SM: Willow.

GG: Willow, yes, West Willow Street.

SM: So that's still partially the cause of all that flooding there?

GG: They've just covered it over, yes.

SM: That gets really big water.

GG: There's no way to drain it unless they would put a huge pipe in and take all the Mully Grub water and do something with it. But it goes over to LeTort Spring Run.

SM: So in 1964, was the Interstate completed yet?

GG: Yes.

SM: But fairly recently, right?

GG: They just finished. It went as far as Exit 52, I think.

SM: At where you said where Walmart is, that was all field at that time in 1964. It was before the shopping center.

GG: I wouldn't call it a field, I'd call it a swamp. Now up on the hill where Walmart is now, that was out of the water, but as you come down from Walmart, that was all swamp where all of the apartment buildings and everything is in there. That was the Mully Grub swamp, it was an open swamp, with cat-o'-nine-tails.

SM: So those apartments came after '64 then.

GG: Oh yes, I can't imagine how they even built them there. It was cat-o'-nine-tails.

SM: How about any other real estate interests that you have in Carlisle? You have not particularly invested in real estate anymore?

GG: I did, I started a partnership with my daughter in real estate, but in 1986 they changed the income tax laws and made it so that I was paying so much money on extra taxes because I was in the real estate business. I sold everything to her. I had bought the Mooreland apartment building and several other buildings, in fact, the building that Dr. Cox was using where Elizabeth was working. I owned the building when I met her. And one of the original Carlisle Hospitals on East High Street, the Lydia Baird building, I converted that into apartments. I was going hog wild on converting buildings into apartments; it was fun. But it became a situation that was a noose around my neck, so I just sold all of the part that I owned to her. She's continued it; she still runs the partnership without me being involved.

SM: Do you have opinions of about what you think would be an ideal solution to the vacant lots that are developing where they're taking down the factories and things on the East End? North End?

GG: The first thing I would be concerned about is the contamination there, what kind of problems you have with the government and contamination because I ran hard into that. When you buy a building, if it isn't certified as being contaminant-free, you've got a huge financial problem. I would be concerned about that. I don't know the status of those two areas, whether they're contaminated or not. If they're not, then that gives everyone the opportunity to decide what do they want there, like with the Carlisle Hospital. They tore it down and made residential lots; that's apparently what the local people there wanted. I think the people around the area should be part of the question of what do we want there because if you put something that the people that live around it don't want, then you're in trouble there all the time. I don't know what the people there want; I don't know what they're going to do with it. As far as putting a commercial venture in any of them, that's difficult. Commercial ventures have to have access because everyone comes by automobile. Nobody walks to a commercial area anymore. They've got to have the utilities that they need. Whether either of them lend themselves to that or not, I don't know. Probably the utilities, but maybe not the access. And I think Carlisle Productions has a lot to say about what happens with the Masland, or Lear, area. It's probably good for them to be involved in that. As far as the Carlisle Rubber Plant area, I wouldn't have any idea what to do with that. I wouldn't have any good suggestions. It's a huge area, if you could figure out how to use all that paving they had in there without tearing it up, but planners have the ability to figure that out.

SM: You're not going to look around that corner.

GG: I wouldn't have any idea how to sort that out. I don't think I'd even want to think about it.

SM: I'm glad you don't have to.

GG: That's exactly right.

SM: I think altogether, Carlisle's changed a lot in your lifetimes here in this area, but on the other hand it's remained the same a little bit too.

GG: Carlisle has so much going for it, especially educationally with Dickinson College, Dickinson Law School, and the Army War College. It is an amazing area for education. I think that's its strong point, and I think we see a lot of the retirees from the War College that come back and actually retire in Carlisle. That's a huge plus because you get talent that you wouldn't get any other way. These people are still in their productive years in their lifetime, and we have that opportunity then to utilize that. I notice that there are employment signs all over town. There are billboards that say, We need help right now. Carlisle is blessed. People might not like warehouses, they might not like trucks, but this is where the future apparently is for Carlisle. The manufacturing plants that are here are all employing people, and that keeps the wage level up. If the unions don't get too strong and get to be a problem, such as happened with Lear and with Carlisle Rubber and caused them to fold or go to Tennessee or whatever they might do, then I think the employment here is going to be great. The wage scale might not be as high as everyone would like, but it's going to be good employment.

SM: Have you thought of anything else that you'd like to talk about before we close the cameras?

EG: Sometime.

GG: Elizabeth, I used to take her to parties, and she would run into people that she liked. We were at a party in Atlanta, Georgia, one time, and she mentioned it to me yesterday or this morning about, "Who was that guy that played that piano?" I thought about it a minute, went to the Internet, and finally came up with his name. It was Freddy Cole; he was Nat King Cole's brother.

EG: I was at this party, and everybody was eating. I heard a piano, and I looked down about fifty steps to the water, and they had a pianist playing, and he was excellent. I said, "George, I'm going down there. I don't need anything to eat." He said, "Well I'll go with you," and we went down, and I sat and listened to him, and it was unbelievable. Even more--

GG: We had a private concert, there was no one else there.

EG: We did, and I went up to him and I said, "Would you play for me 'A Sophisticated Lady?' I want to hear your feelings." Then I said, "If I didn't know, I would think this is Nat King Cole." He said, "He's my brother. I'm not known in the United States. I couldn't get anywhere, but I'm in London, in England."

GG: He apparently had a career on the continent, too. He graduated Juilliard, and he's still alive.

EG: He's my age, but he was so talented. I thought Nat was coming back. You don't have two voices that sound alike, but there was something there.

GG: I had her to a party one time at the Hollywood Hotel.

EG: That was fun.

GG: It was sort of a stand-up, walk-around, pick up the food. She ran into Shirley Jones. Of course she was a fan of Shirley Jones.

EG: Yes, she was Miss Pittsburgh, and I liked her voice. We were having dinner, we had hors d'oeuvres first, and we were standing there, and I walked up and--I'm left handed, and that's not nice at times. We bumped elbows, and I looked at her and I thought, I know her, I know her, I don't know who it is but I know her. So I turned around and she said, "Are you okay?" I said, "Yes, I'm fine. I'm sorry." I said something to her, "I loved you being at Allenberry. You were there with your husband." She said, "Come with me, come with me and tell me you liked my husband." I said, "Okay," then George found me, and he came over. So we met her husband, but she was just so happy that we were there because her husband had started in Allenberry.

GG: The two of them actually put a play where there were just two people.

EG: Two people.

GG: Just the two of them, but he was insecure, and Shirley said to me, "Tell Marty that he's good." I said, "Well I saw him in the play, and he was good." She said, "Oh he'll eat that up."  This was Marty Ingels. I said, "I saw you in the play at Allenberry." He said, "You did?" I said, "Yes, I just loved that play."

EG: It made him feel better.

GG: It made his day.

EG: She said to me, "Are you from Boiling Springs?" I said, "No, I live in Carlisle." She said, "Oh I used to be at Camp Hill every summer with my aunt."

SM: That's a connection that I didn't know about.

EG: Yes, she was here, and all of these people are from Pennsylvania.

GG: She was raised in a little town south of Pittsburgh, I don't recall the name of it.

EG: Yes, as you enter Pittsburgh,. I'll tell you one thing, this is so nice for her: She was Miss Pittsburgh, and she was going to college, and her parents brought her to New York. That Saturday, they were taking her to the college. She loved animals, and she was going to be a doctor for the animals. So she went out, and this fellow saw her walking on the street, and he said, "Hey, you're coming with me." She said, "I looked at him," and he was the fellow that was playing the piano for her in Pittsburgh when she won the  Miss Pittsburgh title. They hadn't seen each other for a long time. She said, "Where are we going?" He said, "You could read any kind of music. We're going to try out for this new Broadway show." She said, "I can't do that. I'm going to go to school." He said, "You're going to do this first." Anyway, she got up and she  sang, and the director said to her, "I would like to take you across the street and have my partner hear you sing." She said, "I don't know who you are," and he said, "My name is Richard Rogers." He's never forgiven her for that.  She said, "I went along," and she said, "Who's this other man?" "That's Oscar Hammerstein." She said, "So I sang the song for them, and I came back and I was in a Broadway show."

GG: She never went to college?

EG: No, she became a singer. She was so thrilled because she never dreamed of being a singer..

SM: It wasn't "Seventy-Six Trombones," was it?

EG: No, no.

SM: It was before that.

EG: I don't know why I can't remember it. I've seen it about three, four times.

GG: Oklahoma!?

SM: Oklahoma!?

EG: It was Oklahoma! I believe. I believe it was. Everything she did, just one door opened after another for Broadway, she was so good.

SM: Just like you.

EG: Yes, sure.

SM: You're enjoying your life too.

EG: I enjoyed it all, it was so nice. She was a very kind person, and she and I'd meet then, going from one place to another there. And when I heard this orchestra, I said, "George, I can't believe what I'm hearing." It was Beverly Hills. He said, "Well you're in Hollywood, you should have a good orchestra." Some girl walked out, and I listened to her sing, and I thought, Do you know what she just did? She took that band over. She would go one measure, then she'd go back two. I said, "They're giving her tones, they're just giving her tones, and they have hit every one of them perfectly." Here it was Nat's daughter, Natalie.

GG: Natalie, yes. She actually put on a performance. Nat King Cole died in 1956, but she put on a performance. He was on a recording on the television singing, and she was singing in person with him.

EG: And he was holding her up in the air as a baby. I cried.  It was a nice thing to do, thanks to George.

SM: You've had lovely experiences.

EG: Yes, and they were mostly musical. I even had been shocked, I could have gone on Dr. Ruth's show. She wanted me  because grandmothers take their boyfriends to roller coasters.

GG: We were down in Dallas, and a friend of mine asked Elizabeth if she would mind being interviewed because she heard this roller coaster story. I wasn't even around, but this friend arranged for Elizabeth to be picked up in a limo--she loves limos--

EG: I thought he did that.

GG: --and take her over to where Dr. Ruth was holding out. Dr. Ruth interviewed her, and then she demanded that Elizabeth bring me back the next day for an interview also. Dr. Ruth, she's about this high, and she had to be helped up onto her stool so she could even be up where we were, up to eyeball with her. She's a fun person, she absolutely is, and Elizabeth really enjoyed it, but I don't think you agreed to go on her show.

EG: Oh no.  But then I was at another place, and I saw this pretty girl coming in. She said hello to me, and I said, "Oh hello." She was just chiseled, like her face was like an angel, she's so pretty. It was Ivana Trump. So she said, "Come, I'm going to give you one of my books." So I went up and got that, and then he found me with her, so he came over, and she said, "I've got to give you my book," and she said--

GG: Was this something about the second time around?

EG: Yes, she said, "Is this your first time around?" I said no, and she said, "If he leaves you, don't you ever ask him for anything, nothing at all. Just take it all."

SM: I think that's a good place to wrap it.

EG: Yes it is. Oh I hope you didn't make that on the DVD. She is a beautiful girl, always had her face looks big like this and hair up there. Wasn't she gorgeous?

GG: Yes, she really is, and not tall.

EG: No, she's thin, a little tiny thing.

GG: Nice person, though.

SM: Thank you very much for sharing all your stories.

GG: She runs into the craziest people.

EG: I've met so many people in the life with him.

GG: It's just like that report card says. She talks too much.

SM: Annoys others.

GG: Annoys others, or whatever it is.  But she really doesn't, she just likes to socialize. If we're out someplace and I walk away, I'll come back, she's talking to somebody.

EG: I like people.

SM: That conveys.  End of interview

Citation:
Gardner, Elizabeth and George Gardner, interview by Susan Meehan. September 10, 2014, The Elizabeth V. and George F. Gardner Digital Library Project, Cumberland County Historical Society, http://www.gardnerlibrary.org/stories/elizabeth-v-and-george-f-gardner-part-2, (accessed Month Day, Year).

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Paul A. Bloser

Picture of a large framed Paul Bloser oil on canvas of the Carlisle Public Square ca 1840, done in 1934, part of the Hotel Argonne series. Signed and dated in the lower right corner.

Paul A. Bloser is thought to have been born in Bloserville, Frankford Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1891. He died in 1971, aged 70 years, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and was buried, in Collingswood, New Jersey.

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