5-10-11: Remembering WDS
A few weeks ago, we asked you what you will remember about William Donald Schaefer, and the memories keep coming in.
Ed Dobbins of Baltimore wrote to us:
My grandmother, Harriet Hergert (1923-2009), worked at the Northeast Market as the security-guard / night-watchman from 1960 to 1992 (she raised me, and we lived directly across from the market on Chester Street). If you were ever in the market around 6pm closing and was “asked” to leave, that was her (and I helped her in my teens). She had the looks and personality of Bea Arthur – with a dash of Clint Eastwood.
Around 1980/81, she had some sort of major complaint with the Markets Administration (I think that was the name at the time) about how the Northeast Market was being managed, and couldn’t seem to get it resolved. She had written a letter to Mayor Schaefer about the issue, but didn’t initially get a response, or she didn’t wait long enough. So she decided to call him directly. Somehow she got through, but he wasn’t in his office, though my grandmother did leave a quite “colorful” message for him to call her back. I don’t think he ever did, but I believe the issue was resolved quickly.
Now here’s the nice heartwarming part: I don’t think I’ll ever know why, but after that incident, my grandmother started receiving a yearly invitation to the Mayor’s New Years Eve party. She never went to any of them; I think she thought she’d be out of her element. I have no idea if he personally added her to the list, or if was some sort of clerical mistake, but I believe it was just a good-natured gesture on his part.
I did briefly meet Schaefer once. For a while in the 1970s, the Boy Scouts would camp in Patterson Park over a weekend, once a year (some sort of small district Jamboree), and I believe it was spring of 1979 that he came over to the park to visit and talk to us. He actually took the time to stop by each boy, shake their hand, and briefly talked to them for a minute or two. He must have been there for a couple of hours to make sure he got to everyone. I had totally forgotten about that. And that small visit showed how much he really cared for his beloved city.