Mary Boulware is 84, a former resident of Spring Bank, who now lives in Alexandria.
The Bucknell bus wasn't running through there then. I know when they first started. They were digging stakes. I walked down through the woods one day. I wondered what they were for. I ask a man one day, "Mister, what they going to do down there? I see them stakes all sticking up through there!" He said, "Going to run a bus up here, going to make a road for the bus." I said "Coming up this hill?" He said, "Yeah." I went along there one day again and them old bulldozers was in there just cleaning up, and wasn't long before they had buses coming up through there. So they started the bus. Five cents to go up to Alexandria, that's what it was. On the other road was 10 cents. Ft. Belvoir was 10 cents. We quits Belvoir and we'd catch the 5 cents bus.
I walked all through them woods. They had an old dump over there. I'd just walk through the woods and try to find flowers. I got some old wild rose: down there. They're still running on the fence down there now. I got them off the dump -I'd find good flowers off the dump. Some of them said, "Snakes going to run you out of them woods." But I never saw a snake. I looked, but never saw one.
Better days then, than what's now. To tell you the truth, better days. Sometimes I wish that I could call the days back because it's just terrible times. You could get together and you could have nice times, but you almost scared to go out now. You could go out and you could walk at night and nothing would bother you. But you dare not to walk anywhere at night now. Taking purses, and things. I'm just afraid to go out at night. I used to just go for miles. Nothing bothered me. But now I have to go the least little block, I'd run into an old drunk or something. Times ain't like they use to be. Use to be much better time. Bad times now.
We use to have to go across the creek before they making the bridges across the roads. My Uncle went through the creek once. There were no bridges; he just made his mules go on through the water. They got half way through, logs were coming down, and he tried for his knife and tried to cut it loose so's the mules could swim out. One swim out and the other just drug on down. The wagon had been full of everything, food, everything. All of that got washed away. So then they went to making bridges. The bridge down on Quander Road has been there for years. It wasn't as big as what it is now -it was a little old thing.
Reverend Battalon came in and asked me, "Where do all these children go to Sunday School" I told him they didn't go to Sunday School, there was none, no church. He said, .''There ought to be a church here." I asked this lady if we could have a Sunday School in her garage. He (Wilson Battalon) was willing so we went and had the Sunday School and we was doing pretty good so -he said, "Mrs. Boulware, how about us putting up a tent" He got the cloth and we put up the tent. We'd meet at night. Finally the wind blew the tent down. Then they went and got some boards and he made a nice little place. Folks came in the church, having a good crowd. So he said ''I'm going to build a church. "he had three houses in Washington and he put his houses up. Raise enough money to pay for it, didn't want him to lose his houses. They build and they buy lumber and build till they got that church you see down in Spring Bank.
I moved into Spring Bank in 1950. When I moved down there all those white folks' houses wasn't there. All of it was woods. I pick plenty of blackberries all around there by Ft. Hunt Road. Sit my water bucket on my head, full of blackberries, one in each hand, and come home.
I did window cleaning. All every which away, window cleaning. Clean all the houses in Fairfax. I just went around window cleaning. I just clean the house and the people would move in the houses. Just go around to the new houses they were building. I didn't know the people who moved in them.
Remember the night Club "Springbank Inn?"
Yeah, I used to go there -they just bad, a little club like and they would sell stuff in there. Kind of like a lunch room.
Mr. Jimmy (Quander) had so many greens. He wouldn't give nobody none and he wouldn't sell ya none. He just wouldn't sell ya none for the money. He bring them up to the market and sell them, but he wouldn't give people down there any greens. I wanted some greens so bad one day, so I went on out there one night, and got me some. Great big old tons of it -it was the best around -but he would never sell you none of them. He wouldn't sell me none and he wouldn't give ya none. Not only me who got them but it was all the colored people who would go get them. He'd never miss them, he bad so many. He Just had acres of them out there where the school (Bryant) is now. There was tons of greens. The biggest turnip greens I'd ever seen. He'd tell you he wasn't ready to pull them up. Every Friday he'd cut them and pull them up, big sack full, and be ready to take them to market on Saturday.
He could grow anything on that land. He was farming right, that's good land. Had okra too, Mr. Jim would sell me a little bit of okra. One day I wanted some okra. The okra had grown so tall, Just bending over, so tall, and I didn't have no knife. I tried to break it off -that okra stung my arms up so I broke me some -put it in my lap and come on home. I cooked it up. I cooked my okra. He wouldn't give you anything -you would have to go in the field and take what you wanted. That's just the kind of man he was. He had so much corn and everything growed up around there - couldn't no one see me.
And I would go and pick cherries. They had me to pick the cherries for them to carry to market and I'd go up there and stay all day in them cherry trees. I'd just climb them ladders, pick buckets full of cherries. And strawberries they had a big strawberry patch. I'd go and get the strawberries in the mornin' the sun would get so hot I'd just be sweating -picking them strawberries for them, and I wouldn't charge them a thing. I didn't have nothing to do then just walk about -and I'd go there and stay all day. His wife would give me one of those little baskets full in the night when I'd knock off and I'd make a pie. That's all I charged -I didn't want nothing else. Her daughter, one day she Come up town and she bought me a dress. She sent it down here by her daughter -told me from being so nice and kind and not charging nothing. She give me a dress and I was proud in my dress.
I would take part of my money and put it in the church. I'm just happy today that part of my money has gone in that church. I need it today, but I paid it and then they got the church. And they ask me, "What must we name the church?" I told them "Name it Mt. Calvary" So that's the name of the church today; I named it. Then they wanted a piano in there. I was the first one to give $5 down. I said, "Here's $5. "
And I'll tell you where I come by that $5. Old Mrs. Quander's mother was sick and I was so good to the old lady until Mrs. Quander give me $5. She said, "You been here, ain't charged me nothing to take care, so I'm going to give you $5." And I went right home and took that $5 and put it in the church. That's why they have a piano.