Oral history with Elizabeth Adams

Dublin Core


Oral history with Elizabeth Adams


Family History, Lakeland Community


An oral history interview conducted with Elizabeth Adams during Lakeland Heritage Weekend 2007.

She lives in Lakeland. Her grandparents and mother moved to Maryland from Washington, DC. She was born on August 4, 1927.

Elizabeth was married twice, first to Maseo Campbell in 1944, who moved to Lakeland from upper Marlboro, and again in 1975 to James Adams, whom she met in Lakeland.

Elizabeth recalled the dates of her children. At first she mentioned "four girls and two boys," but five daughters are named. All seven of her children were from the first marriage:
Pearl Lee, born in 1943
Bertha, born in 1945
Mary Ann, born in 1947
Maseo, born in 1948
Kathleeen Elizabeth, born in 1950
Dennis W. and
Jennifer Lorraine

Her mother, Ethel Hicks, was a resident of Washington, DC at the time of Elizabeth's birth. She had remarried Benjamin Waites, the stepfather to Elizabeth. Elizabeth made no mention of her natural father.

Elizabeth's most vivid memory is of her grandmother, Annie Hicks of Merrifield, VA. Grandma Hicks, as she is remembered, largely raised the young Elizabeth while her mother worked. Elizabeth's maternal grandfather, Benjamin Hicks, came from Calvert County, MD.

Although Elizabeth has played an active role in the Lakeland Community Heritage Project, she did not go into much detail about her activities with the organization. She is a proud and active member of Embry AME Church and knows the Reverend quite well. She takes part in Martin Luther King memorial celebrations each year and belongs to the Laity Organization.

Her fondest memories are of family picnics with everyone together. Her worst memory was of the torrential flood that hit Lakeland in the 1950s. Maseo had passed on and Elizabeth was alone with three children. She described the waters rushing through the streets. At one point she recalls that it looked like the four of them would have to climb onto the roof for safety. The house had no basement, so water gushed through the windows and doors, quickly filling the rooms.

Elizabeth was proud of the fact that she had lived in the same house all her years at Lakeland. In 1947, shortly after their wedding, Maseo gave up his trailer and built a home on the same lot along Navahoe Street.

When asked of her proudest accomplishment, Elizabeth pointed to her position for seventeen years at Albright's Pharmacy, formerly on College Avenue in College Park. She noted how gratifying it was to see houses remodelled and to watch the Lakeland community grow in numbers over the years.

Not all the changes to Lakeland, however, were welcome. She regrets how streets had changed - in many cases, not just their names. She mentioned a group of townhouses and community center rising where there had once been private homes. She speaks with deep pride about the James Adams Park, which the mayor named in honor of her deceased husband, who was very active in the Civic Association of Lakeland.

As for most Lakelanders, religion has played a pivotal role in Elizabeth's life. She often pariticpates in church programs and loves the new minister, Reverend Jenkins.

Grandma Annie had the greatest formative influence on Elizabeth during her adolescence. Elizabeth remembers her as a "wonderful person who always encouraged me to do the right thing." Sunday meals were a focal point for the family, and Grandma would teach Elizabeth the finer points of baking biscuits and cakes, especially as she came into her teens. Elizabeth enjoyed such sports as croquet, volley ball, baseball and roller-skating. As a child, she played dodge ball, hopscotch and hide-and-seek. When it snowed, she would belly-wop on a sleigh or toboggan. Her favorite toys were paper dolls and, as the family could afford it, especially teddy bears.

One memory that stuck with Elizabeth was the crossing of the train tracks. So many of her contemporaries were now dead, but she remembers some of them moving across the tracks to the other side of Lakeland, presumably from east to west, as the community became incorporated into College Park.

Oddly, as Elizabeth recalled the games she played as a child, this prompted her memory of learning to drive - at the ripe age of 38 - when Maseo poked poles into the pavement and her nephew made her drive around them.

What has accounted for her cheery disposition? What is the source of her happiness? Elizabeth had no simple response. It seems that this was how Grandma Annie had lived her life, and hers was a good model to follow.


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Lakeland Community Heritage Project




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MP3 Audio File, 46.8MB




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Elizabeth Adams


at her home in Lakeland, College Park, MD


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