Cumberland Times-News

March 29, 2014

Centenarian recalls days with Marshall’s Confectionary

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— LONACONING — Evelyn Marshall turns 100 years old today, but the party started Saturday when the lifelong Lonaconing resident celebrated with more than 100 relatives and friends at the town’s armory.

If you are thinking, “Marshall? Lonaconing? Hmmm!” you are correct.

By marriage, Evelyn was in the second generation of Marshalls who owned and operated Marshall’s Confectionary at 44 Main St., serving burgers, fries, shakes and pies to customers seated in old, black, oak booths.

A gathering spot for 99 years in the heart of “The Crick,” as the George’s Creek area is known to its residents, the business closed in 2009.

She was Evelyn Shaw and working in her brother Roy’s bakery when Brad Marshall came in to buy doughnuts. Wedding bells chimed on June 9, 1935.

In 1953, the couple took over the family business, operating it until 1974 when it was sold outside of the family. Brad’s father, Robert Marshall, started the confectionary in 1910.

“I worked until I was 71,” Evelyn said during an interview in her home this past week. She attributes her long life to eating something sweet with every meal. The fact that her father lived to be 94 is likely meaningful as well.

“Also, I eat only small amounts of meat, but I eat a lot of fruit,” she said.

Clients at restaurants eat at customary times — breakfast, lunch, dinner — meaning, according to Evelyn, that those working in the restaurant chow down at other times or grab something quick while staying with the tasks at hand.

“I’d go across the street (Love’s Grocery) and get an apple or a banana and keep on cooking,” she said.

Cooking often meant preparing a “toasted ham and cheese sandwich,” which Evelyn said was among the most popular offerings, though anyone wanting a more balanced meal could choose the daily special.

Did Evelyn know Lefty Grove, 14 years her senior and Lonaconing’s pride and joy who is now enshrined in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame for his success as a left-handed pitcher?

“Everybody knew Lefty,” Evelyn said. “He came in the store, but I didn’t have much time to talk with anybody, even my best friends, because I was always busy.”

Judy McKenzie, Evelyn’s daughter, said that didn’t stop some people from chatting.

“They would pull a chair up to the kitchen door and sit there and talk,” McKenzie said.

“They talked to me about everything, about things they didn’t want to tell anybody else,” Evelyn said, citing subjects such as spousal problems, children problems and money problems.

“Mom was a good listener,” McKenzie said. “They knew she wouldn’t repeat any of it.”

Former Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer loved Marshall’s, according to Evelyn. “Brad did the talking with him out front while I was in the kitchen,” she said.

McKenzie said her mother liked working and liked people.

“Marshall’s contributed to all the churches and the Rotary Club and the firemen,” she said.

Evelyn, the only girl in her family, had six brothers, all deceased now, as is her husband. She has three granddaughters and four great-grandchildren.

With the help of her daughter Judy, Evelyn still prepares her locally famous peanut butter fudge, lemon cakes and shortbread.

The only thing absent is a chocolate rickey or a cherry phosphate, prepared behind a Main Street soda fountain surrounded by smiling people in old, black, oak booths.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.