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Betty Vertiz Memorial Service and Her Recollections


The Memorial Service for Betty Vertiz will be on Saturday, March 28 at 11 am at St. John's Church.

Betty passed awary on Saturday, February 21. She was raised in Glencarlyn and was a lifelong member of St. John's. She will be greatly missed. 

We will have more information on this soon.

Rev. Ann Barker

The article below was published in the Glencarlyn Village View in March 2011 

By Steve LeSueur

Betty Mace Hedrick Vertiz has lived in Glencarlyn almost continuously since June 9, 1927, when she and her twin brother, Sherwood Hedrick, were born in a Glencarlyn house that their parents had assembled from a Sears and Roebuck kit.

That house—5602 1st Street South—still stands, though it has been considerably remodeled since then. Betty now lives at 5601 2nd Street South, which has been her home since 1950. But Betty is moving to the Goodwin House in Bailey‘s Crossroads this spring, and so we thought it appropriate to print her reminiscences, and those of her brother, before she leaves the neighborhood.

Their grandparents were early settlers in Glencarlyn, and their grandfather was treasurer of the Carlin Springs Cooperative Association, the predecessor to the Glencarlyn Citizens‘ Association. Their father, Benjamin Mace Hedrick, was born in 1897 on the same property where Betty and Sherwood were born, but in a different house.

There were very few houses in the neighborhood when Betty and Sherwood grew up, no streetlights, and the streets were paved with cinders. Their home had horse stables, a hen house, and dog kennels, along with a garage. Glencarlyn, or the village, as they called it, was surrounded by forest and seemed quite remote to Washington residents. Arlington Boulevard did not exist.

"People used to ask us why we lived 'way out there'," Betty said.

As a youngster, Sherwood sold dairy foods to neighbors from a wagon pulled by his goat. "I sold butter homemade at our farm on the Chesapeake Bay, fresh eggs, and, of course, goat‘s milk," he said.

With the money he made, Sherwood purchased a Rollfast bicycle, which he used to deliver papers for three news agencies. At sixteen, he went to work for the Veterans Administration, and drove to work in a Ford coupe with a rumble seat.

Betty and Sherwood attended Glencarlyn Elementary School, which was held in Carlin Hall. The four grades were taught by one teacher, Miss Elmore, and later by Mrs. Weibert, with one class per row.

The Glencarlyn kids were bused to Matthew Fontaine Maury School for the fifth and sixth grades, and then they went to Junior High at Swanson. However, they attended one trimester at Thomas Jefferson Junior High before Swanson was completed. They rode a bus and trolley to attend Western High School in the District.

Betty belonged to the Girls‘ Friendly Society, which was led by her first cousin once removed, Margaret Olcott, later Mrs. Charles Stetson. Sherwood was a member of a Clarendon Boy Scout troop and served on an honor guard for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. "I found him to be extremely kind, considerate and charming," Sherwood said.

They did most of their exploring and playing around the neighborhood and in Glencarlyn Park. Four Mile Run was much larger then, and children swam in a swimming hole just below the Hedrick‘s home. The passenger and freight trains also ran through the park. "We would hide in the trestle while trains passed over," Betty recalls. "Also, we hung on the outside of the trestle and crossed over the stream [because] there were no paved paths."

The railroad tracks have long since been replaced by the bike path.

Neighborhood kids liked to explore the large barns on the small Glencarlyn farms. Betty and Sherwood both played tennis on the Backus‘ court at 5th and Illinois Streets. On Sundays, Sherwood rang the bell and took up collections at St. John‘s church on Lexington Street. People also gathered on Glencarlyn Library‘s large front porch "to enjoy friendships and to learn," he said.

"We walked and biked a lot, [and] seldom went out of the village except for Friday night movies and summers at the farm on the Chesapeake and our rides to the farm in Winchester," Betty said.

The last year of high school, Sherwood received permission from their mother to enlist in the Navy. He became a Chaplain‘s Yeoman and librarian on the Battleship USS Arkansas during World War II, and also served as an Acting Chaplain. His ship was involved in battles throughout the Pacific Ocean, including Iwo Jima.

While Sherwood served in the Navy, Betty finished high school and then attended the College of William and Mary. "My first year away was eye opening and thoroughly enjoyable, but my second year was interrupted by my plea to return home because I was homesick," Betty said.

So she returned to Glencarlyn and enrolled in secretarial school, after which she had a succession of clerical jobs in the family law firm, a patent law firm, and the AFL-CIO. While she worked, Betty took night classes in International Law Relations at George Washington University, eventually getting her bachelor‘s degree.

Meanwhile, Sherwood returned from the war, married, had a family and enrolled in law school at night. One night when Betty visited him at National Law School, she noticed an announcement of law school scholarships for women. Betty applied for and was awarded a scholarship for tuition and books. National merged with George Washington, where Betty attended night law classes for three years, graduating with honors.

After law school, Betty worked as an adjudicator with the Veterans‘ Administration and then became an examiner in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where her future husband, Oscar Vertiz, also worked.

"One day after work, I noticed him running to catch the bus. I rang the bell to get the bus to stop. When this stranger got on the bus, I had to announce my good deed," Betty said. "In the future, we often rode the bus together and eventually formed a car pool and then a lifetime merger."

Betty and Oscar were happily married and a car pool of two for many years. "I had no children of my own but had two stepchildren, two step-grandchildren, and three step-great grandchildren," Betty said, adding that they "were blessed with much happiness."

Oscar died at home three months after being diagnosed with cancer in March 2005.

Sherwood now lives in Winchester, but he visits Glencarlyn every weekend, helping Betty with household chores and errands. He also serves as chalice bearer at St. John‘s church, where he rang the Sunday bell as a youth.

"My life began with a partnership with my brother and it is ending that way since he has been coming to Arlington each weekend from Winchester and doing nice things for me," Betty said.


Photos -- Betty and Sherwood March 2011 (G. Martineau) -- Betty at age 16.

A special thanks to David and Maxine Backus, who helped collect the reminiscences for this article.

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