Phot by Gayle Krughoff
 
     
   
Interview with:   Mary Procter and Bill Matuszeski
Interview Date:   April 12, 1997
Interviewer:   Ruth Ann Overbeck
Transcriber:   Ann Hoog
    This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.
 
   
 
   

[ NOTE: Transcript edited slightly by interviewees.]

TAPE 1/SIDE 1

OVERBECK: April 12, 1997, and I’m with Mary Procter and Bill Matuszeski at 324 G St. SE, Washington, D.C. And for voice identification purposes, Bill will you say something?

MATUSZESKI: Bill is saying something.

OVERBECK: All right, Mary?

PROCTER: And I’m Mary Procter.

OVERBECK: OK. The subject of the interview is Bill and Mary for the CHAMPS annual awards dinner banquet. They are two of the people who have been selected to receive this year’s community achievement award. One of the things that you all are most noted for is your ability to work together for the community. And I’d like to hear you all do a take on that. How do you think it works, what your interests are in common, where your—

[tape problems, probably with dubbing; restarts from beginning]

OVERBECK:—strengths and your balance is in your projects.

MATUSZESKI: Well I think it helps to have the experience of raising twins, and also three children below two years old, because you have to work together and you have to learn to work as a team in order to get through that. And so I think that’s where Mary and I got a lot of practice. We also did our book together, Gritty Cities [ed: Gritty Cities: A Second Look at Allentown, Bethlehem, Bridgeport, etc., Temple University Press, 1978] and that gave us a chance to see how we work together and who was good at some things and who was good at other things. So by the time we were old enough, to be privileged enough to do all this volunteer work, we had quite a bit of experience working together.

PROCTER: I would add that as long as you can work together and you complement each other, which we do, there are a lot of advantages of working together. One is that the spouse who is not working at a big project doesn’t complain that you’re away all the time or that the phone is ringing all the time, because you’re sharing that. And the other is that you can laugh at all the things that go wrong. And just tell stories to each other, many of which you can’t really tell anybody else, about what’s happening [laughs].

MATUSZESKI: [laughs] That’s right. A lot of pillow talk about babies, and friends, and fellow volunteers.

[all laugh]

MATUSZESKI: I think the other thing is that Mary is an exceptionally good planner, and so her approach to anything is to get it very clearly laid out and to establish what all the tasks are. I’m not as good at planning things, but I tend to be very cool in the clutch. I tend to be able to handle the crises and make sure that everything stays on even keel. So I consider that I get the better part of the deal because I only have to really be on-line, out front for the event itself. Although I try to help Mary as much as I can with the planning, I’m just not as good at it.

PROCTER: I would say Bill is really critical the last week. Because that’s when all the unexpected things happen, and as try as I might, I tend to lose it [laughs] when something is not going as planned. So I turn over to Bill, “All right, you rescue this particular piece of the operation.” He’s also an expert at packaging and marketing. And like many people who are good at packaging and marketing, his regard for the absolutely strict footnotable elements of the facts may not quite as much as someone who is more concerned about accuracy.

MATUSZESKI: Well Ruth Ann knows that because she has to see the sort of things that I write up for the Revelry houses, and—[laughs]

[all laugh]

OVERBECK: [laughs] Well, yeah. They’re fun.

[all laugh]

OVERBECK: Of all the projects that you have done, which ones—I’m going to ask you two questions—which one was the first one you did together, and which one is the favorite one that you have done together?

MATUSZESKI: [To Mary] Well, you know the first one.

PROCTER: Yeah, the first one was the Capitol Hill garden and gourmet auction which we did twice. And it was for three different organizations which in itself was amazing considering it was our first effort. We did it for a combination of the Capitol Arts Workshop, the Capitol East Children’s Center, and the Brent School. And it was put on, interestingly enough, in the Folger Great Hall, and we managed to squeeze an entire auction in there. And the theme was our favorite things, namely eating good food and visiting gardens and looking at plants. And so we managed to construct a lot of the donations around that. And it was actually a lot of fun. It was—because it was our first it was scarier than they had been since, so it was more a mixture of terror and ecstasy than later things, but there was a lot of ecstasy to it.

OVERBECK: Do you remember what year that was?

PROCTER: It was about 1979, I think. Or ’80.

MATUSZESKI: ’80.

PROCTER: About 1980.

MATUSZESKI: I thought you said the boys were four and five.

PROCTER: Yeah, probably ’81.

MATUSZESKI: So it’d be ’81, ’82.

PROCTER: Yeah.

OVERBECK: So everything dates from how old the kids are.

PROCTER: Right, [laughs] because we put them to work. And I can just picture—they helped us carry stuff in and to set things in, and can just picture four-year-old bodies doing that.

MATUSZESKI: As far as the favorite thing, I think that what’s been the most fun has been to see Revelry become an institution that people expect and plan for. It’s very difficult in a community like Capitol Hill, where you have so many fragile institutions, to have something that really establishes some longevity, that tends to build from year to year. And I think that the nice thing about Revelry has been seeing other people come into it, other people take over part of it or all of it, and see what they do with it and how the event itself changes and grows over time.

OVERBECK: Now, you’ve mentioned three organizations for whom you have done things: the children’s center, and Brent, and the arts workshop. And I happened to know that you have also done a yeoman’s work for the Day School.

MATUSZESKI: Well, the yeoman in the sense of sort of common hoeing in the ditches. [laughs]

[all laugh]

PROCTER: Oh, ok.

OVERBECK: [laughs] I love it.

MATUSZESKI: Our big contribution is more hoe-man than yeoman. The thing we still do for the day school is the signage for their auction every year. I don’t know how we got into that.

OVERBECK: Oh that’s what I mean, I mean that is absolutely [pause] work.

MATUSZESKI: Well I would agree with you having spent this morning going over to Arlington to pick up huge sheets of cardboard for this year’s signs. [laughs] They are in the garage right now. But it’s fun, and what’s interesting about it is its work that draws upon everybody’s creative interest in the family. If any of the kids are home they usually pitch in and do something. But unfortunately Mary and I are going to have to do it alone this year. But—

PROCTER: Adam and Thad last year worked on the outer space signs that we did, and learned how to become masters of spray painting, and actually carried it over in projects at college where they really do these exquisite kind of metallic signs that have this—

MATUSZESKI: Metallic signs, banners, and things like that.

PROCTER: Yeah, that have all this metallic gold and silver paint which they learned how to do while we were doing the Day School signs.

MATUSZESKI: Also at the Day School [pause] I was on the Board for a while. I was involved in the first effort to buy the house next door, which actually came a cropper.

OVERBECK: Right.

MATUSZESKI: The constant thing you’re dealing with in all these institutions is their facilities, and the fact that in many cases you’re dealing with facilities that are on loan or on lease from the D.C. government, and the whole matter in which the lease has been held and the D.C. government has reacted and dealt with it is enough to make your hair stand on end, when you get behind it and actually see what’s going on. So one is always cautionary, and I think when you can learn from one institution and apply it to others—a lot of what we learned about the lease at the Arts Workshop for example was helpful in figuring at the Day School how to deal with the Board of Zoning Appeals and people like that. Also I’ve done strategic planning work with the Day School and some of the other—

PROCTER:—and CHAW.

MATUSZESKI: Yeah, which is kind of fun because then you really get a sense of what people want the organization to be and where they see it heading, and how they see it changing, or how they want to keep it the way it is which is just as important.

OVERBECK: When did you meet?

PROCTER: Each other?

MATUSZESKI: When did we meet?

PROCTER: In the halls of OMB [ed: Federal Office of Management and Budget]. I—Bill was looking over the new crop of female budget examiners to see—

MATUSZESKI: Which was pretty thin pickin’s let me tell you. [laughs]

PROCTER:—to see which ones might be datable. And I was meanwhile starting work as a budget examiner. And my mother, you will understand this Ruth Ann, was horrified that anybody whose job occupation was budget examiner would ever find a husband. I mean, she didn’t say this in so many words, but I’m sure—

OVERBECK: [laughs]

PROCTER:—so little did she know that there was someone actually looking over the budget examiners [laughs] to date.

MATUSZESKI: Interestingly enough, we didn’t meet, although we were on campus together for a year. We were both in Cambridge, [pause] Mary finishing her undergraduate [at Radcliffe] and my first year of [Harvard] Law School. Mary actually dated some people in my law school class, but I never had the fortune of meeting her at that time. Although we’ve often said that it was just as well, knowing who we were then.

PROCTER: Yeah, we clicked, immediately. We clicked immediately when we met later, but I’m not sure we would have back then.

MATUSZESKI: Well, a lot of it had to do with the fact that both of us had lived in Latin America, so we had a lot in common there. And obviously that’s a very important part of your life when you spend several years, in Mary’s case three years, and mine was two years living in Latin America.

OVERBECK: And you were in—

MATUSZESKI: I was in the Peace Corps in Venezuela.

PROCTER: And I was in U.S. Information Agency in Brazil.

OVERBECK: Not even a common language there guys.

MATUSZESKI: Close enough.

OVERBECK: [laughs]

PROCTER: I learned a lot of Spanish swear words from Bill.

MATUSZESKI: Well, plus she worked the summer in Bogota, so she’s got some Spanish. And I can fake Portuguese. [laughs]

OVERBECK: What brought you each to Washington, work for the government after the volunteer service?

MATUSZESKI: For me basically, I was very interested in working in the environment and so I came to Washington looking for a job which at the time was really not available. It took a year or so to work into it, but that’s basically why I came to town.

OVERBECK: And you came—

PROCTER: And I had studied public affairs in graduate school and so I came to the government to look for a job. At the time I kind of hoped to work in something to do with cities, and I never did find a job that really had that much to do with cities.

MATUSZESKI: Until three months ago.

PROCTER: Until three months ago when I started to work at Friendship House and now I really am involved in stuff that has to with, you know, economic development of cities and community neighborhood building, and all that so I’m really having a good time.

OVERBECK: You are from, Bill, originally?

MATUSZESKI: I am from one of the gritty cities, Wilmington, Delaware.

OVERBECK: All right, and—

PROCTER: From Boston.

OVERBECK: Ok.

PROCTER: A Boston suburb.

MATUSZESKI: Although my mother’s family was from Missouri. So I had the odd combination of having on my father’s side Polish immigrants and on my mother’s side, she was the youngest child of the town doctor in a small town in Missouri. And the meeting up resulted in this very strange mixture of genes which resulted in me and my siblings. One of the interesting results was that I was raised Baptist with a Polish last name.

OVERBECK: That would be tough to explain.

MATUSZESKI: Well Mary has an equally tough one to explain.

PROCTER: Yeah, I grew up essentially in a WASP [ed: White Anglo-Saxon Protestant] family, but I was raised a Catholic because my mother’s family was convert Catholic. So we understand each other perfectly.

OVERBECK: Ok.

PROCTER: At least we were suspicious of the opposite religion, but knew an awful lot about it.

[all laugh]

MATUSZESKI: Like we belonged in it.

[all laugh].

PROCTER: So he was quite suspicious of Catholics and I was quite suspicious of Protestants, but—

OVERBECK: You seemed to manage to get past that.

PROCTER: A lot of discussions the first couple of years.

OVERBECK: Now, for the record, the names of the children. The twin boys.

MATUSZESKI: Oh, I always forget them.

PROCTER: The two boys are Adam and Thad, or Thaddeus. We like to say that Thad was named after Thaddeus Kosciusko and it was the fireplug on the corner of D St. and 5th.

OVERBECK: Right.

PROCTER: From the old bicentennial. If you look it says T. Kosciusko. And because it’s not a family name, we just like the name. Janina and Adam are family names.

MATUSZESKI: And Janina is 21 and the boys are 20.

OVERBECK: Ok, and they are all at college.

MATUSZESKI: Yes, Janina is graduating from Amherst this year and the boys are both at MIT.

OVERBECK: They all did Capitol Hill Day?

PROCTER: And Brent.

MATUSZESKI: Yeah, and Brent.

PROCTER: They were at Brent—we were associated with Brent for eight years.

MATUSZESKI: Yeah, Janina switched over in 5th—

PROCTER: 5th grade. And the boys in 6th.

MATUSZESKI:—grade and the boys in 6th grade.

PROCTER: And then they did their middle school years in Capitol Hill Day.

MATUSZESKI: And then they all went to different high schools. In fact one year we had an AFS student from Australia and we had four different high schools. And had to deal with four different parent’s nights, four different auctions [laughs] it was just—

PROCTER: Yeah, Duke Ellington, Washington International School, St. Anselm’s Abbey School, and Sidwell Friends School [laughs] in one year. It was wild.

[all laugh]

OVERBECK: What fun. Exhausting.

PROCTER: Oh, it’s fun. It was fun. It was fun.

OVERBECK: What do you think gave you your impetus to volunteer?

PROCTER: Well [laughs] I have an answer for that which may show up in our speech, which is preemptive strike to avoid being asked to do anything for a bake sale.

OVERBECK: [laughs]

PROCTER: Because cooking panics me. Cooking baked goods panics me. I can’t make a sheet of cookies. And I guess I was between jobs and so went and told the Montessori School, which is another school that we worked—that I’ve worked for that I would be willing—

OVERBECK: This was over at—

PROCTER:—at Grace Baptist Church. And Mrs. Marsh who was our daughter’s teacher who since founded Marsh Montessori, and I volunteered to do something. And they said how about doing decorations. And I said, “You mean, I’m supposed to do the decorations for all of St. Peter’s Hall? You’ve got to be kidding, I’m in charge of that? Wait a minute.” And then to my astonishment it actually worked. You know, I got a number of volunteers together and we wrapped the columns in wrapping paper and found wreaths, and the whole thing was so spectacular and so exciting to work at that scale that I think that gave me a real taste for how you could go beyond the scale of a house or something small and do something spectacular. And Bill I guess, you might have observed this.

MATUSZESKI: Yeah, I think you have to understand that our attitude about volunteer events and working as volunteers on events is that it’s basically a chance to give a big party for your friends without having to pay for it very much.

[all laugh]

PROCTER: And also do your art on a grand scale without having to pay for the materials.

MATUSZESKI: Right, yeah. And Mary, of course, with the sets that she does for the Arts Workshop takes her art thing even bigger, on a grander scale. It’s very much a sense that it’s an opportunity to help to create an event that a lot of people are going to like and lot of those people are your friends.

PROCTER: And you make new friends, too. The other thing is that I think we have a really strong instinct for what will be fun. And what will be fun includes making sure that other volunteers are doing things that are fun for them, that there’s something quirky about the design of it that sort of makes people laugh or—

OVERBECK: Like thirty angel food cakes? [laughs]

PROCTER: [laughs] Right, right. And one of the things that both Bill and I are obnoxious about in our regular jobs, and this is particularly peculiar at the State Department where I worked until September, is that we really rather deeply believe that unless work is fun there’s something probably a little wrong with it. And so it’s the volunteer work we’ve done that has given us an insight of how you make things fun. And I actually carried over quite a bit of that into my work because if you assign people things to do that they love doing they tend to have fun doing it and do it well. And whereas many government bureaucracies think that work is to earn money and is duty and you do it for pay and you do it because you’re afraid of the boss and that’s it.

MATUSZESKI: But you know it works back the other way, too. All these institutions go through their own crises at different times: Crises of leadership, crises of direction, crises of stagnation. And I think that it’s good to be able to draw upon your work experience in helping get through those kinds of crises. What tends to happen is that people get very ingrown and get very small opinions that are very narrow and held-to in those kinds of crises. I find that from your work experience, you bring a sense that you have to back away and look at the bigger picture, and help everybody else back away and look at the bigger picture. And I think that for that reason it’s good to have a full-time job where you are learning things and the volunteer work, and it plays back and forth. The two play on each other and make you better at both.

OVERBECK: If you had one thing that you had to say defines Capitol Hill for you what would it be?

PROCTER: Just one?

MATUSZESKI: Well for me what defines Capitol Hill is a village in a city. It feels relatively self-contained and small town. The self-contained nature of it is a little bit disconcerting because if you look at the demographics it’s getting richer as the areas around are getting poorer. And so, it is in danger of becoming something of a precious pearl surrounded by a lot of trouble. But I think basically that element of the village in the city is what makes it a special place and that’s what we have to really work on preserving.

PROCTER: And I agree with that. I love that quality of it. And I would add that I love it physically. I love the crooked brick sidewalks and I, forgive me Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the different colors of the houses.

MATUSZESKI and OVERBECK: [laugh]

MATUSZESKI: Right.

PROCTER: And the small front yards with all the different flowers and gardens, all different kinds during the course of the year. I love walking around Capitol Hill. And I can walk anywhere on Capitol Hill and love it.

MATUSZESKI: And in that sense it’s visually more interesting than Georgetown, I find. The other nice thing about Capitol Hill is that we’ve had the great advantage of having businesses make at least a reasonable portion of their profits during the noon hour, unlike a place like Georgetown. So that we can have first-class restaurants that don’t have to rely entirely on evening business. And I think that at the same time we aren’t overwhelmed in the evenings by outsiders coming in, as occurs in a place like Georgetown. So for whatever reason we’re fortunate in having the right kind of balance of commercial activity along with the residential.

PROCTER: I’m sure the businesses would love a little more eating business.

MATUSZESKI: Well, I think so.

PROCTER: But some of the neighborhood restaurants are really filling up in the evening, so.

OVERBECK: What do you think motivated you—and I know what you said specifically you wanted to avoid making cookies, but is there a volunteer streak that would develop in you as a child, either one of you? [unintelligible]

MATUSZESKI: That’s an interesting question. I knew that my mother was a major force in the PTA in our elementary school in the city. When we moved to the suburbs all that stopped. Probably had to do with the fact that she had a bunch of kids to raise. But I always felt that my mother could have done a great deal more and there was certainly enough evidence in the early years that she had done a great deal of work. So I think to some extent what I was reacting to was the fact that as she grew older she pulled away from volunteer activities. And I saw that as something that was narrowing her life.

OVERBECK: And you missed it when she was no longer volunteering.

MATUSZESKI: Yeah.

OVERBECK: What did you miss, was it [unintelligible]?

MATUSZESKI: Well I think part of it is a sense of pride.

OVERBECK: That she cared enough to be involved.

MATUSZESKI: I think that’s part of it. I’d be interested—and I think probably our children have a similar sense of pride, I hope they do.

PROCTER: And they’re actually saying that they’re going to come [ed: to the Awards Dinner], you know as many as possible, which I think is pretty neat.

OVERBECK: Oh, that’s wonderful.

PROCTER: I think that’s pretty neat. Because it’s the middle of the week and they’re still fighting—

MATUSZESKI: Exams.

PROCTER: The boys are in the middle of them, so. they will just be at the start of it.

MATUSZESKI: You haven’t answered that question.

PROCTER: Both my parents were active in different ways volunteering. In some ways what we do puts them together. I hadn’t even thought about it until you asked the question. My father was a great fun maker in his school and college classes. He was in the middle of every reunion. He had great ideas for how to have fun. And he was also a very loyal person, he was always a sort of class agent and fund-raiser. And he was always the kind of bread and butter, soldier kind of person. Tended not to be the kind of glamorous leader, but absolutely reliable. And he loved all kinds of people. So he did it in part because he got such a kick out of the people that he met. And my mother volunteered for years at a nursing home teaching arts and crafts to disabled people and old ladies. And had wonderfully funny, interesting art projects and loved coming up with, you know, imaginative ways of getting them to do something spectacular. And whether or not they had great talent. She also volunteered teaching art at a deaf school and then eventually ended up a paid teacher, but her—a lot of her professional life as an artist began as a volunteer. So I think in a way we combined—I mean I’ve certainly combined that in a lot of what we do.

OVERBECK: Where do you see yourselves going in your volunteerism? Is there something left undone?

MATUSZESKI: Well, we’ve decided to head-up the Arts Workshop twenty-fifth anniversary ball. We don’t know what quite all that is.

PROCTER: [laughs] I’m a little nervous about it.

MATUSZESKI: And this might be our ultimate—this might be our ultimate extravaganza.

OVERBECK: This is your time to advertise it. [laughs]

PROCTER: Right.

MATUSZESKI: This may be our ultimate extravaganza because we’re going to try to bring together twenty-five years of performance and classes and chorale and art and all of that into one grand event. So we were thinking that if we could get the Botanic Garden, we could hang huge sets and stuff like that.

OVERBECK: And it would be next year?

MATUSZESKI and PROCTER: This fall.

OVERBECK: This fall.

MATUSZESKI: This fall.

OVERBECK: That’s awfully soon.

PROCTER: No, it is, but that’s classic CHAW.

[all laugh]

PROCTER: Got to pull a rabbit, a large rabbit, out of a hat.

MATUSZESKI: That’s all right.

OVERBECK: The champion organizers of the Hill and so that should not be—should not be bad.

PROCTER: So Bill and I go to the Botanic Garden and he pictures the huge sets and I try to figure out if there’s anybody with a forty foot ladder. [laughs]

OVERBECK: [laughs]

PROCTER: And who can I get who—

MATUSZESKI: I’m visioning and she’s planning.

PROCTER:—and who can I get who doesn’t have vertigo to go up the ladder.

OVERBECK: [laughs]

MATUSZESKI: Well unfortunately we just heard that we lost the Botanic Garden last week because they’re going to be doing some repairs in September when we had it scheduled.

PROCTER: So if we were to end up at St. Peter’s we wouldn’t have to have a forty foot ladder.

MATUSZESKI: I think we’re dealing, as I say, with a wide range of very important, but relatively fragile institutions, on the Hill here. And it’s hard to predict where help is going to be needed, but I certainly think that we’ll continue with the kinds of things we’ve been doing.

PROCTER: Given that I’ve started working at Friendship House I have fantasies which would be nice to turn into something other than fantasies someday of involving kids from the neighborhood, maybe from the more of the low income parts of the neighborhood in art or arts-related things, and I don’t exactly know how—

OVERBECK: [unintelligible] We made some art [unintelligible].

PROCTER: Where is this?

OVERBECK: At Friendship House. The glass ceiling, the north glass ceiling? Over in the east wing?

PROCTER: Oh, ok, I didn’t realize that actually. Well there isn’t room in the east wing obviously, but I hadn’t realized that it had been an art studio.

OVERBECK: Absolutely.

PROCTER: But things like mural projects which CHAW is now I guess still the sponsor of the hopscotch project?

MATUSZESKI: Yes, right.

PROCTER: And I’m not involved in that, but I think that’s—

I think that’s a wonderful kind of project to have as part of a community. It would be fun someday to combine what I learned about set design with what I’ve learned about volunteering, and venture into mural painting. I also would like to help develop a group of people that really like technical theater. We have a small group, but I’d really like to have a larger group with young people that are coming along. We’ve had them in the past that really want to learn sets and lights and all the things that make up technical theater.

MATUSZESKI: Something that would be really nice would be to be able to make much better use of the spaces on Capitol Hill. We have a number of schools that are underutilized. We have—

OVERBECK: I know you said you didn’t get the Botanical Garden, I thought of Buchanan and that wonderful kind of Dutch revival thing sitting down there by the Safeway and I wonder if there’s anything in there that large enough for a ball.

MATUSZESKI: Oh, well.

OVERBECK: [unintelligible]

MATUSZESKI and PROCTER: Right.

OVERBECK: And a wonderful yard.

MATUSZESKI and PROCTER: Oh really?

OVERBECK: It has open space, in other words.

MATUSZESKI: Yeah, there just are wonderful spaces on Capitol Hill and unfortunately they’re all tied up in this humungous mess that the school board has made of things.

PROCTER: We don’t want that quoted in print.

OVERBECK: No , no, no. You will not get that quoted in print.

MATUSZESKI: I’m not worried about that.

OVERBECK: I would not still be doing this, believe me, if I had put some of the things in that people have said [unintelligible]. I would have been drummed off of Capitol Hill by a number of people.

MATUSZESKI: But—

OVERBECK: People forget.

PROCTER: Yeah.

MATUSZESKI: For example, right across the street the Giddings School has an absolutely fabulous crew of guys that work in there, keeping the place spit and polish, floors are terrific, and very nice spaces in there, but there’s really just no way that folks have been able to work through the issue of access and use. So I think that that’s one thing that we really need to work on more on Capitol Hill, make better use of these spaces.

PROCTER: Yeah, because the school buildings are wealth on Capitol Hill.

[ed: confusing section about other school buildings deleted]

OVERBECK: Anything in particular, any methods you’d like to give to Capitol Hill, to the CHAMPS people? And remember these will [unintelligible] in the library for posterity.

MATUSZESKI: We’ve said a lot.

PROCTER: I guess I would say that, so that Capitol Hill can continue to be known as a place where people have fun, so that the things that are sponsored have an element of fun to them. That’s one great thing. Another thing is that I would love to see as much as possible mixing of generations and mixing of income levels and backgrounds to the extent that there can be more of events, like Friendship House Market Day actually which is coming up, which draws on people of all kinds of backgrounds.

MATUSZESKI: Mary and I have often talked about how great it would be to set up a retirement home on Capitol Hill. So that all of us would have a nice place to go when we get too small for these big houses. We should have a couple of nice places where we can go and have rock-and-roll dances every night and play all the games we like to play—

PROCTER: And have—

MATUSZESKI:—charades.

OVERBECK: I would think one of those schools would be a lovely environment for that. I really do.

PROCTER: And, have a place where you could do theater and—

OVERBECK: Have one school where you live and where it’s all fixed up with the big spaces and big wide halls, would be perfect. And elevators fitted in, and then another school is where you do your activities.

PROCTER: Right

MATUSZESKI: Right, and you could live in a third one. So I think that’s really what I would see as ultimately what would be great to have on Capitol Hill. It would be a way to hold onto the old generation and have comfortable places to be and lots of interesting things to do for fun.

OVERBECK: Were either of you living Capitol Hill when you got married?

MATUSZESKI: Mary was.

PROCTER: I was.

MATUSZESKI: Actually, we both were. We lived in sin for a total of six months.

OVERBECK: We won’t go into that one either.

MATUSZESKI: I remember the day I called my mother up and said, “Mary and I have been thinking about setting a wedding date.” And she said, “How about tomorrow?”

[all laugh]

OVERBECK: How about yesterday? [laughs] Ok, what brought you to the Hill? Since you were here first, what brought you to the Hill?

PROCTER: I had a very good friend from graduate school, my graduate school roommate lived here with her family and I came down and visited her and them and then she graduated a year ahead of me, and moved here. So I got an apartment in the same building. And, so Bill used to come and visit me a lot.

MATUSZESKI: I actually lived in Southwest, which you know, I never really liked and never really had the same kind of feel to it. And so when we started dating I really began to see what wonderful institutions there were and places to go.

OVERBECK: Now you know why you came up here, you liked the Hill. [laughs]

MATUSZESKI: That’s right. Mary brought me to the Hill. We had all kinds of fun and when Mary’s Blue Room was being torn down we hung a sheet outside Mary’s apartment building right across from the entrance to the Metropolitan Baptist Church on Sunday morning, we said, “Jesus saves, Metropolitan Baptist Church destroys.”

[all laugh]

OVERBECK: I love it. That’s wonderful. Anything else you can think of that you would like to have said about you, for you?

MATUSZESKI: Well we didn’t talk at all about our book. And the fact that we really are drawn to places that have interesting histories, interesting architectures that are evocative of those histories. And so that’s one of the reasons we are very comfortable on Capitol Hill, but I think we could be just as comfortable in Trenton or Bridgeport. And I would hope most people on Capitol Hill would be too.

PROCTER: I would say that one of the things I really like about winter Revelry is the idea of people walking around a neighborhood. Because to me the physical space of a row house neighborhood is delightful and I think that’s probably getting people to actually get on their feet and walk around is part of what probably, unconsciously I’ve wanted to do.

MATUSZESKI: Well, and you can do more and more with your new job.

PROCTER: Yeah, yeah.

MATUSZESKI: I currently commute to Annapolis everyday. So I also see that whole scene in Annapolis and it’s a whole lot different from Capitol Hill. Annapolis has a lot of the same kinds of elements at work and a whole lot of the same struggles as well.

OVERBECK: Now you work for the—

MATUSZESKI: Environmental Protection Agency.

OVERBECK: In what capacity?

MATUSZESKI: I’m the director of the Chesapeake Bay Program.

OVERBECK: And you are a development office at Friendship House?

PROCTER: No, I’m director of planning and evaluation.

OVERBECK: Planning and evaluation.

PROCTER: So I do, I did the, I do the planning and policy work for new programs, particularly charter schools.

OVERBECK: Ok.

PROCTER:—and how they fit into the old programs.

OVERBECK: I promised you all this would not go long.

PROCTER: Do we get a peek at it before it goes?

MATUSZESKI: No.

PROCTER: But we know that we can trust Ruth Ann not to embarrass us in public.

MATUSZESKI: Well then remember, the rule is that you’re not supposed to know why you’re getting this prize, so if we had a peek at it, it might give us an unfair advantage.

OVERBECK: Let’s put it this way, I think this is either—about the fourth year I’ve done this. And they wouldn’t invite me back if I had [unintelligible] .

PROCTER: That’s true.

OVERBECK: [unintelligible] we went off the record, literally, about several issues that I want to know about.

 
    END OF INTERVIEW  
   
This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck
Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.