This week on Senior Voices, Mary Jane Martin talks about her early life in rural Alabama, and has some good advice to pass on to her grandkids. She shared her story with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Cynthia Wallace-King.
Mary Jane Martin: I was born November the 22nd, 1942 in a small town called Wedowee, Alabama. My parents was Rosa Satterwhite and S.B. Satterwhite. And we lived on 168 acres of land that we cultivated and worked. We planted cotton, corn, peppers, peas, peanuts, sugar cane, and anything that could be planted we planted it, trust me, we had cows, which I couldn’t milk, my two brothers did, we had horses and mules, which we used the mules to plow the fields, so I am a farm girl (laughs).
I came to Dayton in 1972, and as I was up here I met a young man which I’m still with, and so we got married. He didn’t know that my kids was mine when we was courtin’, he thought they was my sisters and brothers.
“Oh I though they was your sisters and brothers," he said. "It’s too late now to worry about kids."
We had been dating I believe almost three years, I think, and he said it’s too late to worry about kids, and I said well I was just letting you know ‘cause obviously you didn’t know, he thought they was my mom and dad’s kids [laughter], so I’ve had a pretty funny life, I guess.
There’s one thing that will keep you from learning; you’ll miss a lot of things if you don’t learn to listen. You have to listen, ‘cause if you’re running your mouth and not listening when people are talking to you, there’s gonna be a lot of stuff you’re gonna miss that you should’ve heard, so I would just like for them to listen and only speak if necessary. Be good listeners. And to just work hard and remember that God loves them and I love them and want them to have the best and be the best that they can be.
This interview was edited by Community Voices producer Zeb Reichert. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.