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WYSO, the Dayton Metro Library and local social service agency, Rebuilding Together Dayton, have come together for a very special project. We’ve gathered the memories and wise words of Dayton’s elders for Senior Voices, a new series that is airing throughout 2018.Along with Dayton Metro Library staff, we trained nearly three dozen area residents to use digital recording equipment to interview local elders. Interviews took place at branch libraries, at selected Lobby Stop locations (Lobby Stop is a sort of book mobile for seniors), community centers, and in the homes of seniors who participated in the Rebuilding Together Dayton Fixit Kit program.We held three trainings at the DML Northwest branch this summer, and shortly after the new main branch opened in August, the volunteers began gathering stories. The full interviews will be accessible for generations to come at the Dayton Metro Library. At WYSO, Community Voices producers have been editing the interviews for broadcast. We present them to you in honor of the life experiences and wisdom of Dayton elders.This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.Jocelyn Robinson coordinated this series for WYSO. Janine Kinnison is the Project Liaison for Dayton Metro Library.Editors include: Dave Barber, William Brown, Tess Cortes, Patti Gehred, Javis Heberling, Kateri Kosta, Zebedee Reichert, Jason Reynolds, David Seitz, Alan Staiger, Chris Welter. Interviewers include: Dana Kragick, Tess Cortes, Anna Omulo, Doug Bowers, Hadley Drodge, M. Alice Callier, Barbra Gerla, Jason Coatney Schuler, Linda Pitzer, Carol Jackson, Audrey Ingram, Susan Brenner, Nancy Messer, Christian Davell, Ken Standifer, Liz Anderson, Cynthia Wallace-King, Karen Maner, David Murphy Sr., Cynthia Rush, Alan Stagier, Debra Root, Pamela Waltrip, Jennifer Hicks, Brandon Ulman, Karah Power

Senior Voices: Mary Jane Martin

Mary Jane Martin
Senior Voices

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.

Transcript: 

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.