Martha Edwards was born on June 18th, 1935 in Marshall County. For reasons that were never disclosed to her, she lived with her grandparents on their farm until the age of seven, when her mother and step-father returned to claim her and begin a new life as a family. Martha only met her real father once, and that was at the age of 42. The secrecy was fairly standard for the times, but I could tell that even at the age of 80, her “little girl heart” would have loved to have had some answers.
She was 18 when she married and 20 when her daughter Audrey was born, which also happened to be the same day as Martha’s birthday. She and Audrey are very close, and Audrey was present with us for the interview. Her son, Phillip was born in 1958, and James was born in 1960. James only lived for an hour, and they both remember his funeral, with its tiny blue-lined casket. While Martha never got to hold James after she gave birth, the funeral home brought him back to the hospital in the casket so she could say goodbye, and she told me, “I remember reaching down and touching his little hand.” Martha had no more children after James died.
They moved to Florida, and then one day, Audrey told me, “Daddy went out ‘to get coffee,’ and never came back.” Martha got a divorce in an era when it just wasn’t done, and came back to Alabama to raise her kids by waiting tables and cooking. The kids turned out well, and Martha has 4 grandkids and 5 great grandkids. This mother and daughter duo are women of faith, and by God’s grace, they have built blessed lives.
We then moved on to the topic of favorites-
Food? Pizza. Martha loves Village Pizza’s version of the “meat lover’s,” or “the Supreme.” “I could eat their pizza every day,” she said.
Movie? Gone With The Wind
Book? The Bible, and her favorite verse is Jn 3:16. We talked for a bit about the love of God in our lives.
Song? Amazing Grace
President? Ronald Reagan, and Martha is an ardent Alabama football fan.
Biggest change? Coming to Athens Rehab and Senior Care, and her whole family has seen a positive change in her in comparison to many years of her living alone. “She has bloomed, and is bright and happy here,” says Audrey.
She came to Athens Rehab in June of 2014, after a bad fall caused her to break her knee, and she needed care that her family could not provide. She loves it there, and Bingo is her favorite activity. I was at the facility on St. Patrick’s Day for the interview. The place was more than festive, with all the staff wearing green, the residents wearing green hats, and decorations everywhere. “We’re always having a party,” Martha said with a beautiful smile.
She especially loves Cindy, who works during the day and takes care of her, and Martha wishes she could go into the kitchen to help cook. It was such a big part of her life, and not so easy to let go of.
She told me that her favorite poem is “Footprints,” the one about Jesus carrying us when it is tough, and leaving only one set of prints in the sand. We shared about how that had been in the case in all our lives, and rejoiced that we know Him.
Advice to young people? “Don’t start drinkin’ and smokin’, go to church, and get your life right with Him.” Well said, Miss Martha, and may there be ears to listen!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner