Personal narrative of Martha Blinn
From: Martha Blinn (mb)
Medium Audio tape
Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999
Place: Home of Martha Blinn, 3211 E. 100 N.
Collected by: Jon Blinn (jb)
jb: I am Jon Blinn, this is the 28th of April, 1999, this is being recorded at 3211 E. 100 N. and I am speaking with Martha Blinn, please state your name Martha.
mb: Martha Blinn
jb: Do I have your permission to interview you?
jb: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to Marion High School?
jb: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to the Marion Public Library?
00:40 jb: All right, when were you born, and where?
mb: In Marion, uh, July 19, 1918.
jb: How, how large was your family?
mb: Uh, 6 children: 2 boys, I am the eldest daughter, Mary Catherine was second, then two boys, Tom Alvin, and Charles Lawrence.
jb: What was your home like, when you were young?
mb: Spotlessly clean, and, uh, my mother was a good cook, baked her own bread, and made excellent pies.
02:00 jb: Where did you go to school?
mb: Gas City High School. I graduated from there.
jb: What was that like?
mb: It was a, (cough), a small school, comparative to the restricted schools. I loved baseball, and I went to all the high school basketball ball games, cheering as loud as the cheerleaders did (laugh).
jb: Did you excel in anything?
mb: I excelled in every subject, even Latin one and two, and not so good in typing but, I liked typing, so I done my very best.
03:20 jb: What did you do during the summer?
mb: Helping my mother with the hard work, and afterwards, wash dishes, and then when I was 18, I went to work at the Owens Illinois Glass Factory in Gas City.
jb: What was that like, working there?
mb: I was a, I packed parcels as they came down the conveyor I inspected a part, and quickly put them in cartons divided by cardboard.
jb: What were your parents like?
mb: Loving, kinded, and my mother, where she worked, my father was a soloist and a high tenor.
jb: What did your father do for work?
mb: He worked nights at the Owens Illinois Glass Factory.
jb: What did your mother do?
mb: A housewife, caring for us crazy kids (laugh).
05:20 jb: What can you tell me of your geo, genealogy?
mb: (clears throat) On my mother’s side, she was the eldest daughter Mary Leona Small.
05:45 jb: What did you do for fun, when you were younger?
mb: Skate, and walking with my girlfriend to towards the river, just talking and teasing one another.
jb: Did you own any cars, when you were younger, your parents?
mb: My father did not own a car, until he bought a used one, a Ford.
jb: How did your father get the money to buy this car?
mb: Worked nights at the Owens Illinois.
jb: What was your church like?
mb: Consecrated to our Lord, Jesus Christ, Reverend Byrt, B Y R T, was a kind dedicated churchman.
07:27 jb: When and where did you meet your husband, Sam?
mb: I was a 4-H leader in Gas City. I had a club of girls including your mother, oh Mary Catherine, I didn’t mean your mother, and, uh, we always won honors in clothing, canning, food preparation, and baking cakes.
jb: Where, where did Sam come into this?
mb: I met him at an other youth group, he was also a 4-H leader for boys.
jb: What was he like back then?
mb: Pa…, fun, loving, teasing me constantly.
jb: When did you get married, and what led up to that?
mb: On my birthday, July 19, 1940.
jb: What, what led to you getting married?
mb: He (pause) gave me my diamond and it led to marriage.
mb: At the Gas City Methodist Church.
jb: What was the wedding like?
mb: He had so short time in between seasons, and he was anxious to go on a honeymoon, and brought me home. He would help the cattle; he milked three times a day.
jb: Where was your honeymoon?
mb: Niagara Falls.
jb: Where did you live after you two got married?
mb: Here, and is his home place.
10:50 jb: Tell me about this house. How did he get it first?
mb: It was originally a log cabin, two log cabins to put together, and then he started remodeling it for his mother. Her name was Martha Elisabeth Blinn.
11:40 jb: What did Sam do?
jb: what did you do?
mb: Housework, house, being a housewife, and raising my family of 8 children.
jb: What were your kids like?
mb: Loving, kind, not fighting one another. One time, uh, David, and, uh, (pause), I can’t, can’t think, David and Janny (laugh) got into a an argument, and Sam whooped them a good licking; they straightened up in a hurry.
jb: Did they go to church?
mb: Yes, at Locust Chapel.
13:18 jb: What was your first car?
mb: A Pontiac.
jb: What was that like?
mb: It was black, four door.
jb: Did you ever go into the town of Marion?
mb: Yes, every week for groceries, and necessary shopping?
jb: What was it like when you were shopping, was it easy to get everything?
14:00 jb: What did you do during the weekends?
mb: Uh, go to church, dress the little ones in dresses and trousers, always at the church.
jb: What were the summers like?
mb: Busy, hot, hot, hot, (laugh) especially haymaking time.
jb: Did you ever do anything special during the summer?
mb: I had my 4-H club, we met Monday evening, at every club members’ homes.
15:12 jb: Did you vote?
jb: Did Sam?
jb: Where did you vote?
mb: Uh, at the fire station on the corner of Bethlehem and Salem.
jb: Were you in any organizations?
mb: No, only 4-H and I was an honor member at the Washington Township Home Demonstration Club.
jb: Was Sam in any organizations?
mb: John Birch Society.
jb: What happened there?
mb: It was a close meeting; 12 members and they met in the basement of Dr. Fall.
16:47 jb: What was the war like for you and your family?
mb: That was a shocker. We had, uh, a radio, a Magnavox radio put in our farm.
jb: What did Sam do during the war?
mb: Just work as hard as, could, he can.
jb: Were there any troubles with food?
jb: What was your radio like?
mb: It was a large radio, tall, metal, with good, it was electrical powered, (pause), I can't think of the word.
jb: What were the people around you doing during the war?
mb: Farmers, doing their best to increase food production.
18:53 jb: What was the depression like?
mb: Horrible, we were so poor.
jb: What was your home like?
jb: During the depression.
mb: I went to church at the Gas City Methodist Church. I had my class of girls and not at the age you call church schooler age and it was a small Sunday-school room upstairs and I taught them songs, uh, I told them about stories. They wouldn't let me quit, when I told them I was engaged, they were sorry to see me leave.
jb: What did you do for food?
mb: In Gas City, my mother baked her own bread. If we ran out of it, mom called the baking, uh, company. They sold second day old bread.
21:35 jb: Did your father do anything else?
jb: How about your grandfather?
mb: He passed away.
jb: Did you keep any hobbies besides the 4H club?
mb: Just, no.
22:05 jb: Did you live anywhere else besides Gas City and Marion?
mb: No, just. When I was a child, daddy moved to Cleveland. He found a good job there, and he, uh, he, uh, owned a home, it was a cottage.
jb: How did you get to Cleveland?
mb: My father traded in the old Chevrolet, no, Ford car for a Davidson Motorcycle with a sidecar.
jb: What brought you back to Marion?
mb: We were all homesick, and work was poor in Cleveland.
jb: What happened in Cleveland that made the work poor?
jb: What happened in Cleveland that made the work poor?
mb: I don’t know, I was too small.
jb: Did anything special happen when you lived here, anything that stuck out?
jb: Were there any tragedies, anything when you were living here?
mb: My father in law's brother was dead, and he died of old age?
24:33 jb: Did you have any trouble during hot and dry summers?
mb: The cattle ran out of pasture, and so we moved the cattle down the lane to Bradford Pike going East to the Locust Chapel, turning the corner and crossing State Road 18. Before we started, he called the Sheriff Department and took the sheriff and his deputy on either side of the state road, and they stopped traffic to let the cattle pass, and then we come to a rented farm, oh, a half-mile down the the road, and he didn't have cattle or horses, so he rented the pasture.
26:42 jb: What was your home life like, around then.
mb: Here, (pause), my babies, I taught them bible stories, I sang to them to keep them happy, so I had a very contented life.
jb: Did your children go to school?
mb: Yes, they would bring home, always, A+ report cards.
jb: Where did they go to school?
mb: Washington Township.
jb: Is there anything else you would like to add?
mb: I think that covers it, I cannot think of, uh, of anything else.