My name is Marcell and I’m 87 years old.

Marchell B on work and lifeI lived my whole life in Big Sandy, TN with the exception of one year that I lived in Cleveland, OH with my sister.  

I was 21 years old then. It was the 1950’s. Right away I was at work in three different jobs! 

I worked at a drugstore putting away stock and I worked at another job making boxes. I remember I had to push a lever to clamp the boxes together and it was hard work. When I would come home, I would ride a trolley, and then I had to climb a very tall hill to get to my sister’s house.

When it rained there was a lot of mud on that hill, and I just couldn’t stand that mud! So I moved in with my other sister. My mother got homesick for me, and I got homesick for her, so I ended up going back home to Big Sandy.

What happened when you returned to Big Sandy?

Once I came home, there was a boy I used to date who went to our church. His name was Farrell. We got married and had 4 boys. We worked on a farm and had cows, chickens, pigs, and a huge vegetable garden. Every once in a while, a hog would get out and get in the garden and mess it up. I’m no stranger to hard work, I was hoeing cotton and carrying a cotton sack as far back as when I was six years old. My boys also worked on the farm, and their favorite meal was hamburgers and french fries. I made the burgers from our own cows, and the french fries from our own garden and our boys loved it!

At night, once the kids were tucked into bed and asleep, I would piece quilts or crochet.

What was the happiest time of your life?

The happiest time in my life was when my children were babies and I could just spend time holding them.  I was married to Farrell for 20 years, but once the boys grew up, our marriage ended. I went to live with my sister and went to work in a shoe factory in Camden, TN to support myself.

I met and married a man named Tom. He was from MI and owned a grocery store. We ran it together for 10 years, but then he passed away.

That’s when I met and married my husband Joe. I loved Joe with all my heart, more than anyone on earth. We were married for a long time, and he passed away last year. I miss him so much. One of my sons also passed away when he was 44, of a heart attack. It was the most hurtful thing in my life, the thing that brought me the worst pain and loss.

Is there a specific experience that you’d like to share with us?

I’ve lived here for 2 or 3 years now in the nursing home here in Camden. Everyone here is nice and friendly, and help you any way they can! I have four good girlfriends and we eat our meals together every day. They are all nice and friendly to me, and we have a good time together. My son Gary comes and visits me, why just this morning he helped me find my glasses!

My best life advice is “Go to church, love the Lord, and be happy”… I worked hard all my life, and I’ve suffered a loss, but I still find happiness every day here with my friends.

Leave a comment