Charlotte Martin: Community, family leader

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Originally published June 16, 2004.

My friend, Kristi Ritchie, who works with me at the paper on my Cameos, is so proud of her grandmother.

Kristi is right, her grandmother is involved in so many things that it would be impossible to pinpoint one area of service. I first knew her grandmother, Charlotte Martin, the year that I worked at the School Board Office.

Charlotte writes that she attended the first four grades in Minden at the old 1910 building that was razed to make way for the present Minden High School. Later she attended Eastside (Richardson) in the fifth and sixth grades, then back to the old building for the seventh and eighth grades. Her last three years were in the present Minden High School Building.

Her earliest memories are of her grandparents, Ardis and Glatis Russell who moved to Minden in the 20s with the L & A Railroad. As a little girl she remembers living with her parents and her sister in a big old home on the Penal Farm road. Her great grandmother, Emma Clementine Dickson, also lived there and part of the time her uncle, his wife and their three children also lived there. Her memories of those years are so special. There was never a disagreement among those who lived there,and Charlotte thinks that is why she loves to have a crowd of relatives around her today. Each Sunday Charlotte prepares lunch for her sons, their wives, children and often grandchildren.

Charlotte married Arthur D. Martin of the Evergreen Community during the Thanksgiving holidays in 1956, and finished high school the following May 1957. as a married woman.

The first years of her married life she worked in a small grocery store in the Evergreen community. These were the years when the babies came.

Her oldest is a son, Art. He and his wife, Kim, both work at Duke Energy. Her next was another son, David, who is a Math teacher at Minden High School, and his wife, Sonya, is a nurse. The youngest son, Carlos, and his wife Kristi are both CPAs with Jamieson, Wise and Martin. Art and Kim are the parents of Kristi Ritchie who is her grandmother’s No. l fan.

After the youngest son started to school, Charlotte attended the Minden Trade School. Her first job was with Webster Community Action and Head Start, where she worked for several years. In 1970 Mr. Carlos Morgan hired her to work in the Material Center at the Webster Parish School Board office. She worked there for thirty years with Melba Cutrer, who is a special friend. It was Charlotte’s job to order the text books and to process the library books for the parish schools. Mr. W. W. Williams was the Superintendent when she went to work at the School Board office and during the next thirty years she worked under three superintendents and under three different Library Supervisors. She retired in 2000 and she is still so busy she cannot see how she worked at the School Board office and did all the other things she is doing.

Charlotte is a member of the Church of Christ and is involved in all the church activities; she is Treasurer of the Evergreen Homemakers Club.

In connection with this job she works at the Arbor once a month. She also teaches cake decorating at Webster Jr. High Home Economics Classes
at Christmas and Easter. She is 2004 Reporter for the Webster Parish Homemaker Council and will be the President in 2005 She is the Past President of the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum.

She is Area Director of FCE (Family, Communiuty, Educators) which is the State Homemakers Organization. She is also on the Board of Directors for Cultural Crossroads. She serves as Historian for the UDC and will be president in 2005.

She enjoys making quilts. Last year she made a quilt for the St. Jude Auction. She also made quilts for her grandsons. She bakes cakes for all kinds of occasions. (She is famous for her “bikini” cake.)

Charlotte is busy helping with the grandchildren, as well as helping her own mother since her health is not too good. She still enjoys going to classes and learning new things.

There are so many parish organizations that Charlotte is an active member in, serving in various capacities. She said her husband fusses at her because she never sits down and is still. She said she said she would rather wear out than rust out. There is no danger of Charlotte rusing out, she is too busy filling the role of grandmother, mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.

Charlotte is “Memaw” to her grandchildren, specially Kristi Ritchie. Kristi believes that her grandmother is the most selfless person that she knows. When Charlotte and Artthur won the St. Jude Lincoln Navigator, Charlotte looked inside the first thing and said “I can fit all the grandkids in here.” Kristi said that is Charlotte’s No. l. priority, taking care of all her children and grandchildren.

Kristi remembers being a kid in Richardson School. She said she was a loved classmate because Charlotte would bring cupcakes to the class, and would take the posters for the class and laminate them at the School Board Office. Often Charlotte would pick up Kristi when school was over and take her back to the School Board office to stay until Charlotte was off. She warned Kristi not to get into mischief because Mr. Lott would be coming and he could be a mean man. When Kristi finally did meet Mr. Lott she found him to be very nice, and then she figured out that
Charlotte had used that description to get Kristi to behave.

Charlotte made colored pancakes for the grandchildren. While Charlotte iced cakes Kristi would eat the icing. At first she thought the different colors would taste different, but she finally learned that it was all the same icing just tinted different colors.

She remembers eating “gallons'”of icing , and just the memory of all that icing just makes Kristi go into “sugar shock” today. She thinks that Charlotte was the most wonderful grandmother, who catered to the wants of the grandchildren. And then Kristi said “isn’t’ that what grandmas are for?”

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