Life’s obstacles haven’t stopped senior

Published 4:26 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

You may have to coax him into it, but getting one of Horace Martin’s cheerful smiles is worth it.

Martin, born during the depths of the Great Depression, on November 25, 1933, didn’t always have something to smile about.

The Butler County native was born with a hearing impairment.

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“I’ve had to wear hearing aids since I was a little boy,” he explains. Developmental delays meant Martin didn’t start walking until he was four years old.

“I didn’t get to start school until 1941, but I made it all the way through,” he says with pride.

With three older sisters, Martin admits he was “kind of spoiled” as a child.

His dad worked for W.T. Smith in Chapman for a while and later moved to a job near Beatrice.

“We came back to Greenville and Daddy ran the filling station on top of the hill (on Commerce St.).”

Martin remembers as an eight-year-old boy hearing the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in December 1941.

“Yep, that was a big thing,” he recalls.

Martin, who had “a bunch of cousins” who served during the World War II, also remembers the German prisoner-of-war camp that stood just a short distance outside of Greenville.

These days, Martin, who attends Walnut Street Church of Christ, enjoys a good game of dominoes with his friends at the Greenville Senior Nutrition Center. Fellow senior Gloria Jones says she loves seeing “Horace’s beautiful smile.”

“When you can get him to smile, it’s so nice. He needs to share it with more people,” she says with a firm nod.

Martin has been sharing that (sometimes too-infrequent) smile with folks at the center for many years now.

“I like to come here and see people. I enjoy the food. Means I don’t have to cook. And I like playing dominoes.” He nods his head toward the game pieces spread out on the table in front of him.

“It’s so much better than sitting at home, doing nothing.” He taps his head with his finger. “I think it’s good for my brain!”