My music life began in Tennessee with the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights and Methodist hymnals on Sundays. In the two-story farm house where I was born, October 28, 1929, there was an old foot-pedal pump organ in our main room, kept warm by a wood stove, and an out-of-tune piano played only in summer because it was in an unheated room. My sister, Leita, and I played hymns. “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds” was easiest to play as it was in the key of C, with no sharps or flats. Continue reading



In 1953, newly married, and with my husband flying combat in Korea, I decided to travel to Japan. I was twenty three years old, and it made perfect sense at the time. The Department of Defense frowns on having spouses near a war zone, so it was up to me to get myself there without any help from the U.S. Air Force. I had never flown, and didn’t know how to arrange for a flight, so I did something twice as difficult. I booked passage on a cargo/passenger ship from San Pedro, California to Yokohama, Japan. Continue reading


I grew up watching my hard-working mother, Hattie Martin, handle life on our rocky subsistence farm in the hills of Tennessee. With her feet working the treadle of the old foot-powered Singer sewing machine, Mama made all her own clothes, plus clothes for her four daughters, Dot, Imogene, Leita and me. Fabrics were ordered from a Sears Roebuck catalog. Simplicity or Butterick dress patterns were used. “Store-bought” clothes were for men, who wore overalls sold at Parker Brothers General Store for around four dollars per pair, and each man owned one dark suit for church. That was the custom of the times and the way things were done in our respectable farming community. Continue reading