Marge Martin: 100 years

Oct. 29, 2012

Ormond Beach’s first librarian, Marge Martin, turned 100 years old Oct. 28.


From a windowside easy chair in her Halifax Drive home, Marge Martin tries to remember what the world was like 100 years ago.

“I don’t feel 100 years,” she shrugs, happily. “I feel about ... well, I find myself kind of hazy on the details.”

But Martin, who celebrated her 100th birthday Oct. 28, is a lot more lucid than she gives herself credit for.

She remembers growing up in Massachusetts, backpacking through Europe after college and working in the Library of Congress, where she eventually met her serviceman husband after WWII. She remembers traveling with him, becoming a librarian in England and then getting a job in Ormond Beach, as the city’s first librarian, in 1968.

“I’ve been a librarian all of my life,” she said, with a slight New England twang. “I worked in a library as a little kid.” She even went to college to pursue library work.

But, in all of her time, in all of the cities she’s lived in, there was always something special to her about Ormond Beach.

“It’s the kind of town that invites you in,” she said, reminiscing about a man who used to visit her in the library every day with his servant, and the servant used to live right there — she pointed out the window — in the house on the corner. “I found it one of the friendliest southern cities I’ve ever been.”

Ask her how it’s changed, though, and she’ll take a long time to answer, thinking, a hand to her lips like she’s holding in a secret. Then she’ll say without question that it hasn’t.

Despite her two daughters having a hard time with the ever-transient lifestyle of a military family, for Martin, who her daughter Ruth says “has always gone with the flow, been very laid back and peaceful,” the impossibility of permanence was a simple matter of fact.

“It was something we knew was inevitable,” Martin said plainly, looking at Ruth, who sat on a brick lift across the room. “So we’d better just take it.”

Martin’s feet lay on a wheelchair opposite her. Beside her cushioned recliner, she had a pair of glasses, a box of tissues. She rested her hands in her lap, resigned.

“I loved New England,” she continued, “but at the same time, I thought, you can’t stay here forever. I think you take it because you have to ... That was the way it had to be.”