Melody Lou Martin was born on December 26th, 1946 in West Palm Beach, Florida to David and Betty Martin. She was a much-loved child and ultimately the only child that Betty would ever have. Betty was also an only child and so Melody did not have a lot of extended family. Later in life this led Melody to long for a large family of her own.
Although she was born in Florida, Melody grew up in Buckeye Lake, Ohio, in a little cottage not to far from the water. Buckeye Lake was the home of the Buckeye Lake Amusement Park and that park was an integral part of Melody’s childhood.
Melody was a happy child and very outgoing. She had many talents and participated in a variety of activities in her youth, everything from Garden Club to playing the flute.
As Melody grew, so did her love for the outdoors. Her favorite things were flowers, but she also had quite an affinity for rocks, especially geods, and other wonders of nature.
She was the apple of her mom’s eye and as the only child was doted on and spoiled with all the love a child could have.
She was especially close to her grandfather, ‘Poppy Jim’ as he was called, who although he wasn’t her biological grandparent, never treated her as such. He had a great influence in her life for many years because of that example of unconditional love.
As a child, she always lamented being born the day after Christmas, and in the winter in general, as she couldn’t really have all the fun outdoor birthday parties that her friends had. Her birthday also often got lumped in with Christmas. One year she held special in her heart was when her family decided to throw her have a birthday party in the summer. That birthday definitely became one of those stories that she regaled to her own children in her adult years.
Melody’s parents eventually split up and she was left living with her mom and her grandparents and saw little of her father. Eventually he would drift out of her life completely.
Life moved on and Melody thrived with a busy social schedule and increasing responsibilities as she got older. In addition to the Garden Club and learning the flute she also took up the baton and helped out her grandparents business at the Buckeye Lake Amusement Park. Her family ran games like the balloon dart game and the penny pitch. Again these experiences were the things she told her children and grandchildren about for years to come.
As an outgoing people-person, helping out didn’t often feel like a job at all, but an enjoyable part of every-day life.
Eventually Melody got a job working at the skating rink that was a part of the amusement park. She loved to roller skate and this job was right up her alley. With the park within a short walking distance, this new responsibility was a perfect fit. She loved this time in her life so much and held on to her jacket from the skating rink job and it still exists in the family to this day. It is a cherished piece of memorabilia of her life as well as several outfits from her majorette days.
As she got older, other family responsibilities expanded for her as well and unfortunately this wasn’t just the normal teenage chores. Family problems eventually led her to be a chauffeur of sorts once she got her license and she was often pulled out of school for various tasks for the family. She was eventually pulled out of school so much that she didn’t have enough credits to graduate with her class her senior year and never achieved the high school diploma she spent her youth working towards.