Martha Bantz and Janet Bantz Glavin

Recorded October 18, 2008 Archived October 18, 2008 38:37 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBY004618


Janet interviews her mother Martha about her life growing up, getting married, having a child and her friendships.


  • Martha Bantz
  • Janet Bantz Glavin


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00:00 Okay.

00:09 My name is Martha bantz. I'm 81 today is October 18th 2008. We are in Peoria, Illinois.

00:22 And my partner is my daughter.

00:29 My name is Janet Beyonds glavine and I'm 41 years old. Today is October 18th 2008 and we're in Peoria, Illinois, and I'm here with my mother.

00:43 Thanks for talking to me today. Mom really looking forward to it. So I just wanted to start by asking you a little bit about your mother and father when you were growing up kind of what it was like to grow up in a small town in the depression during the Depression. So one thing I wanted to ask you about what you talked about Grandma had a lot of Expressions that she used to use. Could you talk a little bit about that?

01:14 Lost Art was talking about my mother and father. I always tell people that it was like having two mothers because they were both such good parents and so devoted to my sister and me and we didn't suffer through the depression like some people my father was a city mail carrier, which is a government job. So he always had an income but I do remember that he got paid every two weeks and he would give my mother $10 and that had to last for her incidentals for 2 weeks.

01:53 What else did you ask me? What she had a lot of Swedish Expressions sayings and you've shared them with me. I remember you. I would say little pitchers have big ears. That's the one I thought of people use those those expressions were their philosophies of life. I don't hear them anymore. But that was the one I was going to say. That's the one that I remember little pitchers have big ears and other words when the adults were talking you had to remind one another that children were listening and so you had to be careful about what you said.

02:35 Did you know what they meant when she said them on you work? I'm sure you've heard a stitch in time saves nine. I can't think of any more right now, but there were a lot of them like that. You told me only fools put their names and faces in public places where there any others like that. My daughter has been on it on television occasionally, and I can't remember the incident, but I did tell her my mother used to say fools names and fools faces always appear in public places, and she said thanks, Mom. Thanks Mom. So where those kind of Swedish Expressions. Is there anything else? I guess? I want to know you talked a lot about the Swedish relatives and some of the cultural things that you experience. Could you talk a little bit about that? My mother's father and mother came from Sweden.

03:35 And I know a few little Swedish sayings but not that many some of my aunt's did a lot of Swedish cooking and I have a Swedish cookbook and them.

03:53 I don't I never felt like that part of my Heritage was that I inherited that much as I did from the other side of the family. My father was Scotch-Irish and I always felt like I identified more with that side of the family then the Swedish side. What are some favorite Expressions you remember from your father?

04:20 Over my father

04:23 Oh, yeah, I just called he always said you little Indians. That was what we called me and I'll affectionate Lee you little Indian and I suppose that wouldn't be politically correct anymore. But I can't remember that many other expression said that he had what are some of your favorite memories of your parents?

04:46 Well, I loved my father so much. I love my mother too. But I really had a special affection for my father. And I just remember that I would go out and sit on the there was a little stupid in front of our house little cement stoop and I can just see myself sitting there looking down the street waiting for him to come home and then I had to run and meet him and he would pick me up. I just remember that so well, and he was the one in in the family that thought of fun things to do eat. He brought us gifts and he thought of things to play games to play and while my mother was pretty busy just keeping Body and Soul together cooking and cleaning and and doing all the things that mothers did then do now. So grandpa really like to do puzzles and enter contests. Can you talk a little bit about that and Grandpa love to do crossword puzzle?

05:46 And to this day I carry my crossword puzzle book with me everywhere. I love to do puzzles. I like word games and Grandpa did to Grandpa used to enter contests in the newspaper would have crossword puzzle contest and Grandpa would enter those, you know, hoping to win.

06:09 Yeah, okay. I will I want to ask you a little bit about growing up in the depression cuz you had mentioned you live near a railroad track and kind of how grandma would some of the things that you experience during a depression with yours in the small town.

06:26 One thing I remember we had a little swimming pool in the park in our little town and my sister and I didn't have swimming suits and it was a very hot summer and we wanted so much to go to that swimming pool and back then we used to wear what they called union suits. They were like underwear that had buttons down the front end and little trap doors in the back that so you could go to the bathroom. And so my mother could come from by having us wear those suits which were really underwear to the park to swim and I remember my sister and I were so embarrassed and we tried to stay under the water, but we wanted to go so badly that you know, we wore those suits. I remember that can you talk a little bit about the hobos and the gypsies used to talk about that?

07:26 Yeah, they used to come to our house during the Depression and asked for food. And even I remember one Christmas morning a man came to our back door and wanted food and my mother invited him into the kitchen and gave him breakfast and we didn't think we weren't afraid we didn't think any anything of it. We just knew that people were down on their luck and and they needed help, you know.

07:56 But one time

07:58 Somebody came to the door and my mother made them peanut butter sandwiches.

08:04 And after the man left we found the sandwiches in the sandbox.

08:16 Okay. Well at the other thing I wanted to ask you about that was you had kind of an unusual illness as a child. Are you were here were sick a lot. Can you talk a little bit about that and how that affected the way you you grew up and and affected you into your adulthood?

08:37 I had to miss two years of school because I had this illness and I was in bed a lot and my mother and father.

08:49 It was hard for them and they'd have to be up with me at night and they would be so tired and my older sister. I'm sure what she told me to this day. You know, I think she kind of resented the fact that I was sick and I think she felt a little neglected in it. She told me one time that she wanted to run away from home and she even packed her suitcase because I was getting all this attention because I was sick and she felt like she was getting left out.

09:23 What was what was your illness called? What did they well it was Exum. I was I was just covered with these itchy sores and I couldn't sleep at night and there was no help there is no medicine. There was nothing to ease the pain. They tried everything and

09:45 Well, it was a very hard time. I remember when I was 10 years old and I said to my mother Mom. I wish I could die. I was so miserable.

09:57 But

09:58 I I think going through times like that probably make people might be make people a little stronger. I mean when I think back I think of that is one of the times that God brought me through and there been other times really hard times in my life that I've come through.

10:21 And here I am and you know.

10:26 That's all I want to say about it. Okay, so when you were growing up and you talk a little bit about how your parents influenced your spiritual life.

10:39 My mother was a devoted Christian and she took us to Sunday school and church every Sunday. We didn't have a car and the church was probably maybe 15 blocks away from where we lived. So my mother would put my sister and me in a wagon and pull us to church but my father didn't go to church and that made it made it serve hard for for me growing up when I got older to decide just what I believed and when I believed it because I love my father so much you know it but he didn't go to church and

11:23 But when he was 70 years old, he quit smoking and join the church to my mother's great Delight.

11:31 But I'm so thankful. My mother took me even today at night when I can't sleep in my mind I go over all of those little

11:43 Sunday school hymns that I learned as a child, they all come back and in the prayers I learned as a child as it's so comforting to me that I remember those.

11:55 Is that did you sing any of those songs to me?

11:59 When you were a baby, I just thought of that this morning when you were a baby the tune that I used to hum to you was the church's one foundation and I would sing.

12:16 Bio bio bio bio bio body remember that she and I would wreck you in the rocking chair and sing that song. I thought maybe it would come back to you. Probably remember some a lot of songs. So I wanted to talk a little bit about

12:44 Your professional life and then you're getting married later in life, which was unusual at the time and becoming a parent late. So, can you talk a little bit just to have to back up any chocolate. I wanted to talk a little bit about Dad. And the first time we met dad. What what's your can you tell me the about the first time that you met dad and what you were thinking at the time I was 38 years old and I Was An Old Maid schoolteacher. I'd talked for so long and all I wanted in the world was to get married and have a child, but I finally had kind of given up on that and some friends introduced me to my husband.

13:30 And the very first time we went out, I remember I came home and I was I was at home that time with my mother and father. It was a summer vacation.

13:42 And I went in and I woke my mother up and I said Mom.

13:47 I met a really grown up man, and it was like like I kind of knew right away that he was that I was going to marry him. Yeah, you think they move to

14:01 I don't know. He said when we said goodbye, he said you're awful sweet Martha. Remember that forever and he asked me out again. I think maybe he knew how did you know?

14:19 I felt so comfortable with him and I had dated a lot of other men will one especially I'd had a broken heart from a from a romance that I've strung along for a long time and

14:36 And I never I just felt so comfortable with this man like I could just be myself.

14:45 I don't know how to explain it and he was mature. He he was a widower he'd been married and his wife had died so he could answer some hard times and dab.

15:00 We're just I don't know how to explain to you how I knew except I felt very comfortable with him.

15:07 How did Dad propose to you?

15:12 I was teaching in Springfield and he lived in Yates City and he he he got an airplane flight from Peoria and he flew to Springfield and it couldn't wait. I met him at the airport and we went in and had a cup of coffee and he couldn't wait and in the airport hateful that the ring and gave it to me and I couldn't stop looking at it. I was so thrilled and that night. We went to see an Abraham Lincoln play at what's the name of that Park is Abraham Lincoln Park. I can't even remember. Anyway, I miss most the play because I just said all evening looking at that ring and looking at the sparkle.

16:00 What's your favorite memory of Dad?

16:06 Oh my favorite memory of Dad.

16:10 That's kind of hard question, honey. What's most memorable?

16:15 Some things about Dad. I just think it was funny and he used to love to watch The Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday night and we watched it. So often that I could have acted out the whole thing myself. I really wasn't that crazy about but he loved it. And so when the music played he told me up off the couch and we danced around the living room and he was just kind of funny. He could be funny.

16:48 So after you got married then you became pregnant not too long after that and you had me when you were 40 years old is that right is a dream come true couldn't believe it. So what was it like being a parent who was 20 almost 20 years older than most of the other parents of of kids my age.

17:16 Oh, I just felt like I knew so much more than that, and I've been a kindergarten teacher and I had a lot of Child Development child so lucky she's never going to

17:37 No, I didn't feel I didn't feel self-conscious about it. I was just so happy to be a mother. I felt like I joined the human race.

17:48 And is there any

17:51 As a parent now that I'm a parent. What advice would you give to me? Based on what you've learned?

17:59 Oh, honey, you don't what I asked I'm asking.

18:07 I think this is a good time to tell you how different it is the way I was raised and and you being a part of the liberated generation.

18:20 And when you grew up, I really believed in that so much. I thought that's a wonderful that women have a chance now to do anything. They want to do until your baby was born and you decided to work full time. Then I really had mixed feelings about whether mommy should stay home and we had some conversations about that.

18:47 And so that's what I found out about myself that I'm not quite as liberated as I thought I was I still kind of had that old fashioned idea, you know about Mommy staying home, but then I keep telling myself.

19:02 I want my daughter to be happy if my daughter won't be happy staying at home all day. Then. I don't want her to be unhappy. It was I was sort of torn between making you happy and making being sure my granddaughter would be happy, you know.

19:21 So if my daughter your granddaughter is listening to this conversation and 20 years when she's ready to go out to the world. What advice would you want to give her as a woman?

19:34 As a woman are just as a person you mean it is old.

19:47 Well, I relationships with other people are the most important thing in the world and

19:55 And just I would just tell her to be kind and loving to everyone that we're all in this human both together and we have to be kind to each other. That's what I would tell whatever happens be nice.

20:13 Okay.

20:19 How did I want us to go back a little bit to when when I was growing up?

20:27 How did you develop your view of service to others? I remember.

20:34 Going to we were always going to deliver food or doing different things of service for people that were less fortunate. How do you think you passed that on to me as a parent?

20:48 Actually, I think your father passed that on to you more than I did. He was he was exceptionally service-oriented even after you're tired. You remember how much time you gave to volunteer work? Well, the whole thing has to do I think was her religious not religious. I don't like that word our spiritual growth your dad and I and

21:21 You know we both we did go to church together my father your father and I went to drink together all the time and we prayed together and

21:32 That's what it was all about. That's what it was all about. It was trying to share God's love with other people.

21:40 Did you feel like you and Dad were a little bit of your time and some of your will you especially in some of your

21:50 Views about

21:53 Kind of diverse views about other people other cultures for the time.

22:01 I don't think so for that time. I think for the community that we lived in probably or just maybe a little more liberal than a lot of the people in our community, but no, I don't think for the time, honey.

22:21 Okay.

22:26 Can you tell me maybe just talking a little more about religion?

22:34 Maybe what might have been a more profound spiritual moment in your life?

22:42 Like so many young people when I went to college I didn't go to church and I wasn't even sure what I believed even though I had been raised in the church. I had to I had to decide this all on my own what I believe so I studied Buddhism. I study this I study that you know, and then I told you that I had this very very sad break up. This romance should have gone on for so long and nothing happened and I just I think I was having a nervous breakdown. I was starting to have panic attacks over this and everything and

23:20 And I remember one night. I was just so Disturbed and crying and just miserable over my life and down.

23:32 I didn't hear any voice from heaven. But in my mind came this thought be still and know that I am God and I suppose I'd read that in the Bible but I sure hadn't read it for a long time. And that thought came to me. And then from then on it was like I had kind of a spiritual hunger. Like I really wanted to I knew I had to break off this relationship. And so it was like I turned to God.

24:03 At last and

24:07 From that day to this

24:09 God is Man up, you know has been my rock and especially since Daddy died. I think when you're married, sometimes your husband is your rock that you lean on but since since Daddy died, I've really turn to God and I've been comforted. It's been good and good.

24:32 So you mentioned a anxiety attack. So I wanted to ask you a little bit about that because I didn't know that when I was growing up and then I didn't want you to but when I was about the same age that you had them then I started to have them so it sounds like you learned it was a transitional moment for you as it was for me in addition to your spiritual life. I wanted to talk a little bit about your friends and your friendships. Can you talk about maybe who's been the kindest to you and your life who's been a good friend little bit about your friendships and what they've meant to you?

25:16 What they mean to you today?

25:20 I remember I used to tell you, you know, some some kids in high school were we're really popular and and I said to you I think if you find one or two really good friends in life. You're lucky. You're lucky don't expect to be that many intimate friends. I have one especially good friend in Springfield and

25:49 We used to say well you've heard it before you don't make a friend you recognize our friend and we don't see each other very often, but she's like a sister to me. She's so close to me. And and she's one of those people that it wouldn't matter what you're ever did in life. It was a most terrible thing in the world. She still love you and we went through a lot together.

26:16 So

26:17 And I have a lot of

26:21 Friends, I think I mean people that I am friendly with but to have a close friend like that is so rare.

26:31 Do you think you're a good friend? And then do you think you're a good friend?

26:36 I'm not the kind of baked cinnamon rolls are soup and takes two people who are sick.

26:44 I think the only way I'm a good friend.

26:48 Is that I'm friendly.

26:50 And I listen to people and I like people I really like people I don't look for their faults.

26:59 Do you want to describe your friend that you've got this friend from Springfield at all? What's made her such a good friend to you? Cuz it sounds like she really stands out. We were both teachers. We were teachers in the same school. I taught kindergarten and she taught second grade.

27:17 And we were both getting up there. You know, we were getting into our 30s and we were both looking for husband and we were both and we both had kind of unhappy romances. And so we had a lot in common.

27:35 She wasn't stuffy you could you could tell her anything and and she would accept it.

27:45 And the same way with with me you seem to have a lot of fun when you're with her. Yeah, we have we have the same sense of humor. I guess that's there. Now that's really important. We laugh at the same things. So anyway, I found my mate and married him in November of this one year and she found hers and married him in December the same year.

28:10 So things worked at and she had a daughter and I have a daughter.

28:15 So our lives are kind of

28:18 Followed a similar pattern

28:23 Her name is Nedra.

28:27 So how would Nedra describe you?

28:31 I don't know how to ask her here. I think she did say that she loves me.

28:40 Don't talk a little bit more about sense of humor cuz we've been kind of serious but we're really pretty hysterical. Usually what role has sense of humor played in your life.

28:54 A big role, you know after my husband died. He never liked to watch sitcoms, you know, like the nanny or Raymond are all those funny shows and that's all I wanted to watch after he was gone. Well, I needed to laugh, you know I needed to and and I still I still like a nice I think sometimes I know I'm so shallow. I just like to watch so silly shows but I do I do.

29:27 Can you think of a funny story from when we were growing up?

29:32 You mean when you were growing up sure.

29:37 Oh, yeah, I check Janet to church when she was 3 years old and there is a man coming in the door and he had this beard and she said Mama there's Colonel chicken.

30:04 What?

30:11 I was going to go to the scandalous questions, but will you can go there and if I don't want to answer I'll say no, where are so many. I don't know if we have time.

30:23 How has your life been different than what you'd imagined?

30:27 Oh, I wanted to be an actress I loved being in plays and and I did dramatic readings in high school and I just loved and an end. I used to like to go to Betty Davis movies.

30:47 And I have a bad habit today. Should I tell about that? No, no and is going to hear about that already mom. I'll just put it this way Betty Davis smoked in her movie and I would go home and imitator. You know, I thought that was So Glamorous as that would be the advice. I would give any grandchildren don't smoke smoke.

31:13 How would you like to be remembered?

31:22 So it doesn't matter how I'd like to be what you want to

31:31 Honey, that's a hard question. I don't people just remember you the way they want to remember you. Okay. Well, is there anything you never told me that you'd like to tell me now?

31:43 I saw that question on the list. I hoped you wouldn't ask me that.

31:50 Did I like to tell you that I want to tell you now?

31:58 No, I'll tell you in private eye. Are you proud of me.

32:06 Phone Janet

32:09 You're the most.

32:12 Wonderful thing that ever happened to me. I had never thought I'd have a child and let alone such a talented beautiful intelligent daughter. I thank God for you everyday.

32:30 Thank you.

32:34 And I'm thankful for you. Thanks. Any what advice would you have for me as a parent?

32:45 Relax, relax, you know, it doesn't much matter what you do or what you say your child is going to grow up to be what your child is going to be.

33:00 So just accept your child in the way she is and enjoy her and smile smile smile be happy. So what advice do you have for me for my marriage?

33:22 Trident try to list 10 things every night that you like about your husband.

33:32 You know, honey.

33:35 If it's just that he took a shower today or are you smiled at me? I mean look for the little things and just be thankful. Just be thankful for every little thing you can think of. I wish somebody told me that when I was having my early marriage, but

34:05 Look for the positive. Do you have any questions you want to ask me?

34:16 Are you happy?

34:18 I am right now. This is been nice talking to you.

34:27 And I wanted to tell you how important you are to me and you you're such an important role model for me.

34:36 And you influenced me in a lot of ways.

34:39 Everyday

34:42 Thank you, honey. I love you. I love you.

34:52 You have 5 more minutes so we can end it.

34:58 Oh, I will I need your help. I have a question for you. So how as a parent how would you deal with temper tantrums?

35:09 Well the way I dealt with some you didn't you didn't have temper tantrums, but when you were a teenager, we didn't see eye-to-eye very off. I need help with that and I would walk away. Sometimes I'll even go and get in the car and drive away because there was no used to argue. There's no used to argue at all. Especially the teenager and with a little girl.

35:38 You just have to let him blow over and then hugger when it's over and and don't talk so much try not to talk so much, but just show her your love with you with your arms and your smile and your kisses and you know, don't talk so much. That would be my advice.

35:59 Okay.

36:12 Do you want to end at any unless there's any other thing you wanted to talk about. I was maybe going to ask you a question about you and Aunt Barbara and being sisters.

36:25 And maybe we don't have time for all of that. And if there's anything you wanted to talk about your about your relationship with Aunt Barbara would ask.

36:39 Who is the typical sibling rivalry? I think and I think it still goes on. I don't think it ever stops. Even though I'm 81 and she's 83. I think they're still kind of a always kind of a rivalry, you know on the other hand your sister or your sibling is the closest genetically of anybody closer than your child or you know, you have the same genetic makeup, so maybe that's why maybe we know each other too. Well.

37:15 I respect and admire her very much. But as the younger sister, I'm not sure whether she respects and admires to me. Sometimes I still have that feeling. You know, that she's Snow White and I'm rose-red remember that story. I always felt like she was a good girl and maybe I'm not quite so good, you know.

37:42 And that may just be my own in my own mind. I don't know if that's typical with sisters. Have you ever asked her that question?

37:50 No, but I have told her that she criticizes me too much and I don't like that.

38:00 You think you will ask her that question?

38:05 I don't think so. We've talked before she kind of knows she kind of knows. Okay, so so final my last words.

38:23 This is been really nice and have enjoyed it. I was I was uneasy about it that I've enjoyed. Thank you Mom. Did you?