"And we had to borrow that!" chimed in Mickey. They both laughed at the memory.

"We've had a beautiful marriage," Marty said. "Our friends call us the M-M kids. Get it? M for Marty and M for Mickey."

The early years were difficult ones for the M-M kids, as they were for most young couples they knew. "We brushed our teeth with Lifebuoy Soap," Marty said.

His wife worked as a store clerk for thirty-five cents an hour. "We paid a babysitter twenty-five cents an hour," Mickey said, "so I was working for eighty cents a day."

Their only guilty pleasure was smoking. That, too, was subject to their tight budget.

"We smoked Wings cigarettes," Marty told me. "You could get 'em for fifteen cents a pack. They were really long so we cut them in half. Instead of having twenty cigarettes, we had forty."

Marty worked in newspaper shops in a few small towns over the course of forty-two years before he retired. "It's my only regret. I should have quit sooner," he said. "I love mixing with people and I get to do that now."

He worked in a restaurant for a while, then for seventeen months took care of a man who suffered from Parkinson's disease. He worked for another restaurant after that.

Then a friend heard that Wal-Mart was looking for greeters at the local store, and he encouraged Marty to apply. The woman who hired Marty told me that when she offered him the job he broke down and cried.

I asked Marty about that moment. He said, "Yeah, I remember it. After she told me I was hired she walked out into the hallway and I heard her say to someone, 'Boy, I've got a honey in here.'"


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