Louise Martin of Fruitland Park celebrated her 80th birthday at Fruitland Park Cafe recently. It was the second birthday party she's ever had---the first was her 40th.
Louise is our first customer almost every day. Usually she arrives before 6 a.m. and waits patiently until we open at 7.
She was born and raised in a small village in rural southeastern Alabama. Her mother was half Native American and the family was poor.
"Everybody was poor back then," Louise says. "It was the Depression."
During World War II, Louise met a young soldier and they soon fell in love. When the war ended they married and moved to Leesburg. Louise was soon mother to two young children, but her husband had a good job in a Leesburg citrus plant.
When she was 26, Louise's husband was killed in a factory accident. She found work as a dry cleaning clerk. Eventually, she remarried and still lives with her husband, Harold, who is bedridden.
Harold and Louise have four grown children and three grandchildren.