PRICELESS PAST: Berserker State School's Anji Fraser Parle, Jan Martin and Heidi Scott.
PRICELESS PAST: Berserker State School's Anji Fraser Parle, Jan Martin and Heidi Scott. Jann Houley

Meet the grandma with a lifetime P&C membership

WELCOME to 'Our Priceless Past'. This is an annual feature in The Morning Bulletin where local school students meet with our senior citizens and write about their history for the community. We will be publishing these stories throughout the next week. This is one of the stories written by CQ school students in 'Our Priceless Past' series.

JAN Martin was born on December 14, 1937. Having been born in Gladstone, she is today 81 and will turn 82 this December.

Mrs Martin is the eldest of eight children and grew up surrounded by four brothers and three sisters in Depot Hill. Living conditions in her childhood home included three children to one bed in a two bedroom household and although they were poor they still enjoyed a good life. Over the past eight decades Mrs Martin has lived a long, interesting life including from being witness to World War II and then an amazing love story later in her adult life.

At the age of two, Mrs Martin lived through one of the most devastating wars in world history, World War II. A total of 70 - 85 million people died, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (2.3 billion).

This was a significant part of her life as there were often air raid sirens at her school. No one in her family was fit or healthy enough to fight in World War II (which she was happy about). During World War II her family and the wider community were given coupons for food and other items including things like sugar, tea and clothing. Family and friends used to trade coupons to get the things that they needed or wanted throughout this time.

Mrs Martin's neighbours' windows were painted black to hide the people inside each house. Adding to her fears of World War II, she was absolutely petrified of her father's gas mask, as it was a clear reminder of how dangerous the war was!

In 1958 Mrs Martin, at the age of 20, got married to the love of her life, Jack Martin, who was 25 at the time. They met at a dance for the School of Arts and she was swept off her feet. Their wedding was not big and fancy, but it was still as perfect in their eyes as the magical day they met. After their wedding they spent their honeymoon in a small, quiet town called Eungella located in the Mackay region. As a young newlywed couple they enjoyed going on bushwalks and always relished seeing the local platypuses that lived in the area. Eungella has become very special place for them and they continue to visit there many more times to celebrate their wedding anniversary. In September of this year Mr and Mrs Martin will be celebrating their 61st anniversary, after last year celebrating their diamond anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Martin love to visit and holiday in variety of destinations. Together they have travelled through every state in Australia! In 1988 Mrs Martin went on her first holiday outside Australia and travelled to many different countries including Canada, Scotland, and Switzerland. During their marriage they have had three wonderful sons that have all attended Berserker Street State School and they all loved it there. Currently Mrs Martin has five grandchildren and is very excited to have one more on the way.

Mrs Martin's involvement with Berserker Street State School all started when her eldest son started there. As a young 29 year old in 1966, she began her long commitment of working within Berserker as a P&C member and has been awarded a life membership due to her 53 years of service. As well as her life membership the Stadium school kitchen has been named in honour of her. During her years of service, Mrs Martin has also spent 33 of those years working in the Infants school as a teacher aid. She thoroughly enjoyed working with the children as a separate small school and was sad when the infant school eventually merged with the older students at Berserker Street State School to become a whole school from Prep to Year 7. The school community of Berserker Street State School appreciates Mrs Martin's long commitment that she has made within the school. Mrs Martin is today still working within the school in a different role and helps out at the Brekkie Club that runs every Monday. She is, of course, still an active participant on the P & C.

Mrs Martin plans to be volunteering for Berserker "until (her) dying day or until they kick (her) out".

- Interview conducted by Heidi Scott and Anji Fraser- Parle