There are a lot of famous people who never knew their birth parents. For example, Marilyn Monroe who spent the first 7 years of her life in an orphanage. Or, country music star Faith Hill who was adopted at a young age. We continue our series on well known local people who began their lives in the same way, waiting for a forever family.
"According to one legend. I am a stolen baby. The year was 1935. That was during a time in the depression when parents couldn't feed their children and they gave them to an orphanage. I have no memory of that at all but I know that my parents had to love me, to give me up," explains Marnie Joseph.
At 17 months old, Marnie ended up in the Tennessee State Children's Home in Nashville. Then, one day a lady came in wanting to adopt. As Marnie says, that day, she picked her parents. "My mother says this little toddler with little strawberry blond curls backed up to her and wiggled and she picked her up and she never let me go."
From that day forward, Marnie's life changed and her past disappeared. "The people who got me are my real parents. That's where all my memories are," says Marnie.
Marnie grew up on a farm in Tennessee. Marnie says, "I would go out in the fields with my father and I would ride my pony."
Through the years, Marnie would learn a lot from her parents. They taught her morals and values and gave her the drive to succeed. Marnie attended Sienna College in Memphis, Tennessee. "In spite of my education, that's where all of my learning came from was my mother and father. Little things like they told me, 'No matter what you do in life, if all you do is wash black pots make sure yours is cleaner than the other fellas.'"
Marnie has been married to Mr. Joseph, as she calls him, for 49 years. They moved to Tyler in 1959 and have five children together. She wouldn't mind an even larger family. "I would love to adopt a child, love to, but I'm afraid Mr. Joseph is too old," Marnie says with a smirk on her face.
Even before Marnie had a family of her own, she had a heart for children. "Something that's very dear to me was I taught piano at a Children's home in Memphis, Tennessee."
Today, Marnie is well known in East Texas for her catering business. She and her husband started "Joseph's Catering" almost 30 years ago in Tyler on Broadway.
At 71 years old, Marnie remains humble about her accomplishments, and grateful for her adopted parents who afforded her many opportunities through the Gift of Love. "If I'm successful, I definitely credit them. They are why I'm here. They mean the fourth commandment to me, that I must always honor them as long as I live. I think to be adopted is something to be very proud of!"
Marnie was one of four adopted children in her family. After they adopted her, they returned to that same orphanage and adopted a girl and twin boys.
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