How many times have you driven past someone on the street corner and wondered, “What’s their story?”
Meet Vivian and Donald Morton. They are both in their seventies and have been married for 54 years. Both are retired, but are having a hard time with money. Not because of bad decisions they made, but because of a domestic violence situation involving their granddaughter whom they have raised since age 2.
Vivian said, “She got married and they were living with us for a while and we were paying their bills. The husband got back on his feet and they moved to Detroit where he started to abuse our granddaughter.” Donald then told me, “We weren’t gonna’ allow someone to do that to our granddaughter. We moved her back here and have helped her financially and we have helped her to be safe.” Donald knew it had gotten worse prior to them bringing their granddaughter home when his great granddaughter was sitting on his lap and told him that “Daddy” punched mom right in the face. The punch knocked the front teeth out of the 28-year old woman.
The Morton’s had both retired several years ago. Everything was paid for until they had to take out a loan to help the granddaughter cover court costs, medical bills and more. Donald estimated that they spent at least $100,000 on keeping her safe and supporting her over the last couple of years. Because of that, he can’t pay their day to day expenses. However, he would not have it any other way. He is just happy to see his 28-year old granddaughter and her two young children living in a safe environment and being cared for by people who love them with all their heart. “She’s very thankful,” said Donald when talking about his granddaughter who lives with them off the Old Woodbury Highway.
“I’ve applied for multiple jobs,” Donald said. He then told me that no one will hire him because he is 75-years old. In the past, he worked at the same Murfreesboro company for 40-years. Vivian then said that she worked for the schools for over 20-years, but diabetes has taken the best out of her today. “We didn’t plan for this, but I could not watch my granddaughter be abused,” said Donald. He then said, “Some people drive by and make fun of us, laugh while others help.” “It’s humiliating for us, but what are we to do – if people knew our story it would be different, but people don’t listen,” said Vivian.
The couple sits in front of Walmart on Memorial Boulevard or the Walmart on Rutherford Boulevard in Murfreesboro almost daily from about 11am to about 3pm. So why not help?
“Generosity is not giving me that which I need that you do, but it is giving me that which you need more that I do.” ― Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam