MARLA: What really kept you staying with the job because it was --
BERTHA: The interest, wanting to find out more and more of how -- how a person gets sick and what symptoms are and just being interested in medical was one of them.
Another one was I know I'm needed, too. Somebody had to do it. And then when they start paying a little, too, at first it was really small, but it helped.
I used to sew for sale at night before -- before we started -- before I started getting paid, to try to make ends meet. That was hard, work all day and sew at nighttime and sleep a little while, and I had little kids to take care of.
And the reason I think sometimes before that is when somebody gets mad at me and holler at me and stuff like that, which don't happen very often, but people get excited when their baby is sick and just get out of hand like, but I don't pay attention to them.
I just do my -- do my best and work and I've been -- I mean, after I settle down and think about it and my family don't like that, though. But after I think about it, then I think, after all, it's people that make the job.
So it's people that -- it's not -- it's nothing, if there's no people, there's no job. That's what I'm trained for. So I let it go. It's all right. I'm fine again.
MARLA: Did you have to take care of your family before you became a health aide? Were you taking care of your siblings or --
BERTHA: Yes. My mother died when I was 12. And by the time I was 15, my two older sisters and older brother left home. And I was the oldest when I'm 15. So I had to take care of three -- three sisters and one brother.
And then after a while our grandmother was really old, we had to take care of our grandma. And we have to cook for the dogs and feed the dogs. And I had to go fishing to put food on the table.
Started real young. And I had to -- hunt, too. I was a tomboy. Driving dogs, hauling wood, hauling meat. Didn't have much time for -- to cook, I come home and if nobody cooked, and cook any old way, just throw something in the pot and boil it and do the best we could.
But mostly sometimes the younger ones cooked. And then I still don't like to cook. I can bake, I know how to bake, but I never learned to cook fancy dishes or anything. I just boil meat or bake meat, or boil fish or bake fish. Cook something else to go with it.
But we had to, too, because my husband had heart problem and we have to watch our diet and eat really.
And my son -- one of my son in-laws ask my daughter when -- before they got married, don't your mother learn to -- didn't your mom learn how to cook? Doesn't she know how to cook? And my daughter told me but I never told my son-in-law. I think that's okay. I don't need to be a cook.
MARLA: No, you were taking care of so many people.
BERTHA: Uh-hum. Yeah.
MARLA: And it sounds like you were taking care of your family when you were young, so it was almost natural to become a health aide for the whole community.
BERTHA: Oh, yeah. And you know, I have -- I don't try -- I always prayed so I'd be good to the people.
When I was working at the patient hospital, I prayed so I wouldn't say anything mean to them, I would be good to them, treat them really good and listen to them.
And that's the way it worked. That's the way I want it to. I don't want to -- I don't want to just pretend I'm nice on top and not -- not inside. I want -- I want my feelings to be from inside, too. And I always tell my kids that, too.
MARLA: I think that's important.
BERTHA: It is.
MARLA: It's an important part of being a health aide, as well.
BERTHA: Yes. Uh-hum.
MARLA: Is to be able to care for so many people.
BERTHA: Uh-hum (affirmative).