How Martha Graves Makes a Life in the North Country
Martha Graves has banked with North Country Savings Bank for so long, it was called Canton Savings and Loan when she and her husband Carmen opened their first account in the 1950s.
"I go back so far; they don't have a record of me!" she laughs. Born and raised in Potsdam, Martha and her husband Carmen were newlyweds when they approached the bank about taking out a $500 loan to help purchase a garage that they planned to add on to for their first home.
Martha says she can still recall the name of the man who helped them and his promise to take everyone at the bank out for dinner if the Graves were approved for the loan. They got the $500.
"We added on like crazy over the years," Graves says. She and Carmen had two children, Curt, and Gregory.
When Canton Savings and Loan became North Country Savings Bank in 1999 the Graves family continued to be loyal customers.
Martha was a telephone operator with AT&T, first working a switch board, and then a computer until she retired in 1988.
"Now everyone has a phone in their pocket," she exclaims happily. Many things have changed over the years for Martha, but her love of the North Country isn't one of them. When her husband Carmen passed away, North Country Savings Bank was there to help her navigate her new financial responsibilities.
Now 91, Graves continues to enjoy the relationships she's developed with everyone at North Country Savings Bank.
"They take care of me," Graves says. "Everyone yells, 'Hi Martha,' whenever I visit."
Martha is a treasure trove of stories and anecdotes about living in the North Country. When she isn't telling stories, you can find her at her favorite place, the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino.
"I'm religious in my own way," she says. "If its Sunday, and the weather is good, that's where you'll find me. That's my fun time."
"I always told my husband, 'It's my retirement, not our savings!" she laughs.
Martha has made her life in the North Country, and she says without a doubt that North Country Savings Bank has helped make it a good one.
"I can go to anyone there, and I know they will take care of me," she says. There's a sense of care and community that Martha says is so important to her.