I was born to Caroline and Preston Betterfield on May 3rd, 1953. It was a balmy day on Belle View Plantation, just outside the city of Savannah, Georgia.
I grew up with two siblings, Charlotte and Dixie. Charlotte was my older sister, and she, much like myself, lacked what daddy called “couth.” She was always gettin’ in trouble; if her ass was grass, then daddy must have been a lawn mower. Charlotte was always quite the little floozy, and she’d wear skirts that had those boys looking plum into the Promised Land, and pants tight enough to see her religion.
Dixie, on the other hand, was dumber than a box of rocks. If leather were brains, she wouldn’t have had enough to saddle up a June bug. Half the time she was more confused than a fart in a fan factory. I often wanted to knock her upside the head and tell God she died. Bless her heart - but I suppose when you grow up with two sisters uglier than homemade soap, it makes you look like even more of a prize. I mean that in the most Christian kind of way.
Daddy worked hard to maintain the antebellum estate our ancestors built in 1852, making it one of the only operational plantations in the state of Georgia. He always took real good care of us girls, and raised us with the charm and grace suitable for a Southern lady. Each of us were thrown a debutante ball for our coming of age, which gave me a chance to flirt with those boys from Savannah. It wasn’t long before I was ready set off for college in Atlanta.
I received a degree in business from Georgia State, and daddy had gladly agreed to allow me to take over operation of Belle View. In 1980 I was asked to be in the movie 9 to 5, where I met my lifelong friend, Miss Dolly Parton. I’ve known Dolly from the time her boobs were real. We were both auditioning for the part of Doralee Rhodes. I should have known I had no chance with that spandex wearin’ hippie Jane Fonda, and when she told me I just wasn’t right for the part because I was too busty, I looked at Dolly and said, “Let’s not go comparin’ apples to melons.”
Of course, she got the part, and I went on back to Georgia. In the 80’s, I was known to give Dolly her fashion tips before all her clothing became spray on. Then she started wearing those over the shoulder boulder holders. Like she always says, “If somethins’, saggin’, baggin’ or draggin’, she’ll have it nipped, tucked, or sucked!”
In 1981 I married my husband, George Beauregard. When momma and daddy went on to glory, George and I made Belle View our home, and raised our two children there. Mason and Julia are both full grown now, and hold jobs in Atlanta running around hell’s half acre. We lost George in 2004 when a big ole’ thunderstorm came blowin’ through Savannah. George was standin’ on top of a 1951 Buick Roadmaster, higher than a Georgia pine and singin’ I wish I was in Dixie. George was struck by lightning that night, and that, darlin’…. was the night the lights went out in Georgia.
It all happened faster than a knife fight in a phone booth, but I never let grief get me down for too long. Grief makes me spread out like a cold supper. After George’s death, I reverted back to my maiden name and became the sole proprietor of Belle View. And sweetheart, I’ve been sittin’ in high cotton ever since. If things get any better, I may have to hire someone to help me enjoy it.
Well, that’s enough about me, but if you’re ever around Savannah, stop by and sit a spell! Ya’ll come back now, you hear?
The character of Martha Betterfield is about three years old, and was first created to be very temporary. In 2011 I was asked by Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College's Upward Bound program to play a few characters for their talent showcase. I would be responsible for entertaining the audience while acts were preparing to come on.
That evening I played an arrogant stage hand, Justin Bieber, and for the first time, Miss Martha Betterfield. In contrast to the concept of Martha today, she started as a very homely redneck woman, with a very bad accent and bad hygiene. However, the audience loved her, and she became the most iconic character of the night. Within that same summer, Martha launched a commercial for the local movie theater that played before each film.
In this commercial Martha was still the very homely and rude character she had been during the talent showcase, which gave audiences a comical idea of how not behave during a movie. I began to grow more attached to the character as I continued to play her, and one day when putting on the costume, I forgot to put on the big mole and mono-brow. The character looked more like a woman that would find herself to be attractive than her ugly predecessor, and that, for some reason, made more sense to me.
It was around this time that I lost my great grandmother, a woman that had everything to do with my childhood and my daily life. Growing up around her and my great aunts had always proved to be a hilarious and fun experience. It was at this point that the idea hit me: Grandma Alice and Brenda, and Aunt Mary and Lorene, became 60-year-old Georgia Southern belle Martha Betterfield. So much of her act that audiences get a good laugh from were developed from real life experiences that I grew up with. The new Martha proved to be more likeable, and allowed me to pay homage to my crazy Southern family, as well as to the beautiful place I call home.
Martha is available for booking, and we guarantee your audiences will be rolling with laughter after listening to Miss Betterfield's variety of good ole' fashioned Dixie humor!