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MARTIN (PART 2)

PART 1 (Click here)

No one can make you happy. Nobody! That’s a fallacy, that’s why marriages fail. “He didn’t make me happy.” You are responsible for being happy.

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COMING HOME

As a grandparent, that’s the thing that I miss the most, was that energy. I could go all day as a parent, I could go all day, you know, we did so many travels together. I was involved in their lives, all the way ‘til we lived in New York. We lived in every borough but Queens. We lived in Staten Island & Manhattan, all over Manhattan, we got evicted. And then we moved to Los Angeles in 1969, and stayed here. We came over to Mexico to do a film. They were all born over in New York.

We were all like refugees, we’re all in this together. I had just learned to drive a car, she [Janet] had just learned to drive a car. We didn’t know anything. And we rented a little house over here in West L.A., and then we needed more room, and I didn’t have a job. We tried to save our money, so we kept driving further and further out, because no one lived down in what is now Malibu. So we got a little ranch, a little 5-acre. We were there for 2 years, we got evicted ‘cause I cut down the barbed wire because it was hurting the children, you know. He [the owner] wanted to put horses, but I said, “I was here before the horses,” but the landlord didn’t care, so we left.


I delivered Ramon, our second son, in the living room in Staten Island on August 7th, 1963. [With a midwife?] Nobody. [No.] I swear to God, it was just the two of us. And it became an emergency because she ruptured and was bleeding very badly, and so I had to call an ambulance. Not much scares you after that.

And I found a house, and I told the landlord, who was from my hometown, “I want to own this, and I’m not gonna stay here anymore. I don’t want another landlord for the rest of my life. What I wanna do is rent until I can buy a house.” He said OK, It was just month to month, and we saved our money and we bought the house in 1973. Across the street were a retired teacher and a fireman, down the block was a retired police officer, over here was a new couple who just [got] married, next door was a couple with 6 children, they ran a motel somewhere.

That’s what it was like. Everyone had horses, and dogs, and children--no fences, nothing. People all over the place. In 1974 or '75, Pepperdine University opened campus right there. But the land, the property value went up, the old people had to sell, they couldn’t afford not to sell. They couldn’t afford the taxes. The land was reevaluated, and people started building mansions everywhere.


BIRTHS

When Emilio was born, I was through the labor. And then they took her [Janet] into the room [for giving birth] and I followed her in, they threw me out, and said, “No, you can’t come in here.” So the second one, I said no, no, no, we’re gonna do it ourselves, so we did.


I delivered Ramon, our second son, in the living room in Staten Island on August 7th, 1963. [With a midwife?] Nobody. [No.] I swear to God, it was just the two of us. And it became an emergency because she ruptured and was bleeding very badly, and so I had to call an ambulance. Not much scares you after that.

The image of relationships, of marriage is becoming “one.” That’s the worst. You can’t become one. If you do, you have to decide, “which one?” You or him...

I was foolish--we shouldn’t have done it. I should have had a midwife, but we wanted the experience. So for the third one, Charlie, we went to class, the Lamaze. We were their guinea pigs. And you know who was in our class? I just adore her, I see her when I go to Washington--Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They [Janet and Ruth] both had boys a day apart. She was an Attorney in New York. And one day, a friend of mine went to see her, and she said, “Say hello to Janet for me.” My friend said, “Oh, you mean Martin?” She said, “No, Janet.” My friend asked, “I’m sorry, Your Honor, how do you know Janet?” [She said,] “We went to school together, we had babies together.”


BECOMING YOURSELVES

The image of relationships, of marriage is becoming “one.” That’s the worst. You can’t become one. If you do, you have to decide, “which one?” You or him--and then the other one resents it. No, you become yourselves. And you love each other enough to risk the other’s wrath by telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, all the time. This is the only place where you’re gonna get the truth. That’s love.

You are responsible for recording her history, in your heart. She is important to the world because her history lives in your heart.

You gotta risk it, you know what I’m saying? So when you get married, or when you have a relationship, you have to promise to help each other become yourselves. Don’t become “me.” No, you don’t become me, I’m not gonna save you. I’m not gonna make you happy. No, no, no, no. No one can make you happy. Nobody! That’s a fallacy, that’s why marriages fail. “He didn’t make me happy.” You are responsible for being happy.

You have to choose to be happy, by living an honest life. And it’s what we see in each other. That person has something I want, they have something I need. They’re living an honest life, I must have that, for my life. You know what I’m saying? That’s really what it’s about. And then you take a record of each other’s history. And it’s the most important history, because you [referring to Kariz’s husband] know her as the mother, as a wife, as a friend. Her parents don’t know her as the mother. No, no, no.

You have to choose to be happy, by living an honest life.

You are responsible for recording her history, in your heart. She is important to the world because her history lives in your heart. You know what I’m saying? Your children are all recorded in your heart. There’s a book, and you are important and he [referring to Kariz’s husband] is important because you’ve recorded his life. His life is important because you said so, with your love. That’s what it is. We keep a history, so you don’t just dismiss someone, there’s a whole history--you don’t just throw each other away.


PART 2 of conversations with actor, Martin Sheen

(Grace & Frankie, The Amazing Spiderman 2, The Departed, Catch Me if You Can, Wall Street, Apocalypse Now, etc.) and Kariz Favis

Main photo by Benjamin James


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