If Carmen has hard edges to her face, with some work done – Marva Blackwell’s features are softer and rounder. When Joe Blackwell met her she looked like Mary Wilson from the Supremes. Beautiful, warm and loving. But now, after 10 years of raising two kids in the inner-city with all of its dangers, the beauty has faded and, while still there, premature lines of care have appeared. Her son Miles Has been a model kid, supportive and loving - and a great student. Marva’s immensely proud of him. But the loss of wealth hit her daughter Sarita hard. Once a ‘princess’ in the community and a very popular 10 year old girl, she became less popular when they were no longer wealthy and had to move to a public school – a transition she didn’t handle well. Over the ten years since Joe’s death, Sarita has gone down hill and become a drug addict. Now 20 Sarita is Marva’s primary source of worry. Where once, she had people shopping for her, now Marva can only afford to shop from the thrift store. Simple cotton frocks, flower prints, aprons at home, she wears clothing which exposes the fact that she’s given up all hope of returning to her former prominence.
But she hasn’t let herself go – everything is neat as a pin and she’s a church goer. She has had to put on a brave front for her children.
It’s simply not in Marva to be vindictive, nor was she clever enough to fend off the barrage of deceptions which Carmen put in her way after Joe’s death. At 38 Marva is still pretty and above all still very kind. In fact, it’s her kindness which has saved her and her children. When the money went and the family had no place to go, one of her parlor maids at the mansion she once owned, took pity on her and gave her the overflow from a laundry and ironing business she ran out of her tenement apartment.. A far cry from her prominent position in social Pittsburgh as the wife of Joe Blackwell, CEO of Soultown Music.