Floyd Lamont the story of my wonderful dad
Contributor: LinP Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Just prior to when my dad was born the U.S. was experiencing some economic difficulties. According to information found on Wikipedia the prices of stock began to fall on September 4, 1929 then the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. This date is known in history as the infamous BLACK TUESDAY. If you ever have watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart you can get a slight picture of what that day was like. This depression lasted until the late 1930’s into the early 1940’s. This was what was going on in history when my dad Floyd Lamont Whitaker was born to Hyrum Richard Whitaker and Mary Cecelia Whitaker on Jan 15, 1930. He was the tenth child to be born to this family. His older siblings, still living, included Mary Cecelia age 19, Izora Margurite age 17, Alfred Richard age 13, Lorenzo Delbert age 10, Hyrum Earl age 8, Bertha May age 6, and Charles Roy age 2. Two of his siblings, born prior to him had died; Anna Laura who would have been 16 and Helen Jane who would have been 11.
With this many mouths to feed it is no wonder that they had a hard life. First of all they lived in a tent until my dad was four years old. During that time my dad recalls that one time he was being watched by a neighbor. At one point Floyd lost sight of the guy and he was so upset he went into the road and started to cry. But he soon discovered the man was still there.
The next place they lived was the first place they had electricity, it was a chicken coop. When I talked to him about this later on, he told me that they moved into this place when he was about four years old. Personally I can’t imagine living in a chicken coop. That would be weird! The only chicken coops I’ve been in are messy and smelly. Of course that was because the chickens were still living there. According to dad, the chickens weren’t there. Certainly, since it was the GREAT DEPRESSION, they were grateful for a place to live.By the time dad was in the second grade, his family had moved into the Brigham City Tannery, and dad had another brother, Donald Clyde who was less than a year younger than him. I never met Donald since he died before I was born, but I do recall seeing a picture of the Tannery. There was a restaurant we used to eat at when we went to visit family in Brigham and they had a painting or a picture of this building on the wall. According to dad this was a paradise for kids. There were lots of large rooms, an orchard, and an old stage couch downstairs for him and his siblings to explore. They had rented the place from a lawyer. From what dad told me the entrance for the Tannery itself was in front the lawyer used license plates to replace missing shingles. I imagine it was also big and drafty making it cold in the winter. Dad mentioned to me when I was younger that at night they would heat up stones and put them at the foot of the beds to keep them warm. Hearing it was a tannery I imagined that the place stunk with the cow hides being chemically prepared in this building, but when I asked dad about it, he said he didn’t remember if it smelled bad.
During first grade Floyd was living in the city of Korean. He walked two miles to and from school alone, because he didn’t like the kids on the bus. They made fun of him.
Another event in second grade that he recalls was the repossession of a little red wagon. According to him this happened when they were living in Korean. Thankfully he had other toys to play with. The toy he remembers most is a little rubber elephant; no wonder this is his favorite animal.
The next major life changing event in dad’s life was the loss of his brother LORENZO DELBERT WHITAKER. At the time his brother was only twenty years of age; he died of a heart disease, but dad believed that it was the medications that killed him. On his death certificate it says it was rheumatic heart disease that he died of on Jan 30th 1940, dad was only ten at the time.
In tenth grade at about the age of 16, Floyd dropped out of school and went to work. Times were tough for his family and his parents were getting older being about 76 and 66 years of age. (Hyrum Richard was 60 years old and his mom Mary Cecilia was 49 almost 50 years old when Floyd was born.) During the next couple of years he worked and went to the theaters with his brothers. One of the jobs he did was working the garbage truck. He said that when the garbage truck was dumped the ashes from it would get him all dirty. Because he had to work, dad didn’t get to go back to school until in his 30’s. That was when he completed his GED or General Education Degree this was something he said that Fern made him do, and he was grateful for her insisting on it.
On the 25th of June 1950 the North Koreans invaded South Korea; this was the start of the KOREAN WAR. Floyd wanting to avoid going overseas, joined the National Guard, and became part of the 204TH ARTILLERY BATTALION. This was the wrong decision to avoid the war, instead of staying close to home they were the first group of men sent over to Korea to fight.
Training for the conflict began; at first they had my dad shooting off artillery. That is until the huge gun he was using got a kink in the cable and went off before it was supposed to. Dad’s career as a gunman literally exploded. Not anxious for a repeat performance they put him in the switchboard and wiring station. When training was done the National Guard headed for Korea.
Day after day these loud guns went off, leaving hearing loss behind. My dad didn’t completely go deaf, but his hearing was seriously depleted. Although without this defect we wouldn’t have some of the funniest stories to tell, such a story happened around Thanksgiving, Mom (Fern) was talking about getting a large turkey to cook up for the meal. My dad had misheard what she’d said and asked, “WHAT DO WE NEED A BIG TOOTHPICK FOR?”
Sometime after Floyd went off to war, he married his first wife Montella. During his marriage to her they had two children, a boy born in 1954. He is almost one year older than my brother. Then a girl was born in the year 1956 almost one year younger than my brother by mom and almost one year older than my sister by mom. His boy was six and the girl was still a baby when Floyd and Montella got a divorce in 1960.With both Fern Mobley and Floyd Whitaker having been through a divorce, they were once more free to play the field. For entertainment Floyd would go to the bars and drink a few beers. On this special occasion his good friend RoSs Child came in with his cousin Fern Mobley, and introduced the two of them. Now maybe no sparks flew, and they certainly weren’t smitten at first sight, but somehow they liked each other enough to start dating. Mom taught Ross Child how to dance, she also tried to teach dad but he had ‘two left feet and three rights.’ According to my brother she tried to teach him as well. I’m certain she tried to teach all of her children how to dance--after all she taught me the Jitter bug and the swing.
Then in the most romantic fashion possible, Floyd--sadly lacking any kind of embellishment--flat out asked Fern to marry him. And they had a grand MARRIAGE where they eloped to Elcho Nevada on May 19th 1962. Now seriously this was their second marriage, so neither of them needed the pomp and ceremony that usually goes into a wedding. So it might not have been the kind of wedding that we all dream of, but it was sufficient.
Almost a year later, but not quite, they welcomed their first child together into the world. A daughter (Name withheld due to fact still living) was born on January 25, 1963. Because of the prior car accident with a guy that was blind in one eye, Mom had to have multiple back surgeries. Unfortunately the Dr., who performed these operations, was incompetent. Indeed, he had become known as a bit of a drunk. This put off having another child for eight years, so I didn’t make an advent into this world until 1971. In addition, somewhere around their latter teen years my brother and my sister by mom (names withheld) were adopted by Floyd.
Needless to say life went on and lots of things happened. At eight months old I fractured my skull. When I was five my older sister was married to her first husband and then not too long afterward divorced him. My brother went into the army and went to live in Germany and later Louisiana. Of course Fern and Floyd went to see him and took a grand tour of Europe when I was about eight years old. Then in December when he was in Louisiana we went and saw him after Christmas. It was miserable sleeping on the vent in his trailer. My older sister remarried and had a baby girl the day after I turned ten. My younger sister married when I was about eleven years old and started her family. She has one girl, and four boys. My brother married and together they have four children. Three boys and one girl. I was the last to leave home and had a few special memories that involved just my parents and me. I now have two kids of my own one girl and one boy.