My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer, age 18
BY THEODORE ROETHKE
My Memoir Backstory “My Daddy” takes up where I left off writing “My Memoirs Introduction: I Was Born a “Saint.” After I posted that blog, I realized I put the cart before the horse; i.e., I started my Memoirs bass-ackwards by getting myself born before I told you anything about how I got here.
Since we all come from the past, my readers ought to know what it is that went into my making. So I’ve decided to present a bunch of Backstory, beginning with my father, Floyd Otto Spencer; ending with my mother, Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald and her LeBaron backstory.
After that, I’ll continue with my own Memoirs that will include more tales about Mother and Father as they intertwine throughout my Memoirs.
Now for a bit of how I got here from the past. And some of what went into my making. I hope you enjoy reading “My Daddy” as much as I enjoyed writing it. Writing about Papa was sort of like having him around again!
My Daddy, Part 1
My handsome five-foot-10.5-inch, black-haired, black-eyed, dark-skinned (when tanned) father was a hot-tempered, strict, shy, witty, sharp-tongued, short-fused and gifted man. “Daddy,” as we called him, was also a sensitive Artist and Creative.
Born July 27, 1895 in Marion, Michigan. He died on my birthday, April 18, 1965, in Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico. His death was the outcome of a freak “accident.” I believe Mother, Esther LeBaron Spencer, and her brother, my Uncle Ervil LeBaron, had a hand in it. (I will relate this whole incident in my upcoming Memoirs.)
Born in a backwoods frontier town, Daddy was very much of pioneer stock. His parents were mostly of English descent, he believed. He was unable to track his full genealogy. But one thing we know for sure is Winston Spencer Churchhill, former statesman and Prime Minister of Great Britain, was his second cousin.
One Sunday afternoon, in our small living room, lit only by light from the windows and fireplace, Mother was giving Daddy his routine, expert-looking haircut, when we children, catching Daddy “Captive,” saw a good chance to gather around his knees and pepper him with questions about his parents, grandparents, and past.
He was usually busy working. And even now he was hesitant to answer all our forward questions. But when asked about his bloodline, he sheepishly responded:
“My grandmother on my mother’s side was a full-blooded Mohawk Indian squaw. I used to visit her in her hogan from time to time.” He was embarrassed to admit this. But then he added:
“She was a typical Indian … Sweet, poor, and no furniture to speak of. I can still see her squatting on the floor as she did her routine work in her dark little hogan that had only one window and a fire burning in the middle of the room — smoke rising up and out through a hole in the ceiling.”
This helps to explain why Daddy used to chide Mother when he saw her squatting on the floor sorting beans or such. He’d cry: “You look like an old Indian squaw! Get up and sit on a chair at the table to sort your beans … like a civilized human being!!”
However, after joining the LeBaron cult and learning from my uncles the Mormon beliefs Joseph Smith taught about the American Indians — that they “were part of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and were going to play a very important role in the last days,” Daddy made an effort to get in touch with the indigenous American Indian side of himself.
He even began to exhibit pride in being at least one-quarter American Indian. I say “at least” because he was not sure of his full heritage — only that his mother was half American Indian.
But one day, not long before we moved to Mexico, Daddy took a trip to visit the Hopi and Navajo Indian villages in Arizona and New Mexico, returning home feeling very exhilarated, uplifted, and more proud than ever of his Indian heritage. It rubbed off on me: I’m at least one-eighth American Indian, and proud of it.
I am told that Daddy’s eleven children by his first wife Eva say/ said they do not have any Indian blood. Most, if not all of my thirteen siblings use this to “prove” they have no American Indian blood in them!
All I can say is there are lots of things my siblings don’t know and one of them is this: It is part of our American history that, when Daddy was growing up, it was such a shame to have any Indian blood in oneself that he, as did most Americans back then, covered it up. That means they didn’t even tell their children about it.
But there are many Americans who are part American Indian. In our early history, the majority of Europeans who migrated to the New World were men, often single men. They mated with and often married Indian women. It was not a shame back then to be married to an Indian squaw. The tables have turned again: People have begun to tell with pride that they are part American Indian.
Another little-known fact is that one way indigenous Americans disappeared was through intermarriage. It was an easy and peaceful way for the early European settlers to gain land, among other things.
One of my sisters told me Ancestry.com does not show she has any American Indian genes! It is too expensive to check every single marker in your gene pool. So Ancestry.com merely gives people feedback on the gene pools common to the area their ancestors came from. (Research this fact online to see if you can find the same articles I read on this subject.)
*Continued in My Memoirs: My Daddy, Pt 2.
PS: It has come to my attention that some people think they can only get to my website through one of my social media sites such as Facebook. So let me give you my URL. That way you may access my Website directly: https://StephanySpencer.com — Stephany with a “y.”
If you click on my “Follow” button and leave me your e-mail address, each time a new blog is posted, you will get an email alerting you. My cell phone number, in case you would like to call me, is 818-624-8522.
I would love feedback from my readers. Your comments, “Like’s,” etc., help guide and motivate what I, a writer, will write next. I would really appreciate it, also, if you would let me know, through comments or calls, if you find any spelling or grammatical errors — or any other errors in my writings.
I have nobody editing nor critiquing what I write before I post it. So your feedback is important. Thank you in advance for any time you take to let me know these vital things. And know you are much appreciated!
Now, till next time, thank you for visiting my Website — And for reading especially my blogs that tell you what my Memoir’s intentions are. And thank you for just being you!
Cheers and enjoy!
Stephany Spencer/AKA: Beulah Spencer Tucker de LeBaron