My Memoirs Backstory: My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer, Pt 2

My Daddy (around ages 51 & 18 consecutively)



“Show me someone who
believes you can’t change history,
and I’ll show you someone who
hasn’t tried to write their memoirs.”
Mark Twain




My Daddy, part 2

*(Continuing from Part One)

Daddy was the oldest of two children, raised Methodist, and held White Anglo-Saxon Protestant values — their strong work ethic, for example. Daddy was always a hard worker, but you might even say he was a workaholic.

That figures: His father was a “raging alcoholic.” (Going to extremes in any area is indicative of addiction. For example, God is a drug for religious addicts; i.e., religious fanatics. Does that ring a bell? It sure does for me!)

Twelve-Steppers,” especially ACA ’S/ Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families — a 12-step program  — will know what I’m talking about. If these terms are new to you, it might be well worth looking up 12-step organizations in your area. They were very valuable in my development, given the dysfunctional family I was brought up in.)

Now back to more Bio about Dad:

At around age four,” Daddy told me, “my mother gave me away to her sister to raise. When my sister, Doris, two years younger than I,* died at age twelve, Mother wanted me back. But I refused to go back. I was fourteen then, and so angry at what she’d done!! I was happier living with my aunt, anyway,” sadly remarked my father.

Then he continued, “I often had to dig tunnels in the snow during winter time to get to school  because the snow piled up so high. Sometimes it was up higher than the schoolhouse door. My school consisted of one room and one teacher teaching all the grades from 1st through 12th 

“I didn’t do very well in her classroom— Didn’t get along with that didactic, strict, bossy teacher. She regularly humiliated me in front of the class … Often made me sit in the corner with a dunce cap on … I was always making the students laugh due to my witty wisecracks, clowning around, and cutting up.

“In fifth grade, I couldn’t take any more of this mean, punishing teacher. (I’d had her since first grade.) So I dropped out — refused to go to her one-room school anymore — though it was the only school around. I just couldn’t learn under the teacher.

“However, from then on, I felt I was a failure, in many ways — not to mention that my parents gave me away when I was so little. That affected my self-worth. But due to my one and only elementary schoolteacher, I further questioned my self-worth, because I kind of believed it was due to my lack of brains that I wasn’t getting better grades in this teacher’s class.”

That bad impression of himself as a student and person went with my father throughout his life. It sadly affected his self-confidence and self-esteem, further adding to his shyness, and his oftentimes not feeling very good about himself … in some ways.

But lack of a good supporting education, in and of itself, is enough to affect anyone’s self-confidence and achievements in life; i.ei, They see many people  able to accomplish things they cannot accomplish, often not realizing their only setback was maybe they had no competitive foundation — Only a poor, fifth-grade, one-room classroom education — typical of the early 1900’s in back-woods pioneer towns.

However, Daddy accomplished much more in life than many people with a far better education and advantages. He was a very proud and confident man in some ways, therefore. His being so gifted, talented, and successful at many things he attempted in life helped build his self-esteem, despite the negative aspects of his early education and childhood. You can see this confidence exuding in his photos.

His teacher and that old-fashioned, backwards school system had branded him as “Not Smart, a bad person, and a poor student — a DUNCE!” How sad, because he was a very bright, gifted boy/person. I, having taught school for thirty years, should know what I am talking about!

It grieves me that there are teachers who can be so judgmental as to brand children for life, thinking they know what they’re doing. They don’t! I’ve experienced this branding firsthand. It only shows how ignorant the teacher was that would do such a thing to any child or student.

Their ignorance, arrogance, ego, and the need to control gets the best of them. If they looked at and treated every student as if that child were the son or daughter of the school Superintendent, Principal, or President of the United States of America, I guarantee you that would take any judgmental Educator down a notch or two — and their students up a notch or two!


  • I’m not positive about the age difference between Daddy and his sister, etc., so I wrote my best guesstimates. Please inform me if you know better.

*Continued in My Memoirs: My Daddy, Pt. 3


 

2 thoughts on “My Memoirs Backstory: My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer, Pt 2

  1. Your father seems to have done all right for himself despite his lack of success at school.

    I think his story says more about the failure of the education system he was exposed to than any failure on his part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My father was blessed to have the number of gifts that helped him to succeed as well as he did, despite the backwoods one-room schoolhouse that was all that was available in his pioneer town at the turn of the 20th Century. At that time, education wasn’t even available for many Americans, let alone mandatory.

      Public education only became legally mandatory after the 1st World War, and the picking up of industrialization in the United States. These two incidents showed our leaders we badly needed to prepare, through a public education system, our progeny for the 20th Century needs–including war.

      Like

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