My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer:
Ma Meets Pa … Or Was It the Other Way Around?
History will be kind to me
for I intend to write it.
Winston Spencer Churchill
“It was love at first sight!” exclaimed Mama. “When I first met your Pa, he was up on the roof, in sunny Mesa, Arizona, helpin’ my brother Alma reroof my brother Ben’s house. The year was 1943, I was about twenty-three, ‘n’ in my second year at Tempe University — And quite sure I didn’t want to live polygamy. But all that changed when I met yer pa: I knew, the minute I saw him, he was the man I was supposed to marry!”
So it didn’t matter that my future Daddy was twenty-six years her senior, already married to a beautiful woman, Eva Bowman, and together those two had ten gorgeous children — Plus another on the way. None of that mattered because Mama was a Mormon fundamentalist.
What did matter in Mormon fundamentalist eyes is Ma was “an old maid” at the time she met future Pa. Now, how had she, an attractive, gifted, and accomplished young woman, existed so long under the radar without being “married up”? For “Plygs” are generally married off as children — because, to them, marriage and having all the kids one can have is what Life is all about; i.e., All that matters to Mormon fundamentalists, in general, is having all the kids and wives they can have — so as to bring all the little spirits they possibly can into good Mormon fundamentalist homes.
These homes are the best homes in the world, they believe. They simply sacrifice their ALL to serve God by bringing as many as they can of these little foreordained spirits down into “good Mormon homes;” i.e., homes that live the “fullness of the gospel,” as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught it — Homes where not one jot nor one tittle of these early prophets’ words and teachings have been changed! (Is that obsessive-compulsive or what?! Well, they don’t think so.)
But getting back to where I got sidetracked, I’ll tell you what Mother was doing still single at twenty-two: This “catch” was “a Mexico LeBaron.” Now if you’re a Mormon fundamentalist, you know what that means: There was mental illness in Ma’s Family; i.e., “The Mexico-LeBaron Family.”
Let me give you some backstory — if I have the story right. (LeBaron stories are/ were wont to change from time to time): Ma’s big brother, my Uncle Ben, was not only bipolar/schizophrenic, but had recently let the various Mormon fundamentalist groups know they were to follow him as their “Priesthood Head,” because he was the “One Mighty ‘n’ Strong.” Uncle Ben further quipped: “I get revelations from God regularly … Thus sayeth the Lord! “
He claimed his father had given him a special priesthood mantle — the “Scepter of Power,” or “The Right of the Firstborn.” (My maternal grandfather, Dayer LeBaron, taught his family this mantle of priesthood power was given to him, Dayer, by his grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson — who got it from the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. Crazy? And how!)
In today’s blog, it’s not my intent to go into Mormon fundamentalist and LeBaron doctrines, other than to say all this above crazy business meant Uncle Ben claimed to hold the priesthood keys to the kingdom of God on earth. So he was, therefore, “The one Mighty ‘n’ strong, come in the last days to set the house of God in order” — as prophesied in Mormon scriptures.
The Mormon fundamentalists believe “The house of God” (i.e., the mainstream Mormon church) had gotten out of order and lost the keys to the priesthood and, thus, favor with God when they signed away plural marriage in the Manifesto of 1890. (For polygamy was the highest commandment their Prophet Joseph Smith had given them.)
Trust me, that’s all we have time to tell about these fundamentalist doctrines and beliefs, at the moment. We’ve already gotten far off the subject of “Ma Meets Pa.” But at least now you know why Ma did not feel she was a home-breaker … Instead, believed she was a “home-maker.”
My parents, Esther LeBaron McDonald and Floyd Otto Spencer
Home Sweet Home
Sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home —
There’s no place like home
‘Mid pleasures and palaces,
Though I may roam,
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.
A charm from the sky
Seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro’ the world,
Is ne’er met with elsewhere
To thee, I’ll return,
Overburdened with care;
The heart’s dearest solace
Will smile on me there
No more from that cottage
Again I will roam;
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.
NOTE: “Home Sweet Home” was one of Daddy’s favorite songs. (When I was ten years old, he taught me to play it on the harmonica).
This classic folksong and hymn was written by American lyricist John Howard Payne and English composer Sir Henry Bishop for an opera that was first produced in London in 1823. The song became hugely popular throughout the United States, and was a favorite of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.)
Let’s continue where we left off in Part 11 of “My Mama,” where she was saying: “I didn’t feel I was a home-breaker … The thought never entered my mind. I believed I was a ‘home maker’ because I brought your Pa into ‘the glorious Principle of Plural Marriage.’
“I knew his living this holy principle, as laid down by Joseph Smith, would ensure he would not only have a chance to obtain a home in heaven with God — but he’d also be able to become a God, himself, in the hereafter … and create worlds of his own … and, thus, many homes throughout eternity. Therefore, I was not a ‘homebreaker’ … I was a ‘home maker.’ ”
So here we have fervent Mormon fundamentalist homewrecker, lovestruck Ma, instead of perched upon a chair doing her college homework, perched upon the housetop doing “homemaker homework” … flirting in a “pretty-please” position irresistible to future Pa — the guy Mama’s ma said, “had one-foot-in-the-grave.” (He was forty-eight years old — twenty-six years older than Mama.)
Now, while beautiful future Mother was ardently gazing into gorgeous future Father’s eyes, Mother’s brothers were arduously and assiduously helping lay new shingles as fastidiously as they were waxing unwise in converting future brother-in-law to polygamy, Mormon orthodoxy … and all its lies!
The re-roofing while preaching gave gorgeous Ma multiple moments to be with handsome Pa … Moments in which they got to know each other — up on the rooftop in sunny Arizona.
All during this time, Uncle Ben wasted no time showing my future father, mainstream Mormon Floyd Spencer, scriptures that would convince him the Mormon church was out of order.
However, he was unable to convince future Father that he, Benjamin Teasdale LeBaron, was the one mighty ’n’ strong — come to set the the Mormon church/ the house of God back in order — despite Uncle Ben’s constantly hearing voices from within while relating to future Father his “Thus sayeth the Lord!” revelations. “The word of God” came to my schizophrenic uncle on a regular basis (as usual) … And on a stepped-up basis while working with and trying to convert future Father to his, Uncle Ben’s, new church.
Floyd Otto Spencer and Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer
“Home is the place where,
when you have to go there,
they have to take you in.”
We left off where Uncle Ben wasn’t able to convince future Pa, Floyd Spencer, that he, Benjamin Teasdale LeBaron, was The One Mighty ‘n’ Strong come to set the house of God in order. However, Uncle Ben had convinced Floyd Spencer the only way he could be saved was to enter into Plural Marriage; i.e., polygamy/ polygyny/ bigamy.
In fact, betwixt Ma and her brother Ben, my handsome mainstream Mormon pa, Floyd Spencer, was quickly converted to “Plural Marriage” and “the fullness of the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalist gospel.
It wasn’t hard: My young sexy “future Ma” was regularly looking, with eyes aglow, into the eyes of my middle-aged “future Pa” — and the countenance of the man she “knew” she was to marry — And “Pa” had a reputation for being a womanizer — said a half-brother of mine I met years ago — one of Daddy’s sons by his first wife Eva.
But what finally cinched Floyd’s conversion to polygamy was Uncle Ben’s reading him the 132nd sec. of The Doctrine and Covenants — the Mormon scriptural revelation wherein J. Smith commands his followers to live Plural Marriage or be damned to hell.
After future Pa’s conversion to Mormon fundamentalism, it wasn’t long thereafter before he and future Ma were lovers; and even sooner, snuggled up in the bed of/ the back of Pa’s pick-up truck, with Uncle Ben — or Uncle Alma? — in the cab at the wheel, hitting the unpaved rocky rutted road at top speed, while the vehicle bounced ‘n’ bumped up-‘n’-down (‘n’ humped ‘n’ pumped?) as they spead along towards the Mormon town, Colonia Juarez, Mexico — so Pa could get permission from Ma’s pa to marry Ma — while they were still hopefully chaste?! Hmmm! (I would’ve loved to have gone along for the ride, LOL!)
But Daddy didn’t get much permission from his legal wife Ava (Eva?) to take a ride — let alone a second wife. She could “take a hike,” as far as he was concerned because Joseph Smith’s commandment to “live polygamy or be damned” came ahead of everything else — and he’d be damned if he’d be damned!
So Daddy’s long-time wife Ava (Eva?), in short time and even shorter order, damned their marriage to hell by asking for a damnable divorce! And, in even shorter order, ordered Daddy out of her house because, in her book, he was a bastard who had basically badly bungled.
In other words, he’d left his first wife mentally mortally wounded, which culminated in her making a bumble-beeline straight for the Maricopa County Courthouse line,* dragging along, behind, hers and Pa’s eleven kids — the youngest still in the womb?*
She’d stuck out six-suffering months with her handsome, hardworking husband. But at around age forty-two, betrayed, and unable to bear any longer the heartbreak, betrayal, jealousy, and loneliness, due to his bedding and abetting his nubile new twenty-two-year-old polygamist bride, Eva divorced him on the basis of Adultery, Assault and Battery, Abandonment, Emotional Abuse, and Incompatibility.
While at it, she obtained a Restraining Order … barring him from her and their kids’ from then on … and quite well forever! (Tears!!) So Daddy never saw his and Eva’s babies again until his last child, Vonda, was around seventeen!
I was fourteen at the time and present when they met. Daddy had to pull a lot of sneaky strings, behind Eva’s back, to see her. And felt lucky they got to meet at all — for Vonda was truly a beautiful but reticent doll!
His son, Jimmy, whom he’d not seen since a baby, was there also. But Daddy’s kids thru his first-wife Eva had been so turned against him, it was hardly a warm welcome; just a short reunion … but better than no reunion at all.)
* I’m not sure if it was the Maricopa County Courthouse. And not sure if Daddy’s and Eva’s youngest daughter, Vonda, was born yet or not. If you know for sure, I thank you in advance for letting me know.
“That which does not kill you
will make you stronger.”
We left off in Part 13 where my “future ma and pa” lay … or sat … on a makeshift bed of blankets in the back of “future Papa’s” pickup truck. The blankets padded their backs and butts as they bounced and bumped along in a rough ‘n’ rickety ride over 1940s rutted roads in their 1940s vehicle that soon left Mesa, Arizona far behind, as they bounded for the Mexican border making lickety-split time!
Like bandits, they had to get out of Dodge so as to dodge the law that would like to put Pa in jail for practicing polygamy — thanks to his first wife, Eva, for turning him in! But can you blame her? The law is the law!
My uncles Ben and Alma participated in the excitement and the anticipation as they sat in the truck’s cab taking turns at the wheel while conversing excitedly about their soon-to-be brother-in-law’s recent conversion to Plural Marriage and “the fullness of the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalism.
They were proud of themselves and their ability to preach the gospel; i.e., their ability to be good missionaries … felt they had done “a good day’s work” by bringing another soul into “The Work” — That is, “The work of God, in God’s only true Church upon the face of the earth.”
This “accomplishment” heightened their sense of self-esteem and self-worth — Puffed them up a bit as they continued making a beeline for their hometown — the Mexican Mormon colony, Colonia Juarez … so their sister, Esther, could get their papa’s permission to wed — ASAP!
But they had another important reason for going there: There was a certain so-‘n’-so (Was his his name is Nathan Clark?* His name was kept secret so he wouldn’t get in trouble with the church or law) — a priesthood member in high standing in the LDS church who lived in that colony. He held the keys to “temple sealings/ celestial marriage.”
Though a member in good standing in the LDS church, he continued to perform Plural Marriages (in secret) — even though, ever since The Manifesto of 1890, Plural Marriage had been condemned and outlawed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
To make a longer story shorter, my future parents, Esther and Floyd, easily obtained permission from Mother’s father to marry, though her parents weren’t particularly happy she was marrying a man over twice her age — who already had “one foot in the grave” … as my maternal grandma liked to put it.
Nevertheless, “future Mama’s” Mormon fundamentalist parents were relieved their middle child/ youngest living daughter, Esther LeBaron de McDonald, had finally “come to her senses” … Had, in the end, chosen to marry into polygamy.
I confess, they had been very worried about her salvation and her entering the highest degree of glory, once in heaven, because, for some years there, Esther had professed (to their dismay) not to believe in nor want to live Plural Marriage:
“Part of what changed my mind ‘n’ convinced me to accept ‘the holy and righteous Principle of Plural Marriage,’ Mama said, “is I had a marvelously inspired revelation — a dream that showed me plural marriage was right — It even outlined exactly how it should be lived … And how glorious it could be … if participated in correctly.”
Daddy, likewise, believed he had done the right thing to take a plural wife. But sometimes I wonder if he wondered if he’d chosen wrongly. For, not long after he’d married Mom, to his dismay, his hair suddenly turned from Salt-‘n’-Pepper gray to pure white … And thinned … as he turned “blue” and thinner under the unexpected stresses, losses, devastation, and sorrows that followed his new Mormon fundamentalist faith and lifestyle.
Especially devastating to him was losing his eleven beautiful children — not to mention his beloved wife, Eva. Then, on top of all this … and for all his sacrifices and attempts to live “The Holy Principle of Matrimony — Plural Marriage,” he was soon, again, a monogamist, anyway!! And remained that way till the day he died — was never able to take on another plural wife, so as to live “The fullness of the gospel.” (“Future Ma” was too jealous to let him take another wife!)
Ah, what travesties and travails life doth present us … And how much of our pain and sorrow do we bringeth upon ourselves because, though we may think we are doing what is right, we are, in reality, touching/ keeping our fingers on a hot stove; i.e., We’re doing what is wrong.
However, not realizing this, Daddy concluded: “I couldn’t allow Eva to wear the pants in the family, pussy whip me, and carry me down to hell with her ‘cause she wouldn’t abide by the higher laws of God.
“In a sense, Eva was evil,* in that she was too weak to follow me, her husband and priesthood head — too rebellious to live the fullness of the gospel. So, instead of doing what was right, by following God’s command to live plural marriage, she chose to do wrong — to get revenge … causing me no end of trouble with the law and the Mormon church. Even kept me from ever seeing my kids again!!!*
Nonetheless, I had to put God’s Commandments first … That is, to give my life for God and the truth. I knew I could not let her stop me from doing what I believed was right; I had to continue to follow the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live ‘The Holy Principle of Plural Marriage’ … or die trying … or I’d be damned.” (And he’d be damned if he’d be damned!)
*Was his name is Nathan Clark? Or was it a different person who sealed my parents in marriage? To anyone reading my blog who knows the answer to this, I would really appreciate it if you would let me know … in my “Comments” box.
* Bear in mind that I’m trying to present Daddy’s point of view. To be sure, it didn’t include such things as his violence – his physical and mental abuse towards Eva. I suspect this was sufficient reason to provoke betrayed Eva to obtain a Restraining Order against him to keep him away from her and her kids … and off her property.
He was of the old-country thinking: Thought it his position and right, as man of the house, to beat his wife into submission; i.e., to control her by “whipping her into shape.” Mama was of this mindset, also! (She bent to her husband’s/ her priesthood head’s will, as good Mormon fundamentalist wives do … so she wouldn’t “deserve” his wrath.)
And, of course, when it comes to his first wife, Eva, Daddy didn’t admit to his betrayal of her, nor the hurt he caused her and her/his family when he took on another wife and family.
Unfortunately, Mormon fundamentalists follow their early founders to the hilt – leaders who told them living plural marriage was God’s highest and most holy law. Being stoics, they believed they had to put aside their own feelings and needs … as well as the feelings and needs of all others involved … in order to live polygamy! Ridiculous? And how! But that’s how they believed.
Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
Ma Meets Pa … Part 15
“Home isn’t home anymore.”
(from Olivia Newton John’s song)
We left off in last week’s blog where Daddy said:
“I couldn’t allow Eva to wear the pants in the family, pussy-whip me, and carry me down to hell with her ‘cause she wouldn’t abide by the higher laws of God and Joseph Smith. In this, Eva was evil: She was rebellious … not spiritual enough to follow her priesthood head, do what was right, and live the fullness of the gospel.
“Instead, she turned my kids against me! Even took out a Restraining Order to keep me from seeing them ever again.* So I had to divest myself of her in order to follow the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live ‘The Principle of Plural Marriage’ or be damned.
“Before I married yer ma, Eva had agreed to go along with my takin’ a plural wife. But she soon changed her mind, betrayed me … and went to the law to get me in trouble.
“Because of her treachery, I had to sell out and flee the country. And set up a totally new homestead in Old Mexico — though I knew no Spanish! As an American wasn’t allowed to get a job and make a living there, either!
“Eva even had the Mormon church cut me off as an apostate! That was vengeful … traitorous! She couldn’t wait to get me into all kinds of legal fixes.
She ruined my estate. Due to her actions, I lost a lot of money. Had to sell, in too big a hurry, my home and almost everything I owned, to go into hiding in Old Mexico.
“Putting it succinctly, she was a revengeful ingrate. Her treachery and rebellion knew no bounds. It was unforgivable! She was, for so many years, my wonderful wife and helpmate — only to turn against me and do me in!”
Under these conditions, Daddy chose to stay with his new, twenty-years-younger-than-Eva wife, my Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald.
Mom said, “After he married me, he had far fewer migraines than he’d had livin’ with Eva. She was a perfectionist, an immaculate housekeeper … always pressured him too much.
“Yer pa could never please her enough. Her continuous and unending demands on him to make more money so they could live a better lifestyle stressed him out.”
Well, Papa got quite the opposite with Mama! She was a lay-back, easy-going creative and dreamer — never much concerned about what others thought of her housekeeping.
She lived in a dream world — believed she was high class and the greatest woman in the world … among other things. And above cleaning house and other such menial chores.
He must have missed Eva’s, “A place for everything and everything in its place,” for, in that way, Daddy was like Eva: He kept his shop organized and immaculate.
Born with the gene that enables people to organize things, each one of Daddy’s tools hung proudly and neatly on the wall in its own place when he wasn’t using it.
Not only that, his artistic placement of them formed a beautiful design, relaxing to the eye and pleasing to behold.
It was such a change from Mama’s disorganized, dirty home — which got increasingly worse over the years as she became more and more inundated and overwhelmed with the responsibility of too many children and all else that goes into managing a well-run household.
But to add to her distress and tiring, unending chores was, true to stoic Mormon fundamentalist ways, she was in a constant cycle of being either pregnant, nursing, or becoming pregnant again.
And to be sure, women’s work never ends! And Daddy never helped out in the house. That was “women’s work,” he believed!
What’s worse, no matter how Mother’s state of health and energies declined, she and Daddy believed it their fervent, foot-washing duty to God to put childbearing first.
Their family’s and their own needs and comforts were secondary when it came to bringing another little “fore-ordained special spirit” into their “righteous Mormon home.”
Mother and Daddy would give their life for any one of their yet unborn babies. That was Mormon fundamentalists doctrine.
I just wish they would’ve given their life — more attention, love, care, and money to the kids they already had. But Mama loved to tell people her dream was to have twenty-six kids or die trying! Instead, Daddy died.
But Mother remained ever the artist, as long as she lived … never much of a homemaker — though she designed beautiful clothes for us kids, curtains for the house, rugs for the floor — that sort of thing. She should’ve had servants, but we could not afford them.
But, after moving to Mexico, where labor was cheap, she would hire a cleaning lady, when the place got too dirty, the dishes, ironing, and laundry piled too high — and she couldn’t get one of her kids to do the menial maintenance work because they had grown up and flown the coop, or other such.
As for Daddy’s migraines, they generally let up, anyway, as people age. However, I’ve always wondered why Mother’s generally messy home didn’t give him a Full-blown migraine every time he walked in the door.
Actually, Mums would hustle us all into the house to quickly clean up messes, as much as possible, before Dad got home from work.
That helped keep him from flying into a rage because the place was a mess again and his meal was once more not on the table when he got home after a hard day’s labor in the fields or doing construction, or handyman work, clock and watch repair — or myriads of other chores and jobs.
But what helped keep peace in the home most was Daddy knew Mummy was in love with him. And so proud of him and all his accomplishments, talents, and abilities. He could not have been more appreciated and valued.
And, since Mama believed she was the greatest woman on earth, it went without saying she believed he was the greatest man on earth — next to the Prophet! Papa liked that feeling of importance … of being cared for and honored — priesthood-Pappy … King of the roost.
On top of that, Mumsy felt rich due to how well Daddy/ Floyd O. Spencer supported her and her family. But “Rich” is relative.
I guess she was rich, in comparison to the dire poverty she and her indigent, scrabble-farming family grew up with in Old Mexico — Not to mention, the pitiful want and starvation she saw all around her among many of the poor Mexican peoples! So I’d like to say Ma and Pa lived happily ever after … but did they?
* Bear in mind that I’m trying to present Daddy’s point of view. To be sure, that point of view didn’t include such things as his violence – his physical and mental abuse towards Eva and their kids.
Violent, tyrannical Dad believed it his right to dominate and administer physical abuse when his wife or kids were in rebellion, made a mistake — or irked him.
But sadly, Daddy was probably following the example he was raised with, didn’t know any better, and was only venting his anger, frustration, pain.
This was certainly more than sufficient reason to provoke betrayed Eva to obtain a Restraining Order against him to keep him away from her and her kids … and off her property.
He was of the-old-country thinking: Thought it his position and right, as man of the house, to beat his wife into submission; i.e., to control her by “whipping her into shape.”
Mama was of this mindset, also! (She bent to her husband’s/ her priesthood head’s will, as good Mormon fundamentalist wives are taught to do … so she wouldn’t “deserve” his wrath.)
Daddy didn’t admit to his betrayal of Eva, nor the hurt he caused her and her family when he took on another wife and family.
Unfortunately, Mormon fundamentalists follow their early founders to the hilt – leaders who told them living plural marriage was God’s highest and most holy law.
Being Stoics, they believed they had to put aside their own feelings and needs … as well as the feelings and needs of all others involved … in order to live polygamy! Ridiculous? And how! But that’s how they believed.
“Men never do evil so completely
and cheerfully as when they do it
from religious conviction.”
Picking up where we left off last week, I find it reprehensible Mormon fundamentalist dogma encourages women to intrude upon established marriages, break them up (as Mother did when she went after Father, who was already married and had nine or ten children at the time — and another soon on the way) — all in the name of polygamy; i.e., “living a higher law.”
In other words, it encourages adultery: It “legalizes” a woman’s going after a man she’s attracted to, though he is another woman’s “Contracted property.”
It’s altogether barbaric, ludicrous, deplorable, and inexcusable that a religion could teach doctrines that break up marriages and families. Laws that leave the wife broken-hearted, betrayed, her home downtrodden, and her life and that of her kids smashed to smithereens.
Often, thanks to problems with trying to live polygamy, children are left to grow up fatherless. And the now-single wife is forced to be mother and father to her large family of small children – A sure way to invite misery, poverty, deprivation; i.e., under-class living.
That’s exactly what happened in my father’s case. His Junior-High-age kids even had to quit school and work to help support the large, abandoned family! My father’s betrayed wife Eva, now a sad, grieving, and lonely mother of eleven fatherless children, had to leave the home and go to work too.
So who was left to tend home and babies? Obviously, the older children had to play mama. And become premature homemakers besides.
That’s what happened! Unfortunately, all the above is a typical scenario that broken families endure, thanks to evils like Mormon polygamous doctrines that put “celestial marriage” ahead of everything else.
I’m not proud of the part Mum played in the dire suffering and hell Daddy’s first wife and children endured, even if it was part of Mummy’s fundamentalist Mormon religion to break up marriages.
I only know she could never stand to have done to her what she did to others: She never practiced what she preached, when it came to polygamy. She was too jealous to allow Daddy a plural wife.
And Daddy wasn’t about to add on a second wife unless Mom was in full agreement. He’d already suffered, almost beyond endurance, after losing his first wife and eleven children.
Having learned his lesson the hard way, Dad wasn’t about to stumble, bumble, or ramble into another briar patch — to gamble again on whether taking a plural wife would or wouldn’t work out — womanizer or no womanizer.
In other words, he wasn’t wandering down any more poison ivy-bedecked garden paths — without his legal wife’s full agreement and encouragement. Even then, he might hesitate.
For Eva had been in agreement, to begin with, when it came to her husband taking a second wife — to fulfill Joseph Smith’s commandment to live plural marriage or be damned.
But within six months of Daddy’s having wedded Mummy; i.e., bedded Mommy, Eva could bear no more. She packed up kids and all and divorced him.
Though Mother didn’t mind or didn’t know what she was doing, at age twenty-two or twenty-three, when she went after somebody else’s attractive father and husband “in order to live plural marriage” — that is, have the man she wanted — in the end, she herself was unable to share her handsome husband, once Eva had left him.
She never encouraged Father to take another wife — never lived polygamy … Just talked about it. Just as she talked about herself being the most perfect, holy, and righteous woman on earth — the most-Godly example of how to live “the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalism. But again, it was all talk.
Ma even wrote and disseminated articles on the subject of how to live plural marriage — and the importance of this “holy law of matrimony”!
Followers follow, so the Mormon fundamentalists she put pressure on and talked into going into plural marriage, never took into account Mama had never lived it, herself, to speak of.
Anyway, Mother had, as the power behind her “punch,” the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live “the holy law of matrimony” or be damned to hell. So her followers drank the “punch” — and were damned to hell … till death do us part?? I damn well think so!
Even so, Mum had a following … admirers … true-believing people who idolized and lauded her — because she told them she knew she had her “calling and election made sure!”
If asked how she was so sure she was going to the highest degree of glory in heaven, when she died, she invariably vouched: “My Patriarchal Blessing told me so!” … as though she were so much more special than the rest of us?
- The following link is a YouTube presentation done by my Aunt Susan Ray Schmidt (formerly Susan Ray LeBaron, one of Uncle Verlan’s former wives who left him), wherein she tells the audience how much she had longed to know that she was saved; i.e., had her “calling and election made sure” … “like Esther LeBaron Spencer:”
“A wise man learns from other man’s experience.
A fool cannot learn even from his own.”
Taking up from last week’s blog: Since Mother did not/would not live polygamy when it came to sharing Daddy with another woman, I resent that she maneuvered and manipulated me into a harem — a life she could not live herself.
But what’s new?! Ma operated on double standards: What was not good enough for her was good enough for her daughter. Or she and Daddy were hoping I would be able to live the “highest law of God,” even though “Perfect” Mother was not able to.
I’m sure she wasn’t duplicitous on purpose, but her actions showed a lack of integrity and forethought, not to mention, empathy for me. But what can you expect from a true-believing “Saint” trapped mentally, spiritually, and physically in a world of evil, lies, perversion, fraud, and fantasy — and unable to find a way out?
But what can you expect from a true-believing “Saint” trapped mentally, spiritually, and physically in a world of evil, lies, perversion, fraud, and fantasy — and unable to find a way out?
Perhaps, her lack of feelings and integrity was at least partially brought on by her splitting from herself due to not only subconscious guilt because she was not living all the gospel precepts she taught and believed in, but also because her artistic and other deep human needs were not being met.
All these needs conflicted terribly with her crazy Mormon fundamentalist beliefs she’d been so indoctrinated and brainwashed with since birth — such as having to have all the kids she could have, one after another, no matter what the condition of her health was! And having to live “The law of chastity” (I’ll explain this in a future blog) — just two examples of the strict fundamentalist beliefs her “profits/Prophets” had instilled in her.
She dared not do what was best for her or her family. She was taught that she had to do what was best for “God” and “His gospel.” But when you remove the glittering generalities, you realize “God and the gospel” really referred to the “Profit” of the cult — he was “God and the gospel.” He was the one who benefitted from all the cult indoctrination he instilled in his followers.
But when you remove the glittering generalities, you realize “God and the gospel” really referred to the “Profit” of the cult — he was “God and the gospel.” He was the one who benefitted from all the cult indoctrination instilled in his followers.
Since Mummy dared not think for herself nor question “the truth,” she wasn’t aware of her two-faced-ness — if only because she couldn’t admit to herself she was “not good enough” to be able to live up to what she considered “the highest laws of God” … she who lived in a dream world, and told everybody she was the greatest, most righteous woman upon the face of the earth.*
Though Mum raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy, she never lived it during her twenty-two-year marriage with Father — that is, after his first wife divorced him within six months of his marrying Mama as his polygamist wife. But, hey, fourteen children and one wife were more than enough for one old man (or young man).
It was a blessing in disguise, I realize, now that I have escaped the polygamist cult, that Daddy didn’t have more wives and kids for our family to contend with and have to share our parents’ attention, energies, and already meager income with.
As for attention, what was that? About the only attention I ever got was when I was in trouble or they were piling on me more slave labor.
But, actually, as a Mormon fundamentalist, I didn’t think in terms of attention, being a slave, etc. That would’ve been “selfish and evil.” We were happy masochists in our misery as we denied ourselves in order to make any necessary sacrifices to bring more little spirits into “good Mormon fundamentalist homes “– such as ours. (LOL!)
We were happy fundamentalist Mormon masochists in our misery as we denied ourselves in order to make “necessary” sacrifices to bring more little spirits into “good Mormon fundamentalist homes “– such as ours. (LOL!)
We believed we were serving God by doing this. (We told ourselves a lot of stories!) But now that I look back on it, in reality, we were serving the self-proclaimed prophet/ profit, not God/Goodness:
The more kids we produced, and the more sacrifices we made, the more power and profit for the Prophet — and the more little girls available for him and his favorite priesthood members. As I’ve said before, it was all about quantity, not quality.
- The cult leaders taught if we even dared question what they told us and whether polygamy and “the gospel” was correct, we would be turned over to the buffetings of Satan. That meant we would lose our mind — a very real concern for my Mother and me.
*Please keep in mind: Throughout my blogs and Memoirs, I am talking only about the years I knew Mother. Everybody changes as they age.
I had no contact with her the last few years of her life before she became riddled with dementia, then died at ninety-two.
So I’ll cut her some slack and say that she must’ve been doing something right, or she wouldn’t have had so many people who loved her till the end and still have fond memories of her.
(Continued in: “My Memoirs Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer– Part 18”)
“One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd,
Three on the sidewalk
Is not allowed.”
(But have you noticed in “Big Love”
They may be doing it behind your back …
As in behind closed doors?
Step on a crack
And try to keep track!)
As mentioned in previous blogs, Ma raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy. Yet, she didn’t practice what she preached: She never lived Plural Marriage during her twenty-two years with Father.*
I resent this duplicity: How she incessantly preached “The Principle” and maneuvered others into it/polygamy as if she were a saint, Priestess, and the greatest example and authority on the subject — Though living “The Sacred Principle” was something she could not do herself — At least not while she was married to her own man.*
Maybe she felt she could vindicate herself for not having lived it – not having shared Daddy – by getting everybody else, instead, to share their husbands or/and live polygamy/”The Celestial Principle/Law of Marriage.”
But how I remember her ranting on about this “Principle” all the while I was growing up! And talking about how great “The Law of Celestial Marriage” was. Then she’d go on about the dream she had wherein God showed her how “wonderful and glorious” plural marriage is “when lived correctly.” I believe she got off on the power of pushing “The Principle.”
Pushing Plural Marriage as though she were the prime epitome of how to live it, is only one example of how she wasn’t honest with herself as to who she was and what she was doing by meddling in others’ marriages; i.e., directing others to live P.M., under the threat of going to hell if they did not, as if she, herself, were living it/polygamy!
That, perhaps, was her greatest downfall – not being strong enough to be honest with herself and others about who she really was, rather than sinking into a “wannabe” fantasy and Con world where she believed her own lies — that she was something she was not and so perfect she had her “Calling and Election” made sure.
In other words, Mother was basically telling people she was going to the highest degree of glory without having lived “The Law of Plural Marriage” during her twenty-two years with Father before he died. Truth be told, she never could share him with another woman.
The high road would have been to have accepted herself as she was and for who and what she was, warts, worms, and all, instead of trying to fool others by putting on that she was perfect — and also the supreme example of how to live — And blessed above all others. I guess she did not feel secure enough to live without pretense.*
Apparently, not understanding she needed to accept and portray herself as she was, lack of integrity became “the best policy — that is, pathological lying — she apparently believed her own stories.
Perhaps, believing she wouldn’t have nearly the influence and glory she had when carrying on as if she was God’s greatest daughter, she claimed to be above all others — “The Best,” Number One,” and “The most perfect woman in the world. God’s favorite female.”
In other words, she chose to live in a dream world of delusional thinking rather than be herself, a LeBaron whom many despised. But maybe one of the reasons the Dayer LeBaron family was largely despised, among other reasons, was because they lacked integrity — not to mention they didn’t fit in.
All the while I was growing up, being a “mundane commoner” was an anathema in Mother’s language. The last thing she wanted was to fit in and be average. She felt she was above others. And thrived on the attention and respect she got by going about like she was royalty and “The only one.”
But, at the same time, she would remind me, “Where much is given, much is expected.” And she meant it: She was good at doing community service and charity.
She once told me, “I never turn down a beggar — a “wayfarin’ stranger.” It could be God in disguise testing to see whether I follow His admonitions to feed the poor and needy.” So delusions of grandeur reigned hand-in-hand with dualism, duplicity — and fear of God’s retribution.
*Note: Please keep in mind: Throughout my blogs and Memoirs, I am talking only about the years I knew Mother. Everybody changes as they age. I had no contact with her the last few years of her life before she became riddled with dementia, then died at ninety-two.
So I’ll cut her some slack and say that she must’ve been doing something right, or she wouldn’t have had so many people who loved her till the end and still have fond memories of her.
*I know of at least six different times wherein Mother courted married men she was interested in. One of those men was Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs’ father — before she met, courted, then chose to marry Daddy, instead.
- (Continued August 11, 2017: “My Memoir Backstory: My Mother, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Mormon Polygamist Cults Unmasked — Part 19”)
*The following sermon is a perfect example of some of the stuff Mother preached in order to get people to live polygamy. And this is a perfect example of where she got her Mormon fundamentalist doctrine and authority:
(Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4., pp. 55-57; also printed in Deseret News, Vol. 6, pp. 235-236):
“I wish my women, and brother Kimball’s and brother Grant’s to leave, and every woman in this Territory, or else say in their hearts that they will embrace the Gospel — the whole of it….say to your wives, ‘Take all that I have and be set at liberty; but if you stay with me you shall comply with the law of God, and that too without any murmuring and whining.
You must fulfil the law of God in every respect, and round up your shoulders to walk up to the mark without any grunting. Now recollect that two weeks from to morrow I am going to set you at liberty.
But the first wife will say, ‘It is hard, for I have lived with my husband twenty years, or thirty, and have raised a family of children for him, and it is a great trial to me for him to have more women;’ then I say it is time that you gave him up to other women who will bear children.
If * wife had borne me all the children that she ever would bare, the celestial law would teach me to take young women that would have children….
Sisters, I am not joking, I do not throw out my proposition to banter your feelings, to see whether you will leave your husbands, all or any of you. But I know that there is no cessation to the everlasting whining of many of the women in this territory; I am satisfied that this is the case.
And if the women will turn from the commandments of God and continue to despise the order of heaven, I will pray that the curse of the Almighty may be close to their heals, and that it may be following them all the day long….
(Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4., pp. 55-57; also printed in Deseret News, Vol. 6, pp. 235-236)
Comments from Mormon Think: Obviously Brigham was motivated to give this speech because the women were not happy with polygamy. From searching records and reading various published stories from faithful polygamous wives, we have found many women that were very upset practicing LDS polygamy and not one account of a truly happily married polygamous woman from the 1800s but obviously, there must be some.
A few quotes from polygamous wives:
“Here was my husband,” she said, “gray headed, taking to his bed young girls in mockery of marriage. Of course, there could be no joy for him in such an intercourse except the indulgence of his fanaticism and of something else, perhaps, which I hesitate to mention.”
-Sarah Pratt speaking of her husband, the apostle Orson Pratt who dated a 16-year-old girl (and then married her) when he was 57. (Van Wagoner 1986, pp. 92)
“God will be very cruel if he does not give us poor women adequate compensation for the trials we have endured in polygamy.”
–Mary Ann Angell Young, Brigham Young’s second wife
“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”
-Helen Mar Kimball, Mormon Polygamy: A History, p. 53
Check out Mormon Think for more sources on polygamy and other LDS history.
My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer,
My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer, age 18
BY THEODORE ROETHKE
All rights reserved.
My Memoir Backstory “My Daddy” takes up where I left off writing “My Memoirs Introduction: I Was Born a “Saint.” After I wrote this 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, highly 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 he 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.
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
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.”
My Daddy, Part 2
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 school teacher, 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.e, 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 backwoods 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, backward 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 no longer positive about the age difference between Daddy and his sister, etc. So I wrote my best guesstimates. As in this and any other cases, I will greatly appreciate it if you will inform me wherever it seems that I am an error.
“Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic,
and power in it.
Begin it now.”
The year was 1958, the setting our home in Hurricane, Utah — The place: Around our average-sized family-room fireplace. While the flames flickered and leaped, warmed and lit our cozy little living room, we eleven Spencer kids huddled around our parents on the colorful rag rug Mother had crocheted.
I was twelve then, second to the oldest, and seventeen months younger than my oldest sibling, Doris — one of my rivals! While sixty-three-year-old Daddy sat situated on a high stool with a towel wrapped around his neck and shoulders, my talented, artistic thirty-seven-year-old Mother was at her routine task of trimming his white hair, employing the hair clippers he’d bought for this purpose.
As was often the case during such times, we kids were once again peppering Papa with personal questions about his intriguing boyhood, family, life … and white hair!
” I discovered my first gray hair when I was only fourteen years old!” Daddy explained. “Gray hairs really stand out when your hair is pitch black like mine used to be!”
My siblings and I were further enlightened when Mother got out Daddy’s scrapbook and a photo album so he could explain the pictures and keepsakes in them. There was a picture of my paternal grandmother dressed to the “T” in the high fashions of the early 1900s:
“My mother was a socialite,” he opined disapprovingly. “She was more concerned about her appearance and joining social circles than she was about being a good mother. She always decked herself out in the latest grand styles of the day — as you can see in this picture,” continued Daddy, pointing to a photo of his attractive mother in a hat.
I never got to meet my paternal grandparents nor Daddy’s aunt who raised him. Daddy was about fifty-two when I was born. I was around five years old when, in her nineties, his aunt died. She lived in Michigan, and we lived in St.George, Utah, at that time. Lack of time, money, and means precluded Daddy’s going to her funeral, though he really wanted to attend it.
Back before she died, I recall how elated he would be whenever a letter arrived from his aunt. Sometimes she would include a photo of herself, so I at least got to see what she looked like as a ninety-year-old woman … And I recall, too, the tears in Daddy’s eyes (a man who seldom showed any sign of tears) when he read the letter that said she had died.
One of the many disadvantages of having a father old enough to be your grandfather is that his parents die before you are old enough to meet them — that is if he even kept in contact with his parents at all — which Daddy did not.
Continuing with Daddy’s pictures, now: In another photo, his handsome “half-breed” entrepreneur mother stood on the porch in front of a wooden building. And Daddy recounted:
“My mother owned a little motel or boarding house. I helped her with the work there, often times — sweeping the big porch, fixing things, and helping at the front desk.
“In my free time, I loved to create things that really worked … like miniature model windmills I carved and devised myself, where the blades of the windmill could actually turn if you blew on them … or when there was wind.”
He was very proud of his ingenuity and creativity — the things he was amazingly able to come up with and make, though only a young boy — a child … things nobody else around him devised, not even adults. He loved to draw, too — funny caricatures and so forth.
“I also loved to design and create things like little wagons and cars with wheels that could roll — and even little houses and buildings.
“And I loved to carve whistles, wooden ducks, dogs, and other toys that had wheels on them so they could be pulled around with us wherever we went — which was how we made our toys move, back in those days.
“My dream was to be an Engineer — How I longed to be in the driver’s seat of a train and to work on trains. Trains were the big thing — an invention just coming into existence when I was a young boy.
“It was back when most people did not own a car, and model T Fords were barely becoming the big rage among the rich.
“One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. I was thirteen years old when that car came out. Henry Ford was my idol! I loved that he was an Inventor. I wanted to be an Inventor, myself — to design and create things like Ford and other Creators of my day.
“If I could’ve had my way and I’d had the advantage of money ‘n’ a good education, I would’ve been an Engineer. But instead of goin’ back to school ‘n’ workin’ for years to get the education I needed so as to go to college ‘n’ get an Engineering Degree, I married ‘n’ had a bunch of kids — to help build up God’s kingdom.
Then spent my time workin’ to raise ‘n’ support my families — my first family with Eva, and now this one.” Then Daddy changed the subject:
“As a youth, I never liked to sit around wastin’ time nor to play silly games like the rest of the kids … Liked to put my time to good use … to create things. Silly, noisy kids got on my nerves. But being an only child was a very lonely life. That’s one reason I chose to have lots of kids when I got married.”
“Silly, noisy kids got on my nerves. But being an only child was a very lonely life. That’s one reason I chose to have lots of kids when I got married.”
Explanation: Daddy was an Introvert — a creative like me — only one of a number of traits I inherited from Daddy’s side of the family.
If you do not know the characteristics of the different but unique, special Introvert brain and personality, there are a number of good books on the market that explain this valuable and wondrous trait.
And if you are related to Floyd Otto Spencer, and other such, chances are you or/and some of your children and posterity are also Introverts.
Even so, most Creatives, such as artists and writers, are Introverts or at least Ambiverts, as opposed to Extroverts. The world needs all these personality types.
The following are titles of three spectacular books on this subject that you may be interested in reading or at least skimming. If you can’t find some of these in your library or online, there are other books on the subject.
1- “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World,” by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.
2- “Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto,” by Anneli Rufus
3- “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You,” by Elaine N. Aaron, Ph.D.
“You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories. If people wanted you
to write warmly about them,
they should have behaved better.”
~ Anne Lamott
Going back to where we left off with Daddy saying he wanted to have a large family of children, let me tell you that this is one dream he fulfilled: He had eleven beautiful children with his first wife, Ava (Eva?) Bowman Spencer.
And fourteen more beautiful children with his second wife, my mother, Esther LeBaron Spencer. Thus, he was not only guaranteed to never be lonely again but to never have a moment’s peace or quietude, either.
And more often than not, there was even a new baby crying — to keep him up at night! But he finally learned how to pretty much fix that: He would waterboard them (not that uncommon, at least among the Mormon fundamentalists). At times he would even beat the tiny new babies incessantly for crying. (Tears!!)
But mainly, he mostly held his big strong hand over their mouth and nose till they were suffocating, all the while yelling at them:
“Shut up the goddamned crying!! Do you hear?! Shut up, I said, or you’ll get more to cry for!!”
After he did that consistently, a number of times, it generally taught most of his babies not to be caught dead crying anymore — if they could possibly help it. (Then you wonder why Morman fundamentalist children are so well-behaved?!)
He, like many fundamentalists, believed the Bible’s “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” meant to literally beat the devil out of the kids, to make them submissive to adults and thus to God — and the sooner they were made submissive, the better.
But some spiritual leaders believe “the rod” is only a metaphor for “the gospel.” In other words, if you don’t teach your children the gospel, they will grow up spoiled, wayward, and rebellious.
I believe force and brutality toward children — or anyone … or any animal — does just the opposite of beating the devil out of them: It beats the devil into them; i.e., can make them angry, hateful, emotionally disturbed, mean, and devilish. It also can cause them/people to split from themselves, and to lose their will, give up, and become zombies or such. (It breaks their spirit.)
In fact, one of the best ways to hypnotize a hyperactive or misbehaving child is to get up close to him/her, plant yourself right in his/her space, and yell vociferously at this child: “Behave!!!! Stop that!!!” Or whatever else it is you wish of the child. The child will do what you tell him/her after that … at least for a while.
So I wonder what kind of abuse my father suffered at the hands of adults when he was growing up since violent and abusive ways of parenting are now understood to be passed down from one generation to the next.
Unless one is able to recognize, then intercept and stop this abusive cycle and pattern learned from one’s upbringing and teachings, it will be passed on to one’s own offspring ad infinitum!
But thank God/Goodness, there are now laws in our country that carry stiff penalties for abusing children — as well as women, animals — or anyone … thanks to coalitions of good people who have worked diligently together throughout our society and other civilized parts of the world to make this world and life a better and the safer place for everyone.
However, reclusive families, such as exist in cults, often remain backwards when it comes to improvements in their behavior. Believing they are the only ones with “the truth,” and lead by poorly educated, narrow-minded leaders, they learn nothing much from “the world” that, nonetheless, continues to change as it strives to learn and to make a better world for all: through education, college, books, publications, educational T.V., films, and so forth — and now Computers, Smart Phones, Social Media, and other Hi-Tech devices and mechanisms.
That said, one reason Daddy and Mother were so anxious to move to the LeBaron colony in Old Mexico in 1960 was because shortly before their decision to move, a federal law was passed against Child Abuse. It stipulated dire legal penalties for parents who hit, beat, or otherwise physically abused their children. Daddy proclaimed vehemently, in regards to that law:
“What right has the government to step in and tell me how to raise my children?! I am the Priesthood head of my family! The Bible says, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ In other words, we are to ‘bend the twig’ correctly. We do that by beating the devil out of our children while they are still young enough to be taught how to behave and grow up as straight vines, not twisted, warped ones.
“Once a seedling is warped, you can’t change it. You can observe an example of that in plants and trees that weren’t supported and staked properly so they would grow straight rather than deformed. I can’t wait to get out of this wicked country and gather with the Saints in Zion, there in Colonia LeBaron where I’m free to exercise Biblical laws when it comes to raising my family!”
“A good memoir is born from that uniquely
important place in your personal history.”
“Writing Your Hot Topic Memoir”
Daddy was an autodidact. In other words, he was self-taught — in many areas. He would get books on auto mechanics, carpentry, building construction, watch and clock repair, farming, health — you name it — and learn how to do these things … How to eat healthfully, for example. Sometimes he took Night School classes too.
By the late 1940s or early 1950s, he was a Singer Sewing Machine salesman and repairman. He went from home to home selling and setting up this then newfangled, popular electric sewing machine that had quickly outdated the old treadle sewing machine.
He taught the proud owners how to use their new modern electric Singer sewing machine and its many attachments — such as the attachment for making buttonholes. And he maintained the machines, should they need service.
Later on, he morphed into a self-employed entrepreneur — a General Contractor, capable of building homes and commercial buildings, from the ground up, including creating the blueprints.
People liked to hire him because he could save them money, time, and trouble by doing everything himself — from the blueprints, foundation, building’s frame, cement work, flooring and roofing, to the electrical, plumbing, brick and rock work, landscape, carpentry, and the painting of his new buildings.
Provided they had time to wait for a one-man job to be finished, he was your man. Hiring a bunch of contractors and construction workers to do the job all at once was more much expensive and time-consuming, but would get the job done a lot faster if that was what one needed to do.
Because he was an introvert (or ambivert?) he preferred to work by himself. It’s a good thing because he didn’t get along well with most people. He had an artistic, fastidious, and perfectionistic personality, topped off with religious fanaticism, plus a high-strung, short-fused bad temper, and a sharp tongue. (He regularly called to repentance people in his presence he saw doing things that were against his religion!)
For example, he would tell mainstream Mormons they were headed for hell because they had given up plural marriage, practiced birth control, and had “mutilated” the holy temple garments Joseph Smith “ordained of God” and said should never be cut nor otherwise changed. This fervent and foot washing fundamentalist father of mine took his religion very seriously!
That said, he would also regularly worry, harass, and chastise women in the Mormon fundamentalist groups, too, for doing things like cutting their hair, sporting “worldly hairdos and makeup” — and for wearing their hemlines too high and their necklines too low! (Hemlines were supposed to be about down to the ankle, and necklines about up to the collarbone.)
“That tight sweater and skirt you’ve got on is exactly what leads men to want to rape women! You look like a goddamned Delilah!!” he swore at me one day when I was thirteen years old and dressed to go to school. That sure “learnt” me a lesson!
I’m being facetious, of course. Though I took off the sweater and skirt, so popular in the 1950s, and never wore such clothing again (during my life in the fundamentalist cult) I now know there is no excuse for men to rape women under any conditions!
If how women look or dress determines whether they get raped or not, then what about Aborigines and other Indigenous societies, for example, who go/went around (as a way of life) stark naked, half-naked — and “half-baked“? (Pun intended!)
It’s all a matter of culture, style, and one’s values, really. Women are not to blame if some all-brawn-and-no-brains men choose to try to dominate and use women to their own advantage.
Just because most men are much more muscular than women, that doesn’t make men superior to women. It certainly doesn’t give them a right to brutalize women so as to run them. Only backward people and cultures adhere to that old-world way of thinking.
In general, men aren’t superior to women, other than muscularly … usually. (When I was young and in shape, I was able to win more than one man in an arm wrestle, LOL!) Women are not objects, either, as some men seem to think. Men don’t own them — nor do they have the right to strong-arm nor otherwise control women — despite what some fundamentalist Mormons, et Al, believe.
But getting back to Daddy: His regularly chastising others and setting them straight led me to believe he was pretty perfect, himself. He must be, it seemed if he could be calling others on the carpet for not adhering to our extremist sect’s strict dress code or other such. If he could do that, he must be doing everything right himself, yes?
However, in hindsight (always the best sight) I see he needed to lighten up, simmer down, mind his own business — and quit projecting his own fears and faults onto others. In other words, like so many of us, he needed more patience and persistence, and less pestering of others; i.e., He needed to exhibit more charity. He just didn’t know it yet.
“Like all the arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis
is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study,
nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain
the highest possible perfection in it.”
Arthur Conan Doyle
Shortly before Daddy died, I saw a change in him. His visage fairly glowed, and he had become much more loving, relaxed, patient, kind, and happy — such that I no longer feared so much being in his presence. He had become more pleasurable to be around.
It was as though he’d undergone an epiphany — a life-changing experience, though I was not around him enough nor on comfortable enough terms with him to inquire as to any such experiences he might have had.
Furthermore, I was married then, and very busy taking care of my six-month-old baby at the time he was nearing death … then died. (As an aside and coincidence, he passed away on my eighteenth birthday!)
During his lifetime he had always done a lot to help others. Being an all-around handyman and Jack-of-all-trades (and Master of a few), people would often come to him for advice or call on him to help them fix something.
He never turned them down … that I know of — much to Mother’s frustration and dismay: “Daddy, why don’t you turn some of these people down?! There are things piling up around here to be done while others impinge on you to work for them for free!” (Mother generally called him “Daddy” just as we kids did.)
Yes, he had plenty of his own work around the house waiting to be done. But people appreciated and respected Daddy for his knowledge and know-how when it came to being “Mr.-Fix-it-Man,” and he enjoyed his revered reputation. He was no Scriptorian, though … unlike my mother’s brother, Ervil LeBaron, who often called on Daddy to fix things for him.
Uncle Ervil, who many of my readers may know of or will soon hear about (if you read my blogs for long) was just the opposite of Daddy. He spent most of his time studying Scriptures and Mormon religious works, writing some — and preaching a lot. I don’t recall him ever doing any manual labor. He managed to get my father and others to serve him, instead.
I don’t know how much money religiously-stalwart Daddy also put toward supporting Uncle Ervil and all his many wives and children — as well as my other uncles and their families, at times, when they were hard up for money and food.
I only know he certainly paid much more than his 10% in tithing, despite the large family he, himself, maintained. And he did this right up until the day he died at about seventy-one years of age! There was never any retirement for him — my hard-working papa!
Like everyone else, dedicated and diligent, conscientious Daddy liked feeling special and needed. And he enjoyed serving God, all the while being able to put to use his skills and ingenuity as he helped repair others’ broken equipment, or advised them on how to build something — or taught them how to do some of these things for themselves. Thus, he employed many of the things he had learned how to do … right up until the day he died.
So where he lost favor with people due to his judgmental temperament and sharp tongue, he gained respect and popularity by being otherwise naturally unassuming and willing to lend a humble, helping hand. And he benefitted from that respect, acceptance, and connection. It was a wonderful interchange of mutual love and appreciation.
*Other facts about Daddy that I didn’t think to bring up earlier:
*He was very sensitive, astute, and strong-willed. Therefore, as a young man, he abandoned his parents in Michigan, due to fallings-out with them — never again to contact them nor to return home for a visit.
His aunt had raised him since he was around four or five, I believe, as I related in an earlier blog. I’m not sure how young he was when he left his aunt’s home and took off to make it on his own. I’m only sure he was a true survivor. And what didn’t kill him made him stronger!
*Once he proudly told me:
“At age twenty-eight, I gave up smoking and drinking when I joined the Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). I was able to quit “cold turkey!” I simply decided to quit. And I never smoked again!”
And Daddy said, of his past smoking habit:
“People who will smoke will drink, and people who will drink will chase women.”
He also informed me:
“I gave up square dancing, too, because I found that it led to fornication when men and women danced with other than their own spouse or partner.”
*Once, when I was twelve years old, he caught me looking up the word “sex” in the dictionary. Reproachfully admonishing me, he proclaimed:
“The words “sex” and “fun” should be cut out of the dictionary!! Sex is only for procreation! And people shouldn’t be wasting their time playing/ having fun. The Lord’s Kingdom won’t get built up that way!”
I disagree with him in some of his misconceived notions. But we all are in a process of learning and growing during our lifetimes. I bring up these above points to simply show what a stoic life he, I, and other true-believing fundamentalists lived.
*But other points in his favor are that while Daddy was living in Arizona, and raising a large family with his first wife Eva, he was a Boy Scout Master, which position he enjoyed and was very proud of.
*And he was even Mayor of a small city for some time, I was told. But I’m not sure what city that was. My daughter checked and couldn’t find his name listed as having been Mayor of the city where I thought my parents said he’d been Mayor. So who knows!
The Writer’s Prayer:
“Make this tale live for us
in all its many bearings, oh Muse.”
The War of Art
While married to his first wife Eva, for some time Daddy owned a small Mercantile shop. Then World War II removed his main source of income, rubber tires:
“The war efforts needed all the rubber to build war equipment. Selling tires for the Model T Ford, and other such, was how I made my greatest overhead. So I was run out of business when I couldn’t sell rubber tires anymore,” he explained.
“While I still owned my store, a woman would come in daily and hit on me. I finally told her, ‘I haven’t got caught up to home yet!’ That sure put a damper on things!”
Daddy loved to tell that joke. That was one great thing about him: He was good at getting a laugh — had a wonderful sense of humor. Sadly, though, he did try to curb that special talent once the LeBaron cult started cracking down on light-mindedness — considered a sin. (They didn’t know “Laughter is the best medicine.”)
I never spent much time around Daddy. I already mentioned a little about this in previous blogs: He had a terrible temper that I got the brunt of more than all the rest of his children put together: I was the scapegoat of the family.
But he was usually away from the house working all day. So that lessened the stress I endured because of him — and because of Mother … who would get me in trouble with him every chance she could — like every day, once I became a teenager!
On Sundays, he did not work — which meant he was always home keeping the Sabbath. After our daily morning prayers were said in the big family circle, and breakfast was over, as well as our at-home family Sunday School service, Daddy would sit in his overstuffed armchair in the living room, by the pretty petrified-wood-decorated fireplace he built, and read the newspaper and the comic strips.
I loved watching how he would sometimes laugh till he teared up reading the Little Orphan Annie comic series. As a child, I especially loved it when he would throw me the “Funny Papers” after he got through reading them.
Then I would lie on my stomach on the fireplace hearth and try to read and understand The Funnies. But try as I may, back then, I never could figure out what Daddy found so funny about his favorite comic strip, Little Orphan Annie.
I lacked the maturity and experience to comprehend such things. Daddy was twenty-six years older than Mother, and around fifty-two years older than I — old enough to be my grandfather.
Other than being around him on Sunday mornings so I could get the funnies once he was through with them, mostly I avoided being in the same room with him — or hid in the shadows when he was home. I was afraid of him:
Almost every day he would lash out at me, both physically and verbally. Often he would make fun of me and put me down, also, in front of my family or friends … or whoever else happened to be around when he found a reason to ridicule me and “put me in my place.”
Because of this, I developed a love-hate confused feeling for him, though I never realized it till much later. For Mother always told us what a saint Daddy was, and that he was the very best man in the whole wide world!
Needless to say, I never got to learn a whole lot about my father, due to it being so miserable for me … so threatening to be around him.
But I remember, when I was only around four years old, he took an oil painting class. I recall him sitting out under the backyard trees with his easel and paints, copying some nature scenes that included our house he had bought around two years before when it was not much more than a shack.
He was remodeling it to make it a livable home. He generally would buy a run-down ramshackle of a place. Then fix it up into a fairly decent abode. But before we had much time to enjoy the better living conditions, we’d end up moving, for one reason or another, to a new ramshackle abode. And the whole damn scene would start all over again — us living in a mud adobe abode or whatever, till he fixed it up into a half-decent place to live.
“Why couldn’t we ever stay in the home once it got fixed up and had running water, a shower, electricity, and a flushing toilet?” I used to wish and wonder. We moved around twelve times from the time I was born in a mud adobe abode in Mexico till I turned fourteen! Then we moved back again, “fool” circle, to another mud adobe abode in the Mormon fundamentalist cult where I first started out: Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico!
Well, no sooner did Daddy do a complete makeover of our new mud adobe abode in Colonia LeBaron, such that it was no longer the ramshackle shack it started out as, but what I was married off, at age sixteen, in an arranged polygamous marriage! And that entailed moving again, this time to my own home … and another mud adobe abode!)
* On an Online genealogy site, I saw her name spelled as “Ava.” Jimmy’s genetic son said her name is “Eve.” But I have always heard her called “Eva.” So I’m still confused.
“An unexamined life is not worth living.”
Plato … quoting Socrates
In the Previous blog, I mentioned that when I was around five, with easel and oils, Artist Daddy used to sit beneath the big green shade tree in our front yard and paint nature scenes around about him. Often he used our home as a backdrop for his paintings. Mother kept these “Masterpieces” hanging on the wall in our home, proudly showing them off to visitors.
But, sadly, Daddy didn’t continue for long with his oil painting hobby and venture. Though oil painting had been a lifelong dream and yearning of his, and he was in his late fifties when he’d finally had the where-with-all to try his hand at it, he soon discovered oil painting or water coloring pictures — or even sketching — took a lot more time and money than he could devote to his beloved hobby, Artist though he was … better still, “frustrated Artist”!
What it boiled down to was he had to give up his artistic drive and dream because it conflicted with what he believed was his higher calling: To bring little spirits up in heaven down into good Mormon fundamentalists homes; i.e., to have all the kids he could have! He was devout, to be sure. Whatever his faults, there was a lot of good in this man.
After he sacrificed his painting hobby due to conflicts of interests — his family and religious beliefs came first — Mother gave him piano lessons because around about that time he had finally bought trained-concert-pianist Mama a piano!
But when he saw that I could sit down and play by ear, at age four, whatever I heard him practicing as he struggled to learn to play by note, he was humiliated … felt cheated that it should come so easily to me, a little kid, what he had to work so hard for as an old man.
So, just like my older sister … and for the same reasons, I suspect … they both soon gave up for good and forever any attempt to learn to play the piano. But Daddy qualified it with some truths when he said:
“Bein’ an artist and playin’ musical instruments is for rich people. It takes an awful lot of time. And I have to spend my time and energy makin’ a living to support my family.” Then he added, as an afterthought,“Rich people get rich off the backs of the poor.”
However, I would qualify it with:
“The Haves” and “The Have-nots”
can usually be traced back to
“The Dids” and “The Did-nots.”
For example, the “Haves” did not have a lot of kids and wives! They chose “Quality over Quantity.” Even so, Daddy did learn to play the harmonica as a young man. And he taught me how to play “Home, Sweet Home” on it. From there, I was off and running, easily picking out by ear other tunes on the harmonica, too.
But something I could never do was whistle,, though Daddy could whistle like a Pro — the only one in our family that could ever do that, far as I know. Though we all really tried hard to learn how to whistle.
In fact, when I was nine years old, it was quite a funny sounding scene around our home and yard, there for a while: All of us kids and even Mother went about trying to “whistle a happy tune,” when, at best, we weren’t blowing much more than our lips, hot air, and a lot of strange sounds!
But whenever Dad was at home and working around the place, he was his own radio — and ours too! His whistling could be heard throughout the home and yard. And I loved it — loved his beautiful whistling of tunes that were always right on pitch.
In fact, one lovely, breezy spring morning in Hurricane, Utah, when I was around eleven, I was blown away when I heard Daddy out in the barn milking Bossy, our auburn Jersey cow, exquisitely whistling the hit tune, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning“ — from the 1950s Musical, Oklahoma!
Mother was a trained concert pianist. But Daddy’s musicianship was that of a talented, born Whistler! I never realized, back then, what an asset and talent it truly is to be able to whistle — whistle any melody beautifully! Oh, how I would love to be able to do that myself.
“In the course of my life,
I have often had to eat my words,
and I must confess that I have
always found it a wholesome diet.”
Winston Spencer Churchhill
In the previous blog, we were talking about some more of my father’s accomplishments and sacrifices. Among other such memorabilia is the following: He was a proud Veteran of World War I. He fought with the 308th Engineers from Ohio to the Rhine. There are videos of his Platoon on YouTube, showing them constructing a bridge, among other things.
While with his Platoon in France, during his WWI Service, Daddy got to meet his second cousin: Winston Spencer Churchhill! So he had double the reason, on January 24, 1965, for taking three days off work to keep his ear tuned to the radio all day and into the night when Churchhill died.
Yes, for three days he listened to the constant end-to-end radio broadcasts about his cousin and world famous leader, Winston Spencer Churchhill, as Radio Broadcasters expounded upon the many great accomplishments and services this icon had performed for society.
Daddy could especially relate to Churchill’s influence when it came to World War I and World War II. (*See footnote below on Winston Spencer Churchill.) Sadly, I didn’t even know who Winston Spencer Churchill was, then, though he was my third cousin!
It figures, as, at the time Churchill died, I was eighteen years old, had been married off in an arranged marriage at age sixteen, and had been held captive in the LeBaron doomsday cult in Mexico since August 1960.
Two months before that unfortunate August 1960 day, I had barely graduated from eighth grade, in Hurricane, Utah. Then my parents uprooted our family, lock, stock, and barrel, “to gather to Zion to mingle with the Saints and avoid the calamities that were coming “very soon” to wipe out the wicked.” (Colonia LeBaron was “Zion.” LOL!)
In hindsight, and as an aside, I see it was really quite the other way around: Gathering to Zion was nothing but a calamity! It wiped out and ruined my hopes for a good life.
It turns out, there was plenty of wickedness going on there, “to mingle with,” in that little colony of “Saints.” As my Memoirs unfold, you shall hear what I mean. I’ll be unmasking my Colonia LeBaron Mormon fundamentalist cult life in Mexico down past the Rio Grande — a life I barely survived and lived to tell about.
It was about fifty-seven years ago, as of March 2017, that my family “gathered to Zion.” I have been trying to get over it ever since.
Their prophet, my Uncle Joel LeBaron, had prophesied “The destructions foreseen in the Book of Revelations are coming any day now to rain down upon the United States. Mexico is the land of refuge for the Saints.” Mother claimed she, too, had seen this “end of days” — in a dream!
Go figure!! The sky was falling — another Chicken-Little story! Or LeBaron story? If you want to get power, claim you’ve had a revelation — a dream — that shows the world is coming to an end. The truth is, yours and my world IS coming to an end: We never know the hour of our death. But the world, itself, and new life will continue on! As it has for thousands upon thousands of centuries.
If you claim “the sky is falling/ the world is coming to an end, some Millennial’s (i.e., Messianic dooms-dayers who believe the end of the world and “the Millennium” is imminent) will likely believe and follow you. Chicken Little sure got his following — if you recall that children’s fairytale.
However, after being pulled out of school and moved to that secluded, barren, Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, I had no chance for any further education. That was a calamity in itself! Quite the end of my world — at least as I had known it. I, a Bookworm, wasn’t even allowed to read, let alone have any contact with the outside world, in any way, shape, or form. So, no: I wouldn’t know who Churchhill was.
Before I was married, while living in LeBaron’s “Zion,” all my family-of-origin had, as far as connections with the outside world were concerned, was Daddy’s little battery-run radio — which only he was allowed to use!
Even worse, all we ever heard about from Mother was mostly cult propaganda. And how great she and her family heritage was: Her father, mother, brothers — especially her brothers, Joel and Ervil, the “prophets” of the cult! Mother had to be number one.
So, sadly, I never even knew how special my father’s heritage was — that through my father’s side, we were related to English royalty — Princess Diana Spencer, for example — and famous poets like Samuel Johnson, Francis Bacon, and Edmund Spencer. For some reason, Daddy never ever mentioned it either. Or maybe he did but I wasn’t around to hear?
NOTE: Though there is more to relate, as to my father’s history, I will relate it in the context of my own continuing Memoirs.
So, for now, I conclude this nine-part series,”My Daddy,” with the lyrics of the following comical song I wrote — for there is a verse in it about my amazing father.
I’m a Hack
Dearest friends and fans: Please note:
This “sorta” silly song I wrote
Is but half-finished, so won’t gloat —
And pray my poem won’t get your goat;
But it’s late — my blog’s due “mañana;”
If you check this song later on … uh …
You may find it partly “re-wrote;”
“Know it needs work” … my last quote.
Even so, enjoy what I wrote.
Now, I humorously emote:
I’M A HACK
A Hee-ha Comedy Song —
A Bit o’ Bio in Verse,
Fer Better or Worse,
With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration
(Eventually, I’ll Post sheet music
and/or the song in a Podcast.)
Hey, they say I’m a Hick;
Though Hillbilly music makes some sick;
My Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well get over it —
And join in ’n’ sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a hick,
And shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
But I’m a hick.
I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl —
A Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’ to my butt ’n’ gut;
But red-necked reactionary ignoramuses
Ain’t my thing.
I came for music and to sing!
Yeah, I’m an All-American-Mexican,
With Welch ’n’ English,
So sure, I’m a Brit;
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.
If there’s no Tom Slick hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know, that’s about it —
That’s my story
And I’m “shtickin” to it!
My father was a proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were well-appreciated
For what they’d done!
Pa was an artist, creative,
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There was little he couldn’t do.
Ma was a creative, author,
Artist, thru ’n’ thru;
Trained concert pianist — Whew!
Loved to discuss religious principles
And read religious Lit, old ’n’ new —
Long as it agreed with
What she already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too;
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Ma was sixty-two!
She was runnin’ me competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult she’d put me thru …
If she only knew!
But her motto was:
“Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything better than you!”
(And she meant it, too!)
Still, I’m a hick;
Thou Hillbilly music makes some sick,
My Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well “git” over it
And join in ‘n’ sing a bit!
Yeah, I’m a hick ‘n’ Shit-kickin’ music
Is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks in 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And I’m a hick.
Or am I a hack? I’m a hick-hack!
Or a hat rack? Ha-ha-ha!!
( Stephany Spencer 2016)
*( My Third Cousin, Winston Spencer Churchhill)
*Winston Churchill: Former British Prime Minister
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
NOTE: This concludes my nine-part Series, “My Daddy.” Thanks for visiting and sharing my blog site with me.
I love to write. But it’s “icing on the blog” when I have readers who devour it, on top of my cooking it up! (Pun intended.)
In future blogs, I’ll tell you a little about my maternal grandparents and Mother — How she and Daddy met, some of their adventures together, etc. —
That is, I may tell you about the beginning of my father’s Mormon fundamentalist cult saga that culminated with his bringing me into the world — along with many other kids and events — which culminated in my creating this Blog Book — my Memoirs. Chain reactions, yes? That’s life!