Introducing the Floyd Van Alstyne Story
This project is personal. I first met Floyd in 2015 when he
delivered a load of lumber from the sawmill he and his sons operate at their
farm in East Barnard. At 97, Floyd claims to be the oldest licensed commercial
truck driver in the country. As he
dumped the load of rough-cut hemlock, he sized up the driveway I had been grading
with a bulldozer.
“Not bad – for a writer”, he deadpanned.
He had read the book I had recently written about the Royalton Raid and he started to talk about it and the rest of the Revolutionary War, and then the War of 1812 and then both world wars and genealogy, the History of Vermont, and much more. Floyd has been reading history books all his life, but never went to high school. When he finished the 8th grade he had to make a living and went into the local logging camps and that was his life until he enlisted the day the Japanese bombed pearl harbor.
Floyd and his wife Marjorie are the oldest married couple in East Barnard. But age is not the most remarkable thing about either of them. What’s remarkable is the lives they have led and their encyclopedic memory of their experience – and not just theirs, but the handed-down collective experience of several generations of friends, neighbors and families.
This enterprise began as an oral history project to make a record of the lives of Floyd and Marjorie. They are part of an ever-dwindling generation of people who are nothing less than a national treasure, and I wanted to make sure they were recorded.