World War 2 combat: "I guess I had enough old-fashioned in me that I was able to take it."
THE FLOYD VAN ALSTYNE STORY
While telling me what the front lines at Anzio Beach were like
in WWII, Floyd said, “There were times I didn’t think I would make it, but I
guess I had enough old-fashioned in me that I was able to take it.”
And that may be why Floyd, at 97, is still going strong. As we talked, he remembered being toughened at an early age by lessons learned on the gritty streets of Albany, NY. He told me how, at age 11, he and his younger brother were abandoned by his father when his mother died. He talked about his love for the natural world and his fond memories of the rest of his childhood with his mother’s sister, Maude in South Royalton, Vermont.
With only an 8th grade education, Floyd went to work in the local logging camps and described himself to me as small and wiry, but “all muscle, able to pick up a 50 pound anvil with one hand.” He enlisted when Pearl Harbor was attacked, then, after the War, returned to Vermont where he married and bought the farm where he still lives with his wife Marjorie.
This story is divided into several video chapters: 1) Floyd’s early life; 2) Floyd’s WWII experience; 3) the family’s maple syrup operation; 4) the family’s sawmill. Other chapters would be: Floyd’s life in the logging camps; life in pre-war small town Vermont villages and farms; how it has evolved and, along with it, the landscape, the economy, the politics, the people.