Chapter 1, Floyd Van Alstyne's Early Years
Early in our
conversations, Floyd remembered with amusement, “I was a tough little stinker. I lived on the south end of Albany. I knew
how to street fight”
I always thought of Floyd as a Vermonter born and bred, but one of the first things I learned was that he was born in Boston and grew up in Albany. His mother was from Sharon, Vermont, and went to college in Boston where she met his father. But his father was from Albany and that’s where the family lived. But from the age of 4 Floyd spent every summer with his mother’s sister Maud in South Royalton. He hated the city, but told me he had figured out how to make it exciting. He said his father was a “vagabond”, running bootleg liquor for the mafia during prohibition, even taking Floyd along. When Floyd’s mother died in childbirth in 1931, his father abandoned Floyd, 11 and his brother Earl, 7. In his matter-of-fact way, he told me how his aunt Maud took the two of them in and raised them from then on at her home on Broad Brook Road in South Royalton.
Floyd adored his beautiful, talented mother, but memories of his father are mostly bitter. Earl said “The Hell with him.” And Floyd was stoic: “But we were tough enough. Both of us. My brother and I. So we made it.”