Clyde and Faye
Clyde's father was one of five founding families that set up and created the little town in central Florida that he grew up in. My great-grandfather, an immigrant from Ireland, he made his way from New York to Florida based on a letter written to him by a cousin about the farming land available in Florida. Upon arrival, land was secured, cattle were bought and the homestead was founded. Clyde grew up on his family's farm and turned 18 in the middle of WWII. Eager to be a part of the action, Clyde enlisted and was immediatley swooped up by the United States Air Force. Clyde arrived in Ohio for one last week of bomber training before heading over seas to the front. Not knowing anyone, Clyde wandered into a local diner for breakfast his first day in town...
Faye grew up in the blackhills of Kentucky. She was born on the ship during her parents immigration to America from Ireland. The entire family was coming over in shifts and slowly taking up residence on one side of a mountain. Faye's family was poor and her mother manned a moonshine distillery as a means of providing for the family. Faye was the 8th of 13 children. Faye's closest siblings were her two older brothers and neither being able to enlist in the army for the war, they decided to go to Ohio to work in the factories, hearing there was much money to be made in the city. Faye, refusing to be left behind, forced her brothers to take her with them. She took a job as a waitress in a local diner.
Clyde walked into the diner and sat in a booth. A gorgeous waitress named Faye came over and offered him coffee. Clyde was immediately in love. He asked Faye to marry him on the spot. She laughed, slapped his shoulder and told him, "No." Clyde joked with Faye and caught her up in conversation every time she would bring him something else for his breakfast. He drank thirteen cups of coffee that first meeting, just trying to prolong his meal.
Clyde managed to get back to the diner for lunch and again had Faye as a waitress and again asked her to marry him. This time, she paused before telling the handsome soldier no, which gave Clyde hope. He returned for every meal for the next three days, learning more about Faye and telling her about himself. Finally, after lunch on the third day Clyde grabbed Faye's hand as she began to clear his table and asked her one last time, "I leave in the morning Doll, and nothing would make me want to come back home in one piece more than to know I'm coming home to you."
Faye said there was just something in his eyes that made her know that he meant every word. She agreed, finished her shift and walked with Clyde to the courthouse where they were married on the steps, with several other couples. Clyde shipped out the next morning and was gone for nearly two years. Faye wrote to Clyde every day while he was gone and when he returned (minus his eye) he collected Faye and took her home to Florida, where they were married for 58 years until his death in 2002. My father was born 9 months to the day after Clyde returned from the war and I was the fourth generation to be raised on the family homestead.
This is a picture of me with Clyde and Faye in 1986.
These are the last two pictures taken of Clyde and Faye together.