James’ Brand New Blog

More memories of Floyd McIntyre: Roving Reporter & much else

- July 6th, 2012

 

floyd_mcintyre_storybook

 

The late Floyd McIntyre, standing guard at the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe’s house (best JBNBlog can this of this morning as an ID) at Storybook Gardens c. 1970. Is he in a Forest Excelsior or other band outfit? Anybody know? This marvellous photograph is courtesy of the Lambton Heritage Museum.

Floyd McIntyre was one of the London region’s true originals. This week’s My London column  was about the Forest historian, musician, free spirit & “Roving Reporter” — which seems to have been Floyd’s semi-official designation when he worked for The Free Press as its Forest correspondent.

The column touched on a few of Floyd’s remarkable accomplishments & was sparked by the recent JBNBlog entry about his pursuit of a “lost mission” somewhere in Pinery country in 1968. (I was lucky to be on the search).

A Camlachie-based friend of Floyd’s George Campbell (sp?) called in to say he had spent 2.5 years at least on the same search inspired by Floyd. George had concluded there was a mission out there somewhere but it was Norse- (is that right?) & not Huronia-connected as Sherwood Fox’s history had suggested. George also shared stories about Floyd. Among them was the famous tale of how Floyd’s pupils (he was a teacher at one time) would conveniently lob a ball being used for school sports on the school roof. Floyd would pursue & they would pull away the ladder after he was atop the school, leaving our hero stranded. His mother would come by later, concerned he wasn’t home yet, & find the free-spirit on the school roof & the ladder lying on the ground. George said this may be an “urban myth” & sure enough you’ll find a variation on it in the memories which follow.

Also contributing to the Floyd fest were two Steves, one of them new to me & the other a good friend here in London: They are Steve Spring, of the Forest Excelsior Band, and London historian Steve Harding.

Here’s Steve Spring:

Mr. Reaney,
Sorry I missed your call yesterday about Floyd McIntyre.  Judging by your on-line column, it looks like I missed the boat.  Paul Janes (whose information helped the column immensely, JBNBlog) knew Floyd for much longer than I did but, just in case you’re looking for a bit more information, here are some tidbits:
Floyd’s favoured mode of transportation was his trusty moped.  Regardless of the weather, traffic volume, or road conditions, Floyd could be found putting along on his trusty beast.
He was an avid collector of newspapers.  If something had been printed in the news, Floyd was sure to have it stored somewhere.  It’s been said that the piles of paper created a bit of a maze in his house.
As you’ve already mentioned in your article, if there was an organization in the North Lambton area, Floyd was part of it.  It didn’t matter that he was neither native nor female, his particular background was not going to limit the groups he joined.
Then, of course, there’s the Forest Excelsior Band.  Floyd was a long-time member of the Band, playing clarinet in both the stage band & dance band years. 
. . .
Thanks for your write-up about Floyd…he would have loved it.
Steve Spring

Thanks, Steve . . . JBNBlog vows to hear the Forest Excelsior Band. Perhaps a double bill with the Nihilist Spasm Band can be arranged.

Steve Harding is a longtime friend of JBNBlog & his contribution on Floyd follows:

Re: Floyd McIntyre
  • Floyd had a wonderful unpublished manuscript about life in the 1930s & 1940s. He noted the greater number and variety of birds and flowers in existence at the time.
  •  Floyd taught briefly in a one-room school. His career ended when an inspector visited, and found students up on the roof of the school.
  • His bathroom was given up to use as a photographic darkroom.
  • There was a trap door in the living room floor.  Floyd kept a variety of archival treasures down there.
  • He gathered  a  huge collection of books. I believe he had a room at the Forest Library for them at one time.
  • Floyd attended the famous motorcycle wedding presided over by the Rev. Benny Eckart.** He related oral history such as  someone uncovering the remains of a Spanish horseman in Lambton Co. Floyd was a remarkable storyteller.
Yours Sincerely,
Stephen Harding
** Thanks for all these amazing words & JBNBlog is delighted to see how the school roof story finds new angles & new tenants on the roof  . . . the asterisks for the Rev Eckart (JBNBlog checking the spelling on this) are a reminder of another  amazing free spirit & the officiant at many a memorable wedding.

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2 comments

  1. “Perhaps a double bill with the Nihilist Spasm Band can be arranged.”

    Ah . . . Greg C. would certainly be happily spinning his lovely wheels for that grand event.

  2. james.reaney says:

    Truly. The co-headlining affair could be billed as “The Sweetest Music both sides of 7″ . . . getting Lombardo, Highway 7 & much else in a tribute to two of our greatest & most enduring ensembles.
    Thanks for writing, Judith.

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