TOWN OF FLOYD — “Success is knowing you became the best you are capable of becoming.”
Throughout his 80 years, Fred Myers has championed triumphs, suffered some trials and tribulations and learned a thing or two, whether it be the easy way or hard, as he traveled along life’s road.
There came a day when Myers decided he had all these memories — stories he was proud of — that he wished to share before they were gone. They were the stories of the people and moments that shaped him into the man he is today.
It was that “motivation” Myers always carried, deep down in his core, that pushed him to always move forward and accomplish what he set his mind to. And it’s that motivation, through his personal story, that the first-time author wants to encourage in others through his book by the same title.
“Motivation,” published by Bear Paw Printing in Chittenango, is available for $20 wherever Fred can be found, or by contacting him at his home,
8083 E. Floyd Road.
“I wrote about my life because when you get to be my age, you start to forget,” Myers said. “But I could tell you some stuff that happened 75 years ago like it was yesterday.”
And tell is exactly what Fred did. He sat down with friend Kelly Malecki and began to dictate his personal stories and memories to her. Malecki wrote everything down and organized it into the chapter book available for purchase today. The book also features photos of Fred and family members that he or his sister June had in their possession, passed down through the generations.
As for the photos, “I had some and my sister had some, but the stories — I remembered it all,” Myers said.
Some might say Fred had the “motivation” to live life from the get-go. One August night in 1937, the doctor told Fred’s father, Albert, that his wife was having difficulty giving birth and the father replied, “Save my wife first.” Albert and Flora already had four children, but even from the time of his first breath, Myers said he never gave up.
“A neighbor said it would be a boy and he would live long enough to kick the doctor you know where,” Myers laughed as he recalled the tale told to him. “Eighty years later I am writing about my life.”
Fred continued in his book’s introduction, “I hope you enjoy my successes and failures, and that I never gave up. Motivation is what kept me going when I thought I couldn’t hang on. I wouldn’t give up, even if it would’ve been easier.”
Myers starts his autobiography through the telling of the “strength and durability” he has in his blood through his ancestors, like Grandpa Bracey, his maternal grandfather who was born in England during the 1800s. Also in his 80s, Myers’ grandfather shared his own story of surviving life at sea that was actually published in an issue of National Geographic. Grandpa Bracey lived to be 93.
He also told the story of his paternal grandfather, Joseph Myers, who owned a bar in Utica and would force his father, J. Albert, to wake up early and wash the glasses that lined the shelves before he went off to school.
Then at age 8, Fred contracted polio on his left side, which forced him to undergo treatment for six months at a children’s hospital in Utica. In days without television or other amusements to pass the time, Myers said he was “alone with his thoughts” and looked forward to visits from family on Sundays. For more than a year Fred was forced to wear a brace on his left leg and shoulder, but his parents refused to let his ailments hold him back in life.
“My mother said I would not spend the rest of my life in braces,” he said. “She was the driving force behind my healing. My parents owned a dairy farm, and at first I thought they were being mean, but they forced me to do things. By the time I was 13, I was lifting 100-pound bags of feed.”
Myers also includes some of the tragedies suffered by family members, like his grandfather Myers who was an alcoholic, an affliction he most likely suffered due to a traumatic hunting accident in his youth during which he accidentally shot and killed his brother while handing him a gun.
Then there’s his strong, determined sister, June, who was born at 10 months paralyzed on the left side of her face and suffered a horrible farming accident that forced her to lose two toes and part of her foot. Through some grafting, doctors at a Shriners hospital in Philadelphia were able to save June’s foot, and she could “dance very well,” Fred said. She’s now in her mid-80s.
From ditch diggers to old neighbors, Myers continues to share the memories of people who touched his life, whether they remained in it or stayed just for a brief while. There were all the jobs Myers worked, like the time he spent at a fertilizer company, served as a salesman at a small car dealership in Barneveld, then sold outside paint sealant for cars for a company in Rome that eventually brought him to Arkansas. After living in Arkansas for a time and realizing the “slow life” wasn’t for him, Myers said he decided to come back home and work as a manager of a large farm.
Myers even shares his love of hunting and fishing, and even cows, which eventually led him to meeting the famous Beatle, John Lennon. But Marj, his second wife, readers will learn, was his true love at first sight. They would own and operate Belle Maison Farm Bed and Breakfast together for some years that received visitors from all over the world, which they just sold. After the closing on their house in October, the couple plans on moving to the Finger Lakes.
All in all, Fred will admit he has thus far lived an interesting life and hopes through his own story, others will be inspired to live theirs to the fullest.
“Motivation is what carried me through all my ups and downs. It has made me realize that the power of receiving is in giving,” Myers said. “If you do this in your life, it’s a feeling you will never forge the warmth of seeing people you helped.”
He said, “As in life, I couldn’t do everything, but my life isn’t over yet and I give my answer to people who ask me how I did it: I found out that success is knowing I became the best of what I was capable of becoming. This should be your goal in life. And as you get older, you will be proud of what you have done.”