By Dan Meeks

My father Loyce C. Meeks or LC as he was called by many friends, was born in 1925 in Tupelo, Mississippi, also the birthplace of the King of rock and roll, Elvis Presley.  Soon after Elvis grasp the nation with TV appearances on several major variety shows in the mid 1950's, my grandmother informed us Elvis was a distant cousin (third to my father).  Although not someone we really knew, my grandmother did remember his family staying with her parents for a period during the difficulties of the Depression.

My father's family moved to the area south of Alabaster, Alabama when he was young.  He was the only male sibling; he had older and younger sisters as well as a twin sister.  He hunted and fished with childhood friends and his sport of choice was basketball.  He was small but very quick and became a defensive specialist.  He also had family chores as was the case with most rural families dealing with a struggling American economy.

My father moved to western Birmingham, Alabama in his late teenage years where he rented a room from family friends and worked at a farm and dairy.  There he met my mother; the dairy was owned by her parents.  World War II was underway and soon my father entered the Army as a member of the infantry.

(LC Meeks entered the army at 18)


My father entered the Italian Campaign prior to the Battle of Anzio in southern Italy and in his words "walked to the Alps".  He was wounded when he and a colleague dove into a foxhole to avoid an approaching mortar shell; the other soldier did not survive.  My father received the Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars.  He rarely spoke about his combat until later years and tears would appear at times when he did.  I am sure, like most World War II veterans, the horrors of war were etched in his memory.

After his service, my father returned and married my mother.  He tried other jobs but returned to the dairy business with my grandparents and later as a wholesale salesman for a large local dairy.  This was not easy work; I was amazed at the time required to milk cows at 2 AM and 2 PM each day and also tend to supporting farm and production activities.  As a salesman my father believed the customer was "always right".  He valued his appearance; he polished and shined his shoes each night and usually ironed shirts again because they came from the laundry with wrinkles.

(LC giving me last minute wardrobe adjustments before walking down the isle)


My father had little free time.  He was very mechanical and could build or repair anything.  He was often sought by relatives or friends to assist in such areas.  He wanted me to be successful.  When I became interested in electronics at a young age, he help me assemble shortwave radio kits, purchased equipment and help build amateur radio antennas.  During my freshman year of high school I was scheduled to take mechanical drawing and learned a $40 fee was required for drawing equipment.  That was a lot of money in the days when a cola or candy bar cost a nickel and I was going to drop the course.  My father suggested I continue the course, provided the funds and sparked my desire to study engineering.

(Grandaddy Meeks and his "boys" - Dan, Forrest, Tanner and Josh)


Most adults that attend college have fond memories of their school and proudly support it.  Such is the case with my days and relationship with Auburn University.  My father's military service held a parallel role.  Not that he enjoyed combat, as previously stated, war forever changed him.  However, he understood the sacrifice and costs of freedom.  He flew the American flag in his yard 24/7.  He modified his overalls he wore for fishing (his hobby) and other casual wear to include an American flag patch on the chest.  It is so fitting that the Loyce dress is red, white and blue to honor my father and those millions of veterans that sacrificed to preserve freedom.  As you purchase this item and your child wears it, may the Loyce be a constant reminder of the our loyal veterans.

 

(Grandaddy Meeks loved his Great Grand Daughters tremendously. Pictured here with Mary Katherine and his famous American flag patch that he proudly wore just about every day.)

(Emily is proud to wear this Loyce dress in honor of her Great-Grandaddy)