What’s in a name? The Wheatmyer Music backstory.

(Original posting 1/1/2017) What’s the significance of the name WheatMyer? Glad you asked! Here’s the story:

Wilmer Wallace “Jim” Myers was born September 2, 1914 to Catherine Isabel McMenis Myers and George Newton Myers. He was one of eight siblings. One of these, Velmer, died at age 18 in 1930.

Loyce Lorraine Wheatley, oldest of three sisters, was born June 2, 1916 to Dolly Belle Arman Wheatley and Henry Ervin Wheatley. Loyce also lost a brother early, Bobbie Dean, who died at age 7 in 1930.

Loyce and Jim were married on July 29, 1939 in Malvern, Ark., one month before Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Jim went to work as a projectionist at the Strand movie theater in Hot Springs, Ark. and Jim and Loyce later become operators of Henry’s drive-in theater, The Wheatley Drive-In.

World War II interrupted Loyce and Jim’s plans when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Jim was inducted into the Army Air Force (predecessor to the Air Force) and was sent to Lake Charles, La. for basic training. Loyce, remaining in Hot Springs, was pregnant with their first son, James Wallace. Jim was transferred to Aloe Army Airfield in Victoria, Texas, joined by Loyce, and son James. Their second son, Texas Douglas Ryan, was born in 1944 while Jim was still stationed at Aloe.

Jim trained as a B-17 tail gunner. Survival rates for these crewmen was not high as it was one of the first positions attacked when in combat. Jim’s film experience proved to be a determining factor in his military career. When it was discovered he could operate projectors he was assigned responsibilities in the training and entertainment activities on the base. His experience proved to be so essential that he was passed over for combat duty on several occasions. When his orders to ship overseas finally came through, the war ended before his departure.

Loyce and Jim moved back to Hot Springs and resumed work at the Wheatley Drive-In. Jim took a day job manufacturing brooms and mops and eventually built his own factory and started his own cleaning and supply business in 1954. Loyce and Jim’s third son, Robert Jonathan, was born the next year.

When Henry Ervin died in 1969, Loyce inherited 1/3 of his 1,212 acre ranch. Loyce and Jimmie became part-time owner/operators of a modest cattle ranch / timberland which they called “the farm”, running as many as 100 head of Black Angus cattle. Since it was officially Loyce’s property, her name went first and they operated the property under the name Wheatmyer Farm.

Loyce passed on in 2003 and Jim joined her in 2004. They left a cherished legacy to their three sons, nine grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren.

In choosing the name for WheatMyer Music there were many dead ends. Derivations of my first and last name, in addition to being cumbersome, didn’t produce an exclusive branding since both Robert and Myers turn out, to my surprise and consternation, to be very common names. Attempts to coin clever turns of a phrase turned out saccharine idioms and atrocious puns, and didn’t produce anything that connected with my own identity. So, since part of “the farm” is now my own, I turned to a family tradition and WheatMyer Music was born, a distinctive name that pays homage to my parents’ legacy and recognizes both sides of my family tree.

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