Guess who lives less than ten minutes away from me? I hope you are familiar with him...he is Slim Whitman. Here is his story:
Though he was once known as "America's Favorite Folksinger," Slim Whitman was, for the majority of his career, more famous in Europe than in the United States. Best remembered for his early-'50s hit singles like "Love Song of the Waterfall," "Indian Love Call," and "Singing Hills," Whitman was an excellent yodeler known for singing mellow, romantic and clean-cut songs. As a child, Slim Whitman (born Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr.) became infatuated with music and learned to yodel listening to Montana Slim and Jimmie Rodgers records. At age 17, he married 15-year-old Geraldine Crist, a preacher's daughter. The newlyweds moved to a 40-acre farm south of Jacksonville, FL, where Whitman worked as a meat packer. While working in the plant, he suffered an accident and lost two fingers on his left hand. After the accident, he began working in a Tampa shipyard. During World War II, Whitman served in the US Navy, where he learned to play guitar. Following the war, he returned to the shipyard and also joined a local minor-league baseball team, the Plant City Berries. Whitman remained with the team through 1948, but then began building a singing career at several Tampa radio stations, eventually creating a back-up band, the Variety Rhythm Boys.
In 1955, Whitman moved back to Florida, which restricted his appearances on the Grand Ole Opry because he found the trips too time-consuming.
I drove by his house today and took a photo for just for you:
Mr. Whitman is seen all over our little town of Middleburg. He is seen frequently at the local grocery store. He is pretty elderly now as he was born January 20, 1924. His home once was out in the country all alone. My mother actually took my sisters and me by his home when I was a child. He has lived there all these years. Now my mother is buried in a cemetary just down the street from him. Mr. Whitman has a great reputation in these parts and many say he is extremely kind and will even stop and sign autographs.