Ms Young was born in Des Moines in 1921, and has called Des Moines home for all of her 90 years. She lived on the East side of Des Moines for the most of her childhood. She lost both of her parents as a youth, her father at age 7, and her mother at age 11, she was raised by her older sister. Her sister married at age 17, so after completing the 11th grade at Des Moines East High School, Lavon transitioned to helping her sister with her new family.
She worked with the NYA (National Youth Association) after school, earning $16 per month, which was very good money at the time. During WWII, she worked in the ‘glove factory’, but never understood why it was called that, as they didn’t make any gloves while she was there. She remembered, at one point during the war effort, she and her shift worked thirty straight 10 hour days to fulfill an order for bullet belts for the soldiers in Europe. She also spent time working at Look Magazine in Des Moines.
She later worked as a CNA at Mercy, the Good Samaritan Center, and Scottish Rite Park in Des Moines before retiring from the profession in 1985.
Ms. Young tells us that Des Moines used to have lots of entertainment going on in the Mid City. She recalls many nights of good times on the Main Go’ of Center Street. She spoke of many of the clubs of the time, including: The Sepia Club, the Nip, the Billican, the Rocket Club, the Elks, and the Playboy club, to name a few. She says that the club called ‘The Hole’, under the Billican was where people really jammed.
Ms. Young’s favorite colors are brown and beige, favorite artist is Nat King Cole, favorite holiday is Christmas, and her favorite food is Church’s Chicken. She remembers her first taste of Church’s another city, and was elated when she found out it was coming to Des Moines.
She traveled many summers with her husband Eller, taking road trips to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Disney Land and San Francisco.
Her message to the young people of today is, “Stay in School, and Graduate!”
She spends her time now on her beloved word puzzles, watching court tv and game shows, reading and hanging with the family.
Say hello next time you see Ms. Lavon at the grocery store or out and about in the neighborhood.