28 March 2013
Gary Barton Payne
LL : Means Life's Lessons
So, how many times do you think I have started a personal history only to burn out or give it up before much was written.
This is where I introduce the old adage “you cannot fail unless you give up”. Or the sign that has resided on the door of our family fridge for many years, “Never give up And Never tell a lie”.
I have just waited until I have grown older and wiser so that ”My Story” will be of exceptional quality. Or more likely, just waiting until I had time on my hands and being frequently encouraged by my daughter Tatia to “get on with it”.
Since a very early age, I have been somewhat of a problem to deal with as my teachers, parents and sibling and my wife Sherma Bee will attest to. My problem never had a name until quite recently, then it became quite chick to have A D D (Attention Deficit Disorder). Add to that being Bipolar and you have a pretty interesting personality. I have come to learn that people with these personality disorders can tend to be very high achievers, so it is not all bad. Some names that you might know are: Terry Bradshaw, Richard Branson, Glenn Beck, James Carville, Marriette Hartley, Howie Mandell, Michael Phelps to name a few. As a boy I seemed to get into more than my share of trouble with authority figures. I count myself very blessed to have not spent any extended time in the “grey bar hotel”. And a significant role in that blessing was falling in love with and marrying Sherma Bee White. When I think of the patience that was required of her I am astounded. But as Barry Manilow sang “Looks like we made it”.
Just to give you an idea of how this manifest itself, I have these incredible bursts of energy and creativity. Unfortunately, all the ideas are not fruitful, or productive. And the energy often dissipates before the task is complete. The key is do my best to keep getting back on the bucking bull and never give up. And to be grateful for a wonderful support system that has blessed me in every facet of my life.
The down side to this condition is the depression. I have always had a very strong aversion to pharmacy medications for depression but I love body manufactured medications. Endorphins is my favorite and it is free except for the exercise you have to do to get it. But it really works. You just have to have the will power to get off the couch. Easier said than done. But what a high I get for succeeding. I never smoked, inhaled or otherwise, marijuana, but I can’t see how it could be better that my own endorphins.
I have chosen a format for my story that is flexible and free flowing. Each heading will address a generally associated subject with a reasonable amount of chronology. I hope to emphasize important lessons I have learned in my sojourn through life and will identify these points. (LL Life Lessons) I will not go into much detail about genealogical information as this is available far more efficiently in the Family Tree software of the LDS Church.
Like Nephi of old, I was born of goodly parents. They were both kind and generous to family, friends and strangers. They were probably both better parents that their parents. In dad’s case for certain, having been raised by a tough old hillbilly from Tennessee. Mom’s parents were kind and gentle people and loved by all who knew them.
A couple of short stories will illustrate their generosity. When dad had finally achieved a certain level of success to buy mom a very nice home in a very nice neighborhood, they picked a home with a double lot. On the second lot dad planted hundreds of gladiola bulbs for the sole purpose of giving bouquets to friends, neighbors, and family. He got real pleasure out of giving away his flowers to make people happy.
One other illustration, when the church decided to build a Regional Recreation Center behind our Chapel on 27th & Polk, dad was unable to be there to work because of his grocery business that demanded his full attention. So he solved the problem by sending one of his employees to work in his place, paying him his regular salary.
Mom working alongside her husband and living in the tiny apartment “above the shop” through the birth of four children is illustration enough to show her devotion to her husband and family.
I was born 1 November, 1937 fourth child of Herman Mathew Payne and Hannah Valate Pickett. (Genealogical format of mothers name used) I remained the baby of this family of six for eight years, giving me ample time to enjoy the rewards of being the apple of my parents eye long enough to not resent my two younger brothers taking that position eight and ten years later.
I learned two very valuable lessons in my childhood. First I knew I was loved, probably derived mostly by being the baby. Secondly, I learned to enjoy work and see it as rewarding and fulfilling. This second principle blessed me my entire life as I never felt that work was a burden.
(LL) These are two gifts that you can give every child that will keep on giving for a lifetime. Tell them and show them that you love them often, and teach them the rewards and pleasure of work.
My father was a grocery man. He owned his own business which he bought from my mother’s father shortly after they were married. It was a modest little store as all grocery stores were in the 1930s. I heard my father tell the story many times of how he met my mother. Herman was the son of a fruit farmer Andrew Johnson Payne who owned ten acres of land on 12th street in Ogden Utah. Dad would load the fruit in the family truck and drive to all the grocery stores in Ogden to sell his fruit to the grocers.
One day he was at David Picket’s grocery store at 511 31st Street in Ogden. He was giving his pitch to Mr. Pickett when into his vision came a very attractive young lady, Mr. Pickett’s daughter Valate. Herman became distracted and lost his train of thought and I guess became tongue tied.
Mr. Pickett, a Welshman who was not without a sense of humor, said to Herman “Did you have something you wanted to sell me or did you have something else in mind”. Herman not only sold Mr. Pickett his fruit, but also sold his daughter Valate on going on a date with him. Subsequently he was able to persuade her to wait for him to get married while he served a two and one half year mission in Kentucky in the Southern States Mission for the LDS Church.
David Pickett emigrated from Wales in 1893 when he was 14 years of age. He told me of the excitement that he felt not only about his immigration to the United States, but of his experience of attending the Chicago World’s Fair in route to Ogden Utah.
(The World's Columbian Exposition (the official shortened name for the World's Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as The Chicago World's Fair) was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World in 1492.)
When he arrived in Ogden where his family had settled, he was promptly sent to Vernal Utah (50 miles south east) where he was employed as a stage coach driver on a route from Vernal to Duchene UT. It astounds me that my grandfather drove a stage coach as a young man. But then of course, the automobile had not yet been invented! He lived long enough to fly from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles in a jet airplane to visit Herman and Valate’s family who has since settled in Santa Barbara CA. But that is another story.
Growing up as a Mormon boy in a Mormon community made being a Mormon pretty insignificant in my life. I believe I was fortunate to escape this insignificance in spite of my parents’ casual participation in the church. However, my parents as well as both grandparents were sealed in the Temple thus providing me the blessing of being “Born In The Covenant”. Importantly, I always knew my parents and maternal grandparents believed in the church and we were a “Mormon Family” where ever we lived.
Secondly, I was blessed with an irrefutable, undeniable testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel by Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Lord. My life would have many twists and turns, many highs and lows, but no matter what circumstances I got myself into, one thing I am grateful for is that I never doubted the restoration. At this point late in my life, my testimony is like a granite block and I know that my testimony has kept me out of many major calamities in my life.
No seminary for me
Two things I deeply regret about my youth. By the time I graduated from Jr High School my family had moved to Santa Barbara, CA. Notwithstanding all the benefits of living in paradise, there was no seminary for me. In fact, there were only about four Mormon kids in my high school of 2500. We attended church in the Santa Barbara Branch with about 100 members. The meeting house was a very large estate located on Santa Barbara Street that was bequeathed to the church by a member whose name I am embarrassed to say I don’t know. The present Stake Center for the Santa Barbara Stake occupies that same land today. The stake boundaries were then about 150 miles long, going from San Louis Obispo to Oxnard California.
No Mission for me
The second major regret is that the subject of a serving a mission was never discussed with me either by my parents or by my Bishop or priesthood leaders. In today’s world, that would be inconceivable. But Marriage was discussed between Sherma and me and that has been the saving grace of my life. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple six weeks after I turned twenty years old. I was a sophomore at BYU but that story comes much later!
I’m pleased to say that I was able to remedy both of these issues (seminary & mission) as time passed. When our first three children were of Seminary age, I volunteered to serve as one of the Seminary teachers for our stake for early morning seminary (6:30am to 7:30am Monday – Friday). I taught seminary for four years PLUS one more year as a bonus!
When Candice, our youngest child left for BYU Sherma and I submitted our papers to serve a mission. We were called to Birmingham England. Sherma to serve as Mission President Secretary and me as Finance Secretary.
(LL) Although I can’t say for sure, I am of the opinion that seminary in your youth, and a mission before you are married are probably 10 times more beneficial than having that experience after you are in middle age and your children are all raised. I can’t tell you the time that I have deeply regretted not being a “Returned Missionary husband, and a Returned Missionary father. God blessed me with a wonderful wife without whom I would have surely been a lost soul. But I can’t help thinking what might have been if Sherma would have been blessed with a Returned Missionary Gary for her husband and father of her children.
I don’t want to imply that serving a mission guarantees a perfect outcome in life, but I am convinced that serving a mission will provide significant advantages over not serving a mission.
I was born the fourth child of Herman and Valate Payne. My dad owned the grocery store formerly owned by Grandpa (David George)Picket. It is interesting to me that this family of six was living in a two bedroom home behind the store. My mother was working right alongside dad as the cashier, book keeper, stocker, and whatever else she could contribute. My recollection was that the residence was very small and modestly furnished, unless you count the stacks of groceries stored in the hallway of the residence.
I was about five years old when my father purchased his first free standing home just six blocks away at 2825 Adams Avenue, Ogden. Utah. During those years it seemed that almost everything was rationed. It was a good time to be in a grocer man’s family. It seems that we never wanted for anything.
Since mom was working at the store, and since the home was no longer right behind the store there was a need for child care for the four rambunctious children. Grandma Pickett had a brother who had never married. He had a significant hunch back. I remember being told that he was stepped on by a horse when he was a young man. My mother said she remembered him when he was tall and handsome. There has to be a special place for Uncle Hy (Hyrum Evans) in heaven. He would have been about 57 years old when he started to provide house cleaning, gardening, cooking, and “chasing the monsters around the Payne household on Adams Avenue. I remember that he always came to work on his bicycle, riding from where he lived with his sister who we called “Aunt Matt” short for Martha Parsons. After work, Uncle Hy as we called him went around the corner to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) to get relief with a few beers whenever he could slip away. I don’t think we gave it a thought.
The first eight years of my life were World War II years. I distinctly remember the day it was announced that the war had ended; dad stood in front of the store and shot his 32 caliber pistol into the air!!! Fortunately, the population was very small and I never heard of any injuries from that practice that seemed very common at that time. We see that practice today in the Middle East with automatic weapons and I always wonder who is getting hit by those bullets when they come down. And I think it has always reminded me of 1945 when World War II ended.
In kindergarten and First grade I attended Lewis Elementary School on 28th street, just around the corner from our home on Adams Ave. In kindergarten I remember getting to have a little rest laying down on the blanket we each brought and when we got up we got a half pint of milk. Kindergarten was just a half day so I don’t quite get why we needed the rest. I think it was more for the teacher that for the children!
We moved about 5 blocks east to a beautiful home at 2545 Eccles Ave, a street that used to be called watermelon lane because in the middle of the block there was a beautiful grass island in the shape of a watermelon. I think this was my mother’s dream home. It had a full basement plus a full second story. It seemed very big to me. When we moved here, I started to attend Polk Elementary School. We probably only lived here for about one year.
I think my dad had a case of “middle age crazies”. At the age of 40 -41 he began to think he should retire. He moved the family to Mesa Arizona. In fairness, I must add that my brother David had Rheumatic Fever and I believe health reasons for Dave played a major role in Dad’s decision to move to Phoenix Arizona. Dad had a new home built on West Windsor about one block from a golf course which made a nice playground for me. But in about three months we moved back to Ogden as it seems that the man he hired to manage Payne’s Market was bleeding off a lot of capital to open his own store a few blocks away. I was really too young to know many details except that I was back in Polk Elementary, probably about the fourth grade.
When we came back to Ogden, we moved further up on the “bench” as they called it. This time to 1418 27th Street. Moving up the economic ladder so to speak.
From about the fourth grade through the ninth grade, the Papas family had a significant influence on my life. Although I went to school, I have no recollection of ever bring a book home for home work like I see all of my grandchildren do these days. I worked at Payne’s Market after school and on Saturday (more detail about that later). But all my spare time I spent with George Papas, my age and Thomas, one year younger, and Leah, two years older.
It was not until many years later that I reflected on my activities with the Papas kids that I came to realize that they were not a particularly good influence on me. As an adult I was shocked to realize that the father, although very kind and friendly to his kids and their friends, actually made his living as a proprietor of a hotel on lower 25th street that had a thriving “ladies of the evening” business. He owned a bar and the Roosevelt Hotel adjacent to the bar, two very compatible businesses for his enterprise. They were located about one block from the Ogden Rail Road Station. I remember going to the hotel for a Sunday Dinner with his family. We played on the switchboard which was one that you had to plug in two cords to connect a call. I think the place was essentially empty being Sunday and not a particularly good day for his type of business.
If I was lucky enough to be at the house when papa Papas came home, it was his habit to give all his kids a silver dollar and he never left me out!!! Their house was always well stocked with Coke, candy bars, and bubble gum, all very hard to come by during the war.
Besides the three kids my age, they had a little sister named Madelyn who was about five or six years old. The mother was quite attractive and probably about ten to fifteen years younger than her husband. She was a perfect mother for this bunch because she never knew where we were or what we were doing, and didn’t seem to care. Whatever medication she was on was definitely working. I think she was suffering from post-partum depression or something similar. She seemed to stay in her room most of the time. I can never remember seeing a family meal prepared, or eaten except for the one at the Roosevelt Hotel down town. Most of the food I ate with the Papas’ was a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke eaten at the local hamburger joint named Ken’s Burgers located on 30th and Harrison Blvd. The pin ball machine had a special fascination for us in those days. Hours were spent with me mostly being an observer because I didn’t want to spend the nickel that each game cost. I learned much later, to my embarrassment that Ken’s wife was the sister of RuAyne Herbert, later to become Mrs. David H Payne. Consistent with her class, she never embarrassed me with stories I’m sure she heard about me from her sister.
Papas’ had more disposable income than most so they had lots of toys that kids love. I’ll share a few with you. George had two horses, one for him and one for a friend I guess. Every July Ogden held a rodeo and any person who would bring their horse to the stadium and ride in the “Grand Entry” would automatically get into the rodeo free. We had to ride the horses about 4-5 miles each way from the stables up in the foothills where the horses were kept down to the stadium. This got us home very late every night of the rodeo but no one seemed to notice.
Daddy Papas kept a brand new Buick for his young wife but I never saw her in it. Our driver was 14 year old Leah and she was happy to take us anywhere we wanted. She was very short so she had a pile of pillows to sit on so she could see out. She must have been a careful driver because we never got stopped by the police and fortunately never had an accident.
In the summer we would go rabbit hunting out in West Weber. We would sit on the front fender and Leah would drive through the sage brush! The shotguns, ammunition, car and gasoline furnished by Papas’. In the winter I remember Leah pulling George on a tow line with his skis on. I was delegated to be the rearward observer so we could stop when George fell off. The skiing part was not something I ever dared to do. These activities were all done out in the dessert west of Ogden.
I remember a birthday party for Leah. Her dad rented a huge public indoor swimming pool called the Rainbow Gardens at the mouth of the Ogden canyon. Leah had about 50 invited guests with an open snack bar.
Looking back at this time it was like Pinocchio living at the carnival with free access to any thing a boy could want. I feel very lucky to have escaped without major consequences.
(LL) Ideally, parents should always know where their children are, who they are with, and what they are doing. These things are too important to leave to chance.
I would not like to accuse my dad of violating the child labor laws, but I think I was about five or six when I was first put to work at Payne’s Market. Summers were very hot in Ogden and my dad was very enterprising. He pushed a Coke cooler out in front of the store and rigged a long extension cord to it. The Coke was immersed in water which was recirculated through a refrigerant. Frankly, I was a very cute little boy with Scandinavian type blonde hair. My ancestry was actually English and Welch but I think every child of our family was blonde during the first four or five years of their lives. I was the only one who stayed blonde until I became gray!
Dad taught me to approach every customer who drove or walked towards the front door to put a big smile on my face and say “Excuse me sir, “Wouldn’t you enjoy a nice cold Coke to cool you off”. My close ration was record setting. And I had full responsibility to collect the nickel, and make change when necessary. I was a six year old businessman!
Another enterprise was Coke related as well. During the war, almost everything was in short supply. Soft drinks were all sold in glass bottles. I’m going to have to guess what this enterprise was about since I was never taken into the confidence of the perpetrator.
I had a little red wagon as most boys my age did. Dad taught me to go around the neighborhood and ask if I might help them out by cleaning all the empty soft drink bottles out of their basement and garage. I’m quite certain that no money changed hands. I was just doing them a cleaning service. I’m guessing here, but I think there were deposits of maybe one or two cents per bottle that dad could collect from the bottling companies. Dad was winning two ways. First he kept me busy and thus not finding mischief to get into. Second, he had a 100% profit margin on all the bottles I collected.
Stay with me here, because I’m not through with the pop bottle connection yet. My brother Dave was five years older than me. When I was out collecting empty pop bottles in the neighborhood, Dave had a very undesirable job both in location and in function. In the basement of Payne’s market excess stock was stored. Also, basket after basket full of empty pop bottles were sent to be “sorted”.
The basement had a low ceiling, and while that did not pose a problem for me at this time, the basement was famous for some real knock out contacts with adult employees. But in addition to the low ceiling, the lighting was depressing to say the least. One bulb hanging from the ceiling on a cord was not what you would have called mood lighting.
So in this lovely environment, damp and dark, Dave’s job was to empty the jumbled assortment of bottles and put each bottle into a wooden crate from the appropriate manufacture. Coke to the Coke crate. 7 up to the 7up crate. Nephi to the Nephi crate. Maybe fifteen manufactures in total. You should be smart enough to see where this is going. Dave couldn’t wait to unload that job onto me. I think by the time I was ten years old, Dave never sorted another bottle. Remember, the bottles were dirty, sometimes one fourth full so they would spill all over your clothes, hands, arms if you moves too fact. And I always moved very fast to get the job over with. But it was never over with. I think 15- 20 basket loads per week arrived in the basement for the sorter. And if you got behind….. Avalanche. Sometimes the bottles were stacked three baskets deep. A very unstable stack!
But the job was not without its rewards. I got 10¢ / hour for this little task. That doesn’t sound like much, but you’d be surprised how fast it adds up. So was dad. He had a very strange bookkeeping system for the payroll for his 10 year old son. He would have been a very effective politician. His strategy was defer, delay, obfuscate, negotiate.
Once I told him I wanted a settlement on my wages. He asked how much he owed me. I replied $32.60. I’m glad he didn’t have a weak heart. Well, a lot of dancing around, foot shuffling and “oh me, oh my” and finally the offer to settle: ……. $15.00. Face it. He had all the cards. I didn’t have a union, and I didn’t have alternative employers at 10 years of age. And $15.00 was a small fortune!! And thus I began to get used to having major money for my activities at a very young age. By the time I was twelve I was buying all of my own clothes and providing all my own spending money, and did so from that time on.
Strange that I cannot remember ever stocking the shelves at Payne’s market. I was required to sweep the floors, and repeated dusting of the shelves, but I guess I was never considered big enough to be a stock boy. In early years, I think I had a hard time staying focused for very long (and Sherma tells me in later years as well!) so when I was supposed to sweep the floor, dad required that I “stroke three times, then turn the push broom over and tap it twice”. This he explained would keep the dirt from collecting on the brushes. What he didn’t tell me was that when the tapping stopped he would know that I had slipped out.
My favorite place to slip out to was Grandma & Grandpa Picket’s house, about three blocks away. One time of infamy when dad realized the tapping had stopped, he came looking for me and he knew right where to look. I saw him drive up and quickly dove under grandma’s bed. He came in and asked “where is Bart”? Grandma is purported to have said “I haint seen hide nor hare of him Herm”. That is the way the story is always told, but in my heart I think grandma gave dad a wink and looked over to her bed. She didn’t want my dad to worry but she wanted to protect me from work as well! Dad was a good sport and went along with it.
Another time of infamy my brother Dave loves to tell is seeing me motoring off in the back seat of grandfather’s car and poking my head out the window with a big smile crying out “I’ll work double tomorrow”.
The key to success in a small market like that was good meat and good produce. Dad was the butcher and also the produce man. After a while he hired a cousin of my mother whose name was Walt Wessler. Walt had a forever twinkle in his eye. He had a great sense of humor and was always teasing. In the corner of the meat department was a small closet that was the toilet. The fixture had the reservoir of water overhead so that gravity could supply the water pressure. Being young and forgetful I often forgot to “pull the rope” to flush the toilet. Walt would repeatedly say to me “when you smell the dope, pull the rope”. So I got a lot of teasing about that. Years later whenever he saw me he would say “when you smell the dope, pull the rope” then laugh and laugh.
After dad hired a manager and was not in the store every day, I felt I was abused by the new boss. I doubt that the manager wanted to be responsible for me and wasn’t very nice to me. I filed a “labor grievances” with my dad at the dinner table claiming under pay and over work. He suggested I might find employment elsewhere. This time I was fourteen years old and had a bit more leverage. Next day I came home from school and proudly reported that I had landed a job at dad’s chain store competition American Food Stores, about four blocks away and got a 25% increase in pay!!! I think that was one of dad’s favorite stories to tell about me. He was very proud that I would stand up to his manager and prouder still that the neighboring store manager recognized a well trained boy.
(LL) I am a firm believer that learning early in life to be self-reliant is a wonderful blessing. It was actually very rewarding to have a task, see it completed, and reap rewards for my effort. It was here in the dark, dusty basement of Payne’s Market that I first learned to love work and the rewards it could bring.
Saturday Morning Movies
In the summer time the local theaters had Saturday matinées. The most popular one was the Paramount Theater where you got a double feature, cartoons, news, and a live master of ceremonies accompanied by a live organ. Price of admission: 10¢. About half a block from the movie there was a popcorn store. We could get “unpopped corn” for 5¢. The bus was 5¢ each way so mom game me a quarter. Ten cents for the movie, ten cents for the bus. and five cents for candy and I was out of her hair for half a day!
I figured if I walked instead of ride the bus I would have 10¢ extra for candy! No brainer! I opted for the candy! We lived seventeen blocks from the movie so I really had to earn that dime of spending money
Miscellaneous Ogden Life
The first 12 years of my life I remember that dad seemed to work 12 hour days and often seven day weeks. My parents did have an interesting social life however. I remember Mom and dad belonged to a club called the Debutants. Twice a year they had a formal dance. Dad would wear a tuxedo and mom would wear a formal, with a corsage!! Fancy smancy! Also, once a week they would join friends for a penny anti poker game. The card party would rotate from home to home and when it was at our house at 1418 27th street, I noticed they all drank cocktails.
One other observation I would like to make about the church in the 40’s and 50’s that is very different from today. I never heard any discussion about temples either at church or at home. I don’t recall my parents or grandparents ever going to the temple. In October conference, 1994, after Howard W Hunter asked the members to make the temple the symbol of our membership, and I have seen that actually happen. And at the last general conference, President Monson announced the new policy of encouraging all youth 12 years and older to be worthy of, to use often, and have in their possession at all times a limited use (temple baptisms) temple recommends.
In later life, my parents stopped drinking coffee and cocktails and were regular temple attenders, even though it was a two hour bus ride each way to the Los Angeles Temple from Hemet, California where they lived in retirement. All six of their children are regular temple attenders. David is a Sealer at the Los Angeles temple, and Doug has served as a temple ordinance worker in the Ogden temple for many years. Ilene and I both serve as Temple Ordinance Workers. Mom and Dad must have done some things right.
Santa Barbara California
One of dad’s fellow grocery man, golfing buddies and social friends was Jim Bush. In 1950 Jim sold his grocery store in Ogden, uprooted his family and moved to a place called Santa Barbara, California. He bought a lemon orchard and set about becoming a “Gentleman Farmer”. He raved about the weather, the life style, and the wonderful golf course at the Santa Barbara Country Club. It was too much for dad to resist, for which I will be ever grateful.
In 1951 I was fourteen years old, just graduated from Central Jr. High. Dad sold Payne’s market, the home on 27th street, and headed for Santa Barbara California. I had the challenge of attending high school where I didn’t know a soul. Dad found a house to rent on Calle Pollo Colorado for us to live in while a home was being built on Piedmont Road. Dad love to say as fast as he could “Calle Pollo Colorado” and over and over again. Our new home was being built at the top of Ontare Rd. on the north end of Santa Barbara. It had a beautiful view of the valley below, and about a dozen avocado trees. I’m guessing the lot was about one acre.
One of the first things I did when I got there was to get a job. When I left Ogden, I was getting paid 75¢ an hour. The grocery clerks in Santa Barbara were paid $2.14 per hour! But the jobs were very hard to get so I took a job at Smitty’s Chevron gas station. In those days they were full service stations so I cleaned the car windows, checked the dip stick, added oil when required and filled the gas tank. I also learned how to repair tires with tire irons, the old fashioned way. It wasn’t my chosen profession, but it provided spending money and I really liked the men I worked for.
That first summer, my only friend was Jim Bush’s son named Bobby. He was two years younger than me, but he was a friend to keep company with. If I wasn’t working at Smitty’s, I would be with Bobby at the Santa Barbara Country club playing golf (very poorly) or hanging out at the pool. I don’t think I ever had or was offered to have a golf lesson. When school started, Bobby was still in Jr. High School so the only time I saw him was on Sundays at church.
Fairly soon I was able to get a job at Jordano’s Supermarket. My last job in a grocery store in Ogden paid 75 cents per hour, up from 50 cents at Payne’s Market. Jordano’s paid $2.14 per hour!
I wasn’t working there very long when the store manager told me he had an opportunity for me to make extra money if I was interested. Of course I said. He said he would pay me $20 cash to clean all the restrooms, floors, sinks, toilets, urinals etc. once a week. There were probably about 30 - 40 employees there but he chose me because he knew I would do a good job and not take short cuts.
The same thing happened when I worked at Safeway after my freshman year at school. The manager chose four guys to mop the floors once a week and we got paid cash. I was invited to be on the crew. I was never too proud to get my hands dirty or do the low class work and I think it made me more valuable to my employer.
Payne’s Music Company
Dad purchased a business from Trevillian Enterprise and changed the name to Payne’s Music Company. The business had a route of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops and it provided juke boxes, pinball and other coin operated games and cigarette machines.
About one year prior to us moving to Santa Barbara, Dave had married RuAyne Herbert and they had moved to South Gate California to live near Ilene and Bill Critchfield, our sister. Dave tried selling Kirby vacuum cleaners for a while but naturally gravitated to working in a huge grocery store named Hirams.
Dad persuaded Dave to move to Santa Barbara and be the manager of Payne’s Music Company. Thus started a lifetime career for Dave, albeit a short lived Payne’s Music Company. I worked for Dave after school and on Saturdays and thus started a close friendship and working relationship with my brother who was six years older than me. Growing up, that was a bit too much of a spread to be real friends, but working together in the family business brought many fond memories and laughs.
One job was to type the labels for the juke box for the new records. We had a manual typewriter and the labels had to be error free. It was tough but I learned for the first time how to type and that has been a great blessing in itself. Dave rented a home about three blocks from the High School so it was easy for me to go to his house to type the labels.
In the field, I would go to the accounts with him where he would empty the coins from all the machines, count it, and pay the owner his share. I don’t remember being allowed to touch the money! The cigarette machines had to be restocked. And the labels had to be replaced for the new records being installed. I can’t honestly remember what it was that I did, except run to the car for this tool or that. I think I was allowed to change the music labels.
Here’s a real hoot! The cigarettes sold for 23¢ a package, and the machine would only accept quarters so we had a big production line at our home on Piedmont Rd. We opened a carton of cigarettes, with a razor blade we sliced the cellophane wrapper and inserted two pennies and put the packages back into their carton and then into their case! Hard to believe, but it’s true. Apparently, dad felt that labor was cheap so we just kept doing it. Our house often had 30- 50 cases of cigarettes stacked in the halls. When friends came over they must have thought we had a real smoking habit. Apparently the change of ownership was confidential so we were not allowed to ever tell anyone why we had the cigarettes in our house.
One of the benefits of working with Dave was going to the shop after work and playing the pinball machines and the shuffleboard. We would have tournaments and World Series (best 4 out of 7). Dave would always make sure the rules would ensure he was the winner! I didn’t really mind. I just enjoyed his friendship.
Santa Barbara High School
My sophomore year was very hard for me because I didn’t know a sole, but by the time I graduated, I was one of the social high flyers. I was invited to join a H-Y club which was sponsored by the YMCA. It provided a great opportunity for me to meet lots of guys who had grown up in Santa Barbara. One of the members of the club was Charles Schwabb who I knew as “Chuck”. Chuck was a very serious student and his best friend was Hugo Quackenbush, later to become his Executive Vice President. They were both heavy duty scholars, something I didn’t quite fit into. Their conversations were often way over my head. As far as I know, Chuck never had any contact with his high school buddies and would not return any attempts to contact him. He never attended a reunion. I guess we were too far beneath him.
Hugo lived in a very run down shack right next to the tracks. I’m sad to say he was the brunt of many jokes. Since he was a true eccentric it wasn’t hard to make fun of him. He got the last laugh though didn’t he. His son was elected Secretary of State for California. I think Hugo had significant clout because of his wealth and position at Charles Schwab.
In my junior year I was invited along with twenty or thirty other boys to go to a formal dance at the Santa Barbara School for Girls in Montecito CA. It was a boarding school for girls with parents of substantial means. There I met a girl that I was smitten by and vice versa I guess. The next year she dropped out of the girls school and registered at Santa Barbara High. We dated for probably a year and she exposed me to high culture living. One night a week her family had a formal dinner at home prepared and served by a high class chef. I was often invited and I was really impressed.
I dated one other girl in High School for about eight or nine months whose name was Marina Costas. She was a very talented singer and stared in the school play singing the part of Maria . Mostly, I just dated a lot of different girls and went dancing every Saturday night.
There was one other exception that was quite strange. She was a cheer leader at Ventura High School about forty miles down the coast. She was a knock out and I think I just dated her for a trophy date. But she was spoiled rotten and made endless demands which didn’t wear very well. And the eighty mile round trip to Ventura for a date got old pretty fast.
The final chapter of that relationship was a real shocker. We had not dated for a long time and one day after I am married and living in Provo UT, I get a phone call in my apartment with Sherma and it is her!!! She has come to BYU to find me. I guess I’ll never know the real story but I told her we wouldn’t be dating because my wife wouldn’t approve! Honestly, she was a real nutter so I wouldn’t be surprised if she knew I was married and called me for shock value. I don’t think I ever saw her on campus, and now as I think of it, she may not have been in Provo at all…. Just like her.
Brigham Young University
BYU was and is one of the great blessings of my life. I honestly don’t know how it came to be but I just ended up there. I never considered any other college and the University of California at Santa Barbara was right there locally. I’m going to guess that my mom and dad did some very subtle manipulating and made sure that I thought it was my idea. Candidly, higher education was not on the top of my things to do list. I was seventeen years old, and more like thirteen in maturity. I was into having fun and driving a nice car, and going on lots of dates. BYU was a gift from God for something I must have done in the preexistence.
I started BYU in the fall of 1955 and graduated in June of 1959. That was a real accomplishment considering that I was invited to go home and find another school in my first quarter of my sophomore year. But God had other plans for me. I did go home and went to work in Los Angeles in the grocery industry. It took two requests for readmission before I got back in. I had missed a full year.
But I have gotten ahead of myself. In my freshman year in the first quarter I met the “boys from Lehi” who became my best friends. Hugh Haws invited me to come live in their home and enjoy home cookin’ from his mom. His mother Edith was an industrious and ambitious woman and she would enjoy a little extra spending money. So all my friends were from Lehi and I lived in Lehi. I even dated Lehi High school girls.
One of those friends lived across the street. His name was Brent Dorton. He had a steady girl friend who was going to beauty college in Salt Lake City. Her name was Sherma White. Since she lived and went to school in Salt Lake, I rarely saw her. I remember the first time I saw her I was coming out of the chapel of the Lehi 5th ward and she was with Brent and he introduced us. I thought she was very attractive, but already taken. Soon thereafter they became engaged. Right now I am reminded of my grandson Steven Cole who once told me “just because there is a goalkeeper doesn’t mean you can’t score.” But once again I get ahead of myself.
A great tragedy occurred when the three Lehi Boys, Hugh Haws, Lyle Barnes, Brent Dorton, along with me and Tom Woodring, a friend from Santa Barbara, John Shamburg went to Lake Powell to go boating and just goof off. Somehow, Brent, and expert swimmer drowned that week end and no one could ever explain why. It occurred very near the end of the school year so I soon returned to Santa Barbara for the summer.
Next fall when I returned for my sophomore year I brought a close high school friend John Shamburg with me. He was not LDS so I can’t for the life of me figure out what would motivate a handsome young man to leave home to attend a Mormon university 700 miles from home. But he did.
It wasn’t long before Hugh thought that John should meet Sherma so he did, and they quickly fell in love. But it wasn’t meant to be.
When I was invited to leave BYU for disciplinary reasons, John did not want to stay without me there so we went home and plotted an adventure. I’m not sure who thought of it but we both decided to sell our cars and move to Hawaii. The first thing I did when I got there was get a job in the local super market chain. The first thing John did was start to miss Sherma. We were on a collision course and I was destined to loose. I certainly did not want to live in Hawaii without John so we headed back to Santa Barbara.
I move to South Gate CA to live with my sister Ilene and quickly get a job in a grocery chain store. John joins the Marines. Now we are really on different paths. My goal was to get back into BYU. I don’t know what John’s goal was but he shortly thereafter bought an engagement ring for Sherma.
Let me digress for a moment and share with you a couple of stories about my employment in South Gate. As I canvas grocery stores I come upon an Alpha Beta store where the manager says he has no openings but he has a guy home sick that day which was the day that they received their load from the warehouse and I could work one day if I wanted which I did. At the end of the day he called me into his office and he phones another Alpha Beta store manage and tells him he has the best stock clerk he has ever seen, and I am quickly employed at this other Alpha Beta store, sight un seen.
After about six months I am approved for re admittance at BYU on probation. When I give my notice to my boss he says I am crazy to leave. I am making more money right now that I will make after I graduate. He is exactly right as it turns out. But I tell him I think a college education is important. ( I have to credit my father for indoctrinating me with that philosophy) The Store Manager says if I stay he will make me assistant manager effective today and I will be a Store Manager within two years. I take this offer as a high complement and can see that someone who loves to work is a rare commodity.
LL Many times in my career my high energy and industriousness, and willingness to go beyond what is expected has gained for me great advantage and resulted in many promotions.
I started kindergarten one year early, I think so mom could get me out of her hair, and because she could see I was bright enough to learn the curriculum. The down side of that was that I was always the youngest person in my class, and certainly the most immature. So I compensated by often being a disruption. This continued through High School, and even my first year at BYU. I can never remember bring books home to study in High School. I can never think of a time when my grandkids did NOT bring books home to study. Consequently, their grades are excellent and frequently receive academic awards and scholarships. Education wise, my life took a dramatic change when I got married. All of a sudden, education was a critical factor in my prospects for earning a living. College social life was irrelevant. I really put my nose to the grindstone and got good grades, and got out of University in record time.
I was christened Gary Barton Payne, but I grew up as Bart Payne. Until I attended BYU. In 1955 the computer began to intrude in our lives. It was first name, middle initial. No exceptions. So I don’t fight it. I am now Gary B Payne. And everybody I met at BYU knew only Gary Payne. That caused no problems until I graduated and moved back to California and just naturally introduced myself as Bart Payne. No problem except that Sherma only knew Gary.
Funny story. One day Sherma says to my friends in Lehi, you always talk about this guy named Bart. Why haven’t you ever introduced hi to me. My friend Hugh Haws laughs and says, “you know Gary don’t you”. Yes she says. Well, that Bart.
One more name story. I have a cousin, Karen Davis, who is also attending the Y. She meets and marries Alan Hemsley, who has met Sherma at school so they plan to attend the wedding. Karen is going to Bart’s wedding and Allan says no his name is Gary. So an argument ensues. Alan says Gary is a red head. (unknown to him, died that color by Sherma the cosmetologist). No, Karen say Bart is blonde! A real donnybrook ensues. We have stayed good friends for all these years and have had many a laugh of Gary the red head vs Bart the Blonde.
So the problem was solved by Sherma being married to Gary and all of her family knew Gary, but from University days on, only Sherma and her family calls me Gary.
First name, middle initial has caused me major problems as life goes on and computers become more intrusive. I frequently can’t remember in what name I have an appointment because of their computer data base.
LL Never call you son by his middle name. It will drive him crazy in this day of computer data
Sherma had lots of boy friends before I ever got my chance! She was very popular in School, and was in school government, and school plays, and school beauty queen, and an excellent student. How I slipped in there can only be attributed to eternal destiny. We are very happily married now but Sherma had to tolerate a very immature husband for far too long, before I finally decided to grow up.
When I first met Sherma, she was a very serious girlfriend of Brent Dorton. A neighbor across the street from where I was living in Lehi, and we car pooled to BYU together, so I heard a lot about Brent’s beautiful girlfriend, to who he soon became engaged.
Shortly after Brent’s drowning, my good friend Hugh Haws who I lived with my freshman year, decides that John Shamburg, who came to the Y with me would be a great match for Sherma. And why not. John is a very handsome California blonde, 6” 1” and a great build. Every girl’s dream. But he had a chink in his armor! He was not a member of the church. A major chink!
So, I am back in school on probation after being readmitted. John has joined the Marine Corpse. Sempra Fi buddy! On his first leave, he heads straight for Utah to see Sherma, his future wife, so he thinks. God has other plans.
John gets in a head on collision and is not expected to live, so I am told. I drop everything and get ready to rush home to see John. In my packing I get a call from Sherma who advises me that she is going with me. No way!!! Way!!! My first hint of a very strong mind, but I’m not too quick to pick up on it.
So we make a bee line for Port Hueneme Hospital (Camarillo) California. After the visit, we proceed to Santa Barbara where of course I am the perfect host to my friend Sherma Bee. Dining and dancing and the beach are standard fare for new comers to Santa Barbara. Nothing too good for John’s girlfriend. Back to Port Hueneme Hospital the next day, and of course returning to Santa Barbara for another delightful evening.
Looks like John is not if fact going to die but plans to marry the fetching Sherma White from Highland Utah. So we skedaddle back to Provo.
It is amazing what can happen when two people of common mind can achieve when they are alone together for 72 hours in a most romantic setting. The next day I call Sherma and suggest that we go to the Pleasant Grove Rodeo together. Ninety days later, it is Gary who has the engagement ring on Sherma Bee’s finger, and ninety days after that she is Mrs. Gary B Payne!!!!! How about them apples!