The San Bernardino Oral History Project – Sue Payne
(edited April 2017)
July 10, 2002
Hanson: Hi Sue, tell me something about your grandparents, your maternal grandparents.
Payne: I get to look at my notes, right?
Hanson: Absolutely, anytime you want.
Payne: My maternal grandparents. My grandfather was a captain in the US Army and he was a veteran of the Spanish American War. He was a pharmacist on the island of Alcatraz when it was an army prison and I have a gold nugget he dug out of the Klondike in Alaska.
Hanson: OK, let me ask you this, are there any stories about the Spanish American war and what he did in that war. I know you have that he was in the navy, or I'm sorry, in the army. Do you know if he saw any battles, do you know if he was under Pershing, any kind of information about that?
Payne: You know, I really don't. I have a letter that his brother wrote that was printed in the newspaper in Washington (state) and that gave a fantastic background of being in the Philippines and being on San Juan Hill. My grandfather was quite a bit older, 15 years older than my grandmother when they were married, and they met at Fort Dodge in Iowa.
On my dad's side, he was born in San Francisco his father was also. His father before him came from Ireland to gold rush California and settled in San Francisco by 1860. And I also was born there, so I'm really proud of being a third generation San Franciscan.
Hanson: You should be, not many people are born in this state.
Payne: Right, let alone that city. And my mom was raised in San Francisco, and she was the secretary for an insurance company after her high school and that's where she met my dad who followed his father in the footsteps of the insurance business. During World War II my Dad served on Treasure Island in the navy. He went in 1944, and they didn't take him earlier because of poor eyesight, but he could count the money in the vault on Treasure Island so they did use him after all. And after the war in 1946, my folks moved to southern California. We spent a summer in a mountain cabin up in Crestline. And those are good memories, blue jays and squirrels and falling out of a bunk bed. And my first Betsy Wetsy doll - and my only Betsy Wetsy doll. (laughter)
Hanson: And she was a secretary?
Payne: Yes, at that time she was, yes. She enjoyed it but I think that the role that she-she really ended up staying at home in spite of not wanting to. She would have liked to work.
Hanson: Why did she decide to stay home? When you were born she decided to stay home?
Payne: Because I think my dad decided she needed to stay home. (laughs) I really do. She worked 49 hours a month in the insurance agency at $1.00 per hour and if she had worked the 50 hours then she would have had to claim taxes and so they thought this was the way to avoid all that. But I know she loved being out in public and when I was young that certainly was a good outlet for her -
Hanson: And what year did they get married?
Hanson: So your dad left the navy and moved to southern California. Why did they move from San Francisco to southern California in 1946?
Payne: Business opportunity, climate, and probably family I'm supposing, but we had a very close cousin. As you've already seen from my paperwork I have no brothers or sisters. Neither my mother nor my father had brothers or sisters. My father had a cousin four years older than he who played big sister from infancy to the time he died and she passed away two weeks ago. She was 95 and she spanned all the generations in our family. And she continued being a very aggressive, very controlling person and maybe we don't want that on the tape, something negative. I really do believe that part of the idea of getting away from family, getting away from all of the aunts and the controlling family members, getting a fresh start. It was a new beginning for them and they did not want to raise me in the city.
Hanson: Why not?
Payne: I suppose probably for all of the typical reasons-too congested, too crowded, too dirty.
Hanson: So they thought southern California was a better option.
Payne: Definitely. And it probably was for them.
Hanson: Okay, and you said you were at Crestline for a year.
Payne: No, three months.
Hanson: Oh, I thought you said a whole year. See, I'm not listening well.
Payne: And I may be off a year on that. It might have been the summer of 1947 because I completed my kindergarten in La Crescenta, so we did move to southern California in 1946, lived for a year in La Crescenta, moved to Crestline while my parents purchased a home in San Bernardino [2831 Sierra Way].
Hanson: What do you remember about Crestline? I know it was a long time ago and it was only three months, but you said there were some good stories.
Payne: I do have good memories of that. I can remember climbing stairs, stairs and stairs every time we went to the grocery store. We'd have to carry things home - my mother never drove, so we always walked. We were right on the main street. If you drive into Crestline today you would turn right and you would go down a little hill and the cabin we rented was a very large one and the living part was at the top of the hill up stairs. (laughs) And I really loved it- squirrels and blue jays and the outdoors that I really hadn't been exposed to, and mountains. And walking, everyday walking.
Hanson: So that fresh air, outdoor mountain kind of idea.
Payne: And it was a very small community then, maybe one place to eat, one place to shop. Just one main street.
Hanson: So you moved to San Bernardino and I assume you started school here in San Bernardino.
Payne: I started the first grade.
Hanson: Do you remember anything about grammar school?
Payne: Oh, lots.
Hanson: Tell me about first grade in San Bernardino. What school were you at?
Payne: The first through sixth grade Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. And I was in the Brownies probably in second grade. (tape paused) OK, I'm glad we had a pause because I do remember first grade now. (laughs) I won't skip to second immediately. First grade, a little girl named Judy told me there was no Santa Claus. It’s funny, I really can remember her name and I doubt if I could remember anyone else's from the first grade. (both laugh)
Hanson: What kinds of things did you do in first grade - did you learn how to read, did you have penmanship, did you practice cursive writing or did you just do printing? Everyone does things different.
Payne: I may be wrong, it seems to me printing until third grade. I had a good reading background in kindergarten. I was always quick to read.
Hanson: Okay, what was your reader in first grade?
Payne: Oh, yes. See Spot run, Dick and Jane.
Hanson: Fun with Dick and Jane. (both laugh) We all remember those.
Payne: Yes, and boy was I happy to get to Nancy Drew. (both laugh)
Hanson: Okay, now, you said in second grade, when you got to second grade you joined the Brownies.
Payne: I joined the Brownies and the reason I mention that is that the Brownie leader and Girl Scout Leader was a teacher at Woodrow Wilson and very well known. And I remember Sandy [Ethel] McClaren through all of those many years.
Hanson: And that was the Brownie Leader?
Payne: Right. She was the kindergarten teacher, Brownie and Scout Leader. And I'm very fortunate, Joyce, that I have contact with several of my schoolmates from that time.
Hanson: That is wonderful.
Payne: Can we, you know, these quick little memories that happen. Going to school in the morning half the year and the afternoon the other half year. So obviously it was split session. Don't think we really thought of it as that then but half a year I'd wave at Jeannie going to school and the other half we'd pass each other coming home. Now we try to get together two or three times a year. It's fun to share those memories.
Hanson: It's nice that you can keep friends for that long.
Hanson: So, what did you do in Brownies?
Payne: Lots of badges, but if we skip to Scouts, that's Girl Scout Camp and that was the love of my life. My parents were not campers. They were not outdoors people. We would spend one to two weeks each summer at Oceanside and so camping was a highlight. And as we became scouts Sandy McClaren would make arrangements to take us up to Girl Scout camp in the winter also so we would have a few overnight stays during the winter as well as summer weeks. Loved that.
Hanson: What kind of things did you do at camp?
Payne: Rode my first horse, swam in my first lake, hiked and slept outside overnight for the first time. Washed my hair in a waterfall for the only time in my life (laughs), which means I was polluting our Redlands water supply. (both laugh) You were going to ask me where the camp was. And it's up in the San Gorgonio wilderness area, Barton Flats.
Hanson: Okay, give me some directions.
Payne: We would go out what is 38 through Redlands through Mentone toward Big Bear. In other words, from San Bernardino we'd go east up into the mountains. We'd always stop at Igo's. That was a very famous stop on the mountain road. We would all be allowed to buy a candy bar. I don't think we drank Cokes and things in those days. I may be wrong on that, I don't remember soda pop. But I do think we were all able to buy a candy bar. Maybe we bought little square cartons of milk. Probably something like that. And then on up to Barton Flats and, of course, the camp is still there today. And our activities were crafts in the camp, lots of socialization, and I needed that very much.
Hanson: Being an only child.
Payne: Being an only child. As I got older, that's where I discovered I needed to wear a bra because the girls told me. (both laugh)
Hanson: Okay, so you found out you needed a bra at Girl Scout camp. What happened then?
Payne: Oh, well. That was one of my growing up experiences in San Bernardino; when I insisted to my mom that I needed a bra, she got on the telephone and called Harris Company and made an appointment for me for a personal fitting. Which was growing up.
Hanson: Unique. (both laugh) Interesting story. Most girls don't get a personal fitting. (both laugh)
Payne: I didn't get a very flat bra, either. (both laugh)
Hanson: Okay, anything else in Girl Scout camp that you found out?
Payne: I found out that the camp leaders played poker because in the middle of the night when we were up on a weekend winter camp, we were all bedded down in the nice, big lodge in our sleeping bags. The generator quit, the lights went off. And the men who were there as our escorts, the fathers, had a big poker game going with some money. And they were extremely upset, and of course, we found out about what they were doing. (laughs)
I learned how to wash dishes, too. I learned that you put the silverware in the sink first then you put the dishes in the sink later. My mother couldn't stand it. (laughs) I'm glad, Joyce, that you reminded me of all that we really learned at Girl Scout camp. Setting the table, that is still important to me today to have so many of those skills. The sewing and the braiding rugs, and braiding pine needles and learning the basics of basket weaving, and all of those things were very, very important. Then we all thought we were bored, but now I look back and realize that we weren't bored at all.
Hanson: Well, it was the basis for a lot of crafts that we do today. Any kind of knitting, any kind of embroidering, and kind of quilting is based on what we learned when we were kids and a lot of that came from Girl Scouts by earning those badges.
Payne: It did and the tea towels that always had Monday wash, and Tuesday iron, and we embroidered all our cute little Sun Bonnet faces on those in scouts. And you know, I think at that time Monday was washday and Tuesday was ironing day, and Wednesday was baking.
Hanson: Every day had a function. All the tasks had to be laid out for the week and that's the way it was done.
Payne: Yes, it was.
Hanson: Okay, any more memories of Girl Scouts that you can think of? Any friends that you made in Girl Scouts that you still have?
Payne: Again, the group of ladies that I see occasionally, at least twice a year. Last year we went to San Francisco together, ten of us. Then there were four of us who were in scouting together out of that group of ten.
Hanson: Oh, that's good. So you all managed to stay together through a lot of different activities. That creates a good bond.
Payne: It does. I wish that were true. I'm the only one who returned to San Bernardino after school. The majority are in Orange County and Los Angeles area. So, very fortunate that we have been able to make those contacts and catch up. I seem to not have had that growing-up-with-our children years, but now we have the grandchildren years to work with.
Hanson: Okay, let's talk about any other memories that you come up with in grammar school, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade. Now, did grammar school go up to sixth grade?
Hanson: And then there was a graduation?
Payne: NO. You can tell I'm sounding a little disdainful. I think we're making too much of the graduations. I think the young people need to recognize that education is continuing and school needs to continue. You don't just reach a graduation point and now it's done. It isn't and we're sending the wrong message. And I know that pre-school has graduation ceremonies and they're cute, but then when you have graduation again from kindergarten and graduation from sixth grade. Oh, well, sorry.
Hanson: No, I want your opinions. I want to know what you think. I would agree, I think we overdo it sometimes, although I understand it's supposed to mark a transition, there are also negatives that come with that for kids.
Payne: And there was. There's a huge transition from sixth grade to junior high. Which at that time from one teacher through the year to lots of classes, a lot more responsibility, a lot more subjects. And puberty. (both laugh)
Hanson: Okay, let's talk about some junior high things.
Payne: Okay, well. I think we were laughing about puberty, but junior high really strikes me as learning about sex, about watching the Disney movie in the gymnasium and having to tell the young boy who was the projectionist that he had to leave. And then the teacher at that time didn't know how to run the projection equipment. I know now having training as a teacher you don't go into a classroom without knowing the basics. But, junior high I really loved, I discovered a love of language, continued my love of reading.
Hanson: I see from your notes you made, you did some work with French and Spanish as far as foreign languages. Did that come from junior high? Is that where that started?
Payne: The Spanish from junior high definitely. One of my favorite teachers (at Arrowview Jr. High) was Mr. [Walter] Mayo and I can remember him very vividly. Not too sure why, he was a small gentleman but he certainly had a gift for making the language fun. You know I'm trying to be very officious but the memories that are coming back are nothing but silly. But I do remember in seventh grade sitting behind a little girl named Pam and she would pierce ears while we were in class. I believe that was our two-period Social Studies class. And I don't know how she was able to do that day after day and not be caught, but we'd all let her pierce, well, I didn't, but lots did. We'd bring the ice cubes to school and we'd sit in front of Pam during the class and she would take her needle and light it with a match, boy she got away with a lot, a little alcohol and she'd stick the needle in the ear. And we'd go home with pierced ears. (both laugh)
Hanson: Must have been a surprise to a lot of mothers. (both laugh) I'm glad to know Social Studies still has a good reputation for not being boring.
Payne: And seating children in rows. Alphabetical order, and I was a W so I was always at the end unless the teacher would fool us and start at the end, then I was at the beginning and equally unprepared. Let me move forward into high school. I think I've lost my train of thought. (both laugh) I didn't have to hide. At least my folks didn't really sensor things. We were talking about moving on to high school where I really finally learn, I did get some sex education from Peyton Place. Grace Metalious, I believe. I still think that was one of the best books that ever came out of the fifties decade. We would pass certain pages around in gym class, but I'm glad that we don't have to hide things like that today. I'm glad that our young people, start out, hopefully, more knowledgeable. Much easier to be honest with your own children than to hide.
Hanson: High school, favorite subjects?
Payne: Definitely Spanish. Had a wonderful teacher and took Spanish all four years and that became if you'd want to call it my clique in high school. That really became where I felt most comfortable. There was a small group of us. And Walt Oliver, if I can use names, is now the chairman of the Spanish department out at Cal State and he and I went all through those years of Spanish together.
Hanson: Favorite teachers?
Payne: Lots, definitely two English teachers and again, Mr. [Kenneth] Winsor the Spanish teacher. Two English teachers. Ruth Lewis, very well known here in the community. The other was Martha Stoebe, and she married a year later and I can't remember, Miller. Mrs. Miller. And I believe she needed to leave Pacific High School where we were because married couples could not teach at the same school and she married one of the teachers. But, fell in love with Shakespeare and I can't even read Shakespeare today, I need Mrs. Lewis back here to help me.
Hanson: Tell me about Mrs. Lewis.
Payne: Well, I think she made everyone in the classroom feel very comfortable, very wanting to learn. She really made all our classes exciting. She was an excellent teacher. And her subject was English, but I'm sure that we probably skirted life topics as well in the classroom. Very gentle, had a lot of poise, and I said that she remained an influential person in the community, certainly among educators. She was a teacher when I was at Pacific and I graduated in 1959. She was a counselor at Cajon High School and my son's counselor in 1982. We might have to edit that. You notice I'm not bragging about my math skills. (laughs) And I'm an auditor today. (both laugh)
Hanson: So, she's had a long career in education.
Payne: She had a long career in education, unfortunately she is deceased, however we can find her name here in the California Room. She donated all of her high school annuals from San Bernardino High School, some from Cajon, lots from Pacific, well I guess was Pacific High School annuals that have been donated. And talking to one of our staff reference librarians he remembers Mrs. Lewis as a counselor at Pacific. So, she hit many generations of us, influenced many of us.
September 6, 2002
Hanson: I'd like to talk about the 1950's. Your memories of high school and your friends and the kind of things kids did in the 50's to have fun; more social history than anything else.
Payne: That sounds like fun to talk about. I hope I can remember some of the good... it was really good for me. The fifties were a very nice time to be around. In fact, before we turned the tape on I was telling you that tomorrow I'm going to be meeting with a small group of friends from high school; people I haven't seen since high school. I didn't even see them in the two class reunions that I've attended since. In trying to dig out a few old photographs I was telling my husband that one girl I am going to be meeting was the only obese girl we knew in high school; she stood out as being the very heavy girl and was very much teased. I guess all of us who were her friends were very aware of her size. Her mother had to make her clothes; she had lots of rick-rack to hide size changes. I do remember that.
Hanson: Explain what rick-rack is because some people might not know what that is.
Payne: Oh, it was a fabric trim that comes in different sizes. It's a zig-zaggy pattern that our mothers would sew on our hems as she let down a skirt or a dress to the next level - you would sew a row of rick-rack around the fold to hide the fold. Lane had lots of rick-rack on her skirts and around the waist and - well maybe I don't know that for sure, I do know that rick-rack was a tell-tale sign of clothes worn again. What has amazed me Joyce is pulling out my pictures and finding Lane and myself and one other girlfriend, one of my closest friends in high school. Lane wasn't obese at all; she was maybe stout - chubby doesn't even fit. It amazes me that what our concept of being fat was when I actually look at that photograph.
Hanson: It's amazing how our perceptions change as we grow older.
Payne: However, that was our perception then and I realize it today, obesity is a tremendous problem in all of us. (Laughing). Okay, the fifties; luckily I started school here in the first grade and a number of us went to the same junior high school and from junior high school we split - half of my friends went to San Bernardino High School and half of us went to Pacific High School, and I lived on the street that was the boundary between the two schools (Sierra Way), which from the 1850's on was the center street in San Bernardino running north and south. It was Salt Lake, I'm not too sure what it was with the Mormons, I think it was called Salt Lake Street, actually it was Kirtland, Salt Lake was "E" Street, then it became "A" Street and everything west is today "D" and "E" and everything east is not lettered, but that is basically the east/west boundary for San Bernardino.
Hanson: Okay, so they changed it from Salt Lake to "A" to go with the lettering and then they changed it to Sierra.
Payne: Sierra Way. I don't know when, (about 1928) but certainly it was Sierra Way when I grew up, and I grew up believing it was a major river, and it did become a major water carrier in a heavy storm. One of my earliest, well probably my earliest boyfriend, because we held hands -- that was the extent of it, but we did hold hands, built a raft to deliver newspapers and float down Sierra Way when we had a flooding condition. That was impressive.
Hanson: How old were you then? What grade were you in roughly?
Payne: You know that might have been junior high school; I'm not too sure. It might have been sixth grade come to think of it. I kind of remember still walking to Woodrow Wilson Elementary School and it would have been definitely because that was when I was close friends with a friend named Elaine who lived next to the school. I can remember Elaine and I and Don (was his name), and she had a boyfriend and we actually held hands walking down the street. I'm going to fast forward into junior high and then into high school. What fifties are we talking about? I guess I was in high school in '57-'59, the late fifties. Ask me a question.
Hanson: In high school when - we talked about favorite classes and all that, so we want to skip over that. When boys and girls got together, what did you do for fun? Were there school events that you went to? Was that your primary area of co-ed mixing at first, say when you were in the 9th/10th grade?
Payne: Okay, 10th grade was our high school because it was a three-year high school. In junior high, the first mixing I remember was a dance program here in San Bernardino that I think almost everyone attended - Margarita Otera Russell's Dance Class. Our parents would have to drive us; none of us would have been driving at that time, and we all hoped to find somebody who would dance with us being girls - the boys would be on the other side of the room and Mrs. Russell would make sure that they picked a partner. She taught us ballroom dancing and the tango and polka. I don't remember learning those too well, but I believe that's what it was. Basically social graces as well, how to properly approach a person, how to introduce people to each other, and then there was an ongoing dance program. I didn't continue with it, but several of my friends did. That might have been one of the places where an awfully lot of us met our first long-term boyfriends. In fact, one of the girls that I got together with last week in Orange County met her husband at the Cotillion. That was an early way to get acquainted. My parents belonged to the local country club and those were some of my earliest social activities; I remember a masquerade party and I won; I remember that. I wore my mother's blue Chinese pajamas. Oh they were just beautiful, they were silk with gold threads. Oh gosh, other activities. I had been involved in girl scouts; that didn't carry on to boy/girl relationships. I did not belong to Rainbow, and that was an activity the girlfriends I had were very involved, very involved in socially.
Hanson: What is Rainbow?
Payne: I believe it's a program for young girls through the Masonic organization. As the girls advanced in Rainbow they become Job's Daughters and eventually Eastern Star and the men are the Masons and the Shriners. At my pre-teen level of memory, it was lots of dress-up, beautiful full-length gowns, lots of pomp and circumstance, moving through the chairs of responsibilities. I was lucky enough to be invited to watch some of those programs.
Hanson: What about school activities? Any school dances? Any kind of pep club rallies or things like that that went on at school?
Payne: In high school yes. In high school I probably became more socially active. I'd have friends who would be able to take me places or I'd be able to stay at school and somebody could bring me home. My mother didn't drive and my father, of course worked, so I was pretty much dependent on other people for transportation. I was very involved in high school activities from the beginning. The Sobobans was a really outstanding one for young ladies. I think probably for more by academic achievement, and it was a social organization; we had breakfast meetings. All of these organizations taught basic etiquette and we went to Ice Capades in Los Angeles. We went to the farmer's market. We did really outstanding off-campus things. As we were juniors we went to campuses at USC and UCLA, so it was definitely academically oriented for us. There was an organization called Pagettes that I really loved. We were ushers at all of the California Theater Civic Light Opera events, so that was an opportunity to enjoy Civic Light Opera events and gain some experience in working with the public. I was involved in Spanish Club and that was my favorite class in high school. Sports, we didn't have very much offered in sports. Tennis was offered and I honestly don't remember what else other than we had to participate in gym class. Help me.
Hanson: I'm just trying to think. Were there football games between the high schools? Did you go to any of those? Back east there's a real rivalry between high school football teams. We used to have our town's team versus the next town team and it was a Thanksgiving Day rivalry. Did that happen here?
Payne: Yes it did. Pacific High School was the first high school built after San Bernardino High School, which had been here forever, since the late 1800's. So we were the first high school to open and of course there was rivalry. Pacific's first graduating class was 1956 I think. So we were the third graduating class and very proud of it. There is a "P" on the hill at Perris Hill, which is still there. Normally the San Bernardino High people would come over and somehow get rid of it and we would have to put it back together. I didn't climb the hill and take part in any of that. Football games were exciting. I don't remember dating too much and going to football games until maybe my junior or senior year, but that was certainly an activity that was very popular. I don't remember going to any of the baseball games. I don't remember band, I wasn't involved in any music, but music was a big activity with an awful lot of my friends - either playing an instrument or singing in the choir. They were involved in lots of weekend parades and events.
Hanson: So you weren't one of those cheerleader girls out there on the field?
Payne: I tried out for cheerleading and I didn't get it. I went home and cried and I think that's just all typical of growing up. Hanson: You're right. I think we all tried out for cheerleading and cried. Junior prom, senior prom?
Payne: Nice memories of both of those. Let's see. I think I went to three proms. As a sophomore I had met a Marine down at Camp Pendleton. A very nice young fellow, he really was. My parents vacationed at Oceanside each summer and that was how I met him. I assume I invited him to take me to the prom. That doesn't make sense because I couldn't have invited him as a sophomore; that might have been my junior year. One year was with a blind date; a very nice young fellow and I would have liked to have seen him again and didn't, I don't know why.
Hanson: We never do.
Payne: No. I don't remember too much about shopping for the dress, if I went with girlfriends, if I went by myself. My mom wasn't a shopper and I don't remember shopping with people. I remember kind of having to do it on my own, and I don't know if I had very good taste.
Hanson: Do you remember what your dress looked like?
Payne: I can remember not liking a lot of the clothes I'd buy. I'd always buy something big, and this was from my mom. She'd always buy something bigger so you'll grow into it. I think I'd really passed that age of having to grow into things, but I always bought a big size. I bought a size 16 of a dress that I had to keep for years and I never grew into it fortunately. I remember a bunch of us did go to the beach after that. We had a wonderful dinner. Prom always included a lovely dinner, usually at the Sycamore Inn, which is in Rancho Cucamonga. The Sycamore Inn history dates back into the 1800's here in the San Bernardino Valley. That's not the original building, and certainly we didn't know that or care about that at those times. Now it's historic just because that's where we went for our proms.
Hanson: It's a whole new history. Did your parents have curfew when you were on dates? Did you have to be in at a certain time?
Payne: Oh it seems to me it would be 11:00, maybe 12:00, nothing unreasonable. Certainly there wasn't much to do. If you went to a movie, we really didn't have a place to go and get a coke and an ice cream. I really don't remember pizzas then, maybe hamburgers, but there really wasn't much to do. When the movie got out you either, well you usually went and parked somewhere, and somewhere most often was up on Little Mountain up Arrowhead Avenue that curves around Little Mountain, which was at the far end of North San Bernardino then - which now is halfway between where we are and downtown San Bernardino to the south. So there's another perspective and dimension that has changed. But I do believe they still park there.
And there were a couple of other parking spots up in the San Bernardino Mountains, and growing up I can remember my parents taking me there to see Catalina Island when the weather was especially clear. That would be when the north wind was blowing. Now we talk more about the Santa Ana winds, and they are different winds. My mom always talked about north wind.
Outgrowing the comic books I was allowed to buy Dell Comic Books which were 10 cents and my father always encouraged me to buy Classic Comic Books for 15 cents. I was not allowed to buy Marvel Comics. When I graduated from those I started buying movie magazines, and there were certain ones that were just excellent. I think one was Photoplay, Silver Screen, something like that. At any rate, I started keeping scrapbooks of my favorite people, so that way we can date the movie stars or the movies. Debbie Reynolds by far and away my very favorite, Jane Powell; so all of those, Debbie Reynolds and Jane Powell movies. Elizabeth Taylor was older and she wasn't "a nice person." I don't know who I learned that from. Eddie Fisher, Rock Hudson, again we're back to the Jane Powell/Debbie Reynolds/Rock Hudson era, Elizabeth Taylor, graduating to James Dean. I was devastated when he was killed. That was probably my real crush on a movie star. So that would be Giant, Susan Slept here -- that was a fun Debbie Reynolds movie. Alfred Hitchcock movies were wonderful. That was way before Psycho. Vertigo, Vertigo was especially, I loved that one, I loved Kim Novak, but at that time when I was visiting with my grandmother in San Francisco and I did have a group of teenage friends who had a car who took me to where Vertigo was filmed. It was right under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at what is Fort Point. They took me out and showed me the ledge where she jumped to her supposed death, and that was just a few feet. But I was just fascinated; I had never been under the bridge, just all of that learning. So yes, that's one of my favorite movies and I don't remember a thing about it. Movies and movie stars and keeping scrapbooks of my favorite people - that was big.
Hanson: Did you see anything with Marilyn Monroe?
Payne: Oh yes, yes.
Hanson: Clark Gable?
Payne: I don't remember. You know I don't remember Clark Gable. I know I never saw Casablanca. I certainly know I saw Gone With the Wind, the fire scene and the scene of the devastation over the battlefield, that and the dresses. Those lasted with me; that made a big impression, plus Gone With the Wind was broken in two parts; we had an intermission. Earlier than that, my mom for a little while would take me to the Saturday matinees so we could see the sequels or the serials and Tarzan and some westerns, but I don't remember too much about that. Short sequels and then one major movie and the news that came on the news toons or something like that. Then cartoons, we always had a couple of cartoons, that's going back again. Oh, drive-in theaters. Okay, we'll pass that one. Hanson: You don't want to talk about drive-ins?
Payne: No, I was probably awfully good.
Hanson: No skeletons in that closet.
Payne: There really aren't, there really aren't. I think my friends were probably - all of us were pretty geared along the same paths. Now I realize that that isn't quite true, my best friend was actually sleeping with Richard and I talked to her in January and said, "you never told me that." Well she never told anybody that then.
Hanson: Yes, it wasn't something you talked about.
Payne: Oh no, but it couldn't have been a really especially good experience in high school for her, and the marriage - eventually, they waited and married when she graduated from Berkeley, but the marriage didn't last. In fact, we didn't talk about sexual matters. Maybe some did and I didn't. I think that's probably closer to the truth. I do remember a girl telling me how odd she felt going to a movie with a boy she really liked and trying to tell me a few of the details and I wouldn't listen to it. I do remember that about Margie, and she went to a doctor to talk about what was happening to her, so that's interesting. I wasn't there for her as a friend on that. One of the community activities that was always fun was the Orange Show every year. The rides, as we got older, my friend who was so-called "obese" and I were the same size when I look at the pictures (almost anyway).
Hanson: Perception is everything.
Payne: I would go to the Orange Show with Lane and her family, and one year I brought home a goldfish and that was okay, but I needed to have a little black and white fish to keep the goldfish company and eventually they all ended up in the toilet, unhappily. The next year I came home with a baby duckling and I think about that time my parents decided I had enough of friendship with Lane and her parents. We raised that baby duckling on the stove until such a time as my father suddenly found a friend who had a farm and this friend would love to have a duck on his farm, so if it was okay it would be such a better place for the duck to live, and I hope that that's true. An even earlier memory is the Covered Wagon Days that we had here in San Bernardino. That would be the late 40's; I would be maybe 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade. My father's insurance business office was in the California Hotel. The hotel had a suite of offices running alongside the building and his insurance office was there. Hanson: What street was that on? Do you remember?
Payne: Yes, it's on "E" Street. The hotel lobby and entrance faced "E" Street and the side went along Fifth Street. It's still a vacant lot now with olive trees that Mayor Holcomb planted on it. The north side, the north facing side of the hotel I don't believe had any buildings on it, or anything but maybe windows. That would be a blank side. South side had a very lovely alcove and arches and along the line of the Spanish architecture and a series of offices; real estate, insurance and a barber. That's what I remember. Oh, and a radio station. I don't remember the radio station, but Tennessee Ernie Williams Ford. I don't have the right name do I? Tennessee Ernie Ford. Where did I get the Williams? Tennessee Ernie was in my dad's office and invited me to his home by the golf course to see his new puppies, and I was just so impressed. I mean this to me was a movie star. I don't remember if we went and saw the puppies, I think we did. My memory is not clear on that.
Hanson: I didn't know he lived here.
Payne: He didn't, but he was visiting someone. I'm trying to tie in some of my memories with the community and with friends and you're telling me just to talk and I guess I can do that forever (laughs). Thinking again about Lane, my friend who is heavy is probably the best word, she was healthy looking at the picture. She did become heavier, but certainly not in today's terms. And, her father allowing me to bring home a baby duckling kind of ties in with something maybe we would want to talk about a little bit would be maybe the class distinctions in San Bernardino in the fifties.
I don't think I was ever aware of any, however, my parents did belong to the country club here, there was just one, and that obviously was a distinction right there. Talking about activities with other people, I did not hang out with the country club crowd. I didn't have a horse and they did. All the girls who lived on Valencia Avenue who were daughters of attorneys and doctors, judges; Jennifer's dad was a judge, Sandy's an attorney, Carolyn a doctor, Luann, I don't know what her father did, but they all had horses behind the grounds of their beautiful homes. I was invited in their homes, I wasn't excluded, but they weren't my closest friends once I was into high school. It was a very definite, I don't want to say clique yet, but definitely one group of maybe a little bit faster lifestyles. Certainly the fellows were all hanging out with those girls. My friends of choice were from blue collar working families. Thinking about it now, I wonder if that was part of the reason my folks were not happy with my friendship with Lane. Her father worked for Santa Fe Railroad. He probably had a very excellent job. Certainly he lived on Broadmoor; he probably was an official at Santa Fe, but he was railroad. My very close girlfriend's mother was a social worker and I guess not a country club person and not living in a country club area; nor did we, but we did have a nice home in a nice neighborhood.
Hanson: Do you think your association with the country club had more to do with your father's business?
Payne: Yes, and golf. My mother and father loved to play golf, and that's the best thing for me that I did grow up having lessons. I knew how to play golf, but I didn't continue it in high school. I really didn't continue it very long. Once I learned, it wasn't something that girls did... a very famous professional golfer, David Stockton, was in my class all through high school. He and I went together to Margarita's Dance Classes. He certainly continued his profession of golf, and now here I am working for a manager, who was also part of the golfing crowd at the country club, but they were guys, they weren't girls. My parents were in a bad accident when I was junior high school age, and that ended their golfing. The social aspect of the country club meant that we ate dinner out there once or twice a week. I always had to choose between steak and shrimp. I never wanted anything else and I never knew which of the two I wanted more. That was an excruciating decision once or twice a week all of my growing up. It was kind of lonely being an only child and my parents were not - my mom was reclusive. She was a social drinker and became an alcoholic and mostly through the club association, that was where she had her chance to drink socially, but didn't handle it well. She didn't drive, so on the days that she and I would ride the bus together to the golf course, play maybe three holes of golf and then I'd go over to the swimming pool and she'd go in and visit with her lady friends. Usually somebody would bring us back home. At some point my father realized that we weren't using the golf facilities and that just was not something good for my mom, so we just dropped the country club affiliation. He continued being very active in Lions Club, so business-wise I think the Lions Club was more important to him. I remember being his guest when Ann Landers came to speak, and I think that might have been 1959. She came to our school and we saw her at the auditorium, and then she spoke at the Lions Club luncheon and I think only maybe two or three of us children (or whatever we were then)...
Hanson: Tell me what the Lions Club is and what they did.
Payne: Well the Lions Club is probably international, certainly national men's organization. Men, probably independent businessmen who meet on a weekly basis. They, like the Kiwanis and the Elks always would have a major charitable event to support and that would be the blind. In San Bernardino we have a large organization called Lighthouse for the Blind. They also did lots of fun things. They'd go down to Baja, California on fishing trips and my dad thoroughly enjoyed that and being the drinker he was, he didn't come back from one of those. He ended up in the hoosegow with a few of the other Lions.
Hanson: Roaring too loud.
Payne: Yes, roaring too loud.
Hanson: You would say then, I mean class-wise, that there was a definite division, or even at the age you were you could see the division among the upper class in San Bernardino and then there was definitely a blue collar division and then perhaps your family as professionals fell somewhere in-between.
Payne: Definitely in-between, definitely.
Hanson: So you didn't feel comfortable with the upper echelons let's say on Valencia. You felt more comfortable with the other people, but your parents saw a division between the blue-collar railroad workers and your group of people.
Payne: I think so. I think so. Again, my father was well liked and well respected in his insurance business, but he dealt with other businesses. His insurance was not life insurance; it was everything but life if I'm correct. I may not remember. Mostly buildings and structures and he had for a time insured the entire town of Ludlow, the entire town of Baker. He and I would go out to the desert and I loved those desert roads, up and down, up and down, just hoped that you'd fly off the top of the hill. So his associations stayed within the business. And my mom's associations were the social element. She was very active in an organization called Santa Claus, Incorporated, which is a charitable organization that year-round volunteers worked in a warehouse in downtown San Bernardino for a while and then they rented warehouse space out at Norton Air Force Base in east San Bernardino. Working to collect old and discarded toys, riding toys. There would be men who would volunteer to put the bicycles back together out of different parts and paint wagons, put board games and jigsaw puzzles together and throw away the ones that were missing too many pieces, making doll clothes, knitting, and from an early age I started sewing mice, no I must have been doing that after I was married. But, from an early age I was involved with Santa Claus, Incorporated with my mom helping to wash dolls and wash fur animals. My mom also was involved with American Cancer Society. She was an excellent typist, excellent stenographer, and that was her career before she became just a housewife (strike the "just").
Hanson: Before she became a "full-time homemaker."
Payne: Right. Let's see, where was I going with that. Oh, Santa Claus, Incorporated, that is such an excellent example of upper class or class distinction and it still hasn't changed today from what I can see. At Christmastime there would be a huge luncheon and Christmas trees decorated by local businesses. The nurseries would donate a Christmas tree decorated and these trees would be raffled off. There is a name for this special event that continues now every Christmas season. At that time the Board of Santa Claus, Incorporated shines and comes forward and receives an awful lot of publicity and the organization deserves publicity; but the volunteers are never seen, they're always in the background. They're the ones who really help and still hold that organization together. If the women hadn't been there cleaning and making clothes, going to the different stores and getting donations from Woolworth's, underwear and socks and then helping, putting all this together, it's just a fantastic organization. At Christmastime it's your big name people in the community who have their pictures in the paper with the mayor and who stand at the door while lines of people come in for distribution. That bothered my mom. She was close friends with the organizer of the event and she was close friends with some of those upper echelon people, but there was definitely a distinction and I can't say it's blue collar or white collar; it's probably typical of every other organization there is. It's somewhat political, and I think that is probably the same in our day-to-day outlook here in San Bernardino. I don't think we pointed fingers at "wrong side of the track." We had a "wrong side of the track," but I don't think we really knew that, we growing up as teenagers. In fact getting together with my girlfriends last week, two weeks ago, we were talking about how none of us were aware of color or race problems or differences. There were very few black people in our high school. One incident, I can remember standing in line and having two big black girls in front of me using fowl language that I had never heard, and that was not a good memory. The Hispanic community, [there was a] large Hispanic community here in San Bernardino and I don't think that there was any question of our not mixing together. It's just the Hispanic community, probably most of those students were at San Bernardino High School, because that would be the west side of town. But those that were at Pacific I don't believe were singled out as being different. Maybe they were, maybe if I looked back through my high school album and I say, "Oh I don't remember this person, or this person or this person then maybe that's exactly how it would be. But I don't think we knew that then.
Hanson: Yes, it's awareness that comes as you look back. It's not something you consciously recognize at the time I think. I had something else I was going to ask. Oh, any Japanese students? Do you remember Japanese students?
Payne: No I don't.
Hanson: Just curious, with the end of World War II and people coming back from relocation camps. I was wondering if...
Payne: According to Masako Hirata, the Japanese students would have all been in the San Bernardino High School district. And Pacific High would have taken over all of the new growth out into Highland. Del Rosa and Highland were the nice areas, Del Rosa especially. That was in a very nice area. It would have been up along the mountain here. So, before San Bernardino kind of ended like at Waterman.
Now no doubt there is a large contingency of Japanese students and Masako's younger sister was supposed to be valedictorian and that year the school decided it had to be a boy. I don't know if you ever talked to her.
Hanson: Yes. I sent her a letter, so I'm hoping to talk to her.
Payne: Oh yes, she told me that, and she's had so much company and didn't have time to fill it out.
Hanson: It must have been very lonely for minorities, being at a school where there are only a few other people that you can relate to. Was there ever a large contingent of Chinese here in San Bernardino that you're aware of? I mean historically?
Payne: Historically there was a Chinatown and it was on the site of the present Cal-Trans building, which is being demolished. A few months ago Cal-Trans offered to the public a chance to take a walk through their excavation, and they had been excavating the building sites of the old Starke's Hotel in Chinatown, and they found cooking facilities, they found an awfully lot of old pieces of porcelain and jars and they dug out the privies; you could recognize the privy from the square in the ground (which would have been the junk pile). Yes, there was a large, there was a Chinatown here in San Bernardino, which probably came with the railroads which came early into San Bernardino. I have no idea what has happened to our Chinese population. I remember the one girl in high school, just one, and we had one outstanding businessman who has been outstanding and well known as long as I've been here. He continues to support young people with scholarships and certainly an older gentleman who retired from the restaurant, but he had years and years helped, Bing Wong from Wong's. Everyone in San Bernardino would know Bing Wong (of him). I don't believe that we have very many people of Chinese descent living here in San Bernardino. I wonder where they moved? Have they migrated toward Los Angeles? I don't think that they end up in the Santa Fe Railroad shops. But it's an interesting question. The Japanese stayed - there's lots of agriculture, citrus and strawberries.
Hanson: That's an interesting question. Hopefully we'll get some people from that community to talk to us and tell us what happened.
Payne: We had a, and do have, a large Greek-American population in San Bernardino. They have a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church on Bunker Hill, which is in the south end towards Colton. I did go to school with lots of Greek-American families who are very well known here in San Bernardino, involved in the newspaper. They always seem to have so much fun. They're cheerful, big families, and I guess it's just coincidental that right now there's a movie that is so good called, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Everyone who has seen it has told me that they can identify with their family in some way. When I saw it, I saw it with a lady from, not Bulgaria, not Slovakia, okay, well one of the Slovakian countries; and she said it was just really the story of her own grandparents and parents. I have a friend who is Italian who said that, "Hey, that's our family." It's a great movie; I recommend it for everybody.
Hanson: I've heard it's a movie to see. We have a Greek family that owns the Mediterranean Restaurant I believe.
Payne: Tom Pinto? No, that's the Gourmet, and that's a Greek family. That's a longstanding - let's see, I know who you're talking about.
Hanson: Peggy Hambly went to school with her I believe. Bernice I think is her name. But anyway, I'm going to meet with them next Wednesday for lunch with a group of Peggy's high school friends, so they're interested in talking with us too, so that will be interesting.
Payne: I remember I was so impressed when I worked for an ophthalmologist here, the Greek Orthodox priest, the Catholic priest and Rabbi Feldheym I think (was it, yes I think so), the three of them went to the Holy Land together and they had a ball.
Hanson: Speaking of Rabbi Feldheym, what about the Jewish community here?
Payne: I would consider it a good size Jewish community from being an outsider. I did have a girlfriend in high school and I did go to temple with her. She was fun to be with and I enjoyed her showing me, I think it's the menorah on her door, and learning a little bit about her religion. As far as I'm aware, I don't think any of us were - I don't think there was any distinction of religion in our groups of friends. I can remember a good memory in high school my senior year, we were all talking about where we were going to college or if we were going to be marrying the person we were going with, doing an awful lot of introspection at that time, and a lot of religious discussions on what do we really believe and which way we were going. I can remember day after day sitting in the high school cafeteria with Mike who was Catholic, questioning and going through a whole series of revelations of being Catholic. Donna wasn't part of that group, Donna was Jewish, but at that time I was interested in the Mormon Church. There was just a large group of us all talking about what our religious philosophies were as we were finding them. I don't think religion separated any of us. Now, it probably did socially outside of school, but not within school. And, back to being involved in high school activities, I was very involved in the Baptist Church as a youth leader.
Hanson: Why Baptist?
Payne: Because my girlfriend, Elaine's parents would take me with them and of course, again I was always dependent on somebody else to take me somewhere. Since Elaine and her family were Baptist and I think Lane, and we're talking about Elaine here you know, and myself. None of my girlfriends here in the present day went to church there. It was a fairly large youth group. That's an interesting story. I don't know if you want it on tape, but I'll tell you and then you can do it later. For two years in high school I went to the Mormon activities. We danced with everybody; with everybody of every age, they allowed me to join their singing choir. I don't know if I ever talked about being kicked out of second grade chorus? Back in second grade I wanted to join the Christmas chorus and no matter where I was everybody else couldn't sing, because I'm so bad. So, Mrs. Meyer had a parent/teacher conference and suggested to my parents that they help me get voice lessons and in the meantime she kicked me out of the choir, which was devastating to me because I loved to sing. So I did, I had a series of voice lessons. I sang Silent Night for two weeks and at that time the voice teacher suggested I have piano lessons. Well, I loved the piano. I loved filling in the squares on the paper, hitting the keys, I practiced; I was good, just awfully good, just goody-goody. After six months the teacher bought a... what is it called? The little pendulum that swings.
Payne: Yes, metronome. Six months later she took it home and quit my lessons. I was doing the best I could; it just wasn't good enough. But in the Mormon Chorus I was put between two extremely strong singers and I loved it. It's one of my favorite memories. At any rate, I just wanted very much to belong and couldn't believe what their church taught, so I went back to the Baptist church and became the president of the youth group. I guess it would be called more of a Southern Baptist leaning. It was a very strict Baptist Church. We had Calvary Baptist Church at the north end of town. That's where all of the, that was a very social church. The one that I went to was, I guess now I'd use the word fundamental.
September 13, 2002
Hanson: This is an interview with Sue Payne of San Bernardino, California and the interview is being conducted on September 13, 2002. Sue, last time we were talking about your interest, or your renewed interest in religious issues and religion. You were telling us a story about your work with the Baptist Church. Continue that.
Payne: Oh, let's see, back in high school my senior year I was president of our youth group at the Baptist Church, which probably was a Southern Baptist Church. I don't think they called it that. It was more fundamentalist than the cross-town Calvary Baptist Church. I had made a program for the youth group that we would study world religions. At that time when Life Magazine did series on Daoism, Buddhism and Hinduism and Christianity, Judaism, etc. had come out. The youth group was overwhelmingly supportive of the project. We had fun and our youth group grew and Sunday nights somebody would get up and talk about a new religion (new to us). It was a smashing success. Kids that were not normally known to be good in schoolwork really shined on this project. The only problem was that it was not popular with the youth counselors and they asked me if we could talk about just the Baptist religion. I disagreed and I didn't think that that was any fun at all. They went to the pastor of the church, and the upshot of that is that the pastor supported our program in studying all religions. The church split down the middle. The end result was that the pastor was asked to leave and half of the following went with him. He ended up going into seminary and becoming an Episcopalian minister in Los Angeles, after some 30 years of being the head of the First Baptist Church in San Bernardino. That's sad and it probably was a straw that broke the camel's back. There obviously had to be other dissentions, other issues. But I do remember that as being quite traumatic.
Hanson: What was his name?
Payne: Miles Dawson. Very well known, very well respected in the community; just a nice, nice person of course.
Hanson: Why do you think they were so opposed to studying other religions, the faction that was opposed and ultimately split the church?
Payne: Very narrow minded fundamentalist teaching in the church. I left the church when I was younger and for two years I was very involved in the Mormon Church. I loved the activities; I loved everything but the religion; just too bad. I do remember our youth leaders in Sunday school telling us that the poor Indians in Arizona who didn't have the opportunity to hear about Jesus and they would not be saved. That was just ludicrous. But that was the type of teaching that was popular in that church and I'm certain half the congregation. Very fundamentalist, very basic Bible belt or at least what I would consider a Bible belt type of structure.
Hanson: So they looked at basically using the bible - taking it literally.
Payne: Taking it literally, absolutely. Darwin was not something that we learned in Sunday school.
Hanson: Let's move on and talk about some of your other memories. You said you had thought about some other things about high school and stories to tell me.
Payne: I have, I took a few notes. I am so lucky Joyce because I have contact with so many friends from grammar school, and last weekend I became reacquainted with a friend that has been a thread through these interviews. Her name is Lane. She's the girl that I remembered as being so obese, and yet when we dug out pictures of us our first year in high school, she was maybe a little heavy, but so was I. We won't talk about where I am today, but Lane and I did get together for the first time since high school graduation, and she is extremely obese at this point. She is morbidly obese I guess would be the term. But we had a great time remembering, reminiscing together, and she and a mutual high school girlfriend and a mutual high school boyfriend and I sat for several hours at a lunch spot and talked. I asked them questions, "What did we do when we entertained ourselves?" We all were knitting angora socks and angora dice in school and that's something I had forgotten. And the argyle socks, in fact when I look at my high school annual now I see all these people saying, "Keep knitting those socks, they're beautiful."
Hanson: See what we dredge up in these interviews?
Payne: Oh right! But that was very popular. I'd forgotten that. What was one of the other things? Oh, the board games; when we got together we played board games, Tripoli. I think I mentioned that to you and you didn't know about that game.
Hanson: No, that game I don't remember.
Payne: It's kind of a combination of hearts and poker and poker chips and cards. It's still out there. It's fun, and it was fun for a large group of people. One of the things that Joe Joe, you'd think he'd be Joe, but this poor guy, he was Joe Joe to us last week, remembered this... that none of us could ever wear green and yellow on Thursdays and I'm going to be asking you, is this something that was widespread or was this just in our community? Green and yellow, Thursday was fairy day.
Hanson: No, nothing like that I can recall.
Payne: Okay, I'd completely forgotten that and it was so important to us. So I said, well I'll ask because none of us knew and it was just part of those funny growing up things. You just didn't wear green and yellow on Thursdays.
Hanson: Now that I don't remember.
Payne: I don't think any of us knew what that meant to be a fairy back in junior high. Okay, I thought I'd ask. One of the memories that I dredged up talking to another girlfriend was growing up playing in fields, and something that Kathleen mentioned to me that her children never had that opportunity. When I think about it I guess my kids haven't either. To be able to go out in open fields and just play. As a youngster here in San Bernardino, our house is no longer on the corner; there are three houses that are built between our home on Sierra Way and the corner. But, when we lived there for several years, there was a lot full of pepper trees and then a field. I remember playing in that and having so many memories of little trails or... anyway, that was a memory that others had too of being able to play out in the fields.
Hanson: There was a lot more open space back then.
Payne: More open space. Safe open space. You're backed up on the fields and the foothills of San Bernardino Mountains here in this beautiful home and I recognize how lucky that my daughter and I used to run here in the foothills, and this is a recent memory so called as far as this interview. But the last time that she and I ran together alone, we came upon the body (dead body) of the shepherd who had been shot and killed. That's probably the end of feeling safe in our open space in empty fields.
Hanson: That's a definite loss. It's sad when that happens that you don't feel safe anymore.
Payne: Yes, you know we talk about not feeing safe at nighttime and I blame that more on my eyes. Now I think it's as much just not feeling comfortable being alone in the dark, a dark place. One of the things I like so much about living in today versus yesterday is that we share more and we are able to talk about skeletons in the closets I guess we'd say. We're much more open with our problems and our sexual attitudes and persuasions and religious persuasions or whatever. One of the girlfriends at lunch told us last week that in 1995 (which would be a number of years after her parents had both died) that she discovered she was an adopted child. And she made that discovery partly through using the resources at Feldheym Library at the California Room. What a shock for her, and not to be able to discuss this with her parents. This is seven years now and she's still hurt and searching. She said she grew up as an only child as I did too. I told her I remember being pretty much dependent on her dad taking us places and she remembered riding the bus downtown to be able to get places. Her father was an authority and had his own office at Santa Fe Depot. She would love to go with him on weekends and he would take her into the roundhouse on occasion at the Santa Fe Depot. But why her parents never admitted to her of the adoption, she'll never know. She has since learned that her father also was adopted. She'll never know if he knew that or not. Her paternal grandfather she's still very proud of, although this is no longer a blood relation, but he was pioneer railroader who came from L.A. at the turn of the century. So it's been a railroad family. Her daughter is adopted from Mexico, and her daughter is so upset with grandma and grandpa who are since deceased that they never gave her mother the opportunity to feel special, wanted or chosen. Now my friend feels crushed and cheated. You know, that's sad.
Hanson: Sometimes in the short-run it hurts, but in the long-term it's better to know these things, and it's better that we're open and we discuss them now.
Payne: Oh absolutely. You're saying it better than I did. That's why I like this present generation more than the past. And, incidentally, my girlfriend, who was our other girl at lunch, ended up running the adopted services here for the San Bernardino County Public Services Adoptive Services. She said they are adamant with all their families to be honest and up front from the very beginning. Just don't ever wait, just let your children know from the very beginning.
Hanson: It's much better for them.
Payne: Yes. She has of course learned some details. It turns out that the adoption was done through the Santa Fe Railroad out of San Francisco. Her true family was also here in San Bernardino. She has an older brother who was a schoolteacher in Colton at the time that she was growing up. She has made some contact with that side of the family, but it's not a very friendly welcoming contact. They knew nothing; she knew nothing.
Hanson: Yes, but that's one of the things about the 40's and 50's that wasn't positive, in the long-run wasn't something that was positive, that came out of that period. That's important to remember, because we often look back at the 40's and 50's as this nostalgic utopian era that we want to go back to and there are a lot of reasons not to go back there. So that's a great example of one.