Sunday, July 20, 2014

White Sands Trip, ca. 1962

Albuquerque 2nd Ward Deacons' Quorum, ca. 1962
I saw this photograph numerous times in my mother's photo collection when I was growing up.  It shows my oldest brothers Roger and Robin with their deacons' quorum and its advisor, Vern Payne (who, 50+ years later, is now the Albuquerque Temple president), in about 1962.  What piqued my interest in it recently was President Payne's mentioning it after giving us copies of the photo from the stake adult temple trip that I wrote about in February.  I decided to dig it out of Mom's photos and scan it into a .jpg file, specifically for the purpose of seeing how many of the kids Vern could identify.  (Vern suggested that I send it to my brother Roger, as well, to see how many people he remembered.)

Anyway, between the two of them, we were able to identify most of the kids, and I've labeled them in the attached copy.  I remember a lot of these guys: (1) Gary Iverson lived down the street from us on Love Avenue (and later was married for a while to my friend Ken Foley's sister Carolyn); (2) Chris Hill, a non-Mormon, was a friend of Roger's who used to come to our house a lot (Roger says he still has e-mail contact with him); (3) Earl Capps lived several streets east of us (his brother Dave and his family lived in our ward as recently as 8-10 years ago); and (4) Jim Done (pronounced "dohn") and Ray Sego were around for a number of years.  Note that there are two kids that neither Vern nor Roger could identify, and neither could remember the Kemp kid's first name.  I'm guessing the blond kid to Robin's left is Steve Tuttle, inasmuch as Vern remembered there was a Tuttle kid in the group and the one who was Robin and Roger's age was named Steve.  (Years later, I knew his younger brother Mike in the 11th [singles] Ward, where he met and married -- and later divorced, I understand -- a girl named Elaine Peterson.)

Vern tells an interesting story about the trip.  He was in law school at the time and was working nights at Romney Produce to make ends meet.  The trip to White Sands happened on a Saturday after Vern had worked two straight nights and had attended classes in between on that Friday; needless to say, he hadn't had a lot of sleep.  The group drove down in two cars, the other one being driven by Muriel "Mike" Iverson, Gary's dad (who presumably took this photo).  On the way back, Vern got a speeding ticket in/near Tularosa, the fine for which he didn't have the money to pay.  The local justice of the peace was going to lock him up until he came up with the "bail," and it was only after Vern was able to get someone to wire the money down that they were able to continue on their way.  And then they ran into a blizzard and icy roads, making the trip much more of an adventure than anyone had reckoned.

Not too many years later, Vern became the chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, and one of his responsibilities was to exercise superintending control over the state's justices of the peace (or magistrates, as they were later known).  He says he ran into the JP one time who'd threatened him with jail in 1962, who in turn recognized him and looked self-conscious about how the tables had turned in the intervening years.  (I guess they both got a laugh out of it in the end.)