Next we would usually do a lap around the store, saying hello to everyone. They thought I was the cutest little thing (or so they said) and I ate it up like candy! After a lap around, we would enter a doorway that led to the break room and offices. The break room usually had a few yard workers and store workers. I always wondered what they were talking about with each other. Maybe their Payless softball team, or maybe who is dating who, or maybe what party they will go to that night. I was intrigued! The offices were totally awesome I thought. Typical late 70's early 80's wood paneling on the walls, rotary phones, REAL typewriters, and energetic workers who did a lot of paperwork!
After a pleasant visit inside, we would head out to the lumber yard where we would chat it up with some of the coolest dudes in the Kansas City area! They were manly, they were tough but they were fun! They worked hard and seemed to really appreciate and love their jobs. I had a few crushes over the years, I must admit!
As the years went by I got to see who dated who. I got to hang out with these people at softball games, summer get together's at our house, Saturday Night Live parties, the Renaissance Festival! Some of these people are in my life still. Christi is one of them. She is one of the funnest people I've ever known and the kindest. She watched me grow from a little girl, into a wild teenager and now into a full grown adult, mother and wife. I love her so very much. When I was little she would sit with me and play People's Court. She played Judge Whoppner and would tolerate me saying let's play again, over and over and over! This is her beautiful smiling face flashing up her peace signs.
I am quite positive that many of these wonderful Payless workers do not realize the impact they had on my life. It was profound. They taught how to live, love and work hard! They proved to me that there are a lot of good people in this world. They don't realize that they grew up with me. I think about all of them so very often. It is REALLY a wonderful part of my history and who I am today. And none of it would have been possible if it weren't for my Dad, pictured here in the store. He started off in the yard. He (and all the yard workers) worked in rain, blazing heat, icy cold. He would come home with icicles on his mustache! Then he worked his way into the store. Head of departments and then to the home office where he began training new store/yard employees. Spent the last half of his 20 year career there until one day it was all over. It was hard for him, obviously. But not just the loss of income, security, etc. He lost a comradery that I am sure he has not felt since. A family that seemed torn apart. But I am positive that he, like me, has many many MANY fond memories and nothing but endearing love in his heart for Payless Cashways.