Monday, February 18, 2013

Photographs and Memories of Payless Cashways

When I was a little girl in the late 70's and early 80's, there were a few things that I REALLY loved to do. One thing was going to see my Dad play music. He was (still is) a drummer and I loved it when I got to go see him play. I got to go to wedding receptions, pig roasts and even bars! Settle down it was different back then, it just was. Besides, where do you think I learned all my mad Pac Man skills?
But the other thing that I loved to do was go to my Dad's work. Oh the years and years of memories I have of that place, Payless Cashways. It was a lumber yard that no longer exists. But in it's prime, in the very early 80's it was a magical place, to me anyway. They were like a family there! They worked together, played together, partied together. It was fun. I'm sure it had it's drama like any other place, but through my eyes it was marvelous!

As soon as we would pull into the parking lot I'd get so excited! We would walk in the doors and be greeted by the wonderful cashiers who I thought were the coolest chics on two legs. I loved their hair, their clothes and their personalities!

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.











9 comments:

  1. What fun fond memories! So glad I stopped in to your blog today.

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    1. Me too Dear Helen Hartman!! I'm glad you enjoyed it! For me it is so sentimental and really brought some HAPPY tears to my eyes today!

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  2. This was a lovely memoir, thanks for sharing. I have similar memories of trips to the bank with my Paw Paw in my best dress, to be "shown off". *Smiles* I don't think there was a much drama in the workplace (or anyplace for that matter) then. Sure, you had some people you liked better than others, but in general people just tried to get along. I really believe Reality TV changed the way we interact with other people on a daily basis. Somehow we learned it was ok, even good, to always express our feelings/opinions and cause conflict. Life was simpler when we didn't feel the need to tell everyone what we were thinking every moment.

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  3. Thanks so much for this post! My husband and I worked at Hugh M Woods, which was the Colorado branch of Payless. He was a yard guy and I was a cashier. Thanks for the memories!

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  4. Thanks so much for this post! My husband and I worked at Hugh M Woods, which was the Colorado branch of Payless. He was a yard guy and I was a cashier. Thanks for the memories!

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  5. Thanks so much for this post! My husband and I worked at Hugh M Woods, which was the Colorado branch of Payless. He was a yard guy and I was a cashier. Thanks for the memories!

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  6. This site is MAGNIFICENT! I started work at Payless Cashways in Iowa Falls, IA on May 21, 1979 (the day after I graduated high school) and still work in the same office that I did back then!!!! Now we are ProBuild but ohhhhh the awesome memories from Payless Cashways days. I still have a Payless Cashways keychain that I will keep forever!

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  7. Hey there! I am putting together a series of history pages about Payless, and would like to find out if you have more photos, and learn more about who your Dad is and what he did at Payless. If you like, please contact me at david_schneider at dksco1 dot com.

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  8. For some reason, I was feeling nostalgic and loozed up Payless. With the exception of the crushes and being a girl, your blog post reads just like my memory as an 80's kid visiting my Dad at Payless Cashways. He also started in the yard, moved up to Department, sales, operations, and eventually store Manager. So many memories.

    He took it very hard after the bankruptcy, but has been blessed with more opportunitues. He would be the first to say that those days were the best though.

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