The Constant Visitor: Paul Payne, named for a WWII veteran, and in love with history

2014-05-25T03:30:00Z 2014-05-28T11:58:09Z The Constant Visitor: Paul Payne, named for a WWII veteran, and in love with history
May 25, 2014 3:30 am  • 

Paul Payne, a retired history teach, was born July 7, 1944, a month after the capture of the U-505. He remembered that he first saw the German submarine on field trip when he was in the 5th grade at Black Oak Elementary School in Gary. “We rode a bus to Chicago and loved every minute of it,” he recalled in an email. He wrote that he cannot forget the smell of oil and diesel still around the boat and thought it was strange then, but now realized that it was only “about 10 years later after the end of World War II. We all got sailor hats at the souvenir shop and wore them home on the bus,” he said. Payne got to visit the submarine again in 6th grade with Mr. Abrahamson, our teacher, who became an administrator later at Calumet High School. “I recall that he had mementos from his days in the service, not sure if he was old enough to have served in the war. The next year in 7th grade, I recalled the teacher had us stand up and talk about something we had done, and of course I retold my U-505 experiences from the previous years. About that time my two uncles were up for a visit in the summer, and the family took a trip to the museum and saw the sub again.” Both of Payne’s uncles were World War II vets. “My Uncle Paul had been in the 3rd armored division that landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy and Uncle Carmen did airplane maintenance in India for planes flying supplies over the "Hump" to China. They were both awed by the sub experience and the memories it brought up” of their wartime experiences.” In some follow-up correspondence, Paul Payne said he was reading his mother’s war letters recently and discovered something about his name: “Uncle Paul was stationed in England in late 1943 and learned my mom was pregnant with me, and he asked her to name me after him. I never knew he asked [that]. What an honor! [I] wish Paul and Carmen were around. They were living history books, and I never grew tired of hearing their stories over and over.”---Paul Payne is a retired teacher living in Northwest Indiana.  

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