Alpine County locals are talking about …
November 12, 2007
Hazel Payne and her extensive family celebrated Hazel’s 90th birthday on Nov. 10 at the Payne residence.
Hazel Eva Phillips was born to a Washoe couple in Coleville and moved to Alpine County as a young girl. She attended school locally, and fondly remembers “walking 2 1√ö2 miles to school, and sometimes my uncle would give me a ride.” Her classmates include Stuart Merrill, retired Alpine County Sheriff.
As a young girl, she married Frank Payne, 60-year-old merchant and later Justice of the Peace. In 1936, they bought an acre of land for 50 cents and built the home where she still lives room by room, as they were given building supplies from various projects around the county. After her husband’s death, Hazel “kept busy” raising five children. Judy, Kathy, and Raymond all remember Hazel being involved in every classroom party. Raymond told me, “She was known for her baking, there were donuts, pies, and cookies for after school treats.”
Kathy remembered that, “Our mother drove us to high school football games and dances, then walked around town for hours until time to take us home.”
Betty chimed in, “We never felt deprived, although we didn’t have indoor plumbing until 1960.”
Raymond, the only son of five children, carried water from the river for household needs. Hazel remembers having around seven cars in her life, and the kids remember that she drove downtown and spun several full circles in the snow, and she kept on going. Judy wishes she had kept some of Hazel’s sewing because, “The Barbie doll clothes that mother made were detailed and beautiful.”
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Three of the daughters have baskets that Hazel made. Betty said, “They are all water-tight and beautiful.” When her son was serving in Vietnam, Hazel wrote often and sent packages with baked goods and pine nuts.
All five children graduated from high school, and Hazel is proud that, “All of them turned out to be good people, and none of them caused any trouble.”
After raising the children, Hazel has adopted several community groups. She has awards on her living room wall for “Senior Citizen of the Year,” and sewing projects abound for her loved ones. She is active in her church and in the 50 Plus Club in Alpine County. At 90, she is the second oldest person in Alpine County and one of the few surviving widows of the Spanish-American War.
The family gatherings, like the one for her birthday, are most important to Hazel. Four of her five children, and some of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild arrived from New Jersey, Idaho, and Wyoming to honor the woman every Alpine resident holds in awe.
Teenagers: Liz Mcgeein at social services works with local teens in a variety of programs. Living in a rural county can be a challenge for our most social age-group.
Veronica Slavik, 14, was insightful when she recognized that, “I like living here because it is beautiful and I don’t have to deal (with peer pressure and violence).”
What she doesn’t like is that Markleeville doesn’t have pizza joints and strip mall hangouts.
Beauty: Hugh Margesson is a new resident who is trying to protect the beauty of our open lands. While hiking off Highway 29, he came across a huge pile of spent shot-gun shells.
How could anyone who uses our back country be so thoughtless?
We have open space and some would use it as landfill. Many of us locals stop and pick up the litter, especially the ubiquitous plastic. Remember to reuse and recyle to keep our county green.
Holidays: Alpine County Family Support is sponsoring a drive to collect money to buy gifts for children. Call Susan Lippman at (530) 694-9118 for more information.