Woman Started Life On Bootleg Alley

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Patricia Haught (now Cline) was born on a cold January day in 1926 in a house on Bootleg Alley in Payson.

"When you're hatched from an egg, you don't have a birthday," said the woman with the feisty smile and a merry twinkle in her blue-green eyes.

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Raymond and Pat Cline married after the end of World War II and helped build Payson's infrastructure, drilling wells and putting in pipe.

As she speaks, she gestures with hands that have had a place in the soil of this land and the organizations that helped build the communities of Payson and Star Valley that sit under the Mogollon Rim.

Payson held perhaps 300 people when Pat was a child "and perhaps three Republicans," she joked.

In the 50s to early 60s there were 800 people.

"By '65 the town was well on its way to becoming something else. I miss the rodeo like it was when I was a kid."

There was no movie theater, no iPods, no Gameboys.

"People just don't understand; whatever you did that was fun was your favorite thing," Pat said.

And, generally, whatever a person did, from the time they were five or six years old, they did to make a dollar.

"We had a fish pond," she said. "When I was eight, my brothers Vernon and Fred and I dug angle worms and sold them to the fishermen in the summertime for 10 cents a dozen. But we always gave them extra because maybe the whole dozen worms wouldn't live."

Pat and her brothers also picked black walnuts.

"We sat on a rock that had a metate in it and cracked and picked black walnuts with a horseshoe nail."

They sold the walnuts in town. "Mrs. Owens and Miss Julia would give you 50 cents a pint for whole, no shells, no ground-up mess, walnuts."

"My folks' homestead started on the road to Chaparral Pines and it ended there at the Star Valley Motel," Pat said.

The Haughts raised corn and other vegetables.

Walter Haught plowed the field with a team before he purchased a tractor.

"My mother always fought with dust in our home behind the small yard and picket fence, because Daddy had insisted the house stand near the road," Pat said.

The dirt road was the main one between Payson and Kohl's Ranch, and by the sound of the car, the family knew who was driving by.

When she or her brothers wanted to hitch a ride to town it was easy to do so. "Most often six to eight teens would pile into the Bull's car. It was what we called a "mother-in-law car" and looked like a PT Cruiser," Pat said.

Then, when she and Vernon got old enough, if they were "really thrifty" they could save up enough to buy 11 cents worth of gasoline and take their daddy's truck to town.

On Bootleg Alley off Main Street, there was a place known as "The Dive."

The old women called it AJ's Dive because you could get beer in there, play cards or pool and they smoked.

"As kids we would walk by and our grandmothers would say, shut your eyes," Pat said. "You could hear those poker chips and those cue balls smack together and those old men laughing. We'd shut eyes, but we would sniff the air. It smelled of stale beer and cigarettes and cigar smoke -- it smelled like sin.

"It's an antique store now," Pat added.

Behind AJ's Dive was his house and right next to that was Pat's grandmother's home.

"Asparagus was the best thing to eat out of Grandma's garden. I also loved raw turnips and my mom's sweet corn and tomatoes were wonderful. There is no flavor in the produce you buy in the store now. Plant yourself some of your own tomatoes and you will taste the difference. Homegrown is the best. There are no angle worms in the dirt and the soil is all played out."

Young Pat did get further a-field than Payson -- it was about 57 miles to Young.

The first time Pat set her eyes on the boy she would eventually marry, she had gone to Young with her Aunt and Uncle (Nona and Frank Holder), to see the Fourth of July Rodeo.

"I saw these obnoxious, terrible 14- and 15-year-old boys. They were smoking." Someone told her that one of the boys was Raymond Cline.

When Pat was 16, she was getting the mail from the bottom box in the post office when Raymond Cline knocked her over.

He was signing up for the Navy and had just had his eyes dilated and been told to go eat lunch -- then the recruiters watched to see how funny that would be since he could not see very well.

"I picked him up and took him to lunch," Pat said. That was 1942.

After World War II, the couple married in 1947.

They celebrated their lives together with children Tommie Rae, Jerrie Ann, Jon Raymond and Jacquelyn, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Pat worked at the World War II airbase in Winslow and at the Navajo ordinance depot at Belmont, near Winslow, as a secretary.

"It was right on the railroad and you could ship it," she said.

When they closed Belmont, most of her fellow Air Corps employees were sent to White Sands, N.M.

"Thank God they didn't send me there because every one of them was dead with cancer in no time."

When Raymond Cline left the service, he bought a well rig and made his living drilling water wells.

He had drilled about 1,000 and in 1952 a developer told him he was crazy to drill a well on every lot and he should start a water company.

In 1953, the Payson Water Company was born. The Clines sold it in 1964.

In 1954, Raymond and Pat bought the Spade Ranch and punched cows. They sold it in 1959 or 1960 and bought the 7A ranch in Star Valley where they lived and raised their children over the next 40 years.

Pat and Raymond were looking forward to a big 60th anniversary party in 2007, but Raymond passed away in 2006.

"We had a great life together," Pat said.

Pat held jobs outside of the ranch, both as a paid employee, and as a volunteer.

"We all had these little kids," Pat said. "Don Manthe was the town pharmacist, but I'm telling you, he was the baby doctor and everything else."

According to Pat, Gladys Meredith said, what was really needed was a well-baby clinic and a clinic where people could get patched up.

So, the Jr. Women's Club started the Payson Little Theatre and did fashion shows, variety shows, plays, and bake sales to finance the clinic.

"We did something constantly to raise money," Pat said.

When the small one-building clinic opened, Pat was its medical records clerk for many years. She worked at Don Martin's grocery store on the Beeline called the Frontier Market. She worked at the government's seismograph site (located about where the Chaparral Clubhouse is now). The seismograph supposedly monitored earthquakes but, according to Pat, was actually monitoring underground explosions in Russia.

When Valda Taylor said it's not fair for Nan (Pyle) to buy everything for the library, Pat was part of the group that started the Library Friends in about 1980.

"We had the best rummage sales you can imagine," Pat said. "Everybody believed in the library. Just as a for-instance, Bill Clinst donated wonderful carpet when he got new carpet for his home. We made $200 off that carpet."

Currently Pat serves as board chairman for Payson's Pioneer Cemetery. She sees to it that people are buried in the right spot. Pat and the other six board members make certain the grounds are clean.

"I miss going to town and knowing everyone on that one (Main) street," Pat said. "You knew everybody. You could raise your kids and if those kids got into trouble, somebody knew it and they let you in on it."

By far, Pat's favorite paid job was the one she held the longest -- she was a "flag lady" for FNF Construction from 1990 until 2002. "Just before my mother died in 1990 she told me that if there was a job I wanted to do for myself, I had best get busy and start it." So, Pat traded in a saddle in the hot sun for a job standing by the side of the road telling motorists how long their wait would be. When the wait was long, she would give motorists a history of the area.

"I absolutely loved that job," Pat said.

To those folk who might tell her she had an amazing life, Pat simply shakes her head no. "It's not amazing," Pat said. "It's just a life."

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