Billy Graham Center Archives

Collection 74 - Lorraine (Houpt) Payne. T63 Transcript

Click here to listen to an audio file of of the unrestricted portion this interview (30 minutes)

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Lorraine (Houpt) Payne (CN 74, T63) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. Foreign terms or phrases which may be unfamiliar appear in italics.

... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.

.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.

( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.

This transcription was made by Bob Shuster, Katherine Grabner, and Paul Bartow was completed in September 2013.


Collection 74, T63. Interview of Mrs. Lorraine (Houpt) Payne by Robert Shuster on June 4, 2010.

SHUSTER: This is an interview with Mrs. Lorraine Houpt Payne by Bob Shuster for the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College. This interview took place on June 4th, 2010 over the telephone at 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time.

PAYNE: Very good!

SHUSTER: Okay. Mrs. Houpt, why don’t we start...could you tell me when and where you were born?

PAYNE: My birth date.

SHUSTER: Yes.

PAYNE: February the 28th, ‘24.

SHUSTER: And where were you born?

PAYNE: Rosland, Pennsylvania.

SHUSTER: Rosland, oh yes. I know the town, I grew up in Hatboro.

PAYNE: You did?

SHUSTER: Yes, yes.

PAYNE: Oh my goodness! That’s right next. That used to be our real competitors in high school for [laughs] football games!

SHUSTER: Oh yes, oh yes indeed.

PAYNE: How about that?

SHUSTER: Why did you choose to attend Wheaton?

PAYNE: Well, first of all I wanted a Christian college. And then I had friends at that time, one that was attending the college. And so I chose Wheaton. And my father was pleased. He only made one requirement: if I go...he says “If you go the first day,” he says “you go the last day. Don’t come home and tell me you’re in love.” [Both laugh]. And what I didn’t tell him was that I was already in love with my high school sweetheart [both laugh]. Go ahead.

SHUSTER: How and when did you first meet Billy Graham?

PAYNE: At Wheaton. My freshman year.

SHUSTER: And do you recall that first meeting?

PAYNE: No not particularly. Well, I guess...not particularly. Because he roomed with my cousin. Lloyd Fesmire. I think I mentioned that in one of my letters. And so it was just kind of a natural thing.

SHUSTER: So you met him when you visited your cousin?

PAYNE: Pardon?

SHUSTER: You met him when you visited your cousin?

PAYNE: That’s right. He and Lloyd Fesmire were roommates. And Lloyd was my cousin.

SHUSTER: What was Graham’s physical appearance at that time? What did he look like? How would you describe him?

PAYNE: Oh, he was a good looking guy [laughs] blond hair. No, he’s a very good looking fella.

SHUSTER: And did you have any classes together?

PAYNE: No we didn’t . Because he was in grad school. And I was a freshman.

SHUSTER: You mention in one of your letters that you attended the United Gospel Tabernacle in town?

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: Why don’t you tell me a little about that.

PAYNE: Well I just remember that it was upstairs. It was kind of an old building. And Billy, even at that time was known to be a great preacher. And so I think that most of we freshmen, a lot of we freshmen, went to hear him.

SHUSTER: About how many people were usually there at the service?

PAYNE: Oh my. I would say probably a couple hundred.

SHUSTER: And you say it was upstairs in an old building. Were there pews there or what were...

PAYNE: No they weren’t real comfortable [both laugh]. They were the old time movie seats. The old time ones.

SHUSTER: Oh.

PAYNE: They were kind of hard. We didn’t go for comfort.

SHUSTER: And how would you describe Graham’s preaching?

PAYNE: How do I what? Oh, he was tops. There was no question about it. And I think it was obvious that he was going to go places.

SHUSTER: Why do you say that?

PAYNE: I would say that because of his...you could sense his heartbeat. That it was really coming from his heart. It wasn’t just knowledge that he picked up in college. I would say that’s the main thing. It came from his heart. You know, you can go to college and get a lot of knowledge, but it doesn’t always get down to the heart.

SHUSTER: Sure, sure. So he seemed very sincere?

PAYNE: Oh yes. No question about it.

SHUSTER: And how would you describe his preaching style? What kind of preacher was he?

PAYNE: Very plain. Very simple, very clear. You couldn’t mistake understanding what he was saying.

SHUSTER: Did he give an invitation at the services?

PAYNE: Oh yes. Always.

SHUSTER: And did people come forward?

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: Who was it who made up the congregation at the Tabernacle? Who attended? You mentioned the freshmen students....

PAYNE: I think you’ll find the main part of it was students. But there were a lot of local people who came. But also, it was heavily attended by the students.

SHUSTER: Were there other preachers besides Graham there or was he...?

PAYNE: No, he’s the only one that I remember.

SHUSTER: After he graduated, did the Tabernacle continue?

PAYNE: I assume it did. I only went my first year. It was quite a distance from the dorm. And then I went to the College church part time and the Bible church part time. They were a little closer. Time to...time began to be a little more up-front.

SHUSTER: A little more precious.

PAYNE: A little more necessary to guard our time.

SHUSTER: Some people have also said that president Edman sometimes asked Graham to speak in chapel.

PAYNE: Oh yes.

SHUSTER: Do you recall those?

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: What...what can you tell me about his chapel addresses?

PAYNE: Well again...Billy had one style. It was very simple, very plain, very clear . Factual. I wouldn’t say it was emotional. It just was very factual.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any of his talks in particular? What he talked about?

PAYNE: No I don’t.

SHUSTER: He was also during your freshman year, he was also the president of the Christian Council.

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: Were you also involved with the work of the council?

PAYNE: No I wasn’t.

SHUSTER: Do you know anything about what kind of president he was or how he did his duties?

PAYNE: No, but I do know that the...what will I say...jelled? It jelled together right away.

SHUSTER: How do you mean?

PAYNE: The purpose was to get the message out. The evangelism came through right away.

SHUSTER: And how did they get the message out?

PAYNE: T hey had assignments on weekends. Around Chicago.

SHUSTER: What kind of assignments?

PAYNE: At churches and youth rallies and so forth.

SHUSTER: So college students would go out and speak at different churches?

PAYNE: Yes. And singing groups would go. Our group didn’t particularly. But there were some singing groups that went also.

SHUSTER: So Graham’s main responsibility really was to assign people to opportunities that they had heard about to speak?

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: In February 1943 there was an awakening on campus.

PAYNE: Oh yes. I remember it very plainly.

SHUSTER: Can you talk a little bit about that?

PAYNE: Yes. Apparently one of our students at that time went into Chicago and in fact...well I was going to say Bill Dodge. I think it was Bill Dodge. He went into Chicago and ran in a meet on a Sunday. Which of course was against the rules of the campus. And so he became convicted that it was wrong for him to do that. And so he went to Dr. Edman and told Dr. Edman what had happened. He said he had confessed it to the Lord, but he felt like he should also confess it to the student body. And would Dr. Edman give him permission to do that in chapel? Which of course Dr. Edman did. So at the end of chapel, Dr. Edman said that “Before we dismiss, we have a student that would like to say something to all of you.” And so he got up and confessed what he had done. And when he had finished, Dr. Edman said “Are there any other students who have anything to confess or have something they would like to say?” And they just started to pop up like popcorn. It was amazing. I’ll never forget it. All of the sudden, it wasn’t an hour before any of us had looked at our watch and realized that we had gone over on chapel. And this went on oh...I think it went on...Dr. Edman stopped it around midnight. And then we came together in the morning and it just picked up where it left off. The thing that...one of the things that impressed me was that this is Edman. “Friend,” Dr. Edman called [his wife friend]. Their home was right across from Pierce Chapel. And she said every morning at chapel time, she stopped whatever she was doing and on her knees in the living room would pray that there would be a revival on campus among the students. And she had done that for years. And this one particular morning, all of the sudden she realized that chapel didn’t break up. Because she could see them from her living room window. And that everything was quiet. And it was then she realized that the Lord had answered her prayer.

SHUSTER: And that was Mrs. Edman who...?

PAYNE: Yes, Mrs. Edman, yes. And when you went to the dining room, you didn’t hear the dishes. They just didn’t seem to make any noise. And everyone was so quiet. I remember that very, very vividly. I’ll never stop thanking the Lord for that opportunity. It’s something that you don’t plan. When the Spirit works, it works. And you don’t plan the revival.

SHUSTER: Indeed. And...

PAYNE: But it did really make a difference on our campus afterwards.

SHUSTER: How would you describe that change?

PAYNE: T here was just a closeness of students and a warmth between us. And it was quieter. It was actually quieter afterwards for quite a while. I remember going back to my dorm that night and getting down on my knees. I had...my husband and I had dated in high school.

SHUSTER: Your future husband?

PAYNE: Yes, my husband for sixty four years this month. And my father said to me “Is he a Christian?” And so I started to tell him all the things he did. You know, he taught Sunday school, he was in the youth group, and so forth. When I got finished, my father said to me “You haven’t answered my question.” And so...I...that...I realized then that when I walked on campus as a freshmen and when none of those guys on campus turned me on [both laugh]. Uh-oh. I realized then that I was already in love. But I had never answered my father’s question. So I got down on my knees and said “Lord, I have to know . But I don’t want to ask him because I don’t want him to just give me the right answer.” So I said “Either increase my love for him if he’s the one or decrease it.” And two weeks later, I got a letter in the mail from him saying that he committed his heart to the Lord.

SHUSTER: Oh my.

PAYNE: So that was my response to the revival.

SHUSTER: Oh praise God.

PAYNE: And it’s been a blessing ever since. It gets [sic] gooder every day.

SHUSTER: Some of the accounts I’ve read on the revival say that the student who had run on Sunday was Duncan Stewart.

PAYNE: I’m not hearing you.

SHUSTER: Some of the accounts I’ve read of the revival said that the student who ran on Sunday who started the revival was Duncan Stewart. Does that name sound familiar?

PAYNE: No.

SHUSTER: He was captain of the track team.

PAYNE: I’m not sure I heard you completely.

SHUSTER: Just that the student...you mentioned that a student had confessed to running on Sunday.

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: And the accounts that I’ve read said that his name was Duncan Stewart.

PAYNE: Oh, it could have been. I’m not sure. I’m not sure of that name.

SHUSTER: Also that Reverend Harold Warren was giving the special services that week.

PAYNE: You know it’s interesting. I have never been able to remember who the speaker was that week. I guess the other was just that important to me, I’ve never been able to bring his name up! Who is it?

SHUSTER: Harold Warren.

PAYNE: Howard Warren?

SHUSTER: Yes.

PAYNE: That sounds familiar but I can’t say.

SHUSTER: Okay.

PAYNE: And I can’t remember his messages. All I remember is that the Spirit just took over.

SHUSTER: And you said that there was confessions also the next day. How long did the confessions continue?

PAYNE: I think it was two days.

SHUSTER: Two days.

PAYNE: You know they said...they’ve had awakenings since then.

SHUSTER: Oh yes.

PAYNE: So I’m not...I don’t want to mix them up. I don’t know about the others. This was the only one while I was there.

SHUSTER: What kind of things did people confess?

PAYNE: Being irritated with each other. Unforgiving spirits. Being thoughtless and unkind. And seeking...and seeking to be accepted as a student. That kind of thing. It was mostly interpersonal relationships. The only one that I remember was outside was the one that started it. The one that had run on Sunday. The rest, most seemed to be interpersonal relationships. And the dining room was absolutely silent. I mean a few would go and a few would come back, but even when you went through the line (the cafeteria line) it seemed like the dishes, the silver and everything just didn’t seem to make any noise.

SHUSTER: Because people weren’t talking? They were...?

PAYNE: No, no. There was no talking.

SHUSTER: Were the faculty and staff involved as well?

PAYNE: The staff...I don’t remember. I don’t remember the staff’s involvement. But I don’t...can’t say it didn’t. I don’t remember it.

SHUSTER: What about the faculty?

PAYNE: I don’t remember.

SHUSTER: Anything else you’d like to say about the awakening?

PAYNE: Anything else what?

SHUSTER: Anything else you’d like to say about the awakening?

PAYNE: No I don’t think so. It was just a blessing I’ll never forget. I’m so grateful to be there at that time. And it just was so real. And I think Mrs. Edman’s testimony kind of sealed it for us.

SHUSTER: In his autobiography, Billy Graham says that it was at Wheaton that he first had black students as classmates.

PAYNE: He had what?

SHUSTER: Black students for his classmates for the first time. African American students.

PAYNE: I don’t remember that.

SHUSTER: Okay. Do you...how was Billy Graham regarded on campus by other students?

PAYNE: Oh you could sense immediately that he was looked up to. He was considered to be...what do I say...an outstanding student. He just stood out from others. You could kind of sense it. But actually not realize what the Lord was going to do through him. But kind of a sense that the Lord was going to use him in a special way.

SHUSTER: You say he stood out. Stood out in what way?

PAYNE: Of course I’m a freshman at the time and he’s a grad student. Let’s just say reputation wise and spoken highly of.

SHUSTER: Now he...even while he was a student and even while he was pastor at the Tabernacle, he also on the weekends went off to preach at other places in Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois. And Wheaton students sometimes went with him. Did you ever participate in any of those?

PAYNE: No.

SHUSTER: Okay.

PAYNE: The quartet that I was in only sang at Songs in the Night. And with the Glee club.

SHUSTER: You mentioned your cousin Lord...Lloyd Fesmire who was his roommate.

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: How would you describe Lloyd?

PAYNE: How would I what?

SHUSTER: How would you describe him?

PAYNE: Very, very committed. But on the quiet side compared to Billy. Billy was more outgoing. But oh, Lloyd was definitely very, very committed.

SHUSTER: What do you mean by committed?

PAYNE: Committed to the Lord. He could have...his father was a very, very well known building constructor in Philadelphia. In fact he built most of the churches in Philadelphia at that time. And Lloyd could have gone into business with his father. But his commitment was to the Lord. And of course his father was delighted, pleased that he was. In fact, after...I think I mention in one of my letters that Lloyd took over the Western Springs church when Billy left. Well they had no church really. Just that basement [laughs]. The first thing they did was get the church built. And then after that, Uncle Wilmer came out and stayed with Helen and Lloyd for a month. And together they built the parsonage.

SHUSTER: Wow. Uncle Wilmer was his brother?

PAYNE: Pardon?

SHUSTER: Uncle Wilmer was Lloyd’s brother?

PAYNE: Father.

SHUSTER: Father. Oh.

PAYNE: Yeah.

SHUSTER: So you mean they...together when they constructed, you mean they constructed it themselves by hand?

PAYNE: They what?

SHUSTER: Do you mean they built it themselves by hand? Those two men?

PAYNE: Yes, yes. I’m sure they had other help too, but they had charge of it. And Lloyd actually helped build the parsonage not the church but the parsonage.

SHUSTER: You mentioned the...quartet that you were in that was called Carollers for Christ. Is that right?

PAYNE: It says so in this one...in this flier that you sent me. What they called that other group.

SHUSTER: What do you remember as the name of it?

PAYNE: I just don’t remember any group. I don’t remember any particular name.

SHUSTER: How did you become involved in that group?

PAYNE: I don’t remember. Except that I was in the Glee Club and they need an alto so [both laugh] there I was. And this is something I wanted to mention to you. I used to have a tape. We made a tape. Our quartet, and I can’t find it.

SHUSTER: Oh well.

PAYNE: I have a feeling. And you might ask one of the other girls if they remember it and if one of them have it. I think what happened was I think I gave it to my parents for Christmas. And I’m one of six children, so when they were both gone we cleared out the house. With six children, I’m sure it just disappeared.

SHUSTER: Well if it turns up, I’ll certainly let you know.

PAYNE: Yes, and you might ask the other girls. We made a tape and I remember it very plainly.

SHUSTER: Okay, now at that time of course they didn’t have analog tape . It probably would have been a wire recording. Or it might have been on a wax...on a disc.

PAYNE: I don’t know. A tape is what I recall. Because I remember saying Merry Christmas to my parents on it [laughs].

SHUSTER: Okay, well if it ever turns up, I’ll certainly let you know.

PAYNE: Oh, I would love to have a copy.

SHUSTER: You mentioned in one of your letters that...oh let’s see. “Billy Graham helped us carry our luggage up to the second and third floors of Williston Hall.”

PAYNE: [Laughs] When we went back for our fiftieth class reunion, that’s what one of our class members often said. “Just think, Billy Graham helped us carry our luggage,” [both laugh].

SHUSTER: Now when did that happen?

PAYNE: Pardon? Oh yes he did.

SHUSTER: When did that happen?

PAYNE: My...our freshman year which would be the fall of ‘42.

SHUSTER: Now, I know that Graham was...he also worked with his friend John Streator at a kind of moving service where they picked people up at the train station and bring them to the college

PAYNE: I’ve heard that, but I wouldn’t be able to report it. I wasn’t close enough.

SHUSTER: So that wasn’t part of this? He was just helping carry your luggage?

PAYNE: From the lobby in Williston Hall up two or three steps...up two or three flights.

SHUSTER: I see.

PAYNE: I’ve heard of the other, but I wasn’t part of that.

SHUSTER: You also mention in one of your letters a joke about Billy and taking Ruth out to dinner?

PAYNE: [Laughs] Isn’t that awful?

SHUSTER: Why don’t you go ahead and tell the tale...the joke...the story for the tape here.

PAYNE: [Laughs] It really was a joke on campus. And if you knew (I guess you didn’t) know Ruth at all, she just...she was the perfect mate for him. She just stepped right in and said “You’re not going to get credit for it.”

SHUSTER: Well why don’t you tell the story from the beginning for people listening to the tape?

PAYNE: Oh, you want me to tell it now?

SHUSTER: Yeah.

PAYNE: Oh okay. Well when Billy was preaching, he had invited Ruth to go out for dinner after church. And they were just dating at the time. She was a senior and he was in grad school. So they went out for dinner and when the bill came, Billy reached in his pocket to pay the bill and all he had in his pocket was a dollar. And of course, he was most embarrassed. So he said “Well when I left campus, when I left home, I had a ten dollar bill and a dollar in my pocket. I must have put the ten dollar bill in the offering plate by mistake.” And all he had left was a dollar. So Ruth very quickly spoke up and said “Just remember, you only get credit for one dollar because that was your only intention.” And of course, the big joke on campus was whoever paid the bill? We never got the answer. [Both laugh].

SHUSTER: How would you describe Billy and Ruth as a couple on campus?

PAYNE: I’m not hearing you.

SHUSTER: How would you describe Billy and Ruth as a couple on campus? How did they interact with each other?

PAYNE: Well they both were very distinguished looking people. And...I’m not sure how to express that. But in this day and age, you would say they were very conservative in their expressing their fondness of each other. Of course everything was more conservative then than it is now [laughs]. I don’t know how it would be taken today. But it was just a very warm, sincere...private affair with them.

SHUSTER: How would you describe Ruth? What kind of person was she when you knew her as a student?

PAYNE: Ruth?

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

PAYNE: Well [laughs] Ruth was very outgoing. I’ll tell you a bit of a joke about Ruth if you want to hear.

SHUSTER: Sure.

PAYNE: She lived in Williston Hall and Helen Stam Fesmire was her roommate. And apparently, Ruth came in one night after the curfew. And she didn’t want to come through the lobby because she didn’t want the house mother to hear her come in. And she lived on the first floor. So she climbed in the bedroom window. And she thought oh she got over this good. But the next morning when the house mother saw her (I think her name was Mrs. Anderson but I’m not sure) Mrs. Anderson said to her, “Ruth, I didn’t see you or hear you come in last night.” So then Ruth had to confess how she got in. But she was...Ruth was.... Have you ever read the book about her son, Franklin?

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

PAYNE: Well he got it from her. She was a mischief maker. And just full of it . I don’t know how else to describe it. She was really a perfect match for Billy. And she kept him on his toes.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any examples of her mischief?

PAYNE: Well the one I just described to you. And I think both of them. The one about the money.

SHUSTER: Right.

PAYNE: She very quickly reminded him that he only got credit for a dollar. And then the climbing in the window.

SHUSTER: Why don’t we talk a little bit about your quartet and your singing at Western Springs.

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: When did you begin singing there, do you recall?

PAYNE: That picture I sent you, I have ‘44 and ‘45 written on the back of it. I really don’t remember.

SHUSTER: That would make sense because the program started at Western Springs in January of 1944. So....

PAYNE: That was it then.

SHUSTER: So it would have been around then sometime.

PAYNE: Yeah. Well I had ‘44 and ‘45 on the back of that picture.

SHUSTER: When you went out to Western Springs, you said it was meeting in the basement.

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: What did...what did the space look like? Where were you actually recording it from?

PAYNE: Where did you what?

SHUSTER: Where were.... You were recording from the basement. What did the basement look like?

PAYNE: Well as I mentioned in my letter, I never saw a church do this. They built the basement, and apparently they just built a fake front to a church. And then when you stepped in there, you immediately went down the steps into the basement. And later on, they built the church on top of it. Which is unusual. I know when you build a building, you build the basement first, but you don’t wait three or four years before you build the rest of it. And it just did seem strange. It felt like you were going underground.

SHUSTER: Now when you went out to Western Springs, was it just you four girls? Or did a group go from Wheaton?

PAYNE: No, it was we four girls.

SHUSTER: Just the four.

PAYNE: Yeah. We went out under the auspices of the Christian organization that Billy had started.

SHUSTER: The Christian Council?

PAYNE: Yeah. We went out under their permission and approval. They let us have a car. Either one of us drove or else they provided one. I don’t remember.

SHUSTER: Did you have to get permission to be off campus Sunday evening?

PAYNE: Oh yes. Oh yes.

SHUSTER: So you had to sign out and sign in?

PAYNE: Oh yes . It was really an assignment we were given.

SHUSTER: An assignment you were given by the Council?

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: Was there an audience there when you recorded the program? Was the congregation there?

PAYNE: No, it was just a broadcast.

SHUSTER: So it was just the quartet, and Billy, and George Beverly Shea, and a few others?

PAYNE: Yes. Beverly Shea was the soloist, Billy was the speaker, and we were the additional music. We sang the Songs in the Night at the beginning. The theme song and then we sang it at the end. And we had one or two special numbers on it.

SHUSTER: Do you recall how that theme song went?

PAYNE: Oh yes. [Begins singing] “Songs in the night, songs in the night. He giveth us songs in the night,” [laughs].

SHUSTER: Very nice! Thank you.

PAYNE: [Laughs] That’s just...that’s a poor rendition, but the idea of it.

SHUSTER: It sounded very nice.

PAYNE: But I...it’s funny. I told somebody about it yesterday. And she was a pastor’s wife for twenty five years. “Oh” she says, “We used to listen to that broadcast every Sunday night.” She said “That’s how my husband got relaxed at the end of the day.” And I understand it’s still on. This is what I’d like to know: if you ever hear about where it’s on, hearing it here, I’d like to know. I’d really love to listen to it.

SHUSTER: Well, I know it was carried by Moody Radio for many years. It was on for at least thirty years. I don’t know if it’s on now, but if I do find out, I’ll certainly let you know.

PAYNE: Appreciated.

SHUSTER: So you mention that you met George Beverly Shea on the program.

PAYNE: Oh yeah, he was the soloist.

SHUSTER: How would you describe him?

PAYNE: He was...he was...of course you know he had a beautiful voice. We were just thrilled to be on the same radio program with George Beverly Shea.

SHUSTER: So you had already heard of him?

PAYNE: Oh, yes, he had already been known through Moody and through radio broadcasts and so forth.

SHUSTER: And how would you describe him? What kind of person was he?

PAYNE: You know there’s some people who are great and become great. You’re not aware of it at the time. They just...well...they don’t make...shall I say they don’t make an issue of it? They don’t make you feel like they’re great and you’re not. They’re very humble. Very humble, warm person.

SHUSTER: Did you talk together much about music or singing or technique at all?

PAYNE: No, we didn’t do much. We didn’t do much talking. We really didn’t have much time. We got there before the broadcast in time enough to get set up, did our thing, and then came back. So we didn’t really spend any social time together.

SHUSTER: How did you know what to sing? Were you told what to sing that week or did you decide, did the quartet decide among themselves?

PAYNE: I think we decided among ourselves. They may have given us a theme, I don’t remember. They probably gave us a theme for the night, and we probably tied in with it.

SHUSTER: Do you recall anything about any particular broadcast? Does any particular broadcast stand out in your mind?

PAYNE: No. Just going into underground basement like that.

SHUSTER: Sure.

PAYNE: There was not any big deal about it really.

SHUSTER: And how about...what do you recall about the other girls in the quartet? What stands out in your mind about them?

PAYNE: Well, I think I mentioned that Joyce Ferrin was not in...she was in the picture that you sent me from the Village Church. Her father had something to do with Providence Bible Institute.

SHUSTER: Yes, Howard Ferrin. Howard Ferrin. He was...

PAYNE: And I think that’s probably that trip that they made. I think you’ll find that it was arranged through them.

SHUSTER: But she wasn’t in the group when you were in it?

PAYNE: No. Anna-Lisa Beckman was and Joyce Tucker. So the other girl, Betty Hyslop was not in the group then that I was in either.

SHUSTER: Well what do you recall about the girls who were in the group with you?

PAYNE: [Sighs] we enjoyed singing together. And we enjoyed, of course, going and being on a broadcast together, particularly since it was out of Moody. And we just enjoyed being together and singing together. We always had prayer before we sang and it was a very...spiritually uplifting for all of us. I think we all grew in our spiritual life through doing that.

SHUSTER: Did the group have a leader?

PAYNE: I think you’ll find it was between Joyce and Anna-Lisa Beckman. They were...two just kind of by nature were leaders. Joyce was the president of the Glee Club her senior year. And then I was president my senior year which was a couple years after her. She was a year or two ahead of me, I don’t remember which.

SHUSTER: What do you recall...do you recall anything about Graham’s sermons? His messages?

PAYNE: Recall about what?

SHUSTER: Do you recall anything about Billy Graham’s sermons or messages on the program? About what he preached about?

PAYNE: No. That they were quite different from a regular sermon. Because if you’ve ever heard Songs in the Night it’s very...what will I say...it’s a very warm, encouraging type of message. And he adapted to that very well.

SHUSTER: So it was more devotional...?

PAYNE: Yes, devotional. That’s the word.

SHUSTER: Do you recall any of the things that he talked about?

PAYNE: I’m sorry to say I really don’t.

SHUSTER: No, that’s quite alright.

PAYNE: I do...I just remember the atmosphere and the spirit of it. But I don’t remember the detail of it.

SHUSTER: How long did your quartet sing for the radio program?

PAYNE: [Church bells] Well I think I was only in it one year. I think that’s the only year I was in it. I don’t remember how long these girls were part of it.

SHUSTER: So that probably would have been ‘44 or ‘45 when you were...

PAYNE: Yes.

SHUSTER: While you were a freshman.

PAYNE: It was quite a strenuous undertaking. Because of the traveling and getting back so late.

SHUSTER: Right. Anna Maria...Anna-Lisa said that sometimes you gave concerts or sang. She mentioned one occasion when you sang it turned out to be the same day where President Roosevelt died.

PAYNE: Oh, I don’t remember that.

SHUSTER: Do you recall that. Oh.

PAYNE: I didn’t remember that. That would have been this other quartet then probably.

SHUSTER: Well this would have been in April of ‘45.

PAYNE: Okay.

SHUSTER: So it probably would have been while you were with the group but.... What kind of music did the quartet sing?

PAYNE: You mean on the broadcast?

SHUSTER: Yes.

PAYNE: Well they were all hymns of course. And we tied in with probably with any theme that they might have given us for that night. We never sang anything but hymns.

SHUSTER: Is there anything else you wanted to add or any other memories that you wanted to bring up?

PAYNE: I don’t think so...

END OF TAPE




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Wheaton College 2013