Monday, August 29, 2011


The Admiral of the Bingham Navy

By Wayne Ray

Wayne Ray 15 Years
 Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive.  ~Thomas C. Haliburton

There may have been a Binghamite that attained the rank of Admiral in the US Navy or the Coast Guard.  I have not heard of one.  However, I received the honorary title of Admiral that once bestowed has stuck to this day.  I’ll tell you how it came about but first a little history.  
In some magazine I read when I was about thirteen  years old there was an advertisement for a boys prep school in the east called the Farragut Academy.  I sent away for details and was smitten by the naval emphasis when the brochures arrived.  The brochure described the curriculum the program and most of all the uniforms that would be issued and worn. There was no way that I would ever apply let alone be accepted with my copper miner family income and my sorry Jr. High School grades.  However I  visualized  myself dressed in those sailor suits marching to class.  I dreamed about  bering a part of that school.  I even painted the school’s logo on my basement room floor in our Copperton house.    I was determined to be a sailor some day.

Wayne Ray
World War II was on and it was patriotic and compelling for any red blooded male to want to be involved.  I was very impressed by Binghamite soldiers, marines and sailors that came home on leave with their stories of their adventures. They were awesome and looked fantastic in uniform.  At age fifteen in 1943, I determined that I had to get in the war - in the Navy.  I talked it over with my friend Kent Stillman who agreed that we should enlist.  The problem of our age was solved when we typed over our birthdate on our birth certificates making a 1928 into a 1926.  It was so obvious I don’t know how we expected anyone to be fooled in retrospect. 

Bingham Navy    Kent S  Wayne R    Ken H  Chris A  Bill T  Victor R
One day, Kent and I skipped school and hitchhiked to Salt Lake to join the Navy.  Jim Rekoutis came along, but he had no intention of doing what we were trying.  He just wanted a day off from school.  Kent and I passed the physical and other tests.  The Chief Petty Officer in charge said to us, “I know damn well you guys are not old enough, but you’ve got a lot of guts so I’m giving you the ok.  Get your parents to sign these papers and you are in.”  (It didn’t happen because our parents refused to sign and we wisely decided not forge their signatures)

When we got home the day of our enlistment I went to Jr. High basketball practice as innocent as a newborn.  Bailey Santisteven (Sandy) was the coach and as you know was also the truant officer.  He not only knew that we skipped school, but he knew that we went to Salt Lake to join the Navy.  As I entered the gym, “Sandy” confronted me and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Get the hell out of here.  We don’t want any #$#%&*@#! Admirals on this team.  Every last person on that Bingham Junior High School basketball team heard “Sandy” and my nickname was born.  All the boys teasingly called me “Admiral” that night and the next day.  It spread as a joke and stuck like flypaper. 

Admiral Ray & British Navy Friends, Rockefeller Center, NYC
The nickname “Admiral”  is so ingrained that some people don’t know my first name.  There have been many instances where people when asked if they know Wayne Ray and they have said, “I don’t know any Wayne Ray, but I know  Admiral Ray”.  We have a group of “Binghamites” that live in the Northwest.  We have socialized many times over the past forty plus years we have lived in Portland, Oregon.  They all call me  Admiral.  Their families and all their friends call me Admiral.  A few years ago I phoned Colleen (Robison) Bailey, a fellow Binghamite who lives nearby.  She asked me who was calling  I said Wayne.  She said loudly and indignantly , “WHO IS THIS.”  I had to answer “this is “Admiral”.  then she recognized me.

Gary Curtis,  Wayne Ray, Rukus Cowdell  Annual Reunion at St. George UT.
As an end note.  Kent Stillman and I along with Bill Thomas, Victor Roblez, Ken Hall and  Chris Apostal did join the Navy together when we graduated from High School.  Kent Stillman became a career Navy man serving over thirty years. 

The Annual Wayne Ray "Binghamite Reunion" held in St. George, Utah in February on Monday closest to Valentines Day every year, for an exact date call Don Gust at Santa Clara, Utah.  The 2012 Dinner at Golden Coral, St. George 13 February 3.00 P.M.  

 Wayne Ray
Wayne's English Pointer
                        Dogs had it made in the towns of Bingham when I was growing up.  Before the mine dumps had obliterated the whole canyon there was still some hills to roam and some rabbits to chase.  When we moved to Copperton in the late 1930's the dogs there not only had the run of the town, but the surrounding hills had much wildlife to hunt.  As an example, our dog caught a porcupine with a painful mouth full of quills to pay for it.
Unfortunately the freedom also cost some lives.  Three of our dogs in Copperton were hit and killed by cars.  But I digress.
                        We always had a dog as a pet.   The first I remember was given to us by the mailman as a pup.  He did it because I was afraid of dogs at the time.  Most of them were "Mutts" but we did have a couple of pure breeds.  My dad had a Whippet before I was born. When we moved to 99 Main St. in Frogtown my dad bought or obtained an English Pointer probably to help him hunt pheasants.  That dog turned out to be the dumbest dog in Frogtown, or so we thought.  English  Pointers are bred to be active and exercised a lot.  In Frogtown the only way for our dog to get the exercise he needed was to roam the hills by himself. I can't remember if he took off on his own or not.   My dad might have taken him along the abandoned railroad path above our house.  Don't recall that either.  My brother and I did not bother.  In our opinion, this was a dog who couldn't fight his way out of a cardboard box.  As a matter of fact, we would put him in a box and laugh as he would circle and whine because we thought he couldn't figure out how to step, or jump out.  Anyway my brother and I and the neighborhood kids thought he was worthless.  My dad must have come to the same conclusion because he gave him away to a farmer in Sandy.
Porkcupine and Wayne's Dumb Dog
                        A couple of weeks later we opened our front door and there was this dumb dog sitting there wagging his tail,waiting to be fed.  The Sandy farmer didn't return the dog. He found his way home.  Think about this. We don't know the route he took, but it might have been through Sandy, Midvale, West Jordan, Welby, Copperton and up the canyon to our house.  That is near 20 plus miles.
                        A dog may rely on a mental spatial map to navigate her way home. This theory assumes that dogs draw their own mental maps of their environment using memories of familiar odors and visual landmarks as references. It's as if they have a built-in GPS and know precisely where they are in space and time, explains animal behaviorist Nicholas Dodman. This theory doesn't fully explain how some dogs are capable of finding their way home from far away using routes they never used before. When information from the senses is unavailable and familiar landmarks[1]  are lacking, dogs may utilize more sophisticated methods to find their way home. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake suggests that a dog's brain works as a storehouse of memories and associations that defeats space and time. After conducting several field experiments using a navigationally gifted dog, Sheldrake came to the conclusion that a sense of home must exert some sort of draw that causes a dog to search until he finds his way.*
Gene's English Setter
                        Even though we were amazed at this "homing" fete my dad packed up the dog and returned him to the farm.  This had to be late fall or early winter.  Guess what.  On a morning when the snow had piled up on our porch and it was difficult to open the front door there on the porch was our dumb dog.  We took him in and fed him and back to Sandy he went again[2] .  My mother said, "if he comes back once more, we are keeping him".  He never did come back. We guessed the farmer constructed better security.

Can Dogs Smell Their Way Home?
by Adrienne Farricelli, Demand Media  Google



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