Linda Jo

Linda Jo Payne and I met in 1966. On a hot, early, summer evening, a friend and I pulled into Dog ‘N’ Suds on University Drive in Tempe, Arizona expecting to get a Coke. A beautiful carhop came to the car to take our order. Before she took our order, however, she looked directly at me and asked me why I was looking at her so funny. It must have been the look of love! I went back to Dog ‘N’ Suds seven times that night. I am surprised she did not charge me with harassment.
Linda Jo Payne

The next day, my family – Mom, Dad, two brothers, and two sisters – piled into their car and went to Dog ‘N’ Suds to see this girl who had made such an impact on me. So embarrassing!
I thought I would then like to take Linda on a date – I do not even remember where – but she stonewalled me. She said, “No.” She had to get permission from her dad (this will be a recurring theme). My response was: “I don’t want to take out your dad. I want to take you out.” Can I have your phone number? “No. I’m not allowed to give that out.” Where do you live? “I’m not allowed to tell you.” I kept trying to no avail.
Then, the British rock group, the Dave Clark 5, was announced as coming to Phoenix. This was to be my grandstand play. I asked Linda to go to the concert with me, but I got the same stonewalling answers. She had to have permission from her dad. (Sigh, this does not seem to be going anywhere.)
Then a day later, she surprised me and told me her dad had given her permission to go to the concert with me. As a bonus, she also gave me her phone number and address.
I do not even remember the concert. I only remember watching this sweet, little, sixteen-year-old girl having fun. I was hooked completely at this point.
Shortly thereafter, she and her family disappeared. No one was home at her house, and no one answered the telephone. I learned later her family had taken a long vacation to Connecticut.
By the time they returned to Arizona from Connecticut, I was in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Once basic training was over, I wrote Linda a letter hoping she remembered me. She did, and we wrote back and forth until the following summer when I took my first leave home.
I wanted to surprise my mom and dad, so I asked Linda if she could pick me up at the airport and take me home. Her response was her dad would have to drive her to the airport. (Who is this dad guy, and why does he have to be a part of every decision?) Well, OK. I’ll take the best offer available. Once we got to my parents’ house, Linda waited for me to get out of the car and kissed me – the best kiss I had ever received! I knew then, I was going to ask her to marry me.
The next evening, I proposed to her. Linda told me before she could say “yes,” (guess what?) “You have to ask my dad.” My response – “I don’t want to marry your dad. I want to marry you.” She told me those were the rules.
The next morning, Linda picked me up and drove me to her house. Her father was in the bathroom covered in shaving cream preparing to shave. That did not matter to Linda. She marched me into the bathroom and announced to her father Bob had something to ask him.
I was dumbfounded, but I mustered all my courage and asked her father if I could have Linda to be my wife. Fortunately, he said yes.
We set a November wedding date, but the Air Force had other plans. By the time I returned to Texas, the Air Force said I had been reassigned to Thailand.
I called Linda to tell her we would have to postpone our wedding. This little girl replied, “If we don’t get married before you go to Thailand, we won’t get married at all.” All I could say was I would not be much help, but you tell me when and where and I will be there. Somehow, she pulled it off.

The First Congregational Church, Tempe, AZ

We were married on September 16, 1967. Linda Payne became Linda O’Toole.

Linda Jo O’Toole

Nine days later, I was off to Thailand.
I was married to a very strong, beautiful, young lady. She was that way for fifty-five years in our storybook marriage. I would have been nothing without her.

Linda and Bob