March 8, 2017

Some Highlights in the Young Life of An Old Man

I found this document a few nights ago in things I think my Mother had saved for me that I obviously wrote during the summer of 1968. I’m not sure if it was a letter or what – maybe just a sort of personal history. But it does cover some highlights that I had planned to write about – so I’m adding this as a post, which now includes additonal related memories and comments about the events inside parentheses.

Vicki Hunt (second from left in front) Lee Hunt and Merrill
Hunt (left of woman holding baby) in "All in Favor."
I had a lead part in the stake play, "Up with Balloons” as the popcorn man; and a lead part as Ralph Smith in the North Jordan Third Ward play “All In Favor,” both these plays I sang in. I was a lumber worker in the North Jordan Ward play, “No Time for Skirts.”
At Westlake Jr. High, I took drama instead of mixed chorus because I needed to take a geometry class, which was only available during the same period as mixed chorus. (I was pretty upset because I still hadn’t had a chance to be in a choir with girls. Men’s Chorus in 7th and 8th Grade and even in 10th Grade.) Our Westlake drama class put on two school plays.
W. Lee Hunt (kneeling) in mystery "Drop Dead."
I played the part of a wealthy son in one of the plays, which was called “Drop Dead.”

I started in Cub Scouts just in time to be a Lion Cub and then went on into the Scout program. I got as far as a Star before I moved into Explorers. (I did, however, receive my Duty to God award.)
I attended two Explorer Conferences at BYU, one in 1965 and the other in 1967.
(I remember one of the highlights was hearing the LDS astronaut Jon L. Lind, who at the time had not made it to space. “For first Mormon astronaut Don Lind, getting to space took almost two decades of grueling training and patience.  As a small boy, Lind and his sisters loved to climb trees in his neighborhood in Midvale, Utah, shaking the branches and pretending they were in a space craft hurtling through the universe.  At that time, space travel was a feat only dreamed up in comic books and science fiction.  It
Back: Ralph Sharp, Bruce Sharp, Larry Bunkall,
Front: Steve Crump and W. Lee Hunt at Explorer
Conference at BYU 1967.
wasn’t until over 20 years later that the first men entered space in 1961.  After hearing the news, Lind—then a Navy pilot and Doctor of physics—knew he had found his calling.
Lind was accepted into NASA’s space program in 1966 where he underwent rigorous physical and mental training courses.  “Our training involved night-shifts at the local hospital emergency room to learn what to do if we had to perform emergency surgery in space,” Lind said.  “We learned survival skills in the Panamanian jungle, which we’d need if we landed far off course.  We also were taught graduate-level geology courses.”
Despite having completed his training, Lind had to wait another 19 years before entering space—the longest waiting time for any American in spaceflight history.  But Lind kept himself more than busy.  He continued working on NASA missions, serving as the director of lunar operations on Apollo 11 when man first walked on the moon.
Astronaut Don Lind spoke
at 1967 BYU conference.
Stan Bawden (patch over eye), Lester Mackay (left of Stan)
Warren Hunt (Explorer hat on), Steve and Danny Peterson
(in front of Warren), Bruce Sharp (bottom left) and
Dennis Paxton (bottom right).
Air Force planes inside hangar viewed from catwalk.
Lind’s own spaceflight finally came in 1985 when he boarded the Challenger for an eight-day journey to study the Aurora Australis. Many miracles surrounded Lind’s exploration into space, the largest being simply his safe return home.  Just nine months after his mission, the Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff due to faulty O-rings, killing the seven crew members on board. Lind believes that a priesthood blessing he received before his flight protected
him and his crew from a similar fate as they hurtled through the earth’s incinerating atmosphere aboard that very space shuttle.  Full of faith and gratitude for the Lord’s protection, Lind said, “We weren’t more righteous or more deserving of the Lord’s help—those on the Challenger were good people—but it had been promised us.” From Mormons Who Pioneered the Space Program, by Danielle Beckstrom, Famous Mormons,
As secretary and historian of our Ward Explorers,
U.S. Air Force rocket at Hill Air Force Base, 1964.
I corresponded with Hill Air Force Base and twice arranged for our Explorers to stay overnight in the airmen barracks during the Christmas holidays. We toured the base and watched some training-type films in the barracks. (Remember, this was during the Cold War, so it was a big deal for us to get on the base and stay overnight. I took a lot of pictures and wondered if I would be in trouble for taking them. I think some of the films we watched were related to Cold War issues.)

Lena Newbold,
4th Grade at
Monroe Elementary.
Probably my earliest accomplishment was winning a book in third grade for being the first in my class to finish all the sets in the back of my arithmetic book. Toward the end of the school year, a race developed between Lena Newbold, representing the girls, and myself, representing the boys. We had to do each set without making a single error or we would have to do that set over again. (I was proud that I finished them all before school was out for the summer – and especially excited that the competition came down to me and Lena, one of the girls from my ward who at the time lived on 4300 West just down the street from us and who I liked –  though just from a distance. Besides, she was a couple of inches taller than me!)
Lee, Troy, Merrill, Warren, Rendall,
Trena at Smith Palmyra home, 1966.

While back in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1966, Merrill and I helped two missionaries by going visiting and helping with discussions. I went tracking with them, and Merrill baptized a man into the church. (The summer back in Pennsylvania was a major event in all of our lives, but I’ll write about that in another post.)

Though I was old enough to play Little League baseball, I was still young enough to play in the Minor League. I chose the Minor League, or I should say it choose me (because I didn’t have a lot of experience and because I was small for my age. I played catch, mainly because I wasn’t strong enough to throw the ball very far, too slow in the outfield and because with all the equipment on, I wasn’t afraid to catch the ball behind the batters. I ended up making the All-Star team, but I didn’t get to play in the game because I went to California with Grandma Butt and family.
In church athletics, our basketball and softball teams went to Region Tournament in 1964 (I was 14 and Merrill was the star at 16). We won the Sportsmanship Award in softball. In basketball that year, we won every game up to the last two in Region when they (people in charge) decided Russell Jones, who was almost our whole team, was too old.
Lee Hunt was named Most Physically Fit
of all the students in Coach Newton
Gym classes at Westlake Jr. High, 1965.
At Westlake Jr. High, I made the basketball team and played a total of one minute and 30 seconds during two games and made one of two foul shots for a total of one point in my school basketball career. (Part of the basketball story is connected to the basketball coach, who was my gym teacher. He saw me play a lot, even commented once that I looked like Jerry West – NBA All-Star for Los Angeles Lakers – as I dribbled down the court in and out around the other players. The truth is I became pretty adapt at dribbling and avoiding trips because I didn’t want to fall and get hurt. But the coachfelt I was just too short and not good enough for the team. I pressed him – especially after I was named “The Most Physically Fit” in all his gym classes because I was able to do more pushups, sit-ups and running (overall) than any of the other kids in his gym classes. He posted our pictures on the bulletin board for everyone to see. He finally relented and let me be on the team. Me and Neal Hendrickson were the grants on the team!
Even though I didn’t get in Mixed Chorus as a ninth-grader, that school year was a special time for me. I relished the warmups before the home games. I could jump quite high for as short as I was, 5’ 4 ½”. I could almost tough the rim and could easily reach the netting. A lot of times when doing layups in the warmups, I would dribble the ball toward the basket and, without traveling, take the ball around my back from my left hand to my right hand and make the layup. I have no idea if anyone noticed, but I was stoked about it. I was always trying to impress the girls – one way or another.
Danny Carroll, top left, Bryant Hansen, top 2nd from right,
W. Lee Hunt, top right, Larry Bunkall, bottom left, Kay
Blackwell were managers for Granger football team, 1967-68.
As a sophomore at Granger High, I was the head manager for both the sophomore basketball and football teams. I was a manager for the Varsity football team and a junior, and was the Head Manager for the Varsity football team as a senior, the first year that our school team went to State.
(Though I didn’t make the school basketball teams at Granger, I had a lot of fun playing church ball – when I wasn’t recuperating for this or that injury. My senior year of church basketball was the best. My girlfriend at the time came to some of my games, and I played my heart out. In fact, that was the year I was named to the stake’s All-Star basketball team and played the game against the best youth players in the stake.)

(In seventh grade at Kearns Jr. High, I found that my voice had changed dramatically after signing up for Boys Chorus. Though I could still sing really high, I now could sing really low – in fact the lowest of any in the chorus.) I sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in a quartet during an assembly. The next year, (we had to bus to Brockbank Jr. High in Magna and, instead of being in a mixed chorus at Kearns Jr., I was again in Boys Chorus. During the one year there, my musical “prowess” expanded as) I sang my first solo in a school assembly, singing “A Fella Needs A Girl." That year I also sang "There's Nothin’ Like A Dame" in a double quartet with all ninth graders during a girls-only assembly.
The 1967-68 Granger High School Madrigals.
As a ninth-grader at the brand-new Westlake Jr. High, I made the Mixed Chorus, but I had to take an advanced class in Geometry, which was at the same hour as Mixed Chorus.
As a sophomore at Granger High, I was again in the Boys Chorus, but Norman Wendal made me the class secretary. As a junior I made history as being the first, and probably the last, male secretary of Junior Choir. We, the officers worked together to plan all the activities.
My senior year was full of joyful singing as I made both Concert Choir and Madrigals, and for the tops in my singing years I also made the All-State Chorus.
Lee Hunt and fellow Madrigal Vickie
Warburton after a performance.
A few places where we performed included: KBYU television, Madrigals; Channel 7 television, Concert Choir; BYU formal dance, Madrigals; PTA at Harman’s Cafe, Madrigals; Downtown Mall and Cottonwood Mall, Concert Choir. Madrigals and Concert Choir performed at many wards, including our final one at Principal Moroni Jensen’s ward; Primary Hospital and University of Utah Hospital, Concert Choir; Seminary Graduation, Madrigals; and School Graduation, Concert Choir; Skyline High School along with Skyline of Utah and Skyline of Idaho; state Capital and City Hall, Concert Choir.
(My senior year was a whirlwind: Madrigals, Concert Choir, sports editor, football manager, ALM president, Lancer Roundtable, church basketball and a steady girlfriend. I don’t think I could have had a busier or more fun time! Every one of the Madrigals became friends: Bruce Targgart, Claudia Albrechtsen, Robyn Barker, Terri Rogers, Mary Steffensen, Norbert Bench, Rick Schow, Duane Lambert, Garth Hardy, Carol Linton, Laurel Swensen, Cheryl Nickelson, Bryant Hanen and Vickie Warburton. Those were really good times. The best of my singing days – for sure!
Lee, wearing his Granger letterman's
sweater, poses with Vickie in 1968.
One of the highlights and the lowlight of my senior year was when the Madrigals went to a late night-early morning bowling party on a Friday night. I was so tired when I got home that I quickly asleep. But not more than an hour later, Dad woke me up and told me I had to get up and get the work done in the yard. Work on a Saturday was a ritual around our house. Unfortunately, I fell back asleep, and a little bit later he woke me up again and told me just because I was out partying all night, I still needed to get up and get the work done! I couldn’t believe he was pushing me that way. However, I made the mistake of falling asleep again. When he came in the 3rd time, he warned me that if I wasn’t up and out working by the time he got back (from somewhere), I wouldn’t be going to that dance in the evening. I really thought that was ridiculous – and I turned over and went to sleep again.
Warren M. Hunt in 1963.
Remember, it wasn’t too long before this that he stopped using a belt on Merrill and I and stopped spanking us. Of course, Merrill was long gone now – he married Vicki Kershaw in December of 1966, just out of high school. After he stopped using the belt and spanking, he resorted to threats – and “Do You See My Eyes Turning Green?” That was a warning that Hell was about to break loose.
Well, I was a slow learner. Besides, I never thought he would follow through on the threat. Well, when he got home and I still wasn’t out working, Hell broke loose – and he told me that no matter what I did the rest of the day, I wouldn’t be going to that Prom.
I was shocked, angry, and also upset with myself that I didn’t get up! Having to call Vickie and tell her I couldn’t go with her to the Girls Pref was terrible. She was really upset, too. I’m sure she had spent a lot on getting ready. What a blow between the eyes!
That was the only time I was ever asked out to a Girls Pref – and I didn’t get to go!
Aside from that ordeal, I was on top of the world that whole year! By the time graduation rolled around, things were looking bright – I was going to BYU as a football manager, I was following my dream of journalism and newspaper writing, I was going to go on a mission, and I was confident that I had found my soulmate. But some things do change!)

W. Lee Hunt in Cap and Gown with Honor Society Sash
during Graduation Ceremony at Granger High, 1968.
I graduated from Granger High School on June 4, 1968, and graduated from the Granger Seminary in 1967 after my third year of seminary, and again in 1968 after completing my fourth year. I also graduated from Primary in 1962.

I received a certificate of achievement in typewriting at Westlake Jr. High for doing more than 40 words per minute in five-minute trials three times. (Taking that type class was a major smart move on my part. Everything report in high school and college was easier because I was a good typist. Then I ended up in journalism and as a copy editor, which means I’ve been typing almost all of my life. Of course, at the time, I took the class partly because of all the cute girls in the class!)
Near the end of my Junior year, I was nominated by my history teacher, Mr. Carl Patterrsen, who was a state legislator at the time, to be a Granger delegate to Utah Boys State. (However, another classmate basically nominated himself, and American Legion selected him along with several others to attend. I was disappointed, but I was way too busy my senior year to really think much about it.)
As a Junior at Granger High, I became a member of the National Honor Society and graduated as a member.
Amazing group of leaders: two Winders and a Kimball.
Coach Paxton was our ALM counselor and Merrill's coach.
Toward the end of my Junior year at Granger, I decided to join the race for the Presidency of the Associated Lancer Men, which covered all the males at the school. (Because of my friendships that I had made as a football manager, choir member, and newspaper sportswriter, I felt I might have a chance. I felt the field was actually pretty weak that year. I remember Mom and especially Troyleen, my little sister, helping me with some posters. My campaign slogan was: “Hunt for The Best,” which was a play on the Hunts catsup, tomato sauce and paste ads, which had started running around the time I was born – 1950. We used pictures of Hunt tomato products on the posters and even had football jocks do a skit with them adding Hunts Catsup on their burgers and touting the slogan “Hunt for the Best” as they ate their burgers during the pre-election assembly. The skit was a big hit, and I was elected president.
During the following year,) our Lancer Men Association sponsored the Beard Contest, Deer Hunting Contest, and an assembly titled “The Affair of the Lost John Key.” On all these projects, we made money, and the audience liked the assembly. As President of the ALM, I was also a member of the Granger Roundtable. I have received a $300 Scholarship for Outstanding Character and Leadership from Brigham Young University. Also, I was contacted by BYU Football Coach and offered the opportunity to be Freshman Football Manager. I will be leaving to go down to BYU for varsity practices on Aug. 30th and will have my room and board paid for the quarter by the football program. (The football program ended up covering my room and board through the first two quarters, through December.)
I have received four individual awards from the church. I had over 90% attendance at Primary.

(During my sophomore year at Granger High, my English teacher complimented me on my writing, though she was critical of my spelling and grammar. It was she who suggested I should take my talents to the school paper. I took her advice and Mrs. Maxine Hill, the journalism teacher and adviser for the Tri-Color-Times, brought me into the fold and made me the sports editor and sportswriter, which I suppose was a no-brainer since I was so much into sports, including being manager of the football team.) I became the sports editor for both my Junior and Senior years on the school paper.
W. Lee Hunt interviewing Hollywood Star
Robert Redford at BYU conference in 1967.
During the summer of 1967, before my senior year, I attended the Special Courses and Conferences in Journalism at BYU. I was chosen by Steve Hale of the Deseret News to be the Managing Editor of the paper that we put together called “The ONE TIME WONDER." A girl and I interviewed the Broadway and Hollywood actor Robert Redford, who bought New Haven in Provo Canyon. (He later purchased the resort that was to become Sundance Ski Resort.)
The interview became the lead story on the front page of our one-time conference paper. (I actually hadn’t heard of Redford before the interview, but all the girls were thrilled to even be in the same room with him. He had recently starred in “Barefoot in the Park” in 1967, and would soon take off in Hollywood with “Downhill Racer,” “Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Redford),” and “The Sting,” also co-starring Paul Newman. The funny bit for me that day was the fact that when we entered the room he was seated on a folding chair and never rose during the whole time we were there. Might it have something to do with his short stature, especially compared to the tall young reporter who was going to be among those interviewing him?)
I also attended the 31st and 32nd Annual Utah High School Journalism Conferences, and I received a Certificate of Merit at the Sportswriters Clinic at the University of Utah.

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