This Letter to the Editor from West Yellowstone resident and retired librarian Jan Dunbar appeared in the West Yellowstone News in 2008. At that time Forrest was contributing articles to the newspaper much like his scrapbooks here, the stories on his blog and the stories that are in his two memoirs. Some of the stories in his memoir were originally written for the West Yellowstone News.
Below is Jan’s letter as it appeared in the 2008 West Yellowstone News. I added the photo which came from Crayton’s family photo collection.
I have enjoyed the reminiscences by Forrest Fenn lately in the News. (He probably wouldn’t like to be reminded that we called him “Bubba.”) I wasn’t acquainted with him, but I knew his sister June slightly, and his brother Skippy quite well. Skippy worked as a boy for Jean Cardon Young’s father Con Peterson in the old O. P. Skaggs on Canyon Street. Skippy was lively, to say the least. And I knew Donnie Joe Heath.
There is always some old crone who goes about correcting things. So here I am. I have to mention that we called Donnie Joe’s mother “Bess,” and she wasn’t the postmistress. She worked at the post office for Alice Hanson who was the Postmaster. Alice always said “There are no ‘mistresses’ in MY post office.” That was her kind of humor.
And later, at West Yellowstone High School, Skippy’s daughter Lana was in our first or second graduating class. She had a pair of little brothers, one of whom was Crayton who shared First Grade with our son Romney and who, as they all had to, survived a harridan of a teacher. She may not have been the worst teacher I ever knew, but she was a close second. I think she disliked little boys, and that class had about ten of them. It was her vision that all plates should be empty after the lunch hour, especially devoid of the canned carrots, beans and peas, regular fare in those days. Crayton did not share her enthusiasm.
Each day after lunch, small desks of those who failed to eat their vegetables were put out into the hall where the culprits sat before their cold and miserable peas or carrots until they either ate the vegetables or had to be excused to go home. Crayton never gave up. One day as I was walking down the hall, there was Crayton, sitting stoically before his cold plate. “Crayton,” I said. “Whay don’t you just eat those peas and go back to class with your friends?” He looked at me with those beautiful big brown eyes, and said, “But I don’t like peas.”
Later I heard that Crayton Fenn was the youngest licensed plumbing contractor on record. No doubt he became interested in such a profession, having dumped so many cold peas down the drain.