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Wayne Johnson reads at Stories from Brooklyn and Beyond Showcase

Life Story Club Contributor

December 12, 2020

Wayne was born in Portland Oregon and graduated college with an Associate degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree. He was a Police Officer for over 30 years having also graduated from the FBI National Academy. Wayne 
is also a Vietnam Vet who served in the US Navy on Aircraft Carriers.

Watching Wayne grow as a storyteller over these past few months has truly been a treat.  It’s a privilege to present our next storyteller, Wayne!

My stories are about the power of prayer and how it’s been in my life in significant ways. The first story I have was in 2018, when I was very sick, short of breath, with a heart murmur, and I was full of water gain. I had a heart murmur that developed into being a situation where I had to get surgery and to get my mitral valve repaired. I had a seven to eight-hour surgery, and at which time, of course, I was on a heart-lung machine type thing. And they took eight liters of water from me.

When I was wheeled into surgery, I was sure that Jesus was going in there with me, and I’m sure that he also left with me. Because the operation was a complete success, the doctor was able to take the irregular afib heartbeat away, which was nice, made life more comfortable for me. So, the recovery was more than a year, but it was well worth it. The doctor did a good job. So that was the power of prayer that I wanted to tell you about, the first one.

Now the second one I wanted to tell you about was just recently, December 7th, 2020. I had been in a parking lot, actually a McDonald’s parking lot, and I returned home from there, and I noticed that I didn’t have my wallet with me, which had credit cards in it and money, driver’s license and everything. When after I got home, I was about seven miles from where the parking lot was. So I decided well, I’ll go back to the parking lot. But before I did that, I prayed before going back to the parking lot that somebody would find my wallet and give it back to me very soon. I was hopeful that somebody would find it soon, so I wouldn’t have to wait for, like, a year to get my wallet back. Because when you lose certain things like your credit cards, everything, it can really cause you a lot of problems.

So, I went back to the parking lot. I drove back to the parking lot. And when I drove into the parking lot, I noticed a pickup was sitting not too far from where I had been parked before. There was a man inside the pickup, and he looked at me. It looked to me like a look of recognition because he, kind of, put his head out a little bit. And he looked at me and just like he knew who I was or something. I drove around his pickup and just a couple of spaces down and parked.

The next thing I knew the man walked up to my car, and he said, “Did you by chance lose something?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “What? Could it have been a green wallet?” And I said, “Yeah, it was.” And he said, “Well, what’s your name?” I said, “Wayne Johnson.” And he said, “Well, you know, I’ve got your wallet in my pickup.” He says, “Let me bring it over to you.”

Well, I was really ecstatic about that. I was really happy because I wouldn’t have to go putting in for a new driver’s license and credit cards and everything and, oh boy, does that cause you problems? So anyhow, he brought the wallet back to me. And it’s just like a miracle because the guy, he could have just eaten his food, drove off, or not even said anything about it or hand it over to a police department. Who knows which police department? And I might not have seen those items at all or for a long, long time. So, I was really grateful that the power of prayer helped me out in that time also.

There was another time too, that I was on I5 at a rest stop and I’d lost my wallet and I had prayed about that. And lo and behold a policeman brought my wallet back to me to that particular place. It was just amazing.

Memorable Stay During My Training Period

Life Story Club Contributor

December 3, 2020

Well, I got nominated to the FBI National Academy. I stayed at Monaco, Virginia at the FBI National Academy and I stayed in one of the dorms there, and they got two main ones. And I had a roommate. And they’re like staterooms. And we used to have aboard ship. We used to have officers’ staterooms, and it was like that. And I had two suitemates. They were in the room right next door which was two people over and then, a restroom that separated the two, the four, or the two suites. Two suites, each one having two people.

We’d take off from here, and go to our classes. And shooting training, and all sorts of stuff like that. And defensive tactics, and all that stuff, exercise. You’d take off from the room and go to eat from here. Everything at the FBI Academy was catered by the Marriott Hotels so we ate really, really good. Because you run all the time, they even had a pasta bar that was separate from the rest of the dinners and you could eat spaghetti anytime you wanted to, or Rigatoni.

And then we had speakers come in, talk to us, and stuff. In fact, my immediate relations class, we had some high guy from the Washington Post. We were supposed to have Wolf Blitzer come in and talk to us but Wolf Blitzer couldn’t make it. And then I ended up going to CNN studios too on a field trip with them. And we sat right outside of Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw. We sat right outside of their offices.

I got to meet the head guy of CNN Studios of Washington, DC and we each gave him a patch from our department. Anyhow, they got a great, big, beautiful window in CNN Studios Washington, DC. And it shows the… and the Capital’s right there. I mean, like, big and looming right there. It’s really pretty. And so so that was really a neat experience because it’s a totally, completely different type of place to stay. And that was the 184 session that I was in.

They not only train the FBI National Academy people but we train right alongside the FBI agents going through training. And also the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Agency. So that was pretty memorable.

My Amphibian and Reptile Friends

Life Story Club Contributor

November 12, 2020

I do remember three reptiles I had that were dear to me, and two of them were frogs. Green tree frogs which I actually captured off of my grandma’s geranium plant. They love the leaves. But I named the first frog Pip Squeak. And I named the second frog Condidly Hop. So, Pip Squeak and Condidly Hop were my little frog friends for a long time, and I had them in the aquarium and I had to work really hard to feed them because they eat live flies.

So, I had to go out with my net that I made and catch flies. And then somehow get those little flies into the jar where the frogs were. And they’d be flying around. Then it was really fun to watch their little sticky tongues come flipping out, and then grab ahold of the fly. Because I’m glad I wasn’t the fly because then, you know, curtains for them. But it was fun watching them because it was just in a blink of an eye that they get these flies. They’re really fast if you ever watched them. And I used to raise frogs from tadpoles. I’d feed them lettuce and they’d grow legs and become frogs.

Frogs, really I was into that for a while. And then the other reptile I had that I was very fond of me was Sam. He was a small alligator, a baby alligator. And of course, he was starting to get too big for my aquarium. I could just have horror feelings of thoughts about him being in the bathtub after a while. Because that means nobody could take a bath because he’d be in there. And he got so that I had to feed him live goldfish. That was kind of tough.

Love for Adventure

Life Story Club Contributor

October 15, 2020

One of my fondest memories is when I went with my wife to…we camped at Trillium Lake. I don’t know if you know where that is or not. It’s near Mt. Hood, Oregon. It’s a beautiful lake with Mt. Hood in the distance and a real neat camping spot and we took our dog, Susie dog with us, which is a Terripoo, white Terripoo. And I had my Coleman camp stove and we cooked eggs in the morning and fried eggs and bacon and all that stuff and toast and had a nice breakfast. We just relaxed the whole day at Trillium Lake, which is a really beautiful spot. If you’ve never gone there, you should just pick up today and pack up and go to Trillium Lake. Well actually, it’s nicer when it’s warm weather.

What I love so much about that place is that it’s beautiful. It’s green trees, beautiful blue lake, Mt. Hood in the distance. It’s just absolutely gorgeous. And it’s a great place to camp, and it’s quiet and everything. You drive in and a lot of people bring their campers and stuff, but there’s a lot of space. And we found a real private space. Really, really nice. As for previous camping and hiking experience, I’ve done that too. But I’m not a great, great experienced camper … but I’ve done it. Back when we camped at Trillium Lake I had my car and I erected the tent. I also made breakfast in the morning.

We went on a lot of trips, but not camping. A few camping trips. But my trip to Trillium Lake was one of my fondest memories because it’s such a nice place. Another thing that took place on that trip was cooking breakfast. And we did some hiking around there. One of my nicest hiking trips was around that mountain. Oh, what’s the name of it? The one where they filmed “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” In Wyoming, that mountain. Oh, Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. I hiked completely around Devil’s Tower. I’ve done a lot of hiking. I hiked clear around Devil’s Tower. I also climbed the whole Diamond Head Mountain in Hawaii, all the way to the very top of it. I got lost, stuff like that.

I also did a big hike in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. They have a really neat trail that goes way, way way, way, way up. Beautiful. What I like the most about hiking is just the adventure. And I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Multnomah Falls. That’s a nice hike up to that bridge up there and look at the waterfall and everything. So it’s more about the view and the adventure, the fun of doing it.

Peaceful Moments by the Water

Life Story Club Contributor

October 8, 2020

One place I always like to go every year is … I’m in Oregon so I like to go to the beach, which is Depoe Bay, Oregon. I don’t know if you’ve even been there or not, but Depoe Bay’s a fun place. And that’s where they have whale watching. You get cotton candy and caramel candy and all that stuff to eat there. And they got a lot of gift shops all the way down. There’s a boardwalk and you just pop in all the gift shops, a whole bunch of them. And they’ve got what they call a blowhole there, which is where the water collects in this big hole, then it skews out into like a big, huge fountain, gets everybody wet. Everybody loves that. And that’s right down from where the whale watching is. And that’s a fun place to go.

It’s near Newport. Newport, Oregon is a pretty beach, my favorite beach. And they have a kite festival every year … in Lincoln City which is right down from there, they have a kite festival. People bring out all their kites. Great, big, monstrous kites and it’s always fun. It’s colorful, beautiful. And they have kite competitions where the people come out and run all these kites, you know, that they can do acrobatics with them, stuff like that. They fly like jet planes, they just fly all over the place. They’re pretty skillful with the kites. They’ll have about 5 or 6 or 7 of 10 of them all the time dive-bombing and flying around and it draws a lot of people. That’s just one of the relaxing places I’ve gone in my life. A lot of places I’ve been in the Navy and traveled all over the place, Vietnam and all those places, and Laos and some of those places haven’t always been so fun. But you know, it’s pretty over there too.

And I like going by the water to find peace, I like water. That’s probably why I joined the Navy because I like the water. Because there’s an old saying, “I joined the Navy to see the sea. What did I see? The sea.” That’s practically…I was on the sea most of the time I was in the Navy.

But going back to the first place I mentioned, which was Depoe Bay. It’s not far from Newport Beach and…Newport and Oregon. And Depoe Bay is where they have a lot of whale watching. You can go out in the boat and watch the whales, look at the whales. And you can eat cotton candy off the boardwalk there and go in gift shops. My favorite thing to do is to sit up where the sidewalk is and look over at the ocean. And you can see … once in a while you see a whale if you’re lucky. But I just like to look at the ocean and it’s really pretty, and it’s kind of wild there, the ocean is.

I also like to eat, what you call that stuff … caramel corn. But it’s really relaxing to go there, a fun place. And they got really good clam chowder, which is pretty popular in Oregon. There’s a famous place called Gracie’s and it’s got clam chowder.

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