Paine writes memoirs of growing up in Salem
SALEM – Bob Paine’s memoir on growing up in Salem is more than recollections of growing up in Salem.
He also believes he had the original ideas for “Forrest Gump,” “Saving Private Ryan” and almost 100 more story lines for major films and books. In “Hollywood Ate my Brain,” Robert Parson Paine explains how he knows that.
People who grew up in Salem in the 1950s and ’60s as Paine did will probably be more interested in his fond remembrances of those simpler times and black-and-white family photos of his parents, Bob and Alice Paine, and young Bobby Paine rolling down Cherrywood in his little red wagon.
“Gee, what a neat time it was,” he recalled about Stonewall Forest, the neighborhood where he grew up. There were a dozen or so houses built in a circle, he remembered, “with ponds, creeks, the pine forest, and steep hills for bikes and sleds.”
Most men worked six days a week, he said, and were about same age, coming back home after World War II, like his dad, and Korea. Dr. Bob Paine served in the Navy in WW II and became an internist who made house calls when the family settled in Salem.
“There were lots of kids to play with, baseball sun-up to sundown. A nice place to grow up,” Paine wrote.
He wrote that there was so much for kids to do, “I don’t remember ever taking time to think bout how to be happy.” Like his sister Emily Paine Carter, he started school at North Cross that was then in Salem, and Broad Street School.
“On weekends the family often went out to Archie’s who had a live lobster tank, and every few weeks a field trip to a historical site, cave, campus or museum.”
On Saturday mornings he and Emily would go to the 25 cent picture shows to see science fiction, westerns and other popular movies of the time.
Paine played sandlot football, Little League Baseball, was an Eagle Scout and was manager of the basketball team when Andrew Lewis High School won the state championship in 1968, his senior year.
After graduating from ALHS at age 17, he went to Georgia Tech to study industrial engineering. Industrial engineers,” he explained, “are the people who tell you how slow or fast you’re working. A study of the unknown obvious.”
Paine earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, and later, a second degree from Georgia Tech as a member of the first class to get a BS in Health Systems. In between he went to work for the Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville, Tenn., before landing a job with HCA in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for two years.
“I got to use my health systems career to explain to the Saudis why the hospital cost what it did. We had our own power plant, 200 beds, our own research facility. I was sort of the first wave of people to get there” after the oil money spurted.
That’s when he traveled by himself to Sri Lanka and “was arrested as a spy in Zagzig, Egypt,” he said, adding, “That’s a whole other story.”
Back in Atlanta, Ga., where he had gone to college, Paine delivered pizza, worked his way up to become a restaurant manager, he said, and after the family owned business he next worked for closed, decided to go into the landscaping business for himself – by cutting grass.
Paine has been back in Salem for eight months, helping out his parents and deciding what he wants to do next.
“I came back to Salem because I wanted a change. Atlanta wasn’t that appealing any more,” he said. “You can get more done here in Salem in an hour than you can in Atlanta in six.”
And, he added, “The air here is so much better.”
The curious will have to read “Hollywood Ate my Brain” in order to understand why Paine says the story lines for more famous books and movies than most of us can count originally came from his fertile brain. One of his proofs is the codes he placed in the stories, he explained, like the name of his “publisher,” 11:14 Press. That’s his birthday.
“Some people of average intelligence say, ‘Aw, never could happen.’ People of higher intelligence say, ‘I can’t disprove it,’ ” Paine said.
In first pages of his book, Paine points out “All events and characters are entirely fictional. Even those based on real persons, “but it actually is all true,” according to him.
“I met these people who were trolling for stories. I had a choice; I could clam up and not tell them any more stories or I could play it like I didn’t know, like Forrest Gump. And that’s what I chose to do, because the stories would get made into books or films.”
Does it bother Paine that the books and films have made millions, maybe billions, over the years?
“Not especially. I’m sort of happy they got made into movies.”
“Hollywood Ate my Brain” is free for downloading on his website, http://www.hollywoodatemybrain.com. People who want a hard copy can obtain one for $10 by contacting Paine via his website.