Monday, November 03, 2014


I met Wayne back in the 1970's when his dealership was on 4th st. in Coeur d'Alene. Having spent a few years in Southern California, I had learned some new skills while in the car business there. I was what they called an "F & I "man. This position had never been tried in North Idaho at that time.

Wayne hired me as F& I, lease mgr, credit mgr and assistant sales manager. With all of those hats, I was successful in many ways that the store hadn't seen before. Jealousies arose, especially the the Englishman  that was office manager and the new car sales manager that felt somewhat threatened.

The manager bushwhacked me. Prior to a sales meeting he instructed me to scold the sales staff for lack of production. In one of my less than intelligent moves I didn't see it coming. 30 minutes later, a staff believing that I was operating on my own, went to Wayne who had my final check in his hand. So the world isn't always fair.

There were fun times, too. I got to record some radio commercials with the local radio station, then owned by Hagadone. One spring day we piled into a four place Piper aircraft which I was licensed to fly and flew to Tri-cities for the auction. Back in the day, when the used car lot was knee deep in snow, to say business was slow was an understatement. When the snow melted in the Spring, the used car lots had little inventory.

The demand for used cars was such that one wholesaler that I worked with in Southern California who was present, marveled that his cars were selling at retail prices, such was the imbalance of the market in the Spring. We flew back without a purchase.

I went on to become a wholesale life insurance representative, which product, credit life &disability was featured. My clients were car dealers and banks. At the time of the Sunshine mine disaster, I added credit life to a contract for a miner. It was a salmon colored car, a Chrysler product if I remember right. The miner went down into the mine on his next shift and never came back. Although his widow probably was in mourning, I had the satisfaction of telling her the car would be paid off in full.

Several years later I was traveling for another Insurance company when I got into trouble. I had smashed my finger carrying a freezer through a narrow doorway and got pain medication from a doctor. The next morning I was scheduled to drive from Seattle to Idaho where my young son and Mom lived near Tensed. Back then it was legal to have open containers while driving. I would stop in Colfax, pick up some meat for dinner and headed up the hill into Idaho. It was a hot day and I opened the first of two beers I allowed myself while driving.

When I reached the home of my ex, they weren't there. So after waiting for an hour, and coincidentally after I finished off the beer and hit hwy 95 toward Coeur d'Alene. Unfortunately, I hadn't stopped in George for lunch and to put a point to it, was drunk. I hit a gravelly shoulder and sun out onto a hay field that had be harvested.

The farmer's wife called the ISP and I was taken to the old jail which sat where the administration building now is. The booking sergeant seemed to feel that I didn't belong in a cell and offered to call anyone I knew that would post the $500 bail. The only person I could think of was Wayne Knudtsen. They called him at home and he drove in to the car lot, opened the safe and proceeded to bail me out. I told him years later that I hadn't called him recently, because I never again made that mistake. The county prosecutor seemed to like me when I went in the next day and told the presiding judge to give me a deferred prosecution. To this day I have never been guilty of driving while intoxicated.

For a guy that only worked for him a little over a year, to then five years later bail me out, well, that was Wayne.

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