Saturday, January 20, 2018

Vietnam veteran Charles Payne is a true child of the Sixties

Tracking the life of a free spirit
Sauk Valley
Andrea Mills
January 19, 2018

STERLING – Charles Payne is a true child of the Sixties: He’s a Vietnam veteran still struggling with the after-effects of the war, a multimedia artist, and a witch (of the white, or good, variety).

“A Vietnam veteran straightened me out. Survival guilt: If my buddies could come out of the grave, they’d kick my butt up between my shoulder blades for letting their deaths screw my head up. They didn’t die for that.”
It’s the latter two aspects of his life – the artistry and the spirituality – that have helped Payne cope the past 50 years with the former.

“I wasn’t wounded by bullets, but by Agent Orange,” the impish 73-year-old said. “And then here I am. Still plugging away. My eyes are deteriorating, but my spirit isn’t.”
The former California resident, who also battles PTSD, has been a free spirit all of his life, even before volunteering for the Army in October 1967.
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