My mom had a small, red Arvin radio that sat on top of our refrigerator for as long as I can remember. My family would play it every morning as we ate our toast and drank orange Tang as we rushed out the door to school.
The little radio was always playing as I swung open the door after coming home, and began to help Mom prepare dinner for our family.
One summer day in 1960, my mother, brother Jack, and I were listening to the radio when my mom abruptly came in from the kitchen and said, “Quick, Jack. Please turn up the radio. That is Paul Borst singing his new song, ‘An Angel on Paper.’”
“Ouch! That radio shocked me!” Jack said, shaking his hand as he turned up the volume on the radio.
“An angel on paper that’s all that’s left for me,
“No more to see your loving face you’re just a memory,
“Why did I have to fall so hard I knew it couldn’t be,
“An angel’s face on paper that’s all that’s left for me.”
The polished voice belonged to newly minted country singer Paul Wayne, or as we knew him, Paul Borst, from nearby Bowersville. Paul was a good friend of Jack’s and often spent time at our house.
A couple of days later there was a knock on our door. “Paul!” my mom exclaimed, as she opened the door. “We just heard your new record. It’s wonderful. Please come in.”
We couldn’t take our eyes off Paul. He was wearing a blue spangled suit, making him shine like Hank Snow and Porter Wagoner on Saturday night at the Grand Ole Opry. Paul’s smile was almost as bright as his suit when he handed my mom a 45-rpm record of his new hit.
Paul was a recording artist with Star Day Records, and this song promised to be a hit for him. He recorded this particular song in June 1960.
Southwest Ohio had several country singers of note at the time. Greenfield’s Don Adams sang harmony on most of Paul’s records. Johnny Paycheck, also of Greenfield, and Darrell McCall from New Jasper in Greene County, sang harmony on Paul`s sessions as well.
Darrell was known for his harmony singing. He sang with Faron Young, Ray Price, Carl Smith and George Jones over the years, and toured with Hank Williams, Jr.
Paul Wayne (Borst) sang hard country for several years and did well in Nashville, playing the honky-tonks in Music City. Willie Nelson, George Jones and Webb Pierce were Paul’s peers, and Paul was as good as any of them.
But, the constant travel on snow-covered roads, life on the highways before the advent of the Interstate System, and being away from his beloved wife, Rosemary, and two small sons, Daron and David, took its toll on Paul.
He finally stopped performing altogether. He returned home to Clinton County to raise a family and went to work for DP&L.
In later years, he owned and operated the successful Wayne Film and Silver Corporation, reclaiming silver from exposed x-ray films.
A few years ago, brother Jack and I were sitting in our garage when he spotted the old Arvin radio from our early days in Port William. “Jack, did I tell you that I took that radio to a guy in Dayton who fixes antique radios?” I asked.
“No. Did he find a short in it?” Jack responded with a grin.
“Yes. He said he fixed it,” I said.
“Do you remember when we heard Paul Borst’s new song on that radio?” Jack asked as he walked over to the radio and turned it on. It shocked him again. “Some things never change,” Jack laughed.
Things do change. Jack has been gone three years today, and Paul is gone, too.
The little red Arvin radio now sits on a shelf. Unplugged.
Pat Haley is a Clinton County commissioner.