Doyle Clay, Lavera Clay, and John Clay

Recorded July 13, 2005 Archived July 13, 2005 01:16:12
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX000266


Lavera and Doyle Clay tell their grandson, John, about their courtship, family, childhood, and religion.

Subject Log / Time Code

They had a short 6 week courtship before their marriage.
Doyle’s birth at night in the country and at home.
Family naming: LaVera married Doyle for a shorter name.
Doyle’s name has a complex history.


  • Doyle Clay
  • Lavera Clay
  • John Clay


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00:07 My name is John clay. I'm 35 years old today is July 13th, 2005 and I'm in the storycorps booth the mobile booth in Columbus Ohio right across from the Ohio Theater. I'm interviewing two people my grandparents Doyle and live ear clay.

00:26 My name is levera Clay. I'm 84 and a half years old. Today is July 13th 2005. We are in Columbus, Ohio and we're bearing being interviewed by our grandson John clay.

00:43 My name is Doyle Ellis play my age is 86 + of 87 in January. The date is July 13th, 2005.

00:56 We are in the mobile boat in Columbus, Ohio, and we're being interviewed by our grandson John.

01:07 I have a list of questions here and we'll see how many we can get through. But probably one of the first things that I want recorded and then want people to to hear especially my kids is the story about how you YouTube Matt. And and also I got married so

01:23 You can either one of you can take it or you guys can can trade off but I think it's a great story.

01:30 We met in Rockford Ohio or my now-wife lives or lived at that time and I was about to be 18 or 19 years old but 19 years old and I was there to sing in a Revival meeting in the church for her father attended.

01:50 She came to church on the first night and I had them saying her and her sister sing. So that's where we met and after church. I felt that even though she lived only two blocks away. I should take her home and so I got her home and they got Gina out of the car. And then from then on it was really a heated up relationship.

02:15 We only dated probably six weeks before we ran off and got married and it's been 66 + years.

02:25 And you guys didn't get married in Ohio. Did you?

02:28 Did I what did you get married in Ohio? No We've ran off to Cincinnati. OK and crossed over into a Newport, Newport, Kentucky.

02:37 See you eloped in the traditional sense. Yes, even borrowed my mother-in-law's license from a car because I didn't have a license that time and didn't really have any brakes on the car either weekend to Kentucky to get married and then came home and told her mother and it was all right with her. She did not object to it at all.

02:58 I like that story. Can you buy these questions? We're going to know but I just want recorded. How can you talk about your children?

03:06 Have Billy was born about the year-and-a-half after we were married and Dee about 2 years later and Cheryl.

03:17 And then Dan we have four children. We have three living we lost our belly at the age of 28. He lived in California. He had a motorcycle accident and we buried him there and called Westminster Cemetery because that's where he lived for eight years. We thought he'd better rest there.

03:43 And what's the count on grandchildren now?

03:46 Grandchildren, we had eight grandchildren.

03:49 And 16 great-grandchildren.

03:54 The oldest great-grandchild will soon be 15 years. He is 15. She is Tuesday yesterday. She was 15 years old.

04:04 I only want to switch gears here.

04:08 Some of these questions I was helped by the the website for storycorps only asked you guys were some of the biggest changes you've seen in your lifetime.

04:18 Well for one thing we now have dryers.

04:24 Washers and dryers. We now have microwaves. We have Inner Belt and outer belts and roundabouts, which we didn't have when we live in Columbus years ago and

04:38 Great great changes have been in the education where our grant great-grandchildren are so much more knowledgeable than we were some of the changes that I can remember.

04:50 I can remember the first airplane. I ever saw a flying over and when people on the farm would run out of the house if they heard an airplane go over. So one of the changes and of course, I learned to drive a Model T Ford. That's all we had 1923 Model T Ford. And so the changes in transportation is amazing.

05:11 And we flow nearly around the world now on several continents. So that that's been a lot of changing the time we were born.

05:20 Can you just talk about some of your travels? What are some of the most memorable places you visited?

05:25 We've been a lot of places. We did some work trips for the church you go into other countries to help build churches and parsonage has and things of that nature and we've been in Trinidad.

05:41 We've been in Costa Rica.

05:43 Aleve or in Antigua

05:46 We've been to Brazil three times. I've been to Africa two or three times. So we've had the privilege of being a lot of places. I went to Guatemala by myself. I didn't know that Grandpa was in a meeting and so I went by myself we built up at the orphanage there. There was a Civil War in Guatemala and many children were orphaned or thought they were orphaned because their parents were missing and so we built a dormitories and a bunk beds for the my very little children and they slept three in a bed until we were there and build another dormitory in but beds in for them. Our first trip was a 1971 John and we went to England up to Scotland back all through Europe Switzerland was great in Austria down through Italy and into of the Holy Land.

06:41 And then back down to Africa and came home by way of Brazil. That was wonderful.

06:48 I still remember the the trunk that you guys have with all the stuff from you'll have that trunk and it goes to somebody that wants it.

06:58 What the who's been some role models for you guys in your lifetime?

07:03 I'm sure I had a lot of them my brothers. Of course, there were six of us who became Nazarene preachers and I was down the way about the third and the fourth one. In fact, so my brothers were quite an inspiration to me and I tried to even get out of being a preacher because I already had three brothers in the ministry and I felt the people do it just say I was not called that have just following us and recondition. And so I tried to get out of it, but I couldn't get out of it, but they were great role models and then then

07:35 I think another person that they gave me confidence in myself as an evangelist the name of Sam.

07:46 He wind.

07:50 He he was a really good friend and we were just starting out and he would brag on Grandpa how good he preached or whatever in this really helped. We all need some encouragement some help along the way and I would say John that first off. I want to be more like Christ. That's been the desire my life my heart and then my great confidant and role model has been your grandpa.

08:21 And his parents too because I was the oldest of six and and none of them went to church much my dad did but he was my role model. Probably I get a lot of inspiration from you kids to believe it or not. We love our grandchildren are great.

08:42 What lessons would you guys want to pass on to your great-grandchildren like my three kids?

08:49 Set a goal for your life and then refuse to refuse to detour from that goal and that's going to set for me back there when we first started out. I first was called to preach then married your grandmother and it's been a wonderful 66 years of time together.

09:14 And just get a golden and predetermined that you're never going to detour from what you know is right for your life.

09:23 I remember your dad from Little wanted to be a teacher and one is about 9 years old and Circleville we lived. He said that I'm going to be a teacher and I'm going to be a country preacher.

09:39 And a farmer because his best friend was a farmer's boy, you know, so I said to have that going to work and he said well I'll teach but he said I'll live in the country and then you know, so he's going to be a country farmer and a preacher and a future and he he he never gave up that dream of being a teacher. I remember when he dropped out of school college and he had to work here in Columbus at the post office. This was an interesting thing. You probably didn't know but had to work nights in the Postal Service sorting mail with all of the other folks, you know there and he came home one night about 2:00 in the morning. He said Mom I don't want to do this the rest of my life. I said, what do you want to do? And he said want to go back to school so he did then we're very proud of him and I

10:28 What was that question John? I was asking him what lessons we went right? I would like for all of our children to M2M be Christians.

10:40 And pass that along to their children and I liked all of the Traditions that you're holding two and doing and that we're really proud of all of you. You're much better parents than we were not that I doubt that.

10:55 What about you guys talked about this little who is who are the some of the most important people in your life?

11:04 I don't really have any particular person but I have a lot of wonderful friends that have helped me along the way and encouraged me and gave me an opportunity. And those are the type of people that I've looked up to it through my life.

11:22 My dad was a wonderful example. He lived to leave is 84 years old and his mind was clear and he was a great inspiration to me and I would go to him sometimes or not have church problems and he had listened to what I had to say and I told him about it. I wanted to make a change in it at church and I said the people they don't want to make that change.

11:46 But I said, I know that's what would make the church grow, but they won't listen to me.

11:52 He just smiled and find a said if you were had a load of apples on a wagon and you were going down the road with them. I would return the corner going 35 miles an hour as an opposition. The same thing is true of your church. Take it easy and in a few years I get accomplished all the 10 points that I had wanted.

12:18 How much you gram is there who are some of the most important people in your life or some of your best friends that we have really good friends. We do. I have some really good friends and that become family like the wings Bob and Mary, you know and their children Scott and Sharon we helped him to get through school, you know, I mean not with money but with encouragement and all and and then the church but I I Look to our children and our grandchildren two french braids in the fact your dad. I'll tell you this to about him. We went to stay at their house, you know in Fostoria and I will sleep upstairs in John's room or Jewels room, whatever know to sleep in my room. I said D were not going to come he said Mom this is my house and that was a good lesson for me. And so we sleep in the master bedroom when we come to it, so I get inspiration from my kids.

13:15 What about what are some of the things you proudest of in your life?

13:21 You guys are both humble so that you and I'll give you a minute to think about that but

13:27 What do you think? You're the most the most proud of?

13:35 I'm proud of my record is a preacher that I did not have the privilege of a college education because of wartime and I did a home study course, which is very difficult, but I did it and to be able to even after.

13:53 Preaching for all these years 65 years. Really I still get calls everywhere I go and I'm busy almost every week and you speaking you someplace and I'm proud of that you should be proud of that too. Because I feel like I helped in a measure and and I'm proud again of that. I'd like the traditions we talked about like the Thanksgiving when y'all get together now at your dad's house or your mother's house and I said to them but who makes on Thanksgiving day, but who makes the noodles, you know could because I always made homemade noodles and so last year for the first time your dad said to me we had homemade noodles. I'm proud of that.

14:39 How would you most like to be remembered?

14:44 I think I'd like to be remembered as a good speaker and interesting speaker and so far. I believe that I'm accomplishing that and I'd like to be remembered as a good preacher because that's what I was called to do.

14:59 And I want to be remembered as a good mother and a good grandmother who makes awesome breakfast and a good great grandmother to

15:10 Thank you. Well on your way.

15:12 Let's go back and talk about that where you guys are from and your your life early. So maybe grandma if you could start where you were born, and then I talked about your family and and some of the early years. My dad's people were from around at Union City, Ohio Greenville Darke County area, and I was born in a little town between Bradford in Rossburg, Ohio in 1920, and we lived there for a little while and then we moved up to between Salina and Van were to a little town called Rockford. I grew up there went to a school.

15:54 18

15:57 Till I was 18. I got out of school at 17. I was almost 18 when I Met Your Dad I think and that because I was working we worked in a bakery. I worked up front your dad then worked in delivering the baked goods and all bread was that three big loads for 1/4 those were the days, you know, and then that was my dad people my mother's people lived near Celina, so we were close to grandparents. I'm the oldest of six children.

16:29 We are three of us left.

16:32 And I'm the oldest I don't understand that much that I'm glad cuz I get to see your children in the grandchildren and great-grandchildren when my mother died at age 56 almost 57 my dad kind of lost it and so we took him home with us and he was with his eight and a half years and then my brother kept peeing while we went on vacation and put him into a nursing home, which I didn't have the courage to do and so he was there about a year-and-a-half and then he was up one morning for breakfast ladies head down on the tray and what the hell

17:08 And then

17:11 But I also had great confidence in that your dad's folks and he'll tell you about that.

17:18 I was born before hospitals 1919. That's a long time ago. Just one of our granddaughter's tells us I'm older than dirt and maybe that's true that we lived in my parents lived in the Mercer County Ohio. My dad was a farmer and all the children that were born at home and I did not have the decency to be born in daylight hours. It was about 1 or 2:00 in the morning. My father had to go to the neighbors when Mom was in labor and use their telephone and the doctor had to get out of his horse and buggy and came out about four miles out of Mendon, Ohio to take care of me.

18:03 Well by the time he got there I was had already been born. I had been bathed I was sound asleep in my in the crib and the doctor looked over the situation. You said what Mr. Hey you've done a good job, and I guess he didn't cut the umbilical cord and did the whole works, but he said I'll have to charge you for a night call. My father said how much you said $3 that was said that price and you had two children and you know.

18:39 $3 tell me about your brothers.

18:42 Tell my brothers all met were very successful. What are their names?

18:47 Morris Emmys we always call him to go by initials and me was a bastard several churches real good churches and then he also was elected district superintendent Southwest Ohio Cincinnati area serve there about 15 years or so and then wrestle

19:09 Then he went to West Virginia was elected superintendent. There was a pointed there and served at each time there till they had to retire and then you're still very active and evangelism until he died.

19:22 And I have had a sister and she still living she's over 90 now, but her mind is as clear as can be she lives in a rest home and her husband left her with my need to take care of her and Russell was the oldest one and he passed your good churches and finally died in California. And then my brother William also was a preacher he was an excellent preacher. He had the ability to really tell a story and

19:57 Make it interesting to the people and I think that's where I got my desire to tell stories and to make it interesting and watch the eyes of people to see if they were getting what I had to say, and that's a challenge to me.

20:12 And then there were was Robert who lived with us for a while.

20:16 He was the one who had that had polio and rheumatic fever and he was sort of a handicapped a little bit you'd say that he lived with us for a little while and finish school and was a CPA got a good job and went on his way. And also he preached on crutches or any Bill to church in Brunswick, Ohio Wiley Pastor several churches, and he died. Yeah, and then can it be the baby. He also preached and he died young little. So did you want to hear about my brother's go see my I'm the oldest one and then I had a sister Jean live in Fort Wayne my brother Marion who lived in Florida and then both in Boca and then he lived in Boone North Carolina when he died and my sister Jean also is deceased. And then after that was my brother Donald who lives in Michigan you've been up on the farm, you know where he lives and he still living and then Patti is in Taft, California. She still lives.

21:16 Baby sister Charlene is also gone. And so that's my entire family. Tell me a little bit more about your parents. I don't know much about my parents were farmers. That was a farmer had until meant for many years. We use that we had never owned a piece of land in our life with rent farms. And in those days we had nothing but a team of horses and no power equipment at all, and you could plow probably an acre or an acre and a half of the team of horses in one day is about the biggest thing you could do and I was always small for my age. I've never really did much plowing because I was too hard for me to hold on and keep their plowshares into the ground.

22:04 But then he did that for many years till the most of us were raised and the farm so we ran over only about ninety to a hundred acres the most including pastureland raise all those kids and bet we raised almost everything that we ate bed a big Garden always I've raised rabbits one time and we had rabbits to eat and we have chicken about every Sunday. So you had everything to eat but we did not have a few things that we had to buy a country store like oleomargarine in that type thing and sugar and sugar and salt and pepper things like that and the Olio in those days. They had a little bag it came in and it was white but they had a little yellow palette that you would need into that earlier and make it look like the high price for it a long time ago.

22:59 My parents name was Orville and Jenny.

23:03 Tell me about you both of your names and what the origins arcsin if you guys have great names.

23:09 First started Grandma cuz I didn't especially your maiden name was really I really don't my folks were at German.

23:18 Oh, I'm a mess up. My grandmother was the Scotch-Irish and then that my grandfather in German and then there was some friends because there's an owl say is Lorraine which is a part now of you know where that is, but my first name Lavera evidently came from that direction huevolin. I have not a clue as to where that came from and my maiden name was rap Mogul levira wave Elaine repa. That's what I grew up with to get the shirt. I remember me in my in my eighth-grade class. My teacher gave me a nap, and I was a good student first time. My mother ever went to school she marched over there at that school, and she ask that teacher, ynf. He was fresh out of state, and he wanted to everybody to call him. Mr. And he went to call us miss.

24:16 I missed her and she said I want to know why this F.

24:22 Well, she doesn't recite in class.

24:26 She turned to me and why don't you recite in class because he never calls on me. Why don't you call on her because I can't pronounce your name replogle. So he changed the grade used to be called wavy rainy rainy rainy was my nickname because I like your name to I have no idea where my name came from Doyle.

24:55 Fact is the e was supposed to be Alice. But since the doctor came out in the middle of the night, he wrote on my birth certificate and one Emerson Emerson. So when I started to get Social Security and you know in jobs, I found out my name I've been read was wrong on my birth certificate and my father was still living in going to the state house and he signed over that my name really was Alice not Emerson because of that workout is my father's name is Doyle Ellis Clay Jr. Prank. That's why we called him D Junior, which is my middle name. That's your middle name. Right when he told her that we call him. We're not going to call him Junior will if I have to name him after me. He'll always be D. And that's the way it has been but tell him what your grandmother death ones. You named. My grandmother Duff said Doyle girl Cousin Vinny Madera

25:55 Inderal why didn't you call him Christopher Columbus years old at that time? I remember her. In fact, even if I was couldn't have been over for 5 years old and we would go to her house and she was up nearly 90 then and she would pick me up in her arms and take me and show me her all the glass drinking. She had any case I'll never forget that. I can remember look at never touched them, but she was show those to me and I was intrigued by all those little trinkets that she had saved through the years.

26:33 I'm glad you brought that up. Cuz one thing I feel very fortunate is is having you guys around and and especially being able with kids them being able to meet you. Did you did you know you were your grandparents around when you were young? And do you remember them? Oh, yes. I knew my grandpa clay and his dad died before I remember but that he had remarried Grandma. I'd as what we call her and she was a nice lady and her husband had died and evidently had received. She had received money from her insurance. Not a lot because they didn't have much but she was very nice and he was very kind to us.

27:18 We were more.

27:21 What shall we call it? And we weren't as mobile as we are today people go all over the world, but we were close enough to grandparents at the two or three hours one hour, whatever we could get to them once a week or whatever and we had aunts and uncles and cousins growing up, but I don't know them today.

27:43 That both sets of grandparents you remember and what was your mother's maiden name? My mother's maiden name is Goodpasture. Okay, another thing since we're talking about family. One thing. I think you guys instilled me was the importance of family and can you guys talk about some of our old family reunions that we used to have?

28:06 We always had a great time and holidays when the family would come in. Mom always cook up a storm and have all kind of food and what a great time we'd have in it and just talking and laughing. I think one of the main things we had through the years was telling stories and laughing about him just laugh at each other the things that we did and this happened even if when I was a little kid which surrounded nice we didn't have anything else to do come and pick up stories that we'd heard some place and there's a laugh about them and I think my brother's got more spankings from laughing at one company was there then for anything else? I remember one lady came and if you are home when we were just a little before I was there I can remember my older brother and she was a Bible lady that came and to sell Bibles.

29:00 My older brothers were there in the room.

29:03 And they were snickering behind the couch and all that Mom was so embarrassed. This lady was very sophisticated. She saw nothing funny and she got the boys over there to show them the pictures in the Bible and they had gone to Sunday school since they were born and she turned to the picture of Jesus on the cross said, you know who that is, and they said it looks like a man hanging on Telephone Florida me.

29:30 Well, that didn't go over very well with my mother. I tell you they both got a licking her that she began the story. She did not laugh. She begin the story told the whole story yet. They never heard about Jesus. I remembered our family traditions John. We we've come one time we lived with you know for a while in Fostoria where you work and we could be with you quite a bit memory used to come over to that big parsonage there and you'd play with a little cans that were in the cupboard and you play with that little male McStuffin. We had a great time when you were growing up till you were about nine or they were going to be a dick move to Mount Vernon. And then from then on we sort of had to take time to come to your ball games and things but the greatest thing was we gave in to the In-laws Four Christmases and we took Thanksgiving and y'all came in at the last time. I think we had like 20 for 5 people be more like 30-some now today, but then it got so

30:30 The last time we had and I believe you and Chris came.

30:35 You had already been to like three dinners member that and I said to Dad that's enough. We will give it up. Now for them to go with the other people which we did. I cried all day I think but it was like we had great times together. I remember Thanksgiving at your house because there was the adult table and then there was the team table and then there was a little kid and it's a big thing when you get a elevated from the little kid table of the team Table 19 say when we tried to we tried to include everybody up to the big table, She said one time to your dad. I think we're just going to instead of cooking a big meal for Thanksgiving. We're going to go out to some restaurant and just pay the whole bill he can Lodge. He said I don't think that'll be a good idea and we said why not. He said there wouldn't be any leftovers to take home. That's right. That's right.

31:35 Good. We're still pretty skinny.

31:38 What the what traditions have you seen passed down in the family?

31:44 What's your or another question is what traditions would you like to see past down?

31:49 How do I just see the tradition that we've had of being in church every Sunday and being active in in our religious Faith. I'd like to see that passed on down to the family.

32:02 And you now that your children are little older you can remember you told me what the twins I'm never going to go to church grandma told these kids grow up. I know it's a hassle and then I'm crine everyone in the church. I know Pastor stuff and it's hard but then you carry onto the thanksgivings and Christmases and we have to play days which we're going to have this week and things like that that and the rest of the children do that too. And that's good in their children will do it to I'm sure that's happiness for us.

32:36 Can you tell me where we just have a little bit under 10 minutes? So I have a couple other question. What was the most profound spiritual Moment In Your Life Church is very important to both you guys. Is there one particular thing that you look back upon? Maybe when you felt the calling thing that you remember? I think it was after pastoring 35 years all on the same district and under the same superintendent all that are not all the time. But almost all that time at that when they divided the district and they're electing a superintendent. I was the one they elected on about the second or third ballot. And this was by my peers the ones that I had worked with for 35 years. I felt that was a high honor. Absolutely.

33:28 Archie Graham

33:30 Well, I think sound like Ronald Reagan now, don't I well.

33:41 I think the time that I settled

33:44 In my heart that I needed to be a preacher's wife.

33:50 Dad and grandpa just got in a really good job. We were making pretty good money. And I thought we're going to go someplace where we won't make any money. So I think I settled that one night. And I think that was a very profound thing for me to my scripture was whither thou goest. I will go.

34:13 You guys have been together so long. Do you have any advice for young couples?

34:19 Be honest with each other be attentive to each other don't neglect the good times together. He's a wonderful years and you'll have to remember that there will always be some rough and Rocky Roads several years ago. Your Aunt Cheryl said

34:40 I said do you think we always got along your dad and I are so sure I said, well we didn't we don't always agree vignette today, but we don't know we don't but even politically the time we don't but we learn to disagree without being disagreeable and there are some rough places and you have to work at this and you have to be forgiving and you have to what was it. Someone said that marriage is a 50-50.

35:10 He gives me $50 and I give him $0.50. So it is you have to work at it John.

35:19 I just have a couple other Loose Ends Here one of things. I wanted to talk about one of the things I remember most of my growing up with the family reunions up at Uncle Don's place. Can you guys talk a little bit about this how they start later when he was there. I can tell you how it started because my brother who is 10 years younger than I

35:38 Said to me one day I'm getting tired of seeing you and my other relatives only at funerals. So he started a replogle reunions up in Michigan the first year we had 54 cuz my sister Patty came from California with her family. The next year was like 45 the next year. It was like 30 because everybody is busy and so that's how was I remember? We have a picture of you John and on the farm the cows were there you were trying to milk the cow from the wrong side and those were it but it was a fun time and he's talked about having another one which it's hard to get families together. We're also scattered and I remember those reunions when he would have a homemade grill and have corn fresh corn in the husk that is soaked in water with maybe a hundred years on it and you feel it back and dip it into a buck.

36:38 Melted butter out in the yard. Your hands are dripping with butter the time is it where you know Uncle Don's wife because Aunt Dolores the second you walked out of the car. She was like an army Sergeant your job. Was this your job was this your job was this and we miss that we missing is a top Sergeant. We had some good times.

37:12 I think we're out of time or at least very close to spend fun John.

37:18 Okay. Is there anything I'll let you guys is there anything that you guys I've asked questions the whole time during you would just want to say that we're really very proud of our children and I've often told them that they learn from our mistakes and the children have been wonderful and now you grandchildren are doing the same thing with yours and we're just really really proud of you proud that you're picking up some of the Traditions that have been handed down to you through the years of the fact that you guys stressed the importance of that. I don't think a lot of families are lucky enough to have that really stuck with me.

37:57 Thanks for this time together. I appreciate you guys coming down way that bhlb to.