Life and Times



Of Barb (Hays) Clayton

I was born in Springfield, Illinois on the 23rd of June 1958, at St. John’s Hospital. Dr’s that delivered me were Dr’s J. Marty and E. Ference. I weighed 7 lbs 15 oz. My name is Barbara (Hays) Clayton, daughter of the late Dewey Carroll and Florence (Altevogt) Hays. My father was of Scottish descent and my mother German. You know, I never thought about how helpful it would be to obtain old hospital records, as that’s what I did, to discover the address of the home I was born in. The home I lived in at the time of my birth was 305 North 13th, this was located in the old John Hay Homes. I actually remember when the John Hay Homes was a beautiful place. I remember play ground equipment and beautiful violets and morning glories growing up the sides of the building. I guess this would have been late 50’s, early 60’s. I was first treated at St. John’s Hospital ER on August 14, 1958 with acute nasopharyngitis, acute gastroenteritis and iron deficiency anemia. I was admitted per Dr. G. White and discharged on August 17, 1958. On June 13, 1959, while still residing at the address above, I accidentally pulled a coffee pot over onto my head and was taken to St. John’s Hospital for treatment of burns. Record states I had burns to my left face, ear and neck. St. John’s did a good job, I never sustained any scars. Attending Dr. was Dr. G. White. My next visit to St. John’s Hospital was December 8, 1959 and I simply had a bad respiratory bug and was treated with IM Penicillin and put on oral antibiotics. Address is still listed as 305 North 13th Street. I would return to St. John’s Hospital on December 16, 1959 with the same upper respiratory bug, unresolved and now had a temp of 102. I was treated again with IM Penicillin. My next visit to St. John’s Hospital was on June 7, 1960 for acute nasopharyngitis. I was seen again per Dr. G. White, treated with IM Penicillin. I was in Springfield, Il recently and looked for the location of this house, but it is long since gone, the address we resided at, during the time of this visit was 1106 East Carpenter. Now I was only 2 1/2 years old, but I have some vague memories of this next incident. We were residing at 1106 East Carpenter and I remember that my mom, not only worked full time, but took in laundry and ironing, to make money on the side. Mom had some ironing on the bed and I preceded to climb up on the bed and jump. When I did, a sewing needle that my mother was using to repair something, went into my back at the lumbar region and broke off. My mother took me to St. John’s Hospital and they had to surgically remove it. Now, what I remember are the bright lights in the ER and several people with rubber gloves on, holding me down, as I was screaming of course and people in white coats were pressing on my back. I remember feeling pain, but not specifically enough to remember how bad it was. According to the records, “the point of entry apparently was over the spinous process of lumbar two”, as quoted in the xray report. Every time I have a physical now, someone thinks I had back surgery, as the scar from the event is still present. The next event in my life, I remember clearly. The date was August 14, 1962. We were living on 910 East Carpenter and I was riding a tricycle in the back yard. We had an old flower bed, surrounded by brick bats that I remember and I lost my balance somehow and tipped the bike over and hit my head against the bricks. Now, from this point on, I don’t remember that I thought I was hurt at all. I walked into the house and my mother was talking to an insurance salesman and the next thing I remember, is my mom screaming and I looked at her like she was crazy. I decided something must be wrong, so I touched my head and when I did, I brought down a blood covered hand. Then I was screaming! I went to St. John’s Hospital for numerous stitches. Afterwards, I remember going to visit my Aunt Virginia (Hays) Boyd Tucker afterwards. The Dr. that treated me that day was Dr. J.M. Holland. There was a woman who lived next door, while we lived at this residence and she would fry rabbit and make homemade cookies and have us come sit on the steps with her and eat and it was a nice treat! My next visit to St. John’s Hospital was on July 2, 1963. I have three vivid memories at 910 East Carpenter, the one above and my visit to the ER on July 2, 1963. My family was visiting, my Aunt Barb (Hays) Tuttle Grove Altevogt was holding a glass of ice tea and she was trying to hand it off to me, as her and my dad were goofing around wrestling over something and anyway, the glass fell and landed on top of my left foot. Cut it bad enough, I had to have stitches and I still have a scar on that foot to this day. The treating Dr. was Dr. Azeris. The last clear event at this house, was when my dad, my Uncle Dale Hays and my Uncle John Hays, all dead now, were pulling an engine out of a car with a chain pulley. For some reason, Uncle John crawled down inside where the engine had been, as now it was suspended in air by a chain and the pulley slipped and in an attempt to get out of the way, the engine fell on my Uncle’s leg, which one, I can’t specifically remember, crushing his leg. I remember the family scurrying to get the engine off of Uncle John and he was screaming. They got him out and carried him into the house and placed him in the bathtub, as he was bleeding so badly. They called an ambulance, which wasn’t far away. I remember this house stood so close to St. John’s Hospital, you could see the front of the hospital from our back yard. St. John’s Hospital turned that area into a parking lot, the one across from Hucks on 9th Street. My Uncle John Hays was like a cat with nine lives. He once was in an accident and hit a train, it drug him out of the car and cut off one of his ears. Uncle John would always suffer from complete hearing loss to his left ear, after that event. He was born sterile and never was able to have kids. My dad and his brothers, stated he had a handle bar on a bike, go through his jaw once as a kid. Uncle John also was hit by a plane at the airport, while driving a disposal truck and survived it! He also was knocked off an embankment in Springfield, Il at the old gravel pit. The brake on an oil truck slipped, knocking him over the edge, almost 50 feet and he landed in a pit of acid, that ate off his clothes and some skin as well and he fractured almost every rib. He also fought lung cancer a long time and he beat it! He would die in the 1980’s, after his wife purposely injured him, by driving her elbow into his groin, while he was sleeping and as he begged to be taken to the hospital, due to pain, she would not do it, until he was so bad, that he was helicoptered from Stephenville, Texas to Harris Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. He would die there. She killed him, just as sure as she had a gun and pulled the trigger. A family member, my cousin Wanda Hays, witnessed these events, as she was living there at the time. Mary "Jean" (Dunn) Hays, John's wife, got his pension and his insurance money and she’s a free woman, as no one ever came forward and reported what happened! My last visit to St. John’s Hospital, as a patient, was December 12, 1964, when I was treated for Bronchopneumonia, bilaterally. At this time, we lived on 617 East Enos. Now, I don’t remember what year for sure, but it would have been 1966 or before I think, that the apartment building we lived in caught fire! There was a man who fell asleep smoking and it set the whole building on fire. I do however remember the day, it caught fire June 23, because it was my birthday! My father kept running back in to salvage what he could, but the police and firemen chased him back out! I would like to go to the Illinois Historical Library and obtain the newspaper record of the event. The first school I attended was McClenard Grade School, which was just a short distance from the house on Enos Ave. The reason I think the fire was 1966 or before, is because we had to move due to the fire and the next school I attended was the old Bunn School, which used to stand across from the old Pillsbury Mills. I remember between 1966-1967 that their was a potential explosion feared and the school was evacuated until the danger passed! One of the pleasant memories I have about the school, is that they sold candy at lunch time and I would work everyday finding bottles to return for deposit, so I’d have money for candy! I remember that in the winter, we could wear slacks, as we walked to school, several blocks in the snow and cold. When you got inside the classroom, the slacks had to come off, as it wasn’t proper then for girls to wear slacks at school. I can remember my legs being red and stinging when I took the slacks off, after walking in snowy weather. We had an area in the back of the room, where you stepped behind the wall to change and also there were hooks to hang your coats. I only attended Bunn School for one year, as we moved to 1819 South 19th Street. One other wonderful memory about attending Bunn School, was that I daily walked past the Concordia Seminary where my grandmother, Vera (Stark) Altevogt worked. Almost every morning grandma would watch for me coming by and she would motion for me to come in and she would feed me milk and cookies or a sandwich and pop in the afternoon, when I was walking home. Their were several kids at home and money was tight, there was no money for luxuries, almost not enough for food. I can remember when food was so scarce at home, that supper was a piece of bread, covered with sugar, or ketchup or mustard. If it was a good week, navy beans and a real good week, there was ham & beans and fried skillet potatoes. Man that was a good meal and I still crave that once in awhile! Christmas, we got a P.E. uniform, watch or the only pair of blue jeans you wore all year. We never received toys! My first toy was a doll, that I received at the next school I attended, which was Iles Grade School in 1968. The above date, comes from my old school photos, thank God, my memory isn’t that great anymore! I do remember that my first teacher was Mrs. Cloyd, and the young lady they sent to get me at the office and show me around the school was Rita (Monkman) Tarr. We have known each other since, as she presently lives in Rochester, Il. We attended school together through High School, which was Springfield Southeast High School. The memories at Iles, abound. I remember being a patrol guard and standing down across from South Grand, where the murder in the old Lauderback Hardware Store occurred. Does anyone remember the date of that event? I remember playing four square with those big red rubber balls, where you hit the ball to the opposing player, if it went out on you after touching your square, you were out! The other fun thing we did, was play jacks, which was so popular, we had teams. I remember when weather was bad, we played in the gym. I remember when we used to have a school nurse. I was also in Girl Scouts, thanks to my grandmother, Vera (Stark) Altevogt, who bought me my uniform. On October 7, 1967, I was in a Juliette Low Foundation Parade and I still own the certificate from the event. On June 5, 1969 I received a Perfect Spelling Award from Iles School and received an award for “Patrol Duty” on the same day. The principal at Iles, was Irvin Smith. I remember a class mate named Nanette Rhodes, who had a little sister, that died from some illness and how sad we all felt. While I attended Iles Grade School, I was pushed down a flight of stairs by some unfriendly colored girls and it tore the hide off the entire hip and I remember going to the nurse and having these huge bandages applied to my leg. Those girls never received any punishment, the Principal was terrified of their parents and that was common place while I went to school there. One of my special memories about Iles Grade School, were the Christmas Trees, we had in all our rooms at Christmas. They were evergreen and white flocked trees, tinted with purple, silver, blue and green. The trees were donated by South’s Green House on 19th Street. I went to school with the owner’s son, John and we were in Orchestra together. John also played cello, as I did. I used to have a crush on him, as he was cute as a button! I have occassionally seen John at Southeast High School Class Reunions. Those trees stuck in my mind for years and I always said, one day, I’d have a pretty tree like that. In 1979 I bought a white flocked tree in Chicago, Il and every year it was in our home, it was decorated with alternating color themes over 17 years. All because those trees, were so beautiful to me, while I was in grade school. My family finally made me start having live trees, as they couldn’t take the white one any more, but I sure have some beautiful memories and photos! The next school I would attend was Thomas Jefferson Middle School. My dad worked at Clay Products Inc, just a mile or so from the school. And we would walk there after school to get a ride home, as my dad worked day shift. Those were the days, when they were on strike, I remember the employees there, pulling men out of their trucks and beating them if they attempted to cross picket lines! These guys took their jobs seriously. They had muscles like you wouldn’t believe, because they loaded clay tiles into kilns that were fired and then, when they cooled, they were loaded onto trucks. I can remember watching these guys throw the tiles in the air. These clay tiles used to line the sewers of the streets of Springfield, now of course, they have been replaced with plastic. Some of my favorite memories at Jefferson Middle School, was rushing out after school to get ice cream, from the Mr. Softee, ice cream man. And we had the best lunches this side of heaven. I remember all of us rushing to the cafeteria to get fresh homemade subs and home cooked french fries, oh they were good! We used to get school notebooks from a machine that red “Jefferson Jets”! We also could get pencils that said the same thing. I used to play cello, which the school so graciously supplied me with and I played guitar. I think my mother payed $50.00 at Walko Music, still located on South 2nd Street, for the old acoustic guitar that I still own and now our son, Andrew plays it occassionally. I sang in the choir and my dream was to be a singer, but instead I became a nurse! I remember that mini skirts were the rage and you showed respect back then! I remember a student coming to school with the flag of the United States on his bottom. Mr. Jones, our Jr. High History teacher, grabbed him up and took him to the office and he was promptly sent home for reasons of disrespect and improper dress. I remember the teacher saying it made his blood boil. That teacher had a strong impact on my life, as he gave me good advice and guidance when I needed it! I can remember a Science teacher Mr. Brown, who smacked me on the bottom with a rubber hose for talking and you know what, I deserved it and I see nothing wrong with that even now! When I went to school there, if you got in trouble, you got a paddling and I think our schools seriously need a little of that restored, because children don’t get guidance or respect at home anymore. I remember a P.E. teacher named Mrs. Fuss and my old orchestra teacher, Mrs. Knudson. I remember a hay ride at Mrs. Knudson’s house one time and it was alot of fun. I have two 3rd place certificates from a Science Fair, that used to be held at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. From 1970-1972 I maintained “Perfect Attendance Awards” at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Our principal was Otto Fafoglia. I remember when I was called into the office once, with some fellow class mates, because they didn’t want “slam books” circulating in school. Slam books were books that teenage girls started and circulated, much like an autograph book, but instead you wrote class room gossip and secret crushes in them and they were frowned upon by Principal Fafoglia. I think it was during Junior High School, that we attended the “All City Music Festival”. We wore white blouses and blue skirts and it was held at the Armory, in Springfield, Il. I remember one of the songs we sang was “Would You Like To Swing On A Star”. We used to have orchestra practice every Tuesday night with all the other schools in Springfield, at Grant Middle School. We would always stop by the White Hen Pantry over by Bunn Park and get a brown paper bag, full of candy for a quarter. While we lived at 1819 South 19th Street, there was a tornado that hit in the 60’s. I remember well, that it was a bright sunny day and a sudden rain shower came up and then suddenly stopped, like you had turned off a water knob. Then I recall my father yelling at us to get to the basement. I know now that what my father seen in the air was debris. We didn’t make it to the basement, so my father pushed me and my brother Jim, into the house through the back door and told us to lay on the floor. He quickly opened the windows and the tornado shook the house like it was made out of paper. It broke alot inside, but the house stayed in one piece. My mother had been painting the porch and railing and wasn’t aware the twister was approaching. My father ran to the porch and pulled my mother backwards and told her to get down. The neighbors to the left of us were Gerald and Sharon Bly and it took the roof off their house and set it in our back yard. The neighbor across the street had a tree sat down inside the center of her house, like it grew there. Everywhere there were downed trees and debris. I remember the police coming through, trying to slow gawkers, down who wanted just to drive through to see the damage. Our white German shephard, named King, was chained in the back yard and the roof of the neighbors house landed just inches from him. My brother Jim was so worried about the dog, that he tried to go back outside and get him, until my father stopped him. I can still remember finally getting up off the floor, going to the front porch and watching the tail, of what looked like cotton candy, twist up into the clouds and disappear. I remember thinking to myself, how can something so deadly, look so beautiful! The house on 1819 South 19th left some incredible memories. My Uncle Wes Tucker died in the living room of that house and it used to give me the creeps at night. Also we raised rabbits and chickens while we lived there and I used to babysit for the Bly’s next door. I used to ride with Gerald Bly’s mother, who lived next door to him and we would drive to Taylorville, to see her mother, while the “gas wars” were on. I often heard her say, "there is a gas war in Taylorville and I will get gas when we get there". She would also take water for her mother, as she said the water in Taylorville, always tasted bad. She was a very nice lady and I looked forward to the trips. My Freshman year of High School was at Springfield Southeast High School. Now we went from mini skirts to “no dresses”, that was the request on orientation day, as the High School had one of the highest pregnancy rates in the city. We had what we called “Rent-a-Cops” at school, because drugs and disorder, were the big problem of the day. You didn’t have to smoke Marijuana at Southeast, just walk through the Auditorium corridor to get high!! The smoke would be thick in there! I started working when I was 13 years old at Taco Bell on Ash Street and made a $1.00 an hour. The good benefit, was the boss let me take home leftover food after I closed at night and that helped feed my family. I remember when my dad was on strike, an money was scarce, we got commodities. We went to a building, I think across from St. John’s Hospital and they gave my parents canned Spam, canned peanut butter, that had oil on top and had to be stirred. They also gave out carnation instant milk, which was all we ever drank as kids. I didn’t have store bought milk until I was married and then my husband introduced me to ice cold milk from his dad’s dairy vat in the milking parlor, now that’s milk. They also handed out big blocks of real butter. You know what, we survived just fine on it, so could people today. I think that’s a better answer than Link cards or Food Stamps, this way, kids get the food they need! I remember at Southeast High School, riding around town with my two dearest friends, Aldean Phippus and Rita Monkman, we were the three musketeers! Aldean owned a red Firebird, that her parents gave her! We all would attend Modernistic School of Beauty Culture on West Jefferson, during our Junior and Senior years at Southeast High School, through the Capitol Area Vocational Center. You know, I remember a school counselor telling me, “honey your just not smart enough for college”. I graduated in the top third of my class and ran a Beauty Shop called “Swirl N’ Curl from 1977-1987. I went back to school and graduated from college in 1990 and now I’m an RN, Aldean is also a nurse and Rita is presently in college working on a Sociology degree! So much for counselors, not that there aren’t good ones. My Sophmore year, my Aunt Judy, my mom’s sister in law (actually outlaw), got the bright idea to move to Michigan and talked my parents into it. So we loaded everything up and moved to Lapeer, Michigan. We did have a neat house, with lots of rooms. We had a barn to play in and swung in a hay loft and had Appaloosa horses that were the land lord’s, but we were given permission to ride them. It was actually a nice change from city life. My dad had a job at “Vlasic Pickle Company” there, but that winter a railroad strike hit and our house was heated with oil. Because of problems with getting fuel, my parents decided to move back to Springfield, Il. My Sophmore year, I went to school at Riverton High School, as we lived there a short while. Boy, the kids were rough there with outsider’s. I had a hard time making one friend. But I had good scholastic experiences. I was in choir and we had a musical production of Fiddler on the Roof, and I was to play the bride in a wedding scene. My grandmother Vera, bought me a pretty dress, at the JC Penny's Store in Springfield, Il, to wear for the musical. She seemed to always be there to help with little things like that! I planned a French supper in Home-Ec , made a meal plan, had French music, candles and cooked chicken and red wine, real lace table cloth, which a class mate provided. I served the Principal and his wife. I received a wonderful letter, that I still have, telling me what a good cook I was. I got an A+ on the meal. The teacher also stated, she knew I had little help from fellow classmates and didn’t feel they deserved the same grade. I remember having fun in Driver’s Ed Class. There was a kid that went to school there named Chuck Antonocci and he loved to get in trouble. I think he was a little slow mentally. But one day, the Drivers Ed teacher locked him out of the class room after returning from driving, as he had made sexual advances toward him and his face was as red as a beat! I remember competing in a “Voice of Democracy” contest at Riverton High School. My Junior Year we moved to 1611 East Ash in Springfield, Il and there would be a riot at Southeast High School that year. I was in P.E. class at the time and they locked us in the tennis court outside, to prevent us from getting hurt. We were out of school almost a month due to violence and guns being brought to school, along with a host of other weapons. One of my best memories at Southeast was P.E. We had swimming at Eisenhower Pool and had a tennis court! It made the class fun. I remember being in GAA, “Girls Athletic Association". We took a field trip to New Salem State Park and it was a lot of fun. My friend Terri (Mitchell) White Williams and Sue (Chips) Nash were members and we became close side kicks. I graduated from Springfield Southeast High School in June of 1976 and my mother would finally divorce my dad. He had been abusive to her and the kids for 17 years, but now as an adult I don’t blame him totally, as I believe he could have been a better person, if he had been given a better chance in life. His parents divorced and put him in Lincoln State School, along with his brother Dale, when they were 6-7 years old and never came to see them. My father loathed his father and we didn’t know he was alive, until we were told he died on May 23, 1976. There were six of us kids, myself, Vera May (Hays) Durstine born Aug. 1, 1960, Carol Jean (Hays) Harris Thompson Bernardini born April 11, 1962, Sandra Kay (Hays) Brewer Emerson born May 18, 1965, Jimmie Dean Hays born March 3, 1963, David Lee Hays born June 7, 1966 and Brenda Lee (Hays) Mehlberg. My mother and my six other siblings moved to Montgomery County, Il and lived on Route 16 just outside of Nokomis, in a town named Witt. This would be the best thing that would ever happen to me. One night a handsome man drove up in my drive on August 3, 1976 and asked me to go for a drive with him, as he was out with friends that I knew. We later drove to Ramsey State Park, and spent the night under the stars. He would take me home approximately 0:600 a.m. August 4th and two hours later called and asked if I would go camping with him at Hillsboro Park in Montgomery County, Il. The next morning he proposed to me and we would be married the next day, August 6, 1976. His name was Olin Dale Clayton, my present sweet, soul mate and husband, of 23 years now. We honeymooned in Niagra Falls and then lived in our apartment on 5151 Winchester Ave in Chicago, Il. In 1977, we moved home to Montgomery County, Il and moved in to the old Compton Farm located on Route 16 in Witt, Il. We would live there until July 1977, when we moved to Irving, Il just up the road from the Compton Farm. My husband was first employed with “Mohawk’s Furniture” in Nokomis, Il and also worked as a lumber jack for Raymond Timpe of Irving, Il. In July 1977, he became employed with Hillsboro Glass in Schram City, Il and would be employed there for 20 years, a member of the United Steel Workers of America. He was Union President for Local 4369 there for 11 years. In Aug of 1997, Hillsboro Glass was closed and Olin would become employed with Bridgestone/Firestone Tire in Decatur, Il. It seems so odd, that he would become employed in the city, where I had spent some of my life as well. My Step Aunt Barb (Hays) Tuttle Grove Altevogt lived there and was married to a John Tuttle. We would go there almost every weekend, whenever we had enough gas money, to have spaghetti supper. I spent a summer there with Aunt Barb and Uncle John in June of 1971, as I attended a Vacation Bible School there, and won an “Outstanding Award” for achievement and spoke before the congregation on Sunday. I still have the award to this day and the date of course documents the event. My Aunt Barb (Hays) Tuttle bought me a typewriter for my birthday that summer! On June 27, 1979 our first child was born at St. Frances Hospital in Litchfield, Il. Belinda Suzanne Clayton was born 11:15 p.m., weighed 6 lbs 15 oz. The day Belinda came home, Olin took us out to lunch at the Dutch Mill in Hillsboro, but it closed sometime after 1984, because my husband’s 33rd Birthday was celebrated there. Belinda attended Hillsboro United Methodist Pre-School when she was 4. Her teachers were Mrs. Sturm and Mrs. Rademacher, she attended Kindegarten at Coffeen Grade School, due to the fact, that they closed the Irving Grade School, just before our children would have started there, so now they were bussed 10 miles away. She would attend Beckemeyer Grade School, then 6th Grade at Hillsboro Junior High. In 1990 we moved from Irving, Il to Raymond in the Cloyd Subdivision on Route 48. Belinda would then complete 7th & 8th grade, through High School, at Raymond Lincolnwood High School. Belinda graduated in May of 1997 and was the Arion Award winner for Outstanding Band and Vocal Accomplishment and Leadership. She played flute and tenor sax and is still an accomplished vocalist. Belinda is engaged to Keith Eyer of Tinley Park, Il and will be moving to Ames, Iowa on Aug. 14, 1999. She has completed a year at Lincoln Land Community College and will finish her schooling in Iowa. Our son Andrew was born August 8, 1980 in Hillsboro Hospital in Hillsboro, Il at 8:15 a.m. He weighed 8 lbs 9 oz. Andrew attended Hillsboro United Methodist Preschool two years, when he was 4-5 years of age. Due to his late fall birth, we held him back an additional year. He also had teachers, Mrs. Sturm and Mrs. Rademacher. Andrew attended his Kindegarten year at Beckemeyer, through 1990 and he would attend 5th grade at Raymond Grade School. That year he built a choclate house out of a couple huge choclate bars and decorated it with bright colored candies, it was really cute! Andrew would attend 6th-12th grade at Raymond Lincolnwood Jr/Sr High School. Andrew was a member of SADD, Spanish Club, Library Aide and Youth & Government Club, while in High School. Andrew graduated from Raymond Lincolnwood High School in May of 1999. Andrew bagged his first 6 point buck on November 19, 1999 on his father's 40 acres in Witt, Il. The land was settled by Andrew's 4th great grandfather.

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