The “Dayton Twins” Reunited

After 70+ years, the “Dayton Twins” reunited in the hills of eastern North Carolina at the wedding of Alexis Dayton Luckey (daughter of Jack and Camilla Dayton Lucky; granddaughter of Charles Dayton) to Ryan Carey in late October, 2019.  Several members of the Dayton and Luckey clans were in attendance but it was the presence of “the twins” that was most noticeable, at least to those two.  Deane Dayton (son of Wilbur & Donna Dayton) and David Hayes (son of Quentin and Isabelle Dayton Hayes; grandson of Charles Dayton) were born in Marion, Indiana, two days apart in May, 1949.  David was born on May 22nd and Deane was born on May 24th.  David’s father, Kent, was a student and student-pastor at Marion College in Marion, Indiana.  Dean’s father, Wilbur (Uncle Wib) was on the faculty there.  When the boys were born, their moms shared a hospital room as well.  Both boys were robust and healthy and were welcomed into their families with great joy.  David was the first child for Kent and Izzie and Deane was the 3rd child in his family with an older brother and sister already at home.  Their lives would briefly intersect later in life but their initial entry into the world would be their first “sustained interaction.”  [An interesting sidelight: five of the people at the table at the wedding reception were born in Marion General Hospital: Deane & wife Carol, Janet (Deane’s sister) Dayton Manley, and David & Keith Hayes.

            Two years later, David’s family moved to Springfield, Mass., (by now, with brother, Keith, two years younger) where Kent pastored and help build the sanctuary of the Wesleyan Church there. After, two years, Kent and family went south to Wilmore, KY, where he attended Asbury Seminary for 3 years.  Feeling called to the chaplaincy, Kent also attended Chaplain School in NY during the summer and became an Army Chaplain in the summer of 1957.  That same summer, before the move to the first assignment, Fort Hood, TX, the Wilbur Dayton family also moved to Wilmore where Uncle Wib took a position on the faculty of the seminary and Aunt Donna served on the faculty of Asbury College and as a public school librarian.  Deane & David played together that summer before the move once again separated them. 

            Fast forward 15 years, past many other relocations and experiences, Dave & Deane, now young adults, met briefly when Deane came to visit Dave’s parents in Phoenixville, PA, while he was stationed at Fort Dix, NJ. He had joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1971 and was sent to Fort Dix for Basic Training and training as a Radio Operator.  While there, Deane used a week-end pass to visit Cousin Izzie & family.  One of his memories of the visit is when, arriving by train, he was told that the nearby movie theater was used as a set for “The Blob” movie.  He also remembered spending a few hours in the basement working on a case for an electronics project he was building.

            At the time, Dave had just graduated from Houghton College and had started his teaching career in a nearby school district while living at home with his folks.  He became engaged to Kathy Harpp at Christmastime, 1972, and they were married the following July.  Dave continued  to teach while he and Kathy both earned Masters degrees (Dave in school counseling and Kathy in elementary education).  The family grew: daughter Heather was born in 1974, son Jeremy in 1977, daughter Emily in 1982 and son Ben in 1983.  In 1979, Dave switched school districts and became an elementary school counselor.  Over his career in education, he taught 5th & 6th grade for 10 years and was a school counselor for 26 years, retiring in 2007.  Twelve years into his counseling career, Dave was invited to be an adjunct professor in the same counseling department he had attended.  He continued to teach part-time at the graduate counseling department at West Chester University for the next 16 years and then for 8 years after he retired from public school.  Meanwhile, Kathy had returned to the classroom, teaching 3rd grade for almost 20 years in a small town with an urban setting, retiring in 2012.      

Meanwhile, Deane’s educational and professional careers were beginning.  He and Carol were married on June 2, 1969, in a roof-top chapel in Louisville in a 17-story building which now bears a huge picture of Colonel Sanders that can be seen from I-65.  They both attended Marion College and then returned to Kentucky as teachers in Nicholasville, a few miles from Wilmore.  While there, Carol earned a masters from Eastern Kentucky University and Deane spent his summers at Randolph-Macon Women’s College where he earned a master’s degree in Science Teaching in a National Science Foundation Summer Science Institute. 

In 1973, Deane & Carol moved to Bloomington, IN, where Carol taught in a nearby school system while he worked on his PhD.  Deane then served on facilities of the University of Virginia and Indiana University.  Their son, Chris, was born there in Bloomington in 1975.  In 1983, they moved to Charlotte, NC, where Deane worked for a company that developed Computer-Based Training.  In 1985 they again moved to Huntsville where Deane worked for Intergraph Corporation (a computer graphics company) to coordinate the development of their end-user technical documentation. In 1998, they moved to Princeton where he worked for Berlitz in their language translation division which had offices in over twenty countries.  During that time, Carol and Deane were able to travel to many of those offices & nearby tourist sites.  From 2002 until 2004, Deane commuted to the office in Washington, DC, where he led the team that provided interpreters for the U. S. Immigration Courts.  In 2005, they returned to Huntsville to work for Intergraph deploying Computer-Aided Dispatch systems for 911 Centers. 

Deane retired in 2013 and have been doing volunteer work archiving local history materials.  Currently, there are more than one million digital images stored on a server in my closet that is accessible to anyone at http://dkdayton.net .

As Deane and Dave were growing up, their mothers reminded them of how “the twins” had shared hospital experience. Deane had only been to Corinth a few times since his childhood while  Dave had lived there for a year while in elementary school and visited when the family traveled between Army assignments.  Carol & Deane passed through on their honeymoon and he and Dave both attended Charles’ funeral in Corinth—another “twin sighting”.   Deane was there for the 1998 Dayton Reunion and he has particularly fond memories of these last two visits.

It would seem that Deane & Dave were destined to see each other infrequently and, due to geography, would be separated, perhaps, forever.  But that didn’t happen thanks to the Dayton wedding in Hot Springs, NC, last fall.  Until they arrived individually, they didn’t know of their impending reunion so the surprise was doubly pleasant.  They reconnected immediately and spent much of their time reminiscing, catching up on each other’s lives and comparing family notes.  They exchanged home and email addresses and phone numbers just to make sure the bonds reestablished in the Appalachians would remain strong.  Along with Deane’s wife, Carol and Dave’s wife, Kathy, it was an extra treat to have Deane’s sister, Janet (and husband, Mike), and Dave’s brother, Keith (and wife, Leslie), share in the celebration along with cousin/aunt Cammie Dayton Luckey—an unexpected Dayton family reunion that will long be remembered.

Deane Dayton, Keith Hayes, Cammie Luckey, Dave Hayes, Jan Manley

 So when someone separates “twins” at birth, don’t be sure that they won’t find each other in the future and reconnect in stronger, more meaningful ways.  That’s just what happened to the Marion Dayton “Twins”—Deane and Dave!

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There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

By Dave Hayes (Grandson of Charles Dayton)

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         Living the life of a nomadic military family had its ups and downs.  Sure, we got to see so much of the country and even sampled some life overseas.  But when it came to the holidays, we were more aware than ever of being far from the “North Country” and the family we loved.  The other service families were in the same position, so we became a sort of “surrogate family” for each other.  Still, we missed seeing grandparents, aunts & uncles and lots of cousins!

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          Enter Grampa Charles Dayton!  No matter where we lived, Grampa, Gramma Jo and Cammie always came to visit us.  I remember their visit to Killeen, Texas, accompanied by Rev. Floyd Tyler & his wife, Helen, where they continued south to Mexico and returned with a large bull whip which they enthusiastically demonstrated in the front yard.  It’s a wonder no one was hurt!  They also visited us in California.  We ushered them to the redwoods, the seashore, the town wharf with its stores and restaurants, one of the string of California missions, and many other local sites of interest.  And they even came to Italy, where Grampa helped Dad to lead the Easter Sunrise Service on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.  We made a quick trip to Rome to see the Sistine Chapel and several other monuments and sites, and they even got a bonus trip up through Germany to see the windmills and tulips in Holland and the lovely gardens in Belgium.  Now that was a whirlwind trip!

          For us, these visits were a crucial tie to the family we had left behind!  But it was also a reminder that we were loved and cherished and certainly not forgotten.  My father’s devotion and patriotic service to his country as well as our family’s sacrifice of a life surrounded by our extended loved ones were honored with each remote stay.  Cammie became more than our aunt…she became a friend and a remembrance that, even as kids, Keith and I had roots deep in the hills of upstate New York.  Grampa & Gramma Jo brought news from the home front and dived into the local culture and customs wherever we were, fully enjoying themselves in a distant or foreign locale.  It tied us together more strongly, and that lasting bond is still unbroken.  What a gift it was to greet my grandparents at my house and to know that they were bringing the love and caring of a family we loved so much, there in the Adirondacks! 

          Thanks, Grampa & Gramma Jo & Cammie for those treasured times!

Remembering Corinth, Part 10-Tribute to Rev. Charles Alexander Dayton

DFH Volume 1 Issue 19

Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s.  Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA.  He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin.  He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.

Part 10-Tribute to Rev Charles A. Dayton

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Isaiah 32:18 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:21

Remembering Corinth, Part 9-Back Home In Corinth

DFH Volume 1 Issue 18

Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s.  Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA.  He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin.  He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.

Part 9 – Back Home to Corinth

When Grampa passed away in 1992, I wrote a poem to commemorate his life and my return to Corinth after so many years.  I was no longer a young, starry-eyed 4th & 5th grader but a 43-year-old husband, father and teacher/counselor.  My arrival in Corinth took me quickly back to that year in my childhood spent there.  And as we gathered to honor and remember my grandfather, Charles Dayton, I also reflected on the impact that he and Corinth had on my life.  I penned my thoughts into a poem that I hadn’t read for years…until just now.  The same memories are still very much alive, I see, and I have repeated most of them in my writing here.  We moved from Corinth in late 1959 to California for 3-1/2 years, onto Italy for 3 more years, and then to Springfield, Mass. for another year (while Dad was in Vietnam and we lived near Uncle John & Aunt Dorie and the kids).  I have lived far and near but if someone asks me where my “home” was, I always say “northern New York, where my parents are from.”  Even though Dad was born and raised in Hague and Mom born in Corinth and lived in many places around the Champlain District, I would suspect that the village of Corinth would still feel like home to me.  That was a profoundly meaningful year in my life and I’m glad that I got to share it with my loving family.  Thanks, Corinth, for such amazing and meaningful memories you shared with this young boy.

Editor’s Note—Next week is the final part of this ten-part series.  Part 10 features a poem which Dave wrote upon the passing of his grandfather, Reverend Charles Alexander Dayton. The poem is a profound, eloquent and reverent tribute, and I will not trivialize nor diminish the impact of it by adding any other article or commercial next week.  We will resume the Dayton stories on July 7.  The only thing I have added are two Holy Bible scripture verses which I hope will complement the text and amplify the relevance of the poem to Corinth and our heavenly home.  The poem will surely soften your spirit and touch a special place in your heart.  Since Dave sent it to me for this newsletter, I have read it several times and it gets better every time I read it.  It will be a joy for you to read it next week. 

Dave, on behalf of the subscribers of this newsletter, we offer you a huge thank you for the masterful way you gave us a glimpse of your year spent in Corinth.  It makes me long for my home there too.  We all hope you can write for us again soon.

Remembering Corinth, Part 8-After Church

Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s.  Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA.  He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin.  He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.

Part 8 – After Church

It wasn’t just “in” church where there are strong memories.  I have wonderful recollections of times spent in the parsonage with Grampa, Gramma Jo and Cammie.  We would run up and down those stairs and listen to the grownups in the kitchen through the grate in the bathroom upstairs.  We would play in the bedrooms and sometimes have sleepovers, too.  I loved to spin around in my grandfather’s chair in his study just inside the front door.  It somehow felt like a “holy place.”  After church, there were often snacks and a time of family fellowship.  That was after we got back from helping Grampa take home some of the folks from church.  Now THAT was an adventure.  We would drop them off at their homes and then Grampa would begin to coast down the hill in neutral to see how far we could go without accelerating.  We kids would laugh and encourage the car and even get out to push the extra few feet to see how far we could go.  When not coasting, we would be singing a rousing rendition of a hymn or chorus or listening as Grampa told us some outlandish story.  It was a magical time and I never wanted it to end!  Even after all these years, those after-service trips remain a very special memory.  [What got me thinking about those late Sunday evening trips was the picture in the latest Dayton Family Newsletter…the one with the map of Corinth and the corner by the Baptist Church.  Grampa was in a hurry one time (surprise!) and he took that corner on two wheels!  That moment is indelibly etched into my memory as is that particular corner.]

Remembering Corinth, Part 7-Life Revolved Around the Church

DFH Volume 1 Issue 16

Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s.  Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA.  He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin.  He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.

Part 7 – Life Revolved Around the Church

School life and home life and exploring the town were secondary to the time spent in the Corinth Wesleyan Church.  Most of my memories that year are associated with time there and with the special people with whom I interacted at church.  Grampa would be up front in the pulpit leading the hymns with unmatched gusto or preaching with fervency & deep conviction or encouraging even the youth to give their testimonies during prayer meeting.  Gramma Jo would be sitting in the pews hoping Charles would not make a personal reference or she would be leading a women’s meeting or directing Vacation Bible School each summer.  I’d be in the back pews with Jimmy & Cammie & Keith trying to keep a low profile but still managing to goof around from time to time.  Everyone was SO friendly and welcoming from the beginning and we felt at home here right away.  There were folks that my Mom knew from her childhood & teen years, assorted cousins from both sides of her family and all those precious aunts and uncles who were glad to have Izzie around, if only for a season.  They were supportive and gracious, knowing how tough it was to have a husband so far away for so long.  That church enveloped us and made us “family” the minute we walked through the door.  We had Sunday School and church suppers in the recently completed Education Building and played softball in the summer and went ice skating in the winter out behind the church.  When it was time for Bible School, we gathered outside, lining up with our class behind our class banner.  We followed the American & Christian flags and the Bible into the sanctuary and pledged allegiance to each before singing the theme song for the year.  Then it was off to our classes for Bible stories, crafts, snacks and games.  Those two weeks were the highlight of my Corinth summer!  It wasn’t until years later, when I was directing my own church’s Bible School, that I again copied Gramma Jo’s formula for marches, pledges and opening songs.  What a wonderful tradition I learned there.

Remembering Corinth, Part 6-Dirty Bucks and a Sawmill

DFH Volume 1 Issue 15

Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s.  Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA.  He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin.  He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.

Part 6 – Dirty Bucks and a Sawmill

What makes a small town so compelling?  Sometimes it’s the time in which you find yourself there.  Or maybe it’s a local custom that is new and interesting.  And yet, perhaps it’s the location of a special place that keeps drawing you back time after time.  Corinth was all three of these things.  So here I am, a 5th grader in the late 50’s trying to find where I belonged in my adopted town and with the changing, rock-n-roll culture swirling around me.  I took a leap and begged my Mom to buy me a pair of dirty bucks.  Hey, if they were good enough for Pat Boone, they were good enough for me.  I strutted around in them until one day they got scuffed.  I panicked and then realized that they were supposed to be “dirty,” so I relaxed and enjoyed my venture into 50’s fashion even if I was way up here in northern NY.  I also discovered a unique custom in Corinth—May Day.  According to tradition, we would find little baskets, fill them with homemade goodies or candies to deliver to special people around town on May 1st.  But here’s the trick: it’s a secret who they are from.  So you sneak up to the door, deposit the May basket on the porch, ring the doorbell and run.  The idea is to hide nearby to see the person’s surprise to find the unexpected treat.  I remember, in particular, that we gave one to a very sweet lady from the church, Aunt Daisy, and she was so pleased to be remembered.  What a loving tradition…I still wish we did that.  My other remembrance was the times I spent just outside of town at the Dayton Brothers sawmill.  What an awesome place that was, with the tower of sawdust, the piles of wooden beams perfect for hide-and-seek, the sounds of the saw cutting the trees into long planks and, always, the friendly greetings from my uncles, Paul & Chip.  I adored those two men, and they returned my admiration with open arms and warm smiles.  My visits there were magical and I would go as often as I could. 

Dayton Brothers Sawmill 1955

Remembering Corinth-Part 5, Daily Life In Corinth

DFH Volume 1 Issue 14

Remembering Corinth, by Dave Hayes, is a ten-part series about Dave’s remembrances of Corinth in the late ‘50s.  Dave, a retired elementary teacher and guidance counselor (36 years), and part time adjunct professor in the Counseling Dept. at nearby West Chester Univ. (24 years-8 after his “first” retirement) lives in Pottstown, PA.  He and his wife, Kathleen, had four children, Heather, Jeremy, Emily (d.2008) and Benjamin.  He descends from Wilber Sr. as follows: Wilber Sr., Rev. Charles “Chop” Dayton, Isabelle “Izzie” [Dayton] Hayes, David Hayes.

Part 5 – Daily Life in Corinth

We soon settled into a comfortable pattern of daily life in Corinth.  We walked up the hill to school each day and Mom went to work in Ballston Spa.  Since I was in 4th grade, I was downstairs in the school and then “graduated” to the upstairs when school started the next year, and I was in 5th.  Another big deal in 5th grade was that we studied French with lessons on the intercom, as we filled in our workbooks in the classroom.  From time to time, I would see and wave at Jimmy in the hallways or at lunch and, perhaps, get a glimpse of Keith & Cammie, both two years behind me.  Often I would stop at Aunt Lib’s on the way home from school, and she would give me a snack of cookies & milk while we chatted about school or church or our family.  Those were very sweet times with her, and she was a special lady!  Another memory involved a field trip our class took to local factories—a cement factory and a Coca Cola bottling factory.  It was fun seeing mass production and machines that perform tasks over and over without tiring.  I even think I talked my Mom into being a chaperone on that one!  One other school memory I have is the time that we had a town-wide air raid drill.  We were instructed to leave school, walk home quickly and stay inside for a prescribed amount of time.  It was a little eerie walking home from school with very little traffic and no one out and around.  Mom decided that we could cut our inside time short, load the car and head north to visit Uncle John and Aunt Dorrie (Dayton) Lamos near Plattsburgh for the weekend.  So much for following directions!