Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seeing Double: Dayle Allen Shockley

Dayle (on left) with twin, Gayle at nine months

No, you are not seeing double, Dayle is a twin to Gayle! And while this is about Dayle, when you talk about one child, the other one is right there. Dayle has some wonderful memories, and she and Gayle also had their share of fears(read about it.) But like a good story that Dayle can tell, Dayle's scary story has a happy ending to her kid fear factor.

Dayle's childhood was the basis for some pretty solid values, which contributed to her Amy Award-winning editorial in 2001. I think you will love meeting Dayle(as I did) and at the end of this interview, look for the book she is offering in a drawing to a reader who leaves a comment. Let's read about the Delightful Dayle!:

Childhood Ambition: To abolish school.

Fondest Memory (then):
I should preface everything by saying that I have an identical twin sister, Gayle. We did everything together. Looked alike. Dressed alike. Talked alike. So when you ask about “my” childhood, it will almost always include her.

Dayle (right), Elaine and Gayle on Easter Sunday

One of my fondest memories was waking up one Christmas morning and discovering that my mother had painstakingly sewed a fabulous wardrobe for my and Gayle’s Tammy dolls. The garments were exquisite, and I still have every one of them.

Biggest Challenge as a Child:

Gayle and I were about five years old when we developed an unnatural fear of dogs. It sounds like a small thing, but it was very debilitating. When you’re deathly afraid of anything, it’s a very scary and unforgettable experience, and often embarrassing. Many of our friends had dogs, but we couldn’t even go for a visit without them having to lock the poor dog up somewhere.

For a child, it was a heavy burden to carry. There were no leash laws back then, so any outdoor activity was accompanied by a bit of hesitation. We were afraid to even ride our bikes through the neighborhood, lest a dog suddenly appear. But, praise God, we overcame this challenge around the age of 11. I can still remember the name of the dog who managed to win over our trust—Tina, a beautiful boxer with sad eyes. For some reason, Tina captured our hearts and from that magical moment on, our fear of dogs ceased; we’ve both loved dogs ever since.

My First Job:

I was still in high-school when I worked evenings at a local five-and-dime store during the Christmas season. I hated every minute of it. I realized right then that retail was not in my future.

Childhood Indulgence:

Buying soft-serve lemon ice-cream cones from the ice-cream truck that came through the neighborhood. I’ve never tasted anything like it.

Dayle at 18 months with Gayle (Can you guess who Dayle is?)

Favorite Outfit as a Child:

My mother was an expert seamstress (still is) and made most of our clothes as children and teenagers. I could never pick just one outfit as a favorite; I seriously thought they were all fabulous.

Dayle with Mom, her dress designer, and her sisters

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show:

We never had a television in our home, growing up. As a child, I was too busy playing to even notice. As a teen, I sometimes felt deprived. But Daddy stood firm in his decision. Looking back, I’m grateful, because I learned to do more productive things with my time. While I have a television today, I still feel that it steals so much valuable time from both adults and children.

Dayle at 11 months (left) with Dad

Favorite Childhood Book:

As a youngster, I absolutely adored The Trolley Car Family by Eleanor Clymer, a charming story about a family who makes their home in a trolley car. I don’t know how many times Mother read the book to us, but hundreds might not be an exaggeration. In later years, I re-read it dozens of times. I never grew tired of it. When my daughter was born, it was one of the many books I read to her, and I plan to read it to my grandchildren, should the Lord bless me with such treasures.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime:

There are dozens I could name, but playing paper dolls with Gayle has to rank #1. We cut all sorts of “people” out of the Sears catalog, and spent hours shuffling them back and forth in their own little world. In the summertime, we would stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing paper dolls.

Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child?

Yes, on both accounts. I always enjoyed the act of writing, the sound of pen to paper, although I never dreamed I’d grow up to be a “real” writer.

Childhood Hero:

My older sister, Elaine. I thought she was the smartest, kindest, most beautiful, most talented sister in the world. I still think that and she remains my hero today.

Dayle on left with hero sister, Elaine

Childhood Pets?

I was about 12 when we got an adorable black cock-a-poo puppy and named her Snoozy. The cutest thing you ever saw.

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?

As a child, I loved to read. Most Saturdays found us headed to the library, where I would check out a mountain of books—mostly by Beverly Cleary. I was in second or third grade when, in an attempt to imitate Cleary, I penned my very first short story, which I still have. It wasn’t very good, but we all have to start somewhere.

Dayle is an award-winning writer whose byline has appeared on more than 200 articles and essays in national and regional publications, including The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Beaumont Enterprise, Southern Families Magazine, Houston Woman, Guideposts, Focus on the Family, Moody Magazine, Catholic Digest, Standard, Power for Living, and Christian Home & School, and online at dallasnews.com, o8sis.com, wvec.com, jewishworldreview.com, homebodies.org, adopt.org, newsandopinion.com, safamily.org.za, motheraid.com, menslife.org, mare.org, witandwisdom.org, lovetakestime.com, adoptionjewels.org, pe.com, and drlaura.com.

In addition to her freelance writing, Dayle is the author of three books and has contributed to sixteen other works, including multiple Chicken Soup titles. Since 1999, Dayle has been a freelance contributor to The Dallas Morning News and received an Amy Writing Award for her editorial, “Prayer Returns to Front,” in 2001.

In January 2008, Dayle's husband retired, following a 33-year career as a captain in Houston's Fire Department. Dayle followed suit in February and feels blessed to be able to put writing on the front burner for the first time in 21 years. She and Stan just celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary in August. They have one grown daughter.

Dayle’s web site

Dayle’s writing blog
When she isn’t writing, gardening, traveling in an RV with hubby, or playing Scrabble with her twin sister, Dayle occasionally spends time blogging about various writing topics—the good, the bad, and the downright deplorable.

Dayle’s personal ramblings

Books by Dayle Shockley:

Whispers From Heaven contains thirty-four short devotions, guaranteed to refresh a sagging spirit and breathe new life into a busy schedule. Each story will encourage you to open the windows of your heart and embrace the beauty contained in an ordinary day.

WIN SILVER LININGS! Leave a comment (with your contact--your nameAT your ISP.com)and we'll draw a winner for this book on September 10th!
NEWS FLASH!!! SHAR MACLAREN has won Dayle's book!

Silver Linings is a collection of essays that will warm your heart when you find yourself in the midst of a difficult season. Each story will help you see that in every trial, there is something to be gained. It may not be tangible, or immediately apparent, but with a little effort, a silver lining can be discovered.

Home Improvement: 9 Steps to Living a Joyful Life
Home Improvement will motivate you to:

Establish a personal relationship with God.

Dump disappointments into a “trash bag.”

Keep a cheerful attitude.

Rid yourself of emotional baggage.

Nourish your spiritual self.

Be the best spouse you can be.

Maintain appropriate boundaries.

Fulfill the second-greatest commandment.

Make time for rest and relaxation.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a great book!

Please enter me in the contest!

Thank you,

Becky C.


SLW said...

I have one of her books. Throughly enjoyed reading it. Would be a pleasure to win one and read it as well.

Shana W.

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Thanks for letting us peek into your life, Dayle. I never knew you were a twin!

Thanks, Crystal!

Rambling On said...

Recalling childhood memories was loads of fun. Thanks to Crystal for including me, and thanks to all of you for your generous comments.

SHARLENE said...

Oh, what a great interview! Crystal, this blog is fabulous. So fun to hear about everyone's childhoods.

Please enter my name in the drawing. Sounds like a great book, Dayle!

Joy Hugs,

Gayle said...

Wow. What cute kids! Oops. I think one of them is ME! :-) Indeed, what fun it is being a twin...even after all these years. P. S. I have all the books, and they're all wonderful reading.

Unknown said...

I love the paper doll story. I read it to my girls and their jaws dropped, it was almost like a foreign language to them. My hubby offered to go get them some catalogs, but they declined and said they preferred their Barbies. ;) It would be nice though, if kids had to use their imaginations like that these days.

Crystal Laine said...

I loved the paper dolls, too, Heather!

Gayle! I'm so delighted that you left a comment--the other half of most of the photos! You girls were so cute--and are still cute!

Thank you so much, Dayle, for letting me share your story.

Crystal Laine said...

Shar MacLaren has won Dayle's book! Thanks to everyone who entered comments. We so much appreciated every one.