The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Favorite story is about five monkeys


David Stevens

Joan Clayton retired from newspaper column writing last month. She is 85 and decided it was time to seek new adventure.

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She’s had plenty adventure already, especially when she taught elementary school for 31 years.

“... My children in my classroom taught me a lot about life and relationships instead of me teaching them,” she reports.

My favorite Clayton story involved five monkeys. Actually, it was one monkey, her husband Emmitt and their three boys.

They arrived at their Portales home one day to find a monkey in a tree. “We don’t know where it came from,” she said.

Of course, it had to be captured. And so one of the boys scooted up the tree, which inspired the monkey to hop up on the house.

One of the guys grabbed a ladder and headed for the roof, arriving just in time for the monkey to climb to a different tree.

Joan Clayton stayed on the ground throughout, enjoying the show.

“I’ve never seen so many monkeys climbing around outside,” she said.

The monkey got away, she never saw it again, but the adventures have kept coming.

I asked her a few questions about her life, and here’s a sampling of what she had to say.

She owns about 20 pair of shoes. “So they can match my wardrobe,” of course.

She offers sound advice: “Be nice to everyone.”

She remembers well her first school teacher: “She spanked me with a ruler!”

Her favorite book: “‘Life is Delicious.’ Because I wrote it!”

Her greatest fear: “My computer breaking down.”

She had a celebrity encounter at an airport once.

“I saw Adam Cartwright of "Bonanza” (Pernell Roberts), but he said ‘No’ when I asked for his autograph.”

Mostly she likes to talk about Emmitt, her husband of 64 years, who died May 1, 2013.

She describes him as, “handsome. (He) said ‘I love you,’ to me every day.”

The wedding ring he gave her is her most prized possession.

He never asked her to marry him — she asked him to marry her.

They met in high school. “All the girls wanted him, but he only wanted me,” she said.

David Stevens is editor for Clovis Media Inc. If you’d like to participate in his “I have a few questions” surveys, contact him at:

[email protected]


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