C. David McVay’s BiographyI was born on a Tuesday and dedicated to the Lord the following Sunday at the local Nazarene Church in Mount Vernon, Ohio by Pastor Fredrick, a life-long friend of Dad. When I was six, Dad was holding a revival for Dr. Fredrick’s church. After the service, one evening, the snacks were brought out to the dinner table. The Fredricks and Mom loved limburger cheese, except Dad & me (It tasted rotten and gross). Dr. Fredrick asked Dad to bless the food. That moment was the first and last time my Father refused to pray over anything God had given us. Dad’s comment was “How can I ask God to bless rotten food?” From the time I was born until I turned six years old, I was literally with my parents 24/7. If my parents were to go shopping, visiting, working or attending church, I was with them. My life during those beginning years was built around Dad & Mom, the church and our church friends. I don’t remember being bored; however, my lifestyle during the first 6 years, had some interesting times. My first recollection of life was right around 3 years old. I was climbing upon the refrigerator where the cookie jar was located to get a few cookies and, of course, I fell down, broke the cookie jar and destroyed the cookies. I received a light paddling for my disobedience. Within a few minutes, Mom was making fresh cookies. To this day, I don’t know whether I was spoiled or my parents were teaching me unconditional love, maybe both? As I mentioned earlier, we lived in Tucson from September through May. We would then go to the South and Midwest conducting revivals. Dad had approximately twenty sermons prepared for each work cycle. Because I would talk to anyone close by during the services, I was delegated to set on the front row. After service in Louisville, Kentucky, Dad very timidly asked me “if I would do him a favor”. Of course I said “Yes”. His request was that during his sermon, I would not mouth his words. I had memorized each of his sermons. I was so proud! Dad was the real deal and believed in what he had to say and sing. If he was asked to speak, preach or sing, he never asked the amount of honorarium he would receive, he would go anywhere. That is one of the reasons we had very little money, yet enough to live on. Believe me; I never received his gift of mission with no thought of being paid. Probably, the largest summer camp Dad took part in was the Circleville Camp Meeting and Camp Sycor, both located in Ohio. One winter, Mom started teaching me a new song; the name was “I’m just a little boy named David”. I learned the song so well I could sing it backwards. Little did I know what my parents had in store for me? One evening at the Circleville Camp, I was talking with Dad just prior to him walking up the stairs to begin his sermon. He pointed out that Mom was sitting at the Grand Piano; he took me over to the chair and microphone and asked me to stand on the chair and sing my song “I’m just a little boy named David”. I have never been so terrified. I didn’t realize that when you are 5 years old, one can get away with…falling off the chair, crying, laughing, anything will make the 7000+ people in the congregation enjoy the show. From that point on, I was a part of the program. When I was older, the three of us sang as a trio. I couldn’t wait for my part. Psychologist’s claim that from 0-6 years old, our learning curve is immense. We learn, or should learn values, morals, cultures and the graciousness to accept others that are different from us. My head is shaped similar to a football. My parents would take me to a barber school and for 25 cents receive a haircut. The apprentice barber would feel my head and call the instructor for assistance; the instructor would cut my hair correctly. I was told by my parents that my hair was so thick; I needed a “Pro” to style my hair. They never belittled me. My Mother bought “Day old” bread for half the fresh price. Why, I ask; because a couple of days provide bread products chewy texture and more flavors. Bread is almost perfect when one must cut a little mold off of the grain product. Mom said avocados are tastier when they have a black surface and dark and soft inside. My parents were always looking for a way to save money on food costs. As you can tell, I never wanted for food; however, because of our low income, welfare commodity provided us with pinto beans, masa, butter, lard, flour, etc. One morning, during prayer time, Dad was thanking God for all that we had and asked God for a personal desire, and that was meat. That afternoon, Busby Meat Packing Company on 12th Avenue called and told us we had won a side of a beef. That is what I call a faith builder! Christmas was a great and special time. We had so many traditions, i.e. Mom and I would go out for a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve about 5:00pm. If the salesperson was still there, Mom would offer 50 cents for her choice of tree. Generally speaking, no one would be there and Mom would thank God for the “Gleaning”. Mom & Dad would only buy icicles for our Christmas tree about every ten years. We would keep the pieces until they were less than one inch long! My education began at home with English, History and Arithmetic. For example, I was taught the three “there’s” (there, their and they’re) and the definitions. At the time, Arizona state law read that all children from the age of six to fifteen years old must attend school. Home schooling was “illegal” and, of course, my parents were too poor to send me to a private or Parochial School. After my first day of school at Mission View Elementary, I announced to my parents that I would not attend school any longer. My parents convinced me with word and belt that I would be attending school. The make-up of the students were 70% Hispanic, 30% Native American and a few Caucasians. The first months were very difficult. I was not used to being around children, particularly those that were of a different skin color and more importantly, a different culture. Fighting with other children was discouraged by my parents. I was taught to “Turn the other cheek.” That concept never worked for me so I learned how to use my strengths. Every kid at Mission View was faster than me including girls. I was strong, but extremely slow. My style was to back the opponent in the corner, hit and kick until I won (maybe). The other students finally learned to accept me for who I was and vice versa. One of the greatest lessons I learned in elementary school was the quality of the individual, not the color of their skin. (I think someone well-known said the same thing). I loved eating burros for lunch and most of my friends in elementary school loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Mom would make one peanut butter sandwich of which I would trade for two bean burros. I would not trade my elementary school experience for anything. Believe it or not, I was used to thinking about what I read and coming up with theories. We didn’t own a television, computer games and very little social life with peers. Around 10 yrs. Old, I began the process of writing my thoughts even though I have never kept a diary particularly because my Dad had said “There are things you think that probably should not be vocalized or written”. My list included, but not limited to:
- I would do almost anything to get my own way (probably selfish partially because I was an only child from elderly parents). If my parents had been wealthy, I would have been a completely spoiled brat.
- I was a good reader and began to learn the concept of critical thinking at an early age. I read the Bible, comic books, animal books such as all the Black Stallion collection by Walter Farley, and Popular Dogs, etc. I have always been in love with dogs and horses.
- My first goal was to own a horse. I knew that my parents could not help me financially, nor did we have a stall to keep the horse. I needed to make money and find a location for the horse. I sought the counsel of my parents and they recommended I sell “All Occasion Cards” and at Christmas time, sell “Christmas Cards”. I hooked up with a card company and started walking door to door near my house. With no idea of what to say, I simply said to the person who answered the door “Would you like to buy all occasion cards? They said no and I walked to the next house. I got the same answer for two hours. Tired and defeated, I went home. My parents asked me how I did and I told them “Good, I just need to work on my presentation”. My simple presentation was a hit. Here it is….Would you like to help me buy my first horse by purchasing a box or two of these beautiful All Occasion Cards? This presentation is great when your age is between 7 and 12 years old. I sold more cards that year than any other salesperson.
- I saved $52.00 and bought an old gelding for $27.00 from neighbors. They had extra stalls and agreed to feed “Butch” twice a day if I paid for the feed.
- I started selling the daily newspaper at a bar by the name of The Chandelier with a large rooster on top of the building. The bar was located at the front of Southgate Shopping Center on 6th Avenue. I found that people drinking were extremely generous if you had a presentation and were kind. Butch became a fat horse until his death. (There is nothing better looking than a chunky quarter horse).