I was born in the mountains of North Carolina of parents who were textile mill operatives a the time. My father, Tommy Ayers, and my mother, Billie Lou Buckner, had known their days of working tobacco and hooking rugs. My father, although only twenty-one when I was born, was a veteran of the fighting in Korea. The first year of my life we lived on a farm in Micaville, North Carolina, where the red-clay driveway grew so slippery that my mother feared sliding into the ditch every time it rained.

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Copyright © University of Georgia Press. This book chapter first appeared in Shapers of Southern History: Autobiographical Reflections.

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