The Early Years: A Memoir
by Rachel G. Carrington

"I knew he directed his question at me, but I was so shy, and remembering my parent's admonition about talking to boys, I walked on past without answering."

Life can take the most unexpected turns, a fact that the author readily attests to in her engaging memoir. Growing up as the oldest child in a large but poor family in Kentucky during the 1930s and '40s, she never expected to be able to go to college. Being selected for a scholarship that would pay her way through school seemed to be a ticket to a promising career, but there was a much different future ahead of her than she could have ever anticipated.

While in church for a prayer meeting, she feels what she at first assumes are beetles hitting her hair as they are buzzing around the sanctuary. Instead, they are wads of paper being tossed at her from the back of the room by a handsome stranger. Despite her initial attraction to him, the odds seem stacked against them. She is sixteen, and he is twenty-five and married! However, as she hears his story of his wife's repeated unfaithfulness, her heart softens toward him. Still, there are tremendous social and legal barriers that must be surmounted before they can become husband and wife, not the least of which are her parents, who at one point lock her out of the house and then later attempt to lock her in to keep the two apart.

Possibly one of the most interesting features of the book is the contrast in lifestyle and attitudes it shows between "city folk" of small town Kentucky, country folk, and those who live in the big city of Cincinnati. But it is Carringtons' entertaining, romantic, and well-written story of her unexpected discovery of the man who will become her life partner that makes this book the most enjoyable.

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