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A Boy From Down East Paperback – March 5, 2014
About the Author
Larry B Gray grew up in Eastern North Carolina in the small rural town of Aurora. His early years were spent working on his grandparents' tobacco farm and exploring his world of family, friends and school. After marrying his high school sweetheart in 1972, he moved to Lakeland, Florida where he spent his adult years raising a beautiful family and working in the citrus industry with over 39 years of manufacturing management experience, selling real estate and being a writer wannabe, all at the same time. In his spare time he attended and graduated from Florida Southern College while working full time and starting a family. He is still married to his high school sweetheart and has 3 beautiful children and two wonderful grandchildren. Life is not always easy but in the scheme of things it is fun and gets better every day. Come join him on this great adventure, remembering the past and building the future.
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His earliest memories were spending the summers at his grandparents' farm working on the tobacco fields. I particularly enjoyed reading about the warmth of the family and the grandparents. His Grandmomma would cook on a gas and a wood stove. Microwaves didn't exist then and wood had to be cut all year round to supply the stove. Other memories were from a couple of Sundays when the church had "dinner on the grounds." The tables groaned under the weight of "platters of ham, chicken, beef, corn . . . coconut cakes, German chocolate cake . . . and every kind of pie you could want." Reading this made me hungry.
What I came away with is a quiet, yet well lived life. Larry Gray enjoyed his life and appreciated the small moments that to him were great adventures. It makes me ponder about seeking adventures in far away lands, when true adventures may happen in our own backyard.
What captured me throughout is the closeness of his family and the love for his wife. It is a love story that began in high school and has lasted so far for 41 years. That is a true achievement.
A Boy From Down East is a most enjoyable book that will bring up memories within each one of us.
I particularly enjoyed the two rattlesnake tales on Gray's grandparent's farm and the tender love story of how he met and wooed his wife, and still woos her after forty years of marriage.
For readers who grew up during the '50's and '60's and/or in a small farming community A Boy From Down East is very nostalgic. For others it is a picturesque look into history or a cherished remembrance of days gone by. But, in all cases, Gray's memoir is an absolute delight to read.
This tale just naturally inspires one's own trip down memory lane, complete with all the sights, sounds, smells tastes and feelings. It certainly did for me. I loved this book and most definitely recommend A Boy From Down East to everyone!
And yet, on almost every page, I found similarities to the way I grew up. Sometimes, the memories were nostalgic, sometimes I laughed out loud when I remembered a similar incident from my past. I, too, could run around the woods without worrying about safety. We had small family-owned grocery stores, where you could buy a piece of candy for 5 cents, a small town library, and a bus with groceries, which came by once a week. Perhaps it was the fact that we grew up during the same time, in the fifties and sixties, in a small rural environment that accounted for the surprising similarities in our childhood. In a small town, at that time, life wasn’t always easy but seemed, somehow, simpler. And compared to the anonymity of big towns and cities, everyone knew each other, and people did care for one another.
The stories, however, didn’t just remind me of my own childhood but gave me a very vivid picture of a time and place in a country I only got to know later when I moved her in the seventies. All in all, a very interesting and enjoyable book I can only recommend.