Preston Browning Jr. entered the world in 1929, a few months before the Crash and the onset of the Great Depression. In Culpeper, Virginia, Browning grew up amid the pervasive poverty of the times where he recalls being labeled by his father as the world’s worst grouch, led in song by Miss Lizzy Lovell—who banged on the piano at the local Episcopal church, and seated astride a cow who needed a lot of convincing to take him for a ride around the pasture beyond his house.
With humor and exceptional detail, Browning shares a lively memoir that focuses on his coming-of-age journey and subsequent experiences in the rural South during the 1930s and 1940s, providing a compelling glimpse into how his family and others helped shape his emerging sense of self, his convictions, and his character. While providing snippets about the era and sketches of more than twenty relatives and ancestors that include an amusing retelling about his Uncle Sweets’ experiences at a hoochie-coochie show, Browning details the fascinating legacy of his Southern upbringing during a time when a struggle for racial, economic, and social justice prevailed in America.
In this inspiring memoir, a Southerner reminisces about small-town Virginia before, during, and after the Great Depression through entertaining stories about his unconventional ancestors, his immediate family, and his own experiences.