My mother met my father when they both worked at the Hay Adams hotel. She was a waitress in the coffee shop. [She was born] in 1914 in Greene County, Virginia, [and] came to D.C. in about 1934. She had left school after the tenth grade. She had several older sisters who worked in the hotel industry, but she started out as a housekeeper at an "old folks home" run by the Seventh Day Adventists. They are vegetarians, and she used to tell stories about how some of them ate meat on the sly, getting it from her, and making her promise not to tell.
Did your studies influence your thinking in any way?
It wasn't my studies, it was my life. My parents were my biggest influence. When Henry Miller's _Tropic of Cancer_ was finally published in the U.S., I remember reading a review of it in which the reviewer claimed that Miller was making it all up, and people really didn't do things like that. My feeling was that the reviewer didn't know anything about life, because I had heard the same kinds of stories as Miller told in his book, coming from my father as I grew up.
My father was a big fan of Harry Truman's and a lifelong democrat. He truly believed that the Republican Party was the party of the rich. He worked around them every day, and he always said that Republicans were better tippers than Democrats. But what they gave me was an understanding that there was a lot more going on than you read in the papers or saw on T.V.
Select this to read [the Whole Story].