|I was born in Pickens, South Carolina, a "looooonngg"
time ago. When my seventy-fifth birthday "slapped me in the face" a few
weeks back, I realized just how long a time. Reality knocks you about a
bit when you understand you don't have 75 more years coming. Maybe 10.
Maybe 15. The Gantts and Bowers typically make it to their mid-80s,
some into their 90s. Daddad Bowers was three months past his 94th when
he left us. So, I'm feeling I've got a fair amount of years left to put
out a few more books.
Mama moved from Pickens to Columbia with five kids in 1942. Daddy stayed
behind. He never was the "Cadillac kind" so to speak. He and his brothers
were more into the moonshine pouring forth from upstate South Carolina.
Besides, it's tough prizin' the native born out of the Scots-Irish "hills
& hollers" of my beloved State. Mama was totally different. Strong
on education and religion, highly intelligent, dedicated to hard work to
do the best for her children. But, they were both great parents.
Eight years in Columbia and then on to Charleston in 1950. Ah, yes,
Charleston. Charleston High School and the PianoCade, the loves of my life
(yeah, I played a bit of piano). Rich, poor, SOB (Charlestonese), apartment
complex, the city, the school. It all "grows on you" in a way you can't
imagine. Only lived there about 15 years, graduated from CHS and have been
here in Columbia since 1968. But, Charleston is my true home and always
A "few" years in and out of the University of South Carolina. What a
great place! What a great school! I still love to just set foot on the
campus every month or so. Still frequent the Thomas Cooper library. I get
the same feeling I had the first
||time I visited the campus via "Boys State" in '58. My first Gamecocks
football game that fall. Big Bird, the Opus (10¢ draft), Maxcy Brotherhood,
ACC basketball games in the Frank McGuire days. Golf, golf, golf and a
host of other distractions which were so much easier to cope with than
And, oh, yeah ... girls.
Naturally, a less than stellar academic performance sent me into a two
year hitch in the Navy in the "Nam" era. Hammering on a Naval Station rooftop
in San Diego, I knew I had made a huge mistake not staying with the books.
But two years on the "Pacific pond" got my "mind right", and I got the
degree real quick upon discharge from Uncle Sam's military. Then a real
job with a major corporation for 30+ years. Marriage. Kids.
Divorce. Marriage again. Grandkids. Retirement. You know the drill.
And, here I am with the books.
I try to write a bit differently than most writers. I take boring subjects
and try to make them interesting by writing in a manner which can easily
be read by folks from 9 - 90. That is, from a third-grader to great-grandma.
I try not to bore you to death with dates and names and apologies and accusations.
I do write about what I consider to be "real" history. That is, "just the
facts, ma'am, just the facts". YOU take those facts and decide what they
mean. Just you. No historians or government agents needed to tell you how
to think. I write no justification of slavery, no cause(s) of Lincoln's
War, no apologia, no "why" certain events happened and no "lost causes".
You read my books and you decide; you determine how and why history
evolved as it did.