From the August 2011 magazine.

August 2011: Downhill Slide

She went into her first beer joint at the age of four and life was never the same

"I was off my feet, sure, but there was nothing wrong with my beer and vodka lifting arm."

I’m the youngest in a family of eight children. My mother was 46 when she had me and, by that point, most of my brothers and sisters were grown. I was raised during the Depression, Mom was a United Baptist teetotaler and, from what I’ve heard, when he was young, my father was a wild one. I’ve often wondered whether it was God or my mother who put him straight.

As the baby, I was protected and spoiled. I loved my three big sisters, but idolized my big brothers. My favorite was Herman. One of the earliest and clearest memories of my childhood was the day my brother was watching me when my mom had gone to her father’s funeral. I couldn’t have been more than four or five at the time, but I remember vividly when Herman told me that, if I promised not to tell Mom, he would take me to the “beer joint.” I didn’t know what that was, but I knew he went often and seemed to like it. I was so excited and promised not to tell.

-- Anonymous

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