From the May 2017 magazine.

Piggly Wiggly

Even as a kid, this small-town alcoholic couldn’t stop once he started. Now he can’t get enough of AA

I was born in Newborn, Tennessee. My father died when I was 2. He married my mother when she was 13. She had been an orphan in Tennessee. He was a farm laborer who had other children, so when he died, I had three brothers and three sisters, along with two half-sisters and two half-brothers. All of the half-siblings were older than my mother.

I started school at age 6. My first through fourth grade classes were taught in a one-room schoolhouse. On my first day of school, I got into a hot chocolate drinking contest and won. I then drank some more just to show off and I threw up. They nicknamed me “Piggly Wiggly.” My nickname stuck for a couple of years until the family moved away to a big city of about 600 in Cooter, Missouri. From there we moved to Caruthersville, population 12,000. They let us out of school there to work in the cotton fields. My sister Sue and I would work in the fields to help pay for books and supplies. Then they stopped letting us out of school to work, so I quit.

-- Charlie W.

California, USA

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