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"My parents were loving... we just didn't have any money."

"I called my mother my 'little angel.' She was very vulnerable."

"My mother did it all. She got me all those things. I still don't know how she did it, but she did."

"I remember, one evening, we had barely enough gas in the car for my dad to get to work the next day, so he refused to let me go to a club. My mother got me to sneak out of the window and meet her outside and then we drove off. He was pretty angry when we got back."

"I did a good job too (of hiding her poverty from friends at school). But you know what? I recognized as a kid that I wasn't the worst off. My mother had a lot of pride. We never went to school dirty or in ripped clothes. I always think of 'Coat of Many Colors,' the Dolly Parton song? So when I would see another kid that was dirty, I knew they didn't have the loving parents I had."

"They weren't living vicariously through me or anything like that. I think the only desperation was to have a child that succeeded. "It's like, if you have an Olympic athlete for a child, you are going to bite your fingers to the bone, wanting that child to succeed."

"My parents were big fans of country, and that's all they listened to. Because it was a small town and there was only one radio station, which was multi-format, I got to hear all the music that was happening. I was wearing bell-bottoms, really colorful, tight hip-huggers. My mother was wearing beehive hairdos. I remember very clearly The Mamas And The Papas and The Carpenters, who were big for me, and Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight...I loved it. In retrospect, it was one of the better times for music."

"Yes, you can lose somebody overnight, yes, your whole life can be turned upside down. Life is short. It can come and go like a feather in the wind."

"For a long time, I didn't know which one of them to miss. How do you miss two people at once?"

"I never felt that life was over during that time and the family is much closer because of it. Time is a great healer and you've got to stop wishing for what will never happen. Mom and dad will never be here to celebrate my success.''

I used to feel their presence all the time. They would always come to me in my dreams. Then there was a time when I had this really strange dream - this was before I left Huntsville to get my recording contract - that in one way or another everything just seemed settled and okay and they just went on their way. I don't know anything about what happens after death, but whatever it is, they're doing it now. They just kind of released themselves and they were gone, and it was a very nice feeling of relie£ I guess it was just my own final letting go."

"That all seems like another lifetime ago, so far away, but it's never that far removed that I couldn't do it again. And there's a comfort there. I think if you are ever in a desperate situation and you get through it, you have a confidence in life that you would otherwise not have. I realize that no matter what I ever lose, I'll be able to manage."

"I'm just so happy that my parents' efforts and my family's efforts haven't been in vain. I know that my siblings are feeling like big winners right now."

childhood | being a girl | deerhurst |

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