A Boy From Down East by Larry B. Gray

A Boy From Down East


About the Book

Growing up in eastern North Carolina in a small rural community during the 1950’s and 1960’s was the best possible childhood you could wish for. Family, church, friends, school, and working on the farm was the center of my world.

I have often heard people say ‘if only I could change this or that of my past’ or ‘if only I knew then what I know now.’ I would not change anything because this is what made me who I am today.

This is a collection of stories of my childhood. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed remembering them.



Book Excerpt

I Could Dance

When I was in my early teen’s one of my favorite things to do was to listen to music. In the evenings I would turn on my portable transistor radio and crank up the volume

My favorite channel was WOWO Fort Wayne, Indiana which played Top 40 music 24 hours a day. Unlike today’s weak FM channels which have a limited range, stations on the old AM dial could blast music across vast distances and “WO-WO” was one of the best. With 50,000 watts of power and directional antennas this station blanketed the east coast with music especially at night. It would come in clearer than most of the small local stations and played a lot better music.

Another source for music was television. During the mid to late sixties the TV dance shows were on every Saturday afternoon. I used to watch all of them including Shindig, Hullabaloo, Where The Action Is and American Bandstand. Not only were they a source of the latest sounds but they were a way to learn the latest dance steps.

My kids can’t imagine it but back then I could dance. When I went to dances it was not to stand in the corner with the guys, it was to dance. I learned young if you can dance you can get with the girls and sooner or later there would be slow dances. Let’s face it, slow dancing with a girl is a lot more fun than standing around with a group of guys.

I used to have a lot of fun at the teen dances at the Legion Hut. There would be a record player and a lot of 45’s of all the latest and best songs. My favorite dance music was the Motown beat for fast dancing but there was nothing better than the Righteous Brothers for a good slow dance.

With the lights turned down low and hormones raging it couldn’t get much better than that. Little did I know.


Larry Gray 7-5-07


About the Author

I grew up in Eastern North Carolina in the small rural town of Aurora. My early years were spent working on my grandparents’ tobacco farm and exploring my world of family, friends and school.

After marrying my high school sweetheart in 1972, I moved to Lakeland, Florida where I spent my adult years raising a beautiful family and working in the citrus industry, selling real estate with my real estate partner and wife, Sara Gray, and being a writer wannabe. I attended and graduated from Florida Southern College while working full time and starting a family.

I am still married to my high school sweetheart and have 3 beautiful children and two wonderful grandchildren. Life is not always easy but in the scheme of things it is fun and gets better every day.


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