I don't remember either of my parents ever reading me a story—perhaps that's why I've made up so many. They were good parents, but just not story readers. In 1936, when I was born, the Depression sat heavily on all but the most fortunate, a group that didn't include us. My McMurtry grandparents were both still alive, and my mother and father and I lived in their house, which made for frequent difficulties. Sometimes there was a cook and a resident cowboy—where they bunked, I'm not sure. The fifty yards or so between the house and the barn boiled with poultry. My first enemies were hens, roosters, peacocks, turkeys. We ate lots of the hens, but our consumption of turkeys, peacocks, and roosters was, to my young mind, inexcusably slow.
I believe my grandfather, William Jefferson McMurtry, who died when I was four, did tell me stories, but they were all stories about his adventures as a Texas pioneer and, as far as I can remember, did not include imaginary beings, such as one might find in Grimm or Anderson.