Maryann Carver, Raymond Carver’s first wife:
I was almost fifteen. I was working at my first real job at a place called the Spudnut Shop, a doughnut store, in Union Gap, Washington, June of 1955. This very good looking young man walked in with his younger brother and sat down on a stool. The moment I saw him I had this incredible intuition that he was going to be the father of my children. Of course, in those days I didn’t know about past lives, and that sort of thing. We just looked at each other and smiled.
Ray always wanted to be a writer, from the third grade on. He had been taking a home-study course from the Palmer Institute of Writing, paid for by his father who worked at a lumber mill. Ray would do those assignments religiously, and feel very guilty if he skipped any. I had a reading list of twenty books for summer break from school—Tolstoy, Flaubert and Chekhov. Ray would come to the library with me and, well, he had never heard of these writers before. I told him what they were about, explained to him their styles and so forth. He began to realize there was more to read than Thomas Costain and Edgar Rice Burroughs.