In a moving account of his early years, Robison describes how he was born into poverty. His mother was 40 and a nurse; his father, an alcoholic who forced himself onto his mother.
Unable to care for her son, Robison’s mother arranged for a local minister and his wife to take in the child.
“Thinking they would be able to adopt me, they kept me for five years,” Robison wrote. “At that age, I experienced one of the most traumatic events one might ever imagine when my mother came to take me back. As though it happened yesterday, I can still feel my fingernails dragging across the hardwood floor as she pulled me out from under the bed where I was hiding. While Rev. and Mrs. Hale wept convulsively, my mother and I left the house and literally hitchhiked 175 miles from Houston to Austin.”
Robison says he carried a small cardboard suitcase that he keeps in his office.
Life with his mother was difficult – he was lonely, they moved frequently and lived in substandard housing. He goes on, however, to find strength and determination within himself. Somehow, he writes, he did not become embittered.
Robison told the dramatic story of his life in three parts this summer: