Ralph Stanley and his brother Carter were born in rural Virginia in the late 1920s. They lived through the Depression, but it didn’t affect them much since they lived on a high ridge, where their parents grew much of their own food, and their mother made their clothes. Ralph says in his memoir Man of Constant Sorrow:
The worst of it was over by the time I was old enough to remember much. Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, when I was five and already in school. So we had the Works Progress Administration and other government welfare programs coming in to help people out. Our family was never involved in that, either with the work or the welfare. We didn’t pay much attention to what they was doing or what they was all about. We’d see the WPA crews by the roadside, leaning on their shovels and smoking cigarettes. They always looked to be taking breaks and goofing off. We was more used to hard work, and we thought they was soft and lazy. We had our own name for them: the “We Piddle Around” boys.
I really loved the book and highly recommend it.Published in