Author writes about growing up in Southeast Missouri

Friday, October 9, 2009
Eugene Munger will sign his book, "Momma, Don't Ya Want Me to Learn Nothin?", Saturday at Barnes and Noble.

Author Eugene Munger Jr. never said "I've always wanted to write a book." In fact, his new book, "Momma, Don't Ya Want Me to Learn Nothin? Reflections on a Young Man's Life," came about by accident. The book is a collection of stories about growing up in Southeast Missouri.

Munger began writing about his childhood memories after he retired from Shell Oil Co. and sent stories to friends.

Jane Stacy, who worked at Southeast Missouri State University, was one of the recipients. Dr. Frank Nickell, director of the Center for Regional History at Southeast, read some of the stories and thought they needed to be published in a book. Nickell called Munger and asked him about writing a book.

The book covers time during the 1940s and 1950s.

Munger had a hard time growing up. His parents divorced, and Munger and his mother, Ruth, moved to Cape Girardeau from Chaffee, Mo.

"My mother was my right arm," Munger said. "She was certainly the wind beneath my wings."

Ruth worked at a loan company and at the Cape Girardeau Public Library to support her and her son. Although many would classify Munger as having been poor, he said, "I never felt poor because I was a good student, a good athlete and I had a loving mother, friends and teachers."

Munger graduated from Central in 1952 and Southeast Missouri State College in 1956.

Southeast Missouri culture gave him a positive outlook on life. "These roots made me what I am today, and the honesty and work ethics of the people here are priceless," Munger said.

Munger will sign books from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Barnes and Noble.

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