BILLY MARSHALL STONEKING

Who Do You Think You Are?

  I n   t h e   b e g i n n i n g . . .

ABOVE: The hospital as it looked when I was born. 

I was born in Orlando, Florida, in 1947 - the only son of a wandering West Virginia couple. The name on my birth certificate: William Randolph Marshall. "Randolph" was my sister's idea - naming rights; her favorite movie actor at the time was Randolph Scott. I guess I was lucky it wasn't Red Buttons or Monty Wooley. My other namesake was Colonel William Hall, who would later become aide de camp to President Kennedy. He gave me a miniature bottle of whisky on the occasion of my birth -"to be opened on your 21st birthday".  My mother put it away in a safe place, but by the time I had attained the age of 21 the whisky had evaporated. Had I been predisposed to cynicsim or been more superstitious I could have easily interpreted that as an omen, or believed it to be some kind of indication as to the kind of life I could expect - but overall I've had a very hopeful character. We only stayed in Orlando til I was six months old,  then we moved to Birmingham, Alabama...