Perry, George Sessions
- Garna L. Christian
Perry, George Sessions (05 May 1910–1956), novelist, war correspondent, and contributor to the leading popular magazines of his time, was born in Rockdale, Texas, the only son of Andrew Perry, a businessman, and Laura Perry. Young George began life in relative affluence in the "Puddin' Ridge" section of the central Texas town, as his father owned several properties, including the principal drugstore, and his mother set the social tone of the community. Although Perry later wrote pessimistically of his childhood, he owned a pony, celebrated Cinco de Mayo each birthday, and apparently mixed well with local children and parents. This period of his life ended abruptly with the death of his father in 1922, and the suicide of his mother, following a failed remarriage, in 1923. George fell into the custody of his maternal grandmother, Mai Van de Venter, immortalized in fiction as "Granny Van," and an uncle, Harry Perry, who managed the limited estate. By his own account, George became a troubled youth and was enrolled at Allen Academy in Bryan. He returned sufficiently disciplined to graduate from the local high school, engaging in team sports and cheerleading, and taking up reporting and creative writing. Perry then matriculated for a year at Southwestern University in nearby Georgetown, the first of three frustrated attempts at a college education. There he met Claire Hodges, daughter of a Beaumont medical doctor, whom he married nearly a decade later....