David Lee Thompson grew up in Bowen Creek, West Virginia. After serving his country during the Vietnam Era, he graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, with an M.A. in education. Now retired from teaching, he lives in Salt Rock, West Virginia, with his wife, Janet. They have two sons and two grandsons.
In June 1999, David retired from teaching. In the fall, while his wife, Janet, was still teaching, he wrote a fifty-four-page booklet entitled Cry Like a Baby. It contained nine stories about his early years in Bowen Creek, West Virginia, with his parents, two brothers, and three sisters. Eight copies were comb bound at Office Depot: one each for his five siblings and two sons and one for himself. David couldn't afford more. At Christmastime, copies were given to those mentioned.
Shortly thereafter, David began receiving phone calls, letters, and email from his brothers and sisters, sons, nieces and nephews, and from friends of all. Everyone was complimentary, and some wanted their own personal copy, signed. Although David was elated with everyone's reaction, he still wasn't satisfied with what he'd done. The autumn of 1999 hadn't been enough time to have his say.
In January 2001, there was an advertisement in the newspaper about a life-writing class being taught at the Huntington Museum of Art, with John Patrick Grace, Ph.D., of Publishers Place as instructor. Janet said, "Here's your chance to write more." Consequently, David enrolled in the January class and the one in the fall of 2001 as well. Shortly thereafter, he added a great deal to the original nine chapters, wrote four new chapters, a lengthy introduction, and an epilogue. What had begun as a fifty-four-page booklet eventually transformed into a 211-page memoir entitled River of Memories: An Appalachian Boyhood.