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Biography: Tammy Freeman

Tammy Freeman

Tammy Freeman was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania on April 1, 1977. Her mother, Melanie, was a teenaged runaway, who never married Tammy's father and raised Tammy on her own. When Tammy was fifteen, her mother was killed in a car accident and Tammy went to live with her grandmother, Eunice Freeman of Oxford.

After high school, Tammy attended The Atlanta College of Art on a partial scholarship. During her summer break in 1997, a homesick Tammy returned to Oxford and went to work at the Yoknapatawpha County Art Center, where she met and fell in love with a coworker. Even though the man was as taken with her as she with him, he was married and quite a few years her senior. The brief but intense affair ended shortly before Tammy returned to school.

In the fall semester of 1997, Tammy dropped out of school and left Atlanta. Instead of returning to Oxford, she moved to Hollywood, California, to pursue a writing career. Though she landed occasional freelance work, her most steady form of employment was in local eateries and clubs, waiting tables. She often joked that the closest she ever came to working with celebrities was when she served them overpriced burgers at the Hard Rock Café. Her hopes and dreams had so long been buried that she became involved in drugs and did some dealing on the side.

In May 2008, Tammy returned to Oxford when she learned her grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, Tammy's devotion could not protect her grandmother from her illness, and Eunice had to be placed in Graceland Care Center, where she could receive proper care. The nursing home care did not come cheaply, so Tammy continued her dual careers as waitress by day and drug dealer by night. She justified selling drugs because, despite the fact that her grandmother rarely recognized her anymore, Eunice needed her and Tammy had no other way to pay for her care.

Once she was back in Oxford, Tammy also had hopes of resuming her love affair with the man she'd met years before, who was then separated from his wife. The two did manage to reconnect for a brief period. Sadly, the man was killed in a car accident just a few months after Tammy's return. His death had such a profound affect on Tammy that she vowed she would get off drugs and get straight.

It took months for Tammy to completely rid herself of drugs and alcohol, and she attempted rehab three times before she was completely successful. She finally managed to get clean and sober and stay that way, in spite of the profound loss she experienced after Eunice died during her last rehab. To Tammy's shock and amazement, Eunice had a $30,000 life insurance policy, and Tammy was the sole beneficiary of the policy and also inherited Eunice's house. Tammy used the insurance money to get back on her feet and to add a small studio onto the house, where she could do her sculpting.

Tammy currently works during the day as a waitress at the Home Plate barbecue restaurant and pursues her sculpting career at night and on weekends. She has been seeing Miguel Ochoa since they met at the 4th of July Festival on the Square. In her spare time, she volunteers for the senior assistance programs of United Way of Oxford and Yoknapatawpha County.

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