William performed magic and picked pockets. Mary kept the rubes distracted. Together, they spent thirty-seven years on the road, seeing the country and raising their son, until they settled in the Florida panhandle.
While William and Mary were more than happy to shake off the dust from the road, Bill had become addicted to seeing what was over the horizon. The young teenager ran away two or three times a year, one time not returning for more than a month.
It was during one of those jaunts, when Bill was working for a large farming concern, that he watched a crop duster with fresh eyes. Seeing that airplane range over the skies, he realized that he belonged in the air.
Bill faced life with a new resolve. Instead of spending his time looking out the window, he focused on schoolwork, learning everything possible about flight and what made it possible. After high school graduation, he joined the air force, and then left after four years to fly for Pan Am.
While a pilot, Bill met Jessica Baxter, who worked as a flight attendant. The two dated and then married the following year. They had one child, Mary-Ann, and Jessica stayed home to raise the girl. Bill's wanderlust caused friction in the marriage, however, and the couple divorced after seven years.
Bill retired from flying just before Pam Am dissolved in 1991, and he settled in Oxford, Mississippi where he could be close to Mary-Ann, who taught at Ole Miss.
When life on his own became increasingly difficult, Bill decided to move into Yoknapatawpha Acres.