On February 16, 1977, Raymond Maurice Jennings was born to Bradford and Margaret Jennings. His six-year-old brother, Victor, welcomed Raymond home.

Raymond was a "mama's boy" and a gentle, kindhearted soul. Margaret doted on her younger son and was very protective of him. Some said she was overprotective.

Raymond was a scrawny child, and people always thought he was two or three years younger than his actual age. As the brothers got older, Victor took advantage of the dominance his age and size difference gave him over Ray. He often took Ray's allowance to supplement his own, telling his little brother he'd beat him up if Ray told their mother what he'd done.

When Ray was 12 years old, he received the Christmas present he wanted most: a video game console and the new game, Super Mario Land. Ray loved it and played it every day over Christmas break. Soon after school started back in January, Victor sold the console to his buddy Carl for 50 dollars. When Brad demanded to know where the game was, Ray was afraid to tell his father the truth, so he said it broke, and he threw it away. Brad was furious that Ray had ruined such an expensive gift in less than a month and punished him harshly for it.

When Ray was 17, he fell hard for a girl in his math class. They had been dating for about five months when Ray walked into the pizza place where all the kids hung out and saw his brother kissing his girlfriend. Ray was devastated and turned his back on Victor once and for all.

After that, Ray spent a lot of time at his paternal grandparents' home. He enjoyed sitting on the porch swing and listening to the stories Papaw George would tell him about World War II and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had given him a special music box as a thank-you for his war efforts. George would let Ray wind it up, and together they would watch the gears turn and listen to the music. George promised Raymond that the box would pass to his father, Brad, and then to him one day.

After high school, Ray went to college, where he majored in business management. He eventually purchased an abandoned one-story, brick building that was once a grocery store. He renovated it and turned it into a restaurant, which grew into a thriving business.

A waitress named Gayle Smith caught his eye, and he asked her out. They dated for over a year before marrying, and in 2008, Gayle gave birth to twins: a boy named George after Ray's grandfather and a girl named Dottie after Gayle's mother.

Brad wasn't terribly interested in being a grandfather, but Ray's mother, Margaret, loved spending time with the twins and was a wonderful grandmother. Ray kept his kids away from his brother as much as possible, which seemed to suit Victor just fine.

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