William Dykman was born to Jefferson and Lois Dykman in Corinth, Mississippi on August 19, 1977. Jefferson worked as a farmhand, and Lois raised the family and took in work washing or altering clothes.
The Dykmans lived in a small house and regularly had displaced relatives sleeping on the couch and on pallets on the floor. Although the family struggled financially, there was plenty of music and happiness in their home. On weekends, Jefferson played trumpet in area blues and jazz clubs, and Lois sang in the church choir and played the organ.
In school, Bill was known for his gregarious personality and his solid schoolwork. He always had a large build, so no one was surprised when he was invited to join the football team at an early age. Bill played center on offense and nose tackle on defense, earning several varsity letters during high school. In the offseason, he also played the trumpet in the school band.
During the summers, Bill got a job at an ironworking company to earn extra money for the family, and he began to enjoy the sweat and the labor. Working with iron was difficult and hot, but as his skills advanced, Bill started to appreciate how it could also be artistic and delicate.
Bill earned several varsity letters as a high school football player, but he wasn't good enough to warrant attention from college teams. So upon graduating, Bill gave up his athletic career and began focusing on his ironwork as well as advancing his art.
He attended Northwest Community College and focused on industrial arts. He continued playing trumpet in the band and began to experiment with ironwork as an art.
During his time at Northwest, he met Robyn Campbell, who enjoyed dancing, particularly jazz dancing. They quickly fell into a pattern of Bill playing his horn while Robyn fluttered around the empty football field.
Nearing their graduation, Bill and Robyn decided to get married. Bill was confident in their ability to withstand the pressures of an interracial marriage. Their families agreed that both Bill and Robyn seemed prepared to handle the challenges.
After their marriage, Bill and Robyn settled into their comfortable lives. During the day, Bill worked for an ironworks company with primarily commercial clients. Evenings and weekends, Bill sold artistic wrought iron accents and scrollwork for elegant houses. He liked the balance of the two jobs.
And he continued to play the trumpet, often sitting in on jazz jam sessions at Rooster's Blues House during football weekends.
The major darkness in his life was the relationship with his sister-in-law, Cindy. Bill really liked the warm-hearted woman, but he worried about her and her abusive relationship with her husband, Andy.
Bill feared for her safety, and he had nightmares of having to tell his wife that something terrible happened to her sister.
He was also concerned about Robyn's well-being and was afraid that Andy's anger would turn on Robyn someday.