Cheryl Strayed and her mother

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Cheryl grew up in Minnesota with the fierce love of her mother, an Army brat who adored horses and Hank Williams. Nineteen and pregnant, Cheryl's mother married her father. It was a tumultuous marriage. According to Cheryl, she left and returned to the marriage many times before finally leaving. Her mother was 28 years old. Cheryl was 6 at the time.