Gayle and Oprah

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Gayle and Oprah suit up in authentic garments (including corsets).

For me, the road back to 1628 is a familiar one—it runs parallel to the outhouses, smokehouses, and farmlands of my hometown in Kosciusko, Mississippi. My grandmother and I lived on a small plot of land, in a house with no running water or toilet. I don't care how many bathrooms I've had since, I've never forgotten the outhouse. With no TV, I tried entertaining myself by making speeches to the cows and playing with my homemade corncob doll, whose hair I'd comb while longing for one with real, pretty hair. We grew everything we ate, and each morning my job was to get water from the well and feed the hogs. So how different, I thought, could Colonial House be from my own childhood? If your name is Gayle King, stunningly different. "I grew up with a toilet—and a maid," she reminds me as we land in Maine.