Mary Oliver was born to Edward William and Helen M. (Vlasak) Oliver on September 10, 1935, in Maple Heights, Ohio, a semi-rural suburb of Cleveland. Her father was a social studies teacher and an athletics coach in the Cleveland public schools. As a child, she spent a great deal of time outside where she enjoyed going on walks or reading. In an interview with Maria Shriver, Oliver described her family as dysfunctional, adding that though her childhood was very hard, by writing it helped her create her own world. Oliver revealed in the interview with Shriver that she had been sexually abused as a child and had experienced recurring nightmares. The perpetrator was reportedly her father. In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor in 1992, Oliver commented on growing up in Ohio, saying "It was pastoral, it was nice, it was an extended family. I don't know why I felt such an affinity with the natural world except that it was available to me, that's the first thing. It was right there. And for whatever reasons, I felt those first important connections, those first experiences being made with the natural world rather than with the social world. " Oliver began writing poetry at the age of 14. She attended the local high school in Maple Heights. In the summer of 1951 at the age of 15 she attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, now known as Interlochen Arts Camp, where she was in the percussion section of the National High School Orchestra. At 17 she visited the home of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, in Austerlitz, New York, where she then formed a friendship with the late poet's sister Norma. Oliver and Norma spent the next six to seven years at the estate organizing Edna St. Vincent Millay's papers.