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Uncorrected proof. Very good condition. Edition: 1st. Martin's Press. Seller: L. Accommodating a loving but relentless mother witho ut being dominated. Hard Cover. Seller: Infospec Published: Condition: Good. Mass Market Paperback. A sheet of papers were left inside the cover of the book, and they left the covers faded where the papers rested. Otherwise, unmarked except for the signature and embossed name of Twin Cities Collector, Grace Reiten..

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I had never met a writer, had shown no previous urge to write, and hadn't a notion how to become a writer, but I loved stories and thought that making up stories must surely be almost as much fun as reading them. Best of all, though, and what really gladdened my heart, was the ease of the writer's life. Writers did not have to trudge through the town peddling from canvas bags, defending themselves against 16 angry dogs, being rejected by surly strangers.

Writers did not have to ring doorbells. So far as I could make out, what writers did couldn't even be classified as work. I was enchanted. Writers didn't have to have any gumption at all. I did not dare tell anybody for fear of being laughed at in the schoolyard, but secretly I decided that what I'd like to be when I grew up was a writer. As the older daughter in a family of nine children, she had tried it on her younger brothers without much success. When she married she had tried it on my father with no success at all. Her attitudes toward men were a strange blend of twentiethcentury feminism and Victorian romance.

The feminism filled her with anger against men and a rage against the unfair advantages that came with the right to wear trousers. Of a man vain about his charm with women: "Just because he wears pants he thinks he can get through life with half a brain. As a girl of sixteen she denounced it while arguing the case for women's suffrage in her high school debate. At present they are only half18 citizens. Is the right to vote to be not a matter of right or justice, but a mere matter of pantaloons? Her modern feminist passion for equality was at war with her nineteenthcentury idea of women as the purifying, ennobling element of society, special creatures who ought to be protected and treasured as precious assets of civilization.

She wanted the equality, but she also wanted to be a lady. Somewhere she had picked up the tyrannical spirit of the ladies of the Mauve Decade and, like them, looked upon men as naturally brutish creatures whose licentious and lazy instincts could be overcome only by the guidance of a good woman. Her model of male excellence, the paragon of manhood against whom she measured all other men, was her father.

Poor mythic Papa. As I was growing up, my mother loved to tell me about the happiness of her childhood days, and I loved to listen, for I knew only the ruined and colorless landscape of the Depression, and her talk evoked beautiful pictures of a world that was bright and sunny. When she spoke of it, I saw her as a little girl in a great Virginia country house. Sleek horses and fancy buggies, roaring fireplaces in the autumn, summer romps through the woods with carefree brothers, her "Mama" playing hymns on the piano in the parlor on Sunday nights.

In that world, Tuesday mornings brought no soul-crushing bundle of Saturday Evening Posts. Then she inevitably came to the part that always began, " N o w Papa was a real gentleman. I took my revenge by shutting him out of mind. It took years for me to care enough to look into the Papa matter. A surprise awaited. The fact was, Papa had not made anything at all of himself. He had tried hard enough, no doubt about that, but he had failed disastrously. A country lawyer in Tidewater Virginia, he mixed religious piety unhealthily with capitalistic ambition.

His urge to make money led him into timber speculation. His religion led him to abhor insurance. When an agent tried to sell him a life-insurance policy, he lectured the fellow on the sinfulness of his trade. Debt-ridden from timber speculation and uninsured out of respect for God, he left his family destitute. The year was My mother was in college at Petersburg— Papa had had grand plans for his children—but she had to quit and go to work. Her education qualified her to teach school, but not for the choice assignments.

To find jobs she traveled northward, out of the genteel old Tidewater culture, where her family had been "quality folk" for years, and into primitive backwaters where mountain children came barefoot to school and dropped out after fourth grade to take dollar-a-week work in the fields. Her youth became a succession of two-room schoolhouses, boarding with families of preachers and farmers prosperous enough to have a spare couch to rent for a few dollars a month.

In her middle twenties she came at last to the Arlington School in the northernmost reaches of Loudoun County, a tworoom schoolhouse at the foot of the Short Hill Mountain.

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A few miles beyond to westward lay the Blue Ridge, a few miles to the north, the Potomac River. Four hundred yards to the west, between the schoolhouse and the mountain, lay a festering center of sin, a bootleg whiskey still operated by the celebrated anti-Prohibition guerrilla Sam Reever. My mother hated whiskey and admired men who could leave it alone. In her family the men never used it.

The traffic outside the schoolhouse saddened and disgusted her. So many of the men looked so young to be traveling that road to perdition. When she was outside for recess with her students one day, a sputtering old Model T en route from Sam Reever's coughed and died right beside the schoolyard.

She watched a lanky, dark-haired young man step out, lift the hood, and peer in at the engine. He wore a shapeless gray cap, coarse work clothes, and heavy clodhopper shoes. After studying the engine, he opened the tool chest on the fender and took out a wrench and a Mason jar. He had the cap off the jar and was lifting it to drink before he noticed her watching him from the playground. He was still tinkering with the engine when recess ended. Back in her schoolroom, her anger about his exposing children to the sight of whiskey was softened by feelings of sadness.

What a shame for such a nice-looking young man to be ruining his life with whiskey. He looked like a man who might be able to make something of himself if a good woman took him in hand. Her chance to do so came a few days later. She was boarding at Ep Ahalt's farm. Ep owned the biggest barn, the mightiest silo, and the fanciest house in the neighborhood.

Ep's wife, Bessie, a tiny, sweet-tempered woman with grown sons, was different from most women thereabouts. She too wanted her boys to make something of themselves. She fretted about all the bad influences, all the temptations to idleness which 21 surrounded her sons. One of those tempters dropped in one evening. He wore a shapeless gray cap and arrived in a sputtering old Model T and knocked at the door asking if Walton was there. Walton, one of Bessie's sons, was not there, for which Bessie was probably grateful, but the schoolmarm boarder was, and Bessie, being the soul of politeness, introduced them.

He was tall and lean in the angular, graceless mountaineer style. His hands were rough, callused, competent. Workman's hands. Not at all like Papa's hands. He was not at all like Papa in any respect. With coarse black hair and dark brown skin, he might have been part Indian. Maybe it was his utter difference from Papa that stirred her. Despite her preference for gentlemen, she was not without a healthy feminine interest in tall, dark, and handsome specimens with the adventurer's gleam in their eyes. Much later, when Robert Taylor was Hollywood's newest sex symbol, I was surprised to overhear her tell a group of women discussing Taylor's charms, " H e can park his shoes under my bed anytime.

Still, it forced me to concede that she was capable of more varieties of love than her girlish love for Papa and her motherly love for me. The young man in Bessie Ahalt's parlor was obviously no gentleman. Gentlemen didn't visit Sam Reever. In his favor, though, he was quick to smile, and he was not a complete Hottentot. He had enough manners to say "ma'am" when he talked to Bessie.

There was a sense of fun in him too. Unlike most men she met, he was not so blinded by awe of a schoolteacher that he couldn't see a woman.

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Though he'd left school after fourth grade, her learning didn't scare him. Cheekily he asked if she'd like to go riding in his Model T. She said she'd like that. Among other things, she planned to improve him.

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Her first goal was to stop his drinking, but as months passed and the courtship became complicated her program went awry, and then there was a crisis. She was pregnant. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies were fairly commonplace in that 22 part of Virginia. They occasioned mild scandal when the news spread, but there was no taint or disgrace if a man "did the right thing" and a marriage ensued. If he refused, people looked on him as a bad sport for a while, until he found another woman, married, and "settled down.

In either case a schoolteacher's career was ended. In this terrible moment when she faced ruin, my mother was confronted by a redoubtable enemy. This was her prospective mother-in-law, whose plans for her son did not include marriage with an outsider she heartily disliked. An obedient son, he had taken the schoolteacher home to meet his mother when the courtship began, and the two women promptly developed a lively aversion to each other. When his mother learned of the pregnancy, she declared violently against marriage.

She told him he was a young fool who had been tricked by a hussy ready to stoop to any scheme to trap herself a husband. She was a domineering woman, who had trained her sons to march to her command. Normally, her opposition to a marriage of this sort would have closed the case against the mother-to-be.

This case, though, was different. She was pitted against a woman as fierce as she. In March of her son and his schoolteacher went discreetly down to Washington to be married. They were both twenty-seven years old. I was born six months later and immediately became the darling of my doting grandmother. With all her love for me, however, she never forgave my mother, and my mother returned the scorn measure for measure. Ep Ahalt's farm looked down across sloping cornfields toward a small village a quarter mile to the south. The village consisted of seven houses and a general store, a few vegetable gardens, a couple of straw ricks, and a scattering of barns, chicken houses, and pigpens.

On a summer afternoon the whole place dozed in the sun, under silences broken only by the occasional cluck of a hen, the solitary clack of a closing screen door. This was the center of the universe in the days of my innocence. Its name, Morrisonville, dated from the early part of the nineteenth century. By the time I came along it could have been appropriately renamed Bakerville, for almost every soul in the community was a member in some degree of the prodigious Baker family, which had settled in the region around Why a settlement rose there in the first place is a mystery.

The village sat a third of a mile back from the only paved road in the territory, and the sole waterway was a creek so shallow I could wade across it and barely get my feet wet. To get in from the main highway, travelers had to wind through thick stands of brush along a dirt road that could swallow an automobile all the way to the axles in the mud season. When it finally arrived at Morrisonville, this road forked. One branch ambled toward my Uncle Irvey's house, then lurched to avoid hitting the creek and disappeared into a briar patch. The other branch ran smack through the middle of town as though intending to become a real road, but it lost heart after it passed my grandmother's house and meandered off in a lackadaisical path toward the mountain.

This was the same road that ran past the Arlington School to Sam Reever's bootleggery. It came to rest smack against the mountain two miles west of Morrisonville. My great-grandfather Daniel Baker used to live in a log house back there. He was a gunsmith who turned to tailoring after the declining need for full-time gunmakers made the craft unprofitable. Born shortly after the War of , he could still walk five miles carrying a sack of cornmeal when he was eighty years old, and he lived to see the arrival of the twentieth century.

His son George moved down to Morrisonville around and went into blacksmithing. George was short and on the slender side, not the towering, heavily muscled stereotype of the blacksmith celebrated in Longfellow's poem. His devotion to Christian worship was remarkable. He required a minimum of two church services each Sunday to keep his soul in sound repair, and after partaking of the Gospel at morning and afternoon servings he often set out across the fields for a third helping at 26 dusk if he heard of a church with lamps lit for nocturnal psalming.

Shortly before moving into Morrisonville, he had married Ida Rebecca Brown, the daughter of a local farmer. Ida Rebecca was only nineteen at her marriage, but she took to power as naturally as George took to toil. George built his blacksmith shop hard by the stone-and-log house in which Ida Rebecca ruled, and there he pursued a life of piety, toil, and procreation. He was as vigorous at procreation as he was at churchgoing. In the first year of their marriage, Ida Rebecca produced a son. In the next ten years she produced nine more, including twin boys.

In , after an uncommonly long pause of more than four years, an eleventh son was born. He was to become my father. They named him Benjamin. The line didn't stop there, though. T w o years later there was, at last, a daughter; and five years after her, a twelfth son. Thirteen children was not a record for the neighborhood, nor even very remarkable. One family close by produced children in such volume that the parents ran out of names and began giving them numbers. One of their sons, whom I particularly envied for his heroic biceps, was named Eleven.

How big my father's family might have become eventually is hard to say, for Grandfather George suffered a stroke in and died at home, at the still fruitful age of fifty-two. There was a family mystery about his dying words. These, according to Ida Rebecca, were "into midget and out of midget. Nor did she ask him. He belonged to the Order of Red Men, one of those lodge brotherhoods common at the turn of the century which cherished secret handshakes and mumbo-jumbo passwords.

Ida Rebecca hesitated to ask him what he meant by "into midget and out of midget" for fear she might be delving improperly into the sacred mysteries of the lodge. In the eighteen years between Grandfather George's death and my arrival in Morrisonville, Ida Rebecca established herself as 2 7 the iron ruler of a sprawling family empire. Her multitude of sons, some of them graying and middle-aged, were celebrated for miles around as good boys who listened to their mother. If one of them kicked over the traces, there was hell to pay until he fell obediently back into line.

In Morrisonville everybody said, "It's her way or no way. When her boys married the women she approved, their wives were expected to surrender their swords in return for being allowed to keep their husbands for the spring planting. Among them, only my mother refused to bend the knee. It's easy to understand why the two disliked each other instinctively from the first meeting, long before the awkward question of marriage arose.

One can readily imagine the scene at that first confrontation: Ida Rebecca would have been sitting in state in the front porch rocker that served as her throne, waiting for Benny to arrive from Ep Ahalt's with his new girl. Her porch commanded a view fit for an empress. It sat high above the road overlooking Morrisonville's rooftops and behind them the distant rampart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Arriving visitors had to look up to her, for the road lay three steps below the level of her lawn, and after climbing those steps and passing through the whitewashed picket gate, they had to mount another set of broad stone steps before reaching the presence. My mother could only have been impressed when she finally attained the topmost level and Ida Rebecca rose to meet her. Seated, Ida Rebecca looked much like any other country woman whose style had been formed in the s.

She wore home-sewn gray that enclosed her from neck to wrists to ankles and, if there was the smallest glint of sunshine, a gray bonnet with a wide bill that kept her face buried in shadow. When she stood, though, she projected physical power and moral authority. Fully erect, she was six feet tall and seemed to look down on the world.

She certainly looked down on my mother, who was almost a foot shorter. The hands were big and gnarled. They were hands that could prepare a feast for thirty people, deliver a baby, grow a year's supply of canning vegetables in a summer of garden toil, or butcher a hog, and they had done all these things many times long before my mother was born and many times after. The long jaw under her bonnet was combatively prominent. Her hair was a glistening silvery white. Peering through steel-rimmed spectacles were chilly gray eyes that found little to be amused by. What my mother saw was an overpowering figure accustomed to command.

What Ida Rebecca saw was a frail little creature with her hair cut in the sassy new pageboy bob. A suspicious touch of the city flapper, that haircut. Decent women let their hair grow and tied it in a knot on the back of the head. And skinny little ankles and wrists like twigs that looked as if they'd snap if they had to do any real work. What in the world did Benny see in her?

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She certainly wasn't pretty. Didn't have enough weight on her to be pretty. Hardly an ounce of flesh anywhere. Conversation couldn't have improved matters. Ida Rebecca's respect for schoolteachers was slight. Her sons left school when they were big enough to work. By then they could read, write, and do sums and knew who George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were and had learned a little geography. How to find Europe on a map, and Virginia, and China. That was enough.

Man was born to work, not to sit around with his nose in a book. She was totally uninterested in the proposition that a man ought to make something of himself. A man's duty was to provide. Provide for his wife, provide for his children. And pay his duty to his mother. Beyond that. It's doubtful she ever thought much beyond that. My mother, always education-proud, wouldn't have hesitated to talk too much and show off her learning. Maybe just to prove her spunk, she mentioned how backward the children around Morrisonville seemed, compared to the youngsters where she came from, for she was appalled by the unworldliness of her students.

One day she asked one of them if she had ever been to Frederick over in Maryland. In Morrisonville outsiders were under suspicion until they proved they could fit comfortably into Morrisonville society. Ida Rebecca must have sensed immediately what her eleventh son failed to: that this book-proud schoolteacher who gave herself airs about her fancy family would never accommodate to Morrisonville.

My father's decision to defy Ida Rebecca with a marriage she hated may have been the bravest act of his life. With enough money he would probably have moved away, out toward Lovettsville or down toward Waterford, to put distance between bride and mother and to avoid being pulled and torn in their war for his loyalties. Well, there wasn't enough money. There was almost no money at all. He was a stonemason by trade, but in a region where stone was plentiful and stonework common, stonemasons were also plentiful and earnings were small. And he was a man who liked a good time.

What little he earned went into repairs for the failing Model T, flings in the urban sinks of Lovettsville, Brunswick, and Purcellville, and the moonshine Sam Reever ladled into Mason jars. Without money he had no choice. He brought my mother to Morrisonville. Not to live with Ida Rebecca; that promised only nightmare.

Temporary shelter was offered by his oldest brother, who was well-to-do by Morrisonville standards and owned his own house, which was situated a comfortable hundred yards from Ida Rebecca's. The brother offered to keep the newlyweds until they could save enough to "go to housekeeping.

I was born in his second-floor bedroom just before midnight on Friday, August 14, Ida Rebecca was there, prepared to deliver me into the world when it seemed that the doctor from Lovettsville would never arrive. He did, however, in the nick of time, and I was issued uneventfully into the governance of 30 Ida Rebecca as a girl of sixteen and with a grandchild in Calvin Coolidge.

When I woke from that slumber—this is my earliest memory —I was staring into two huge eyes glaring at me from a monstrous skull. I screamed, and the monster emitted a terrifying rumble. My mother came running and scooped me out of the crib. The horror vanished. Grazing against the house, the cow had raised its head to look through the open window at the crib, she explained.

Cows were nice. They didn't hurt people. Would I like her to carry me outside to look at it? I understood her perfectly. Sometime during my slumber, when I seemed to be aware of nothing at all, I had learned to understand English. We'd moved from Uncle Irvey's by then, and were living in a tenant farmhouse near Ep Ahalt's farm. When I next noticed the world, we were living in a yellow frame house in Morrisonville directly across the road from Ida Rebecca's high front porch. Looking up, I saw my grandmother across the road looking down upon me.

I liked that because I loved my grandmother dearly and knew she loved me just as much. She was not comfortable on my mother's side of the road, and my mother was uneasy when she crossed to Ida Rebecca's, but I happily occupied both worlds. Walking through Morrisonville to survey her kingdom, my grandmother took my hand and led me beside her. In her vegetable garden she taught me how to pick potato bugs. In her dark cellar kitchen she showed me how to lay the kindling and pour kerosene to fire her wood-burning stove.

When a summer thunderstorm roared off the mountain, she scurried into the road, dragging me 32 behind her, to scoop up newborn chicks soft as cotton wool in the hand and so fragile they could be pelted to death by the rain. When we hurried back to her house and the storm struck with a blast of hail on the tin roof, we sat behind sealed windows in her stonewalled sitting room and watched the lightning dance in the fields and shuddered when the thunder boomed like heavy artillery.

We were two people alone in a fortress under siege, but she sat calmly in a rocker by her cast-iron stove teaching me about the perils of storms. I've seen lightning bolts come right down the chimney and roll across the floor in a ball of fire and go right on through the door. I was scared half to death about you. One afternoon she took me down there in the darkness to feed me on her homemade bread. Slicing a thick piece for each of us, she laid on a coat of butter, then said, "You want jelly on top of it?

So was Ida Rebecca's. He's my child, and he'll do as I tell him. I raised a dozen children, and not one of them ever dared raise their voice to me like you do. Finally my mother noticed I was still standing there with the buttered bread in my hand. The anger seemed to drain suddenly out of my mother.

Growing Up by Baker, Russell

She started to leave but turned at the door and said, very much in control of her temper, "You can eat the butter bread, but I don't want any jelly put on it. I waited until my mother marched out, very near tears, I judged, and then I ate it while Ida Rebecca watched. I didn't dare not to.

Not going to my grandmother's side of the road was an impossibility, and my mother acknowledged it, and went frequently herself in calmer moments, for Ida Rebecca's house was the capitol of Morrisonville. Once in the middle of a winter night my parents shook me awake to announce that we were going across to grandmother's. My father carried me, still in bedclothes, up the broad stone steps, across the porch, and through cold black rooms until we came to the parlor, the grim, forbidding parlor that was never used except for funerals and which I believed to be haunted with the ghosts of the dead who had lain there.

There my father opened the door on a baffling scene. In one corner I saw his sister, several of his brothers, and my grandmother standing in a group, most of 34 them in nightclothes. Somebody held a kerosene lamp. They were staring at a tree. I had never seen my grandmother looking so strange. She wore a nightgown, and her silvery hair streamed free over her shoulders. She was smiling at me. I had never seen her smile before. Smiling like that, she looked more like a girl than a grandmother. They were all smiling, and at me. This was very, very strange. They were not people who smiled much, least of all at children.

By the dim kerosene lamp I saw that the tree's branches were filled with objects of many colors and odd shapes. Someone held the lamp close against the branches so I could see its light reflecting from these glistening objects. Look what he brought for you. The shovel itself had metal teeth so it could bite into a pile of dirt. With a string mechanism, the shovel could be lifted into the air and its bottom released to dump the dirt back onto the ground. To my grandmother and father and uncles it must have seemed like an educational toy. Metalworkers, stonemasons, carpenters, people with a tradition of craftsmanship and building, they naturally assumed that giving me a toy steam shovel was giving, me something more lasting than a toy.

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They were also giving me a way to start thinking about my life. Left to her own devices, my mother, I suspect, would not have thought of such a beautiful, ingenious machine but would have given me a book. In he had been drafted by the Army and discharged after five days with papers stating he had "a physical disability. Maybe they told him the truth—that he had diabetes—but if so he kept their terrible diagnosis a secret.

In insulin was still unknown. As a twentyyear-old diabetic, whether he knew it or not, he was doomed to early death. The discovery of insulin in would have lifted that sentence and offered him a long and reasonably healthy life. If he ever learned about insulin, though, he certainly never used it, for the needle required for daily injections was not part of our household goods. Perhaps he didn't know how seriously ill he was, but the state of medicine in Morrisonville must also be allowed for.

New medical wonders were slow to reach up the dirt roads of backcountry America. Around Morrisonville grave illness was treated mostly with prayer, and early death was commonplace. Children 36 were carried off by diphtheria, scarlet fever, and measles. I heard constantly of people laid low by typhoid or mortally ill with "blood poisoning. Since antibiotics lay far in the future, tuberculosis, which we called " T. Pneumonia, only slightly less dreaded, took its steady crop for the cemetery each winter.

Like croup and whooping cough, it was treated with remedies Ida Rebecca compounded from ancient folk-medicine recipes: reeking mustard plasters, herbal broths, dosings of onion syrup mixed with sugar. Boils and carbuncles were covered with the membrane of a boiled egg to "draw the core" before being lanced with a needle sterilized in a match flame.

When my cousin Lillian stepped barefoot on a rusty nail, my grandmother insisted on treating the puncture by applying a slab of raw bacon. When my cousin Catherine's hand touched a red-hot wood stove, my grandmother seized her arm and with fingertips light as feathers stroked the blistering skin while murmuring an incoherent incantation in a trancelike monotone. Catherine's screaming stopped. This was called "powwowing," a form of witch-doctoring still believed in then by the old people around Morrisonville and prescribed on at least one occasion by a local medical man.

This doctor, after failing to rid Lillian of a severe facial rash with the tools of science, prescribed a visit to an old woman on the mountain whose powwowing, he said, sometimes cured such rashes. Lillian did not go for the powwow treatment; her rash subsided without help from either science or witchcraft. Very few people ever saw the inside of a hospital. When my grandfather George had a stroke he was led into the house and put to bed, and the Red Men sent lodge brothers to sit with him to exercise the curative power of brotherhood.

Red Men who failed to report for bedside duty with their stricken brother were fined 37 a dollar for dereliction. Ida Rebecca called upon modern technology to help George.

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From a mail-order house she ordered a battery-operated galvanic device which applied the stimulation of low-voltage electrical current to his paralyzed limbs. Morrisonville had not developed the modern disgust with death. It was not treated as an obscenity to be confined in hospitals and "funeral homes. It came for the young as relentlessly as it came for the old. To die antiseptically in a hospital was almost unknown. In Morrisonville death still made house calls. It stopped by the bedside, sat down on the couch right by the parlor window, walked up to people in the fields in broad daylight, surprised them at a bend in the stairway when they were on their way to bed.

Whatever he knew about his ailment, my father made no concessions to it. If anything he lived a little too intensely, as though determined to make the most of whatever time he was to be allowed. By he had saved enough money to rent and furnish a small house of his own—the tenant house where grazing cows peered through windows—and there, that August, my sister Doris was born. In we were back in Morrisonville in a larger house, looking up at Ida Rebecca's porch, and there my second sister was born in January of They named her Audrey. Benny's development into "a good family man" was evidence of my mother's success at improving his character.

His refusal to forswear moonshine, however, mocked her with the most painful failure of all. After pleasing her with long bouts of sobriety, he often came home from work with the sour smell of whiskey on him and turned violently ill. With diabetes, his drinking was lethal. He paid terribly for whatever pleasure he took from Sam Reever's Mason jars. My mother didn't know about the diabetes; all she knew was that drinking acted like poison on him. When he came home smelling of whiskey, she abused him fiercely in cries loud enough to be heard across the road at Ida Rebecca's.

He never shouted back, nor argued, nor attempted to defend himself, but always sat motionless as her anger poured down on his bowed head —sick, contrite, and beaten. He was smiling and holding something behind his back. Supper's been over for hours. Holding his smile in place, trying to ignore her anger, he spoke to Doris. My mother pulled her back. You're drunk. You're stinking drunk. I can smell it on you. Letting your children see you like this? What kind of father are you? Instead he looked at Doris and held the present in front of him for her to take.

It was a box with top folded back to display a set of miniature toy dishes made of tin, little tin plates, little tin saucers, little tin teacups. Seizing his peace offering, she spoke to him in words awful to me. It wasn't bad enough that he wasted what little money he had on the poison he drank, not bad enough that he was killing himself with liquor, not bad enough that he let his children see him so drunk he could hardly stand up.

He had to squander our precious money on a box of tin junk. In a rage she ran to the kitchen screen door, opened it wide, and flung Doris's present into the darkening twilight. My father dropped onto a chair while I watched this unbelievable waste of 39 brand-new toys. When I turned back to see if he intended to rescue the dishes, I saw that he was just sitting there helplessly.

Doris and I ran out into the gloaming to recover the scattered dishes. While we scrambled on hands and knees groping for tiny cups and saucers, the sounds of my mother's anger poured from the kitchen. When the shouting subsided, I crept back to the door. These cells are grouped according to the job they do or the type of body tissue they make up.

Signet cells are a type of epithelial cell called glandular cells. Signet cell cancer is also called signet ring cell cancer. This is because under a microscope the cells look like signet rings. The treatment you have for signet cell cancer depends on where in the body the cancer starts. For example a signet cell cancer in the stomach is treated as a stomach cancer. Cancers are named after the body organ they grow in, as well as the type of cell.