ã€€ã€€She started talking about Picasso. She'd seen a retrospective of his work and decided he was hugely overrated. All the cubist stuff was gimmicky, as far as she was concerned. He hadn't really done anything worthwhile after his Rose Period.
ã€€ã€€"Pick out your favorite star," Dad said that night. He told me I could have it for keeps. He said it was my Christmas present.
ã€€ã€€"Where are you going?" I asked.
ã€€ã€€I was going on thirteen and self-conscious, so I planned to slip my bathing suit on underneath my dress, but I worried this would only make me more conspicuous, so I took a deep breath and stepped out of my clothes. The scar on my ribs was about the size of my outstretched hand, and Dinitia noticed it immediately. I explained that I had gotten it when I was three, and that I'd been in the hospital for six weeks getting skin grafts, and that was why I never wore a bikini. Dinitia ran her fingers lightly over the scar tissue. "It ain't so bad," she said.
ã€€ã€€One month at Lori's became two months and then three and four. Each time I visited, the apartment was more jam-packed. Mom hung paintings on the walls and stacked street finds in the living room and put colored bottles in the windows for that stained-glass effect. The stacks reached the ceiling, and then the living room filled up, and Mom's collectibles and found art overflowed into the kitchen.
ã€€ã€€The pages of the history books came alive this month when Chuck Yeager, the man who first broke the sound barrier, visited Welch High.
ã€€ã€€The houses up here were shabbier than the brick houses lower down in the valley. They were made of wood, with lopsided porches, sagging roofs, rusted-out gutters, and balding tar paper or asphalt shingles slowly but surely parting from the underwall. In almost every yard, a mutt or two was chained to a tree or to a clothesline post, and they barked furiously as we walked by. Like most houses in Welch, these were heated by coal. The more prosperous families had coal sheds; the poorer ones left their coal in a pile out front. The porches were every bit as furnished as the insides of most houses, with rust-stained refrigerators, folding card tables, hook rugs, couches or car seats for serious porch-sitting, and maybe a battered armoire with a hole cut in the side so the cat would have a cozy place to sleep.