Among the Daughters/Chapter 1

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Chapter 1


"Mother, what is the man doing to the lady?"

Big blue eyes in a small silky head like a newly hatched chick gazed unblinking. Run quick, birdie, ask mother.

"Nothing, Pussy, he just has his arms around her."



"Because why?"

"Because he loves her."

"Does it hurt when he loves her?"

"I don't know. No, don't go over there—you mustn't disturb the man and lady. Sit here on the grass next to Mother."

Then she is sleepy. Mother's neck is nice and soft.

At home the top part of the kitchen is like grass in the Park. Upside down grass. The bottom part is like mustard. Mustard is good on hot dogs. Baby is hungry.

Five, six
Pick up sticks

Hippity hop to the barber shop
But not to buy a stick of candy

Mother took Lucy when she was six for a birthday treat. Lucy sat in a big barber chair in a little room and looked at herself in the glass. Her hair was long and fine like silk in spider webs but it was the color of oatmeal. Oatmeal is good for you. A lady washed Lucy's hair and then did something to it. Then she dried it and curled it with an iron. She spat on the iron and it sizzled. When Lucy saw Lucy in the glass she wasn't sure who it was until she put her hand up to touch her hair which wasn't the color of oatmeal any more but was the color of sunshine.

At home Mother said now you sit on the stoop and wait until I get your coat and then we'll go and eat.

Lucy was hungry.

Tommy next door played rough. When he saw Lucy he stopped throwing his knife and whistled

"Oh You Beautiful Doll—"

He came up and looked. "Whacha do tya hair?"

"Mother took me to the beauty parlor for my birthday."

"Gee," said Tommy, and clinked money in his pocket. Tommy was a pin boy at the bowling alley on the corner.

Lucy looked at him solemnly. The pink petal of her lower lip crept under the upper. She was hungry.

"Will you buy me a strawberry cone?"

"Sure," said Tommy, "I'll buy ya one for your birthday."

Tommy never bought her a cone before. When he went to the store Lucy touched her hair to make sure it was still like that.

Tommy came back with a cone.

"Here," he said. "Gimme a birthday kiss."

Lucy took the strawberry cone and then held up her little round pink mouth and Tommy kissed her hard and ran off whistling—

"Oh You Great Big Beautiful Doll—"

Lucy put out her tongue and licked around the edge of the strawberry cone. Tommy never asked her for a kiss before. Why did he want to kiss her now?

At the movie some cops chased a girl in a bathing suit and it made everyone laugh. Then a man and a lady were always kissing and the man hugged her hard. Why did the lady like it? In the movies the lady always shivered when the man did that. Sometimes it was fun to shiver, like when a drop of cold water runs down your back when Mother is washing your neck.

"Come, Pussy, it's time to go home."

"I'm too tired," said Lucy.