"The idea caught on at once, for annoying Miss Lottie was always fun. I was still child enough to scamper along with the group over rickety fences and through bushes that tore our already raggedy clothes, back to where Miss Lottie lived. Miss Lottie's marigolds were perhaps the strangest part of the picture. For some perverse reason, we children hated those marigolds. They interfered with the perfect ugliness of the place; they were too beautiful; they said too much that we could not understand; they did not make sense."
"When I awoke, somewhere in the middle of the night, my mother had returned, and I vaguely listened to the conversation that was audible through the thin walls that separated our rooms. I covered my ears with my hands but I could not cut off the sound of my father's harsh, painful, despairing sobs. The world had lost its boundary lines My mother, who was small and soft, was now the strength of the family;y father, who was who was the rock on which the family had been built, was sobbing like the tiniest child. Everything was suddenly out of tune..."
"I leaped furiously into the mounds of marigolds and pulled madly, tramping and pulling and destroying the perfect yellow blooms. And then I was sitting in the ruined little garden among the uprooted and ruined flowers, crying and crying, and it was too late to undo what I had done. I opened my swollen eyes and saw in front of me a pair of large calloused feet... 'M-miss Lottie!' I scrambled to my feet and just stood there and stared at her, and that was the moment when childhood faded and womanhood began."