The life a 19 year old girl had in the 1950s and what her mother pondered about.
"I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron.
Someone at the school was worried about her and asked her mother about her.
"I wish you would manage the time to come in and talk with me about your daughter. I'm sure you can help me understand her."
Her mother disagreed with going there and talking to the teacher.
"Even if I came, what good would it do? You think because I am her mother I have a key, or that in some way you could use me as a key?"
"She was a beautiful baby. The first and only one of our five that was beautiful at birth."
"She blew shining, bubbles of sound. She loved motion, loved light, loved color and music and textures. She would like on the floor in her blue overalls patting the surface so hard in ecstasy her hands and feet would blur."
When she was eight months old I had to leave her daytimes with the woman downstairs to whom she was no miracle at all, for I worked or looked for work and for Emily's father, who "could no longer endure" (he wrote in his good-bye note) "sharing with us."
There were years she did not want me to touch her. She kept too much in herself. My wisdom came too late. She has much to her and probably little will come of it. She is a child of her age, of depression, of war, of fear.
Her father left me before she was a year old. I had to work her first six years when there was work, or I sent her home and to his relatives. There were years she had care she hated. She was dark and thin and foreign-looking in a world where the prestige went to blondeness and curly hair and dimples, she was slow where glibness was prized.
Let her be. So all that is in her will not bloom- but in how many does it? There is still enough left to live by. Only help her to know- help make it so there is cause for her to know- that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron.