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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:54:09
Typefacelarge in Small
  I thought that once Mom and Dad returned, they'd be able to make peace with Erma. But she said she could never forgive us kids and didn't want us in her house any longer, even if we stayed in the basement and kept as quiet as church mice. We were banished. That was the word Dad used. "You did wrong," he said, "and now we've all been banished.""This isn't exactly the Garden of Eden," Lori said.

  "You upset about something, Mountain Goat?"For a moment I considered not telling Dad. I was afraid there'd be bloodshed, since he was always going on about how he'd kill anyone who laid a finger on me. Then I decided I wanted to see the guy pummeled. "Dad, that creep attacked me when we were upstairs.""I'm sure he just pawed you some," Dad said as we pulled out of the parking lot. "I knew you could handle yourself."The road back to Welch was dark and empty. The wind whistled through the broken window on my side of the Plymouth. Dad lit a cigarette. "It was like that time I threw you into the sulfur spring to teach you to swim," he said. "You might have been convinced you were going to drown, but I knew you'd do just fine."THE NEXT EVENING Dad disappeared. After a couple of days, he wanted me to go out with him again to some bar, but I said no. Dad got ticked off and said that if I wasn't going to team up with him, the least I could do was stake him some pool-shooting money. I found myself forking over a twenty, and then another in a few days.

  One day we got a roaring fire going, but even then we could still see our breath, and there was ice on both sides of the windows. Brian and I decided we needed to make the fire even bigger and went out to collect more wood. On the way back, Brian stopped and looked at our house. "There's no snow on our roof," he said. He was right. It had completely melted. "Every other house has snow on its roof," he said. He was right about that, too.

  What are your thoughts on the feasibility of flying at the speed of light?

I'd like to thank my brother, Brian, for standing by me when we were growing up and while I wrote this. I'm also grateful to my mother for believing in art and truth and for supporting the idea of the book; to my brilliant and talented older sister, Lori, for coming around to it; and to my younger sister, Maureen, whom I will always love. And to my father, Rex S. Walls, for dreaming all those big dreams.

  "Home?""Phoenix.""This is home now."SEEING AS HOW WELCH was our new home, Brian and I figured we'd make the best of it. Dad had shown us the spot near the house where we were going to put the foundation and basement for the Glass Castle. He'd measured it off and marked it with stakes and string. Since Dad was hardly ever home梙e was out making contacts and investigating the UMW, he told us梐nd never got around to breaking ground, Brian and I decided to help. We found a shovel and pickax at an abandoned farm and spent just about every free minute digging a hole. We knew we had to dig it big and deep. "No point in building a good house unless you put down the right foundation," Dad always said.

  Mom stared at the ceiling, miming perplexed thought. "I've got it." She held up her glass. "Life with your father was never boring."We raised our glasses. I could almost hear Dad chuckling at Mom's comment in the way he always did when he was truly enjoying something. It had grown dark outside. A wind picked up, rattling the windows, and the candle flames suddenly shifted, dancing along the border between turbulence and order.

  TWO WEEKS LATER, Dad had a heart attack. When I got to the hospital, he was in a bed in the emergency room, his eyes closed. Mom and Lori were standing next to him. "It's just the machines keeping him alive at his point," Mom said.


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