One day while napping I overheard ten-year-old Ronnie speaking in soothing tones to our four-year-old brother Russell. As often happens with the oldest child, Ronnie had become responsible for protecting Russell and me from the screaming matches. The fights between Howard and my mother were escalating in tone and regularity.
I was pretty sure the reason that I was not welcomed into any of the neighbor’s homes was because the whole neighborhood could hear the verbal battles in our house. That and the sap on my feet, the lice in my hair, and the dirt from the dumpsters. In spite of any prayers and wishes from Grandmother and me, the hollering became more and more intense.