ã€€ã€€* * *In the car, Dad took out the money he'd won and counted off forty dollars, which he passed to me.
ã€€ã€€"It's not so bad," she said. Between each toe touch, she was reaching up into the air.
ã€€ã€€That night Lori and I lay in our rope beds and discussed New York City. The things I had heard always made it sound like a big, noisy place with a lot of pollution and mobs of people in suits elbowing one another on the sidewalks. But Lori began to see New York as a sort of Emerald Cityæ¢©his glowing, bustling place at the end of a long road where she could become the person she was meant to be.
ã€€ã€€"Excuse my attire," Mom said. "but I plan to change out of my comfy shoes into some dress shoes for dinner." She reached into one of her shopping bags and pulled out a pair of banged-up penny loafers.
ã€€ã€€One day the woman who worked at the store Mr. Becker owned in War stopped by. Mr. Becker wanted her to give me some beauty tips. While she was showing me her different makeup applicators, the woman, who had stiff platinum hair and eyelashes tarred in mascara, told me I must be earning a truckload in commissions. When I asked her what she meant, she said that in addition to her forty-dollar-a-week salary, she made 10 percent on every sale. Her commissions were sometimes double her salary. "Hell, welfare'll get you more than forty bucks a week," she said. "If you're not getting commissions, Becker's stiffing you."When I asked Mr. Becker about commissions, he said they were for salespeople and I was just an assistant. The next day, when Mr. Becker went off to the Mountaineer, I opened the display case and took out the four-band watch. I slipped it into my handbag and rearranged the remaining watches to cover the gap. I had made plenty of sales on my own when Mr. Becker was busy. Since he hadn't paid me any commissions, I was only taking what I was owed.
ã€€ã€€We all stood watching as the car disappeared down Little Hobart Street. Lori never once looked back. I took that as a good sign. When I climbed the staircase to the house, Dad was standing on the porch, smoking a cigarette.
ã€€ã€€"We can't keep dumping garbage out there," I said. "What are people going to think?""Life's too short to worry about what other people think," Mom said. "Anyway, they should accept us for who we are."I was convinced that people might be more accepting of us if we made an effort to improve the way 93 Little Hobart Street looked. There were plenty of things we could do, I felt, that would cost almost nothing. Some people around Welch cut tires into two semicircles, painted them white, and used them as edging for their gardens. Maybe we couldn't afford to build the Glass Castle quite yet, but certainly we could put painted tires around our front yard to spruce it up. "It would make us fit in a little bit," I pleaded with Mom.