Gramps says that I am a country girl at heart, and that is true. I have lived most of my thirteen years in Bybanks, Kentucky, which is not much more than a caboodle of houses roosting in a green spot alongside the Ohio River. Just over a year ago, my father plucked me up like a weed and took me and all our belongings (no, that is not true—he did not bring the chestnut tree, the willow, the maple, the hayloft, or the swimming hole, which all belonged to me) and we drove three hundred miles straight north and stopped in front of a house in Euclid, Ohio.
"No trees?" I said. "This is where we're going to live?"
"No," my father said. "This is Margaret's house."
The front door of the house opened and a lady with wild red hair stood there. I looked up and down the street. The houses were all jammed together like a row of birdhouses. In front of each house was a tiny square of grass, and in front of that was a thin gray sidewalk running alongside a gray road.
"Where's the barn?" I asked. "The river? The swimming hole?"
"Oh, Sal," my father said. "Come on. There's Margaret." He waved to the lady at the door.
"We have to go back. I forgot something."
The lady with the wild red hair opened the door and came out onto the porch.
"In the back of my closet," I said, "under the floorboards. I put something there, and I've got to have it."
"Don't be a goose. Come and see Margaret."
I did not want to see Margaret.