June 5th, 1968
I woke up later than usual. Over Dinie’s heavy breathing, I listened for the TV. When I didn’t hear it, I jumped up and quickly put on a pair of shorts and a top. I opened the door as quietly as I could and crept down the hall. I wanted to stake claim to the television set so I could watch Sally Fields in the Flying Nun. That was one of the many rules in our home. Whoever got to the television first, got to pick what we watched. This rule didn’t apply to Mother or Father. They trumped all of us and Mother trumped Father.
Dinie startled me when she hollered behind me, “Where are you going?” She already had her shorts on and was pulling on her top. I broke into a run, my flip-flops slapping the soles of my feet. The television set was in the family room, thirty feet away. I heard Dinie’s bare feet plopping hard against the floor as she ran to catch me. If she beat me to the TV, we’d be watching Jody Foster in Family Affair. Ewww. The back door slid open with a thud.
“Patricia Faith, get out here and help me hang this laundry,” Mother said, balancing a plastic laundry basket full of wet clothes on her good hip. Perspiration was already dripping from her round chin. Why she refused to use the dryer, to save a few pennies, was beyond me. It was already hot enough outside to fry an egg on the concrete patio.
“Why can’t Dinie do it?” I whined, feeling as if every bone in my body had just turned into Jell-O. I would be stuck watching Family Affair, unless Mother found some other minionite chore for me to do while Dinie zoned out in front of the TV.
“Because I asked you to do it and that’s all there is to it,” Mother growled. Her eyes drew close together as she frowned and her cheeks seemed to rise up on their haunches. She was ready for a fight but I decided it wasn’t worth it and backed down. We’d only hung a few towels when Dinie slammed the patio slider open and charged outside.
“You gotta see this!” she screeched, waving her arms wildly. “You’re not going to believe it! Bobby Kennedy got shot last night!” Mother dropped the towel she was holding, onto the freshly mown Bermuda grass. Disbelief slithered across her face like a rattlesnake, as she digested Dinie’s words.