1964, February 14th – Robyn is born.
1967 – Robyn is 3. She is wearing dungarees and sitting in front of the television, which is showing an episode of Tom and Jerry in which different cats arrive at the gates of heaven, there are three kittens in a bag. She is building a tower with wooden blocks, the red blocks are always at the top. Ray arrives home, walks through the front door and goes to the cupboard at the back of the house. Connie is cooking in the kitchen area, she has a big pan of potatoes. She is obviously agitated. She says;
“What are you doing?”
“Cleaning my boots.”
“Where have you been”
Ray keeps repeating that he is cleaning his boots. Connie will not leave him be. He moves quickly towards her and strikes her. The pan of potatoes crashes to the floor. The tower falls down.
1968 – Robyn is 4. Robyn, Ray and Connie are sitting around the dinner table. Connie is crying and saying something about Robyn. Ray is eating slowly and looking down at the table. Robyn puts her peas in a line.
1968 – Robyn is 4. Ray runs a bath for himself and Robyn. Robyn has to answer a question correctly to have bubbles in the bath. Ray washes himself under the shower head, Robyn uses a flannel to clean her face. Ray sings to Robyn, who learns the song and joins in. The song becomes the bath time song.
Early 1969 – Robyn is 4, nearly 5. Ray takes her outside to look up at the flag they have hanging on a pole that sticks out the side of the house. He teaches her the pledge of allegiance. It is cold and raining but they stay out there until Robyn has learnt it. Connie is inside but does not interrupt.
1969 – Robyn is 5. Robyn and Connie arrive home from the store. Ray is relaxing on the porch step with the dog. Robyn says, “Look daddy, I gotta popsicle.”, “Where did you get that from?”, “The man at the garage.” Ray takes the popsicle and drops it on the dirt. He tells Robyn she must never speak to that man, that he is a bad man and a liar. He tells her to put her head down and say “Yes sir,” if he ever tries to talk to her again. Ray storms indoors. He sees Connie talking to Robyn, Robyn shakes her head and kicks dirt over the popsicle.
1970 – Robyn is 6. Robyn asks Ray if he is God. He laughs.
1971 – Robyn is 7 – Ray drives Robyn. She attends Attica Elementary School. It takes 17 minutes to get there. Connie is working at the diner almost every day and night apart from Monday evening, when she is home and cooks dinner.
1972 – Robyn is 8. Ray is outside cleaning his truck. Robyn throws a bird out her bedroom window and it lands on the front of the truck. It has cardboard and popsicle sticks stuck to it.
“What are you doing?”
Robyn tries to explain that the bird didn’t have any wings and birds have to have wings so she was trying to make some for it, so it could fly again, because birds have to fly because that’s what birds do.
Ray stamps on the birds head, to put it out of its misery. He says;
“I can tell you, there are some things that you just can’t fix.”
1972 – Robyn is 8. It is Christmas. Ray cuts down a tree to put in the house. Connie and Robyn make paper snowflakes and other decorations to put on it. Robyn hangs all the red baubles in a vertical line down the front of the tree.
1972 – Robyn is 8. Robyn asks Ray what he did in the war. Ray shuts down the conversation. He says Europe is bad and that Indiana is the only place to stay.
Early 1973 – Robyn is 8. Robyn tells Ray that the dog should not be called Teddy as he is not a Teddy, he is a dog. Ray tells her that the dog is named after President Roosevelt. From then on Robyn refers to the dog as Dog.
1973, Summer - Robyn is 9. It is Saturday, it is hot and sticky. Ray is sitting at the table. Connie and Robyn are by the sofa. Connie hits Robyn round the head, because she will not wear the dress she has bought for her. Robyn nearly tore the dress in half. It is a pink and green summer dress with flowers on it. Connie starts to cry and runs upstairs, Robyn stays on the sofa. Ray says nothing.
1974, February 14th. Robyn is 10. Robyn gets in the truck after school. He says;
The engine makes the whole truck shake and vibrate.