After the Walls had been in Welch a while, Rex and Rose-Mary decided to leave the children with Rex’s mother Erma, and make a road trip back to Phoenix. Their excuse for leaving them was that it was only going to be a short trip, all business, and to retrieve anything they had left behind. A week after the parents had left Erma was hammered, she had been drinking since before breakfast, and told Brian that his pants needed sewed up. She said she didn’t want Brian running around in his underpants so he had to keep them on while she fixed the seam of his crotch.
I went into Grandpa’s bedroom and saw Erma kneeling on the floor in front of Brian, grabbing at the crotch of his pants, squeezing and kneading while mumbling to herself and telling Brian to hold still, goddammit. Brian, his cheeks wet with tears, was holding his pants protectively between his legs” (Page 146). While the Walls now had their own house, if you could call it that, they still didn’t have any plumbing. So on the weekends the kids would go to Grandpa and Uncle Stanley’s house to bathe. One weekend while Lori was taking her bath, Rose-Mary was in the other room doing a puzzle, Jeanette was waiting for her turn in the bath.
She was watching the television with her Uncle Stanley, “I felt Stanley’s hand creeping onto my thigh. I looked at him, but he was staring at the Hee Haw Honeys so intently that I couldn’t be sure he was doing it on purpose, so I knocked his hand away without saying anything. A few minutes later, the hand came creeping back. I looked down and saw that Uncle Stanley’s pants were unzipped and he was playing with himself” (Page 183-184).
The worst part was that when Jeanette told her mother who was in the other room about what happened, she simply shrugged it off. “Mom, Uncle Stanley is behaving inappropriately,” I said. Oh your probably imagining it,” she said. “He groped me! And he’s wanking off! ” Mom cocked her head and looked concern. “Poor Stanley, she said. “He’s so lonely” (Page 184). One day while Jeanette and her younger brother Brian were out scrounging around their dump of a house in Welch, they miraculously came across a diamond ring under a piece of wood. After determining it was real, scratching a piece of glass like their father had shown them, they thought this was a way to get ahead! They decided to take it in the house and show their mother and figure out a way to find out what it was worth.
Rose-Mary took the bus to a town nearby to get the ring appraised. When Rose-Mary had returned the kids were anxious to hear how much the diamond ring was worth. Their mother told them it was a two-carat diamond ring. “What’s it worth? ” I asked. “Doesn’t matter,” mom said. “She was keeping it, she explained, to replace the wedding ring her mother had given her, the one Dad had pawned shortly after they got married. ” (Page 186).