July 19, 1989
Mama spent a lot of time on the phone today. She was talking to her friend in town with a very worried look on her face. When I asked her what was wrong she told me, not unkindly, to take Sandra outside.
We sat in the grass for a while, soaking up the sunshine and listening to birds sing as they dipped up and down in the sky like leaves in the wind. Sandra said she wasn’t used to life without television and I told her that Mama said television corrupts what is pure inside us. She wrinkled her nose at me and said Mama didn’t know what she was missing. That made me a little mad at her, I guess.
Sandra sighed and said if we couldn’t watch television then we should at least do something fun, like go into the woods at the edge of our property to explore. Maybe we could see some animals, she said.
Right away I said no, the woods aren’t allowed. The woods are forbidden. If we were playing a game, the woods would be out-of-bounds.
This made her interested. She said, “Why can’t we go in the woods?”
I was careful at first. I said Mama had rules. There weren’t a lot of rules but they were important to follow because Mama knew best about these sorts of things. I told her Mama is good but Mama can be hard.
Sandra said, “Like no television? And the chores?”
I said yes. Those are some of the rules. And so is not going into the woods.
But by then she was all worked up, wanting to know why, asking what would be so bad if we went into the woods. Mama had warned me about this. She said that people who don’t live in our happy house might try to test boundaries because they’re not used to the way things are. It was important to stay pure and not be lead astray.
So I told her the rest.
Sandra got all quiet and didn’t ask about the woods again. I felt bad because she was finally starting to seem like she might be happy but I had to warn her. It was important.
When we went back inside Mama was still on the phone. I got Marceline and Carolyn to start washing the vegetables for supper because it seemed like Mama might be busy for a while. Sandra helped chop the carrots but she was quiet the whole time. Probably thinking about the woods.
I know I thought about the woods a lot at first.