Neither was willing to care for their children, so they sent their daughters alone on a 3-day train trip from Chicago to Alhambra in California to live with their paternal grandparents. My mother's grandfather, Edwin Sr., a former British sailor, left the girls to his wife, Emma, a severe woman who wore black Victorian dresses and resented and ignored my mother except when enforcing her rigid house rules. My mother found some relief from the oppressive conditions of Emma's house in the outdoors. She ran through the orange groves that stretched for miles in the San Gabriel Valley, losing herself in the scent of fruit ripening in the sun. At night, she would escaped into her books. She left home during her first year in the high school to work as a mother's helper, caring for two young children in return for room, board and three dollars a week. For the first time, she lived in a household where the father and mother gave their children the love, attention and guidance she had never received. My mother often told me that without that sojourn with a strong family, she would not have known how to care for her own home and children. When she graduated from high school, my mother made plans to go to college in California. But her mother Della contacted her—for the first time in ten years—and asked her to come live with her in Chicago. When my mother arrived in Chicago, she found that Della wanted her only as a housekeeper. Once I asked my mother why she went back to Chicago, she told me, “I'd hoped so hard that my mother would love me that I had to take the chance and find out.”