The anger was always seething beneath the surface, but Mother's deepest insides were mushy sweet.
The summer before Fiorella entered high school, while the family was visiting relatives "up North," Fiorella spotted the perfect dress in an Akron department store. It was a brown and orange plaid with a straight skirt, and it would assure everyone who saw her the first day of school that she was a person of consequence.
But it was expensive--probably over a hundred dollars in today's currency--so Fio had to walk away. Late that night, Fiorella heard Mother, on the other other side of the partition that separated her parents' bed from the anteroom that housed cots for Fio and her brother, talking with Dad about the dress, explaining its importance to Fiorella.
Despite Dad 's concern about trip finances, he relented, and Fio walked proud and confident into Waco High School that fall.
Thank you, Mother. You understood.