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- Page 88: "That may not be the name God or my mama gave me but that is my name now. Ellen Foster. My old family wore the other name out and I figured I would take the name of my new family. That one is fresh. Foster. I told him all that."
- Page 125: "Starletta I always thought I was special because I was white and when I thought about you being colored I said to myself it sure is a shame Starletta's colored. I sure would hate to be that way. White people selling your mama's quilts like they do. And the three of you live in that house that's about to fall down. I always went away from your house wondering how you stood to live without a inside toilet. I know your daddy just put one in but you went a long time without one. Longer than any white folks I know. And when I thought about you I always felt glad for myself And now I don't know why. I really don't. And I just wanted to tell you that. You don't have to say anything back. You just lay there and wait for supper."
- Page 25: "Each month one of his brothers would bring him some cash money in an envelope and I would make sure I got to it before my daddyd did. They left it in the mailbox I guess because they did not think one of us was at home. I figured out what I needed and took it. You got the lights, gas to heat and cook, food, and extras. The people who sent the bills said do not send cash but at least I sent them the right change. I let him have the rest of the money and he would stock up so he would not have to worry."
Adjectives describing Ellen