Heartbreaking, but what a brave girl Betty is. She doesn’t let her life be ruined by her strong, but scarred mother, or her schoolmates who call her names because of her Native American heritage. I found it shocking how in the sixties even teachers treat her abominably. Luckily she has a loving Cherokee father who teaches her all about respect for nature, and she has her siblings - who are firmly on her side. A beautiful coming-of-age story.
In between Flossie and Trustin, I was carved with a raven feather. When I asked Dad why a raven's feather, he said that many years ago, when the trees and mountains were in their infancy great beasts roamed the land while people sat around fires and told stories.
'The ravens,' Dad said, 'hearin’ these beautiful stories, knew they needed to be written down to be preserved. So each raven decided to pluck a feather from their body. They offered these feathers to the story-tellers. But a pen needs its ink. A raven's blood runs black as the night sky, so the wise birds bit their own tongues, their black blood spilling to the pens of the poets and storytellers. By the sacrifice of the raven, stories found wing from one generation to the next.'
Some men carried photos of their children in their wallets. Dad had his cane. Maybe he thought carving us in wood would force time to stand still. Our faces never to age beyond the youth he'd sculpted with his knife.