Mrs Cleary went off once again to Mr Wenns office this time to borrow his

Mrs cleary went off once again to mr wenns office

This preview shows page 236 - 240 out of 256 pages.

Mrs. Cleary went off once again to Mr. Wenn’s office, thistime to borrow his secretary Miss Brindo to be a second witnessto the signing. Miss Brindo, who appeared to have at least enoughCherokee in her to claim head rights, had on tight jeans andshiny red high heels, and snapped her gum. She had a compli-cated haircut that stood straight up on top, and something toldme she led a life that was way too boring for her potential. Iwished she could have known what she was really witnessing thatmorning.In a way, I wish all of them could know, maybe twenty yearslater or so when it’s long past doing anything about it. Mrs.Cleary’s and Mr. Armistead’s hair would have stood straight uptoo, to think what astonishing things could be made legal in amodest little office in the state of Oklahoma.We shook hands all around, I got the rest of the adoptionarrangements straightened out with Mr. Armistead, and we filed228TH EBE A NTR E E S
out, a strange new combination of friends and family. I could seethe relief across Estevan’s back and shoulders. He held Esperanza’shand. She was still drying tears but her face was changed. It shonelike a polished thing, something old made new.They both wore clean work shirts, light blue with fadedelbows. Esperanza had on a worn denim skirt and flat loafers. Ihad asked them please not to wear their very best for this occa-sion, not their Immigration-fooling clothes. It had to look likeTurtle was going to be better off with me. When they came outthat morning dressed as refugees I had wanted to cry out, No! Iwas wrong. Don’t sacrifice your pride for me. But this is howbadly they wanted to make it work.Soundness of Mind and Freedom of Will229
S E V E N T E E NRhizobiaIt had crossed my mind that Turtle might actually have recog-nized the cemetery her mother was buried in, and if so, I won-dered whether I ought to take her back there to see it. But myconcerns were soon laid to rest. We passed four cemeteries onthe way to the Pottawatomie Presbyterian Church of St. Michaeland All Angels, future home of Steven and Hope Two Two, andat each one of them Turtle called out, “Mama!”There would come a time when she would just wave at thesight of passing gravestones and quietly say, “Bye bye.”Finding the church turned out to be a chase around RobinHood’s barn. Mattie’s directions were to the old church. The con-gregation had since moved its home of worship plus its pastor andpresumably its refugees into a new set of buildings several milesdown the road. I was beginning to form the opinion thatOklahomans were as transient a bunch as the people back homewho slept on grass-flecked bedrolls in Roosevelt Park.
The church was a cheery-looking place, freshly painted whitewith a purple front door and purple gutters. When Mattie used totalk about the Underground Railroad, by which she meant thesechurches and the people who carried refugees between them, ithad always sounded like the dark of night. I’d never pictured old

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