Raymond suffers from mild mental retardation. He has got an abnormally big head, causing others to make fun of him. His sister and protagonist, Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker, famous as Squeaky, is extremely caring and protective of him.
What Squeaky feels for Raymond, nobody else does. More than a sister, she plays the role of mother to him. She’s like a bodyguard accompanying him wherever they go. She doesn’t hesitate using her fists to protect him from being made fun of.
Squeaky knows that although Raymond is older than her, he’s not like normal boys.
“…he needs looking after cause he’s not quite right.”
And so she knows that her primary job is to look after him –
“All I have to do in life is mind my brother Raymond.”
But to others, Raymond is an abnormal boy whose “pumpkin head” makes him a laughing stock. They are often trying to cause him trouble. For instance, Gretchen and her “sidekicks” including Mary Louise and Rosie, approaches him with an intention to tease him.
“Then they all look at Raymond who has just brought his mule team to a standstill. And they’re about to see what trouble they can get into through him. “What grade you in now, Raymond?”
However, they go away without causing him any trouble as Squeaky interrupts and warns them in her typical spunky manner.
At other times when Squeaky is not around Raymond,
“someone’s liable to walk up to him and get smart, or take his allowance from him, or ask him where he got that great big pumpkin head.”
Something very unusual happens during the May Day race that comes as a great revelation to Squeaky. She discovers a potential runner in her brother, Raymond. Now, she hopes to coach him to be a successful runner.
“…it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner. Doesn’t he always keep up with me on my trots? And he surely knows how to breathe in counts of seven cause he’s always doing it at the dinner table, which drives my brother George up the wall.”
She is overjoyed to see her brother in a new way and her happiness knows no bounds when she imagines coaching Raymond to be a successful runner.
“And by the time he comes over I’m jumping up and down so glad to see him—my brother Raymond, a great runner in the family tradition.”