Squeaky has a very important job in “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara, and it is not doing housework. Each member of the family has his or her own responsibilities. Her mother takes charge of the housework while Squeaky attends to her developmentally disabled brother, Raymond. This allows her mother to complete her daily chores, and allows Squeaky to continue with her running practice routine.
All I have to do in life is mind my brother Raymond, which is enough.
Caring for Raymond takes time, dedication, and loyalty. In order for Squeaky’s mother to care for the household, she requires her daughter to care for Raymond, who needs constant attention. In the past, George, Squeaky’s other brother, had the task of caring for Raymond but he was not as fierce at defending him as Squeaky is. Although Raymond is chronologically older than Squeaky, he is not as developmentally advanced. Squeaky takes her job seriously to the point of fighting with anyone who questions Raymond’s appearance or abilities. Sometimes she has to run interference for him when he upsets the people relaxing in the park. In order to keep him safe, she instructs him to walk closest to the buildings on Broadway so he does not run into the busy street or play in the puddles next to the street while pretending the curb is a tightrope.
And sometimes after a rain he likes to step down off his tightrope right into the gutter and slosh around getting his shoes and cuffs wet. Then I get hit when I get home. Or sometimes if you don’t watch him he’ll dash across traffic to the island in the middle of Broadway and give the pigeons a fit. Then I have to go behind him apologizing to all the old people sitting around trying to get some sun and getting all upset with the pigeons fluttering around them, scattering their newspapers and upsetting the waxpaper lunches in their laps. So I keep Raymond on the inside of me, and he plays like he’s driving a stage coach which is OK by me so long as he doesn’t run me over or interrupt my breathing exercises, which I have to do on account of I’m serious about my running, and I don’t care who knows it.
Caring for, and defending Raymond is difficult job which Squeaky performs with heartfelt diligence. This allows her mother to accomplish the household chores. Although taking care of Raymond is a constant job, Squeaky manages to practice her ever important breathing exercises.