Chapter 3 Summary
Chapter 3 is another first-person scene from Frank’s childhood. Back when Frank was four years old, he, his family, and his neighbors were kicked out of their homes in Bandera County, Texas. They were made to leave purely because of their black skin. Some of the neighbors had trucks, and they were able to take a great deal of what they owned—but they still lost the crops and animals that had made up their livelihoods.
Frank’s family had no truck, so they took only what they could fit into a wheelbarrow. They set out walking toward Georgia, where they had family. When a neighbor offered them seats in his car, they had to leave even the wheelbarrow behind. Frank’s mother cried about losing so many possessions, but she was pregnant and knew she had to get off her feet in order to save the baby. They lost everything but what they could hold on their laps: a small basket of clothes, the reins of a horse, and a few tools.
Frank remembers that the bottom sole of one of his shoes was falling off during their migration. It flapped constantly as he walked until his father took off one of his own shoelaces and tied it down. Frank remembers the time as one of the most difficult of his life: “Talk about tired. Talk about hungry.” He struggles to describe the paltry meals he ate at food pantries during the period. Addressing the writer of his story, he says, “Write about that, why don’t you?” His tone suggests frustration, as if he thinks the writer is missing the details that matter most.
Continuing with his memories, Frank explains that his mother heard an unusual name in a food pantry on the journey. This name, Ycidra, was given to Frank’s little sister a few weeks later. Ycidra, called Cee for short, was born in a church basement. By tradition, her parents waited nine days before officially naming her.
The thought of names makes Frank remember that he was named for his uncle. His father was named Luther, his mother Ida. Their surname, Money, has always been ridiculous because they never had any.
At the end of the chapter, Frank suggests that the writer of his story does not know what it means to feel too hot. That summer during his family’s forced migration, he felt heat too strong and deep for words. “Trees give up. Turtles cook in their shells. Describe that if you know how,” he says—and he seems to doubt that she can.