Gyroscope Review 16-4 - Page 23

AT HOME N. SCHWARTZ BY IRIS I. “Have all your friends over. Everyone’s welcome,” they said. Tall Dora with deep coffee skin, plump Sharon, café au lait, Elyse, nearly translucent, freckled, Lina, olive by June: We combed a Barbie doll’s straight hair. With her tiny nose, pale-Band-Aid skin, and exaggerated hourglass shape, she resembled none of us. II. My parents hired painters to double-coat all rooms of our house. One year, the painter, a slim black man, took my mother up on her offer of cold orange juice on a blistering August day. I prayed he didn’t catch her placing his drained glass in a corner of the sink, and, later, washing it twice. III. My father’s brother, during coffee and pie, whispered to my parents tales of “Sambos” and “jigaboos.” (I’d never heard these words, but understood them in context.) After he left for Long Island, I asked my mother why neither she nor Daddy stood up to him. “Oh, that’s just George,” she batted the air. “That’s how he is. What can you do?” Gyroscope Review 16-4 Page 1! 3