but it’s impossible not to because you can do stuff there that you wouldn’t even think aboutdoing at your own house. There’s no way my parents would let me have guys over to playdodge ball in the living room or pee off the roof into a bucket or use our dining room tableas a shield for dirtball wars with the Day School kids.The only time I ever saw Mr. Kerwin yell at any of his kids was when Jake put a cherrybomb in a cat’s mouth and taped it shut and lit the fuse. And that was only because it wokehim up. By the way, that was the worst thing I ever saw anybody ever do. He did it in thegarage and he called us in without telling us what he was going to do until it was too late. Iclosed my eyes so I didn’t see the actual explosion but I had a nightmare about it and I helpedWinky bury the part of the cat that didn’t get blown up. I said the prayers at its funeral.You’re not supposed to be poor in Grosse Pointe. There’s plenty of room in Detroit tobe poor. That’s probably really why no adults liked the Kerwins. Jake was a dangerous guyand theyhad a little brother who didn’t have a real name, only the nickname Jake gavehim—Snovus. I think it had something to do with snot. Snovus didn’t like wearing clothesin the summer. The neighbors didn’t care for him walking around the neighborhood nakedwith one finger up his nose and the other in his butt. In the afternoon he liked to go tothe corner of Rivard and Charlevoix and do the Twist for the cleaning ladies waiting for thebus back to Detroit.All the Kerwin kids are boys except for Colleen, who’s a girl. She wants to be Miss Americawhen she grows up, except she has a harelip and the doctor who fixed it wasn’t exactly a prowith girls’ faces. Frankly, he did a pretty terrible job. You can see her teeth even when sheisn’t smiling. I feel sorry for her. Jake calls her Rat. Once I even heard her on the telephonecall herself Rat.
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Being poor in a place where you’re supposed to be rich hurts a lot more than you mightthink. You feel shitty all the time because your shoes are falling apart and you’re wearingclothes a couple other people already wore out and you can’t invite people to your yacht clubor your country club or your cottage. You can’t even ask somebody over for dinner because
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