January 21

Dear Diary,
Abby Mae’s mama stopped by today. She said the old Florida place caved in after the last snow and that the family’s in a bad way. “Why do they call it the Florida place?” I asked her. “Because Mr. Benjamin’s great-granddaddy came up from Pensacola—that’s a town in Florida—in 1891,” she said. “It’s nothing to do with the house. They called him ‘the Florida man’ for 52 years because he was a ‘newcomer’ to the mountains. Then, when he died and Mr. Benjamin’s granddaddy stayed on, people just called their house the Florida place.”

“Does that mean people will call our house the Green Lake house?” I said. “Are we going to be called newcomers?”

Abby Mae’s mama just laughed. “That’s a mountain thing, Dell. Memories go back a long ways up there.” Abby Mae’s mama comes from near Louisville, so she thinks some mountain ideas are silly. I felt better knowing I wasn’t going to be a newcomer until I turned old, Diary.

I don’t know much about Mr. Benjamin, but Mama calls him “a salesman.” Geoff and Daddy wink at each other when she says that. They say the only thing he sells is hot air and everyone knows you can’t feed a family on that! But I don’t see why his children have to suffer just because he’s not good at his job. Some things are hard to understand, Diary.

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