Forget about it. You won't find the answers to lies ahead in a book called "The Unknown." I mean, the title is kind of discouraging, don't you think?

Let’s see what happens to nine-year-old Lorna and her family after her older sister is alive and recovered.

I guess our little family wasn’t cut out to be Italian. Or Catholic city folk. By the end of third grade in St. Francis School of the Eternally Anxious (or something like that), I wanted out of that itchy wool uniform and unnecessarily uncomfortable shoes that slipped when I walked no matter how hard I tried to scuff them up.

Yeah. No. But if it makes you feel good to think about it, go right ahead.

That's more like it. Remember, I was in Catholic school where anguish was part of the curriculum.

Mom decided to move us back North where we eventual became country pagans. Okay. We lived closer to cows than other people and went to a public school where the Pledge of Allegiance was our morning prayer. Italians were nowhere to be found; neither was the kind of scrumptious pizza we had grown accustomed to from the authentic Italian pizzeria down the block.

Besides missing the best pizza in the world, the only reluctance I had to leaving my Italian neighborhood was leaving Skinny Michele. She was my best friend from the first day I set foot on the paved playground of St. Francis School for the Purgatory Bound (or something like that). Tina was off trying to make friends of her own and I was just standing there trying not to slip in my shoes, my belly stretching the wool jumper to its limits. Then along came Skinny Michele to check out the new blonde chubby kid. She was tall, had a cloud of red hair around her sliver of a face, and had stick-like arms and legs poking out of her baggy uniform. She looked at my solidness, possibly sizing me up for her personal bodyguard. Since she was the only kid to notice me, I asked her, “Do you want to be best friends?” She said, “Yes.” And that was that. I felt bad leaving her behind after 3 great years of best-friendshiphood.

If Carrot Top was female, he and Skinny Michele could've been twins.

Maybe some parents consulted their children about big family decisions like moving to another state or what to have for dinner, but not Mom. She didn’t even tell us what was happening until the very last minute; then we were just swept up in it. When the ball was already rolling, it didn’t make much sense to ask if the ball shouldn’t be kicked in the first place.

Mom must have felt a little like she was a boomerang. She bought a New Moon trailer and parked it next to Mémé and Pépé’s house. She came full circle. The trailer had two bedrooms and one bathroom for three growing girls and one mother. Do the math. It was tight, especially when we all reached puberty. Mom slept on a sleeper sofa in the living room. Lisa and I shared the largest bedroom and Tina had the smaller bedroom. We stored all over-flow possessions in Mémé and Pépé’s attic, which is to say we stored most of our possessions in Mémé and Pépé’s attic. That red and white New Moon trailer was my home for the next 9 years–until I was in college and lived on my own.

And I always wondered why I couldn't have any friends spend an overnight at my house...

We were no strangers to living near our grandparents. Each summer when we lived in Connecticut, we would spend at least a couple of weeks visiting them. We slept in their attic, which had a lot more room for cots before all our stuff moved in. That’s not true. We laid in cots, sweating and swatting at flying insects. Their attic wasn’t insulated and had only two small windows that were positioned purposefully not to catch a summer night’s breeze.

Mémé had strict rules for Pépé and for us (Mom included). Pépé ranked lowest in our almost all female clan. I felt bad for Pépé. It wasn’t his fault he was a man, which, as a kid, was the only thing I could figure was wrong with him and why Mémé had it out for him. So I latched onto Pépé and we became pals. I sat next to him at the dinner table and laughed extra loud at all his jokes. I went for rides with him when Mémé would send him on errands. Pépé was the first man I ever loved, not including Mighty Mouse.

Pépé had pretty big tights to fill, but he did. I loved him more than Mighty Mouse because he could give me a real hug.

When we moved next to them for good, Pépé and I became even better buddies. We were nearly inseparable. Tina and Lisa had a perverse affection for cleaning, something I didn’t understand or share. So when it came to assigning chores, my sisters took the inside chores of dusting and vacuuming while I volunteered to help Pépé outside with whatever he was doing: mowing the lawn, burning leaves or brush, or going to the dump (or, as it’s known today, the “landfill”). I still had some inside chores, especially in winter when the lawn didn’t need mowing, but I tried to forget about them. I’m biologically programmed to short-circuit when it comes to house-cleaning.

See, Lorna. When the grass gets this high, we have to mow it down or else we'll get in big trouble from you-know-who.

Mom had work outside the home for the first time since she got married. With her meager pay as a stenographer and Social Security Widow’s and Dependents’ benefits, she somehow made financial ends meet. Living on her mother’s and step-father’s property and sharing utility bills helped, I’m sure. Mom didn’t pay us for doing chores–we were expected to help. Just because.

Tina was 10, I was 9, and Lisa 7. Mémé and Pépé lived within a “girl’s throw” away. Mom worked. When we weren’t in school, we were, once again, on our own with older adult supervision nearby. That made for some, might I say, interesting times…

We were told to stay together, so I don't see what the problem is.

How much trouble could one, two or three little girls get into?