Norma and Doreen moved languorously through those first days of summer. Trying to get the worst out of the way, they rushed to finish their daily chores, spurred by an urgency to spend their extra hours together. In Norma’s family, ‘helping out’ was a well established tradition: Norma and her brother James were given chores from the time they were five or six, expected to do little jobs like wiping dishes or loading the firebox without being reminded. Now that they were older, they were supposed to dedicate a few hours every day to the endless work on the farm—there was always so much to do. This summer, James worked at a neighbor’s farm in addition to his own chores, tilling fields and clearing weeds whenever they needed a hand. This was a matter of great pride to James, and a source of great irritation to Norma.
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