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One day, Jeannette helps a young African American boy escape a dog attack. She carries him home and sees Dinitia watching her from across the street. After that, Dinitia begins to befriend Jeannette. Erma and Stanley, having prejudice towards black people, question Jeannette's choice of friends and warn her that others will consider her a "nigger lover." Jeannette and her siblings are forced to stay with their grandparents alone when Rex and Rose Mary decide to return to Phoenix to retrieve some of their things and to check on the house. While they are gone Erma tries to force herself onto Brian, claiming that his pants need mending. A fight ensues when Lori tries to get Erma to stop. When Rex returns and hears about the incident he is angry at the children and doesn't appear to care about what happened to Brian. His reaction causes Jeannette to wonder whether he was abused similarly as a child. After this, the family is kicked out of Erma and Ted's house and they must move into a dilapidated apartment at 93 Little Hobart Street which, in addition to needing numerous structural repairs, has no indoor plumbing.