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August describes her interaction with Lily’s mother. She explains how she began working for Deborah’s mother, Sarah, when Deborah was four years old. She worked there for nine years and then began teaching. When she left for South Carolina, Deborah was nineteen years old and was devastated that she left. Deborah moved to Sylvan, following the advice of a high school friend. Deborah met T. Ray there, and they were married. Lily questions why she would marry him, and August insists that he started off a good man; Deborah loved him. However, August points out, people change after life gets through with them. Besides, when T. Ray first proposed, Deborah had rejected the proposal, but she later changed her mind because she was pregnant.
Lily panics and realizes she was an unwanted baby. Lily wishes she never knew that. August reassures Lily that her mother said that Lily was such a pretty baby that it made her eyes hurt. August discusses what Lily always hoped to hear: that her mother had loved her and cared for her. August says that she thinks her mother was happy for a while, before her life changed toward unhappiness. She wrote to August saying she was leaving T. Ray, and she asked if she could stay with the Boatwrights for a while. She came to the house without Lily because she was depressed and falling apart.