I wonder whether there is something in the water or the air, of this particular area of Richmond. There are two homes that make me wonder. The one I worked in 12 years ago!!! I have devoted an entire chapter to this estrogen-ful family in the book I am forever writing, about the children I work with. That first family is african american. All women, from the vibrant matriarch to the tiniest little premature girl I worked with. There must have been men, but the grandfather, one of the progenitors, is in prison for life. The father of the girl I worked with was also incarcerated for a long period of time, in fact, he is still in prison. I saw another man, occasionally, apparently he is the father of one of the little cousins, and now has fathered her sister, a girl of course. I only saw him once, early in the morning, he was leaving as I arrived. That is it for the men. The women, on the other hand, are vital, bright, attractive, loud, full of the joy of life. They are active in their church and all of them work. The sisters and the cousins and the aunts constantly came by, in various stages of pregnancy. They brought along their adorable little girls, their hair in braids and colorful barrettes. It seemed entirely natural they would bear girls. Only once did one of the cousins have a boy, and he was, tragically, very damaged in childbirth, and died.
The family I presently work with are Latino. It is situated very close to the other family, and again, it is full of females and female energy. Again, I have only seen one man, the grandfather. From the grandmother onward it is just girls. The mother of the girl I work with has 2 daughters, her sister-in-law has, as far as I can tell, at least 4 girls. All the girls are very pretty with long thick dark brown hair and equally long dark lashes. The flit around the house which is full of flowers - artificial, but who cares. There are pots of artificial palms and ferns and vases of artificial lilies and roses. The bright faces of all the girls appear round corners, or over the tops of the plants, all curious at what I am doing on the floor with their little cousin. They smile and giggle and when they think she needs help they will guide her hands or point to something.
If I were of childbearing age I would have walked out of both these homes pregnant - with girls! As it is, I am filled with wonder by the time I leave, an enigmatic smile on my face.