The new puppy completes the family circle. But, when Mama goes away Sissie learns even with careful planning things can't be put back together again.
This story is a partial memoir of the author Diane "Sissie" Gray, born in 1939, told by herself as a chatty, curious child. She lived on the far eastside of Des Moines, Iowa with Mama "Gaye," who is racially mixed Caucasian and Black; beautiful, a disciplinarian - typical of that time period. Daddy Howard, a talented Black musician and entreprenuer, her brother Buddy (Ronald), just thirteen months older than she; and their beloved little dog Corky.
Within her close, extended family circle Sissie is secure, inquisitive and busy. When Mama goes away to school in another state Sissie is separated from Daddy, Buddy and Corky. On her own for the first time Sissie tries to adjust to a new, temporary home with an elderly couple and a new, unwelcoming all-white school. But when Sissie learns Corky's life may be at risk she must convince Daddy to let her move with Buddy at Grandma's house to watch over Corky until Mama comes back home.