ONE SUMMER MORNING IN OAKAND, CALIFORNIA

Eléctrica in the Desert

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One hot summer morning in Oakland, California, when my neice, Kito Gamble was four years old, she decided that she was going to wear her beloved giant rubber winter boots to pre-school. No one else thought this was a good idea: not her mother, Joy, nor Terry, nor her Auntie Claire (that’s me), who was visiting from Illinois.

After some discussion, Kito’s longing for her boots filled her heart, and she prepared herself for a full tilt battle.  Her mother decided that Kito’s boots were not going to become an Issue, and thus it was that  Kito appeared on the sidewalk that morning with a joyful smile: her boots were on her feet, and the world was her oyster.

That’s when something magic happened. Mama Joy was bending over, arranging books and lunches in the car, and deciding whether to wear or pack her sweater (she was driving across the…

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