Page 3. " Granville, a small rundown town just outside Washing D.C. "

Granville is a town in Monongalia County in West Virginia. Like Dawn says, it is right outside Washington, D.C. In 2000 the population of the town was a mere 778 people, including 362 households.

 

Sources:

Wikipedia

Google Maps

Page 4. " Maybe we really were no better than homeless gypsies "

When Dawn refers to her families as gypsies, she is referring to the fact that they are wanderers, never settling long in one place. Gypsies were originally of Hindu origin in England, especially in the beginning of the 16th century. Like the Longchamps, they too were wanderers.

 

Sources:

Wikipedia

Gypsies in the US

Page 6. " with what Momma called China Doll features "

Somebody with doll-like features would be considered an attractive woman. Common doll features are large eyes, smooth skin, and an overall innocent look.

Page 6. " looked more like a boy until she was 13 "

Despite Sally Jean's claims, 13 is not a late age for young women to develop. Girls start developing between 8 and 14 years old, on average. The first stage is breast development, which Sally Jean is most likely referring to.

Sources:

It's a Moms World

Page 6. " with a small box camera he had bought for a quarter "

Ormand's picture of Sally Jean was taken with a very old camera, a box camera. Now, they are extremely rare.

Source:

Camerapedia

Photographs taken with a box camera

Page 8. " whatever a woman looked at just before, during, or right after birth "

There are many Old Wives' tales about pregnancy and giving birth. These are myths, not known to be true. They are still passed down from generation to generation. One is that if you have heartburn, you will give birth to a boy. Another is that the things you eat will influence whether or not you have a boy or girl.

 

Source: Old Wives' Tales

Page 17. " Grits and black-eyed peas "
Grits
Creative Commons AttributionGrits - Credit: Ernesto Andrade

Grits is a common food in the Southern United States and it is made out of coarsely ground corn. It is comparable to porridges around the world. Sometimes it is eaten with sugar and sometimes it is fried.

 

Sources:

Wikipedia - Grits

Grits recipes

Page 17. " Where's Ormand? "

Ormand is another spelling of the name Ormond. The name is of Old English origin and means "mountain of bears; spear or ship protector". It's also Irish, meaning "red", sometimes as a last name. Ormand is an uncommon name for men but it's a common last name.

Source: Think Baby Names - Ormand

Page 18. " a little bit of bacon grease I had saved "

Many families save bacon grease for later use. It can be used on pie crusts, biscuits, vegetables, or fried potatoes to add taste. It also adds taste to meats like chicken, deer, and rabbit.

Bacon grease can be saved in a glass jar with a lid and placed in the refrigerator for later use. Some people keep the grease in a leftover coffee can.

Source: Thrifty Fun

Page 25. " the baby's turned wrong "

Sally Jean is giving birth to a baby in the breech position. Most babies are head-down when they are delivered. In the case of Sally Jean's baby, it is feet first. Babies born early are more likely to be breech. Many breech babies can be delivered safely, but complications can occur and so sometimes it is safer to perform a C-section. Doctor's can tell if a baby is breech and create a plan for birthing. It is reasonable to assume that Sally Jean's finances kept her from seeing a doctor often throughout her pregnancy.

Source: Familydoctor.org