It was his second day in first grade and his first time walking home from school. Maple Street was a half-mile long, one of several streets in Morrisville beautifully canopied with elms. There were twenty-three houses on the left side and nineteen on the right and, try as he might, he could not count both sides as he walked home from school. He would lose track as his eyes darted from left to right and the sums vanished.
Just below the hospital, Maple Street merged into Washington Highway which led east out of town towards the hill farms in the shadow of Elmore Mountain. The street’s lofty named belied its rutted gravel surface. His house lay just beyond the hospital yet still within the town limits, disqualifying him from riding on the school bus operated by his stepfather’s parents.