The first house we moved into together was at the end of a red clay road. When it rained, as it did every summer afternoon, the clay became slick and fast and far more fun than a slip and slide. Frances, who I would be calling mom soon, made it clear that girls didn’t get dirty. But that glorious clay was irresistible, and I knew I wasn’t meant to be categorized as a girl. So I learned how to hose off after practicing my best slide moves and hearing that imaginary crowd roar as the also imaginary ump yelled, “safe!” Technically, I wasn’t dirty. For whatever reason, Frances didn’t push the issue and that clay became my haven.