In 1906, I was barely over fourteen years old, and it was my wedding day. My older sister, Helen, came to my room, took me by the hand, and sat me down on the bed. She opened her mouth to say something, but then her face flushed, and she turned her head to look out the window. After a second, she squeezed my hand and looked back in my eyes. She said, “You’ve always been a good girl, Maude, and done what I told you. Now, you’re going to be a married woman, and he will be the head of the house. When you go home tonight after your party, no matter what he wants to do to you, you have to let him do it. Do you understand?”
I didn’t understand, but I nodded my head anyway. It sounded strange to me, the way so many things did. I would do what she told me. I didn’t have a choice, any more than I had a choice in being born.