An inspiring, humorous, and thoughtful account of unexpected single motherhood by former LBJ White House press secretary Carpenter (Ruffles and Flourishes, 1970). Raising three teenagers as a single parent is never an easy task. And for a woman in her 70s, suffering from a variety of medical ailments, it could have been overwhelming. Liz Carpenter not only took on the challenge of raising her deceased brother's three children but probably did it better than most women half her age. A widow for almost 20 years and a grandmother, Carpenter was not eager to resume the role of parent. But when her dying brother (a twice-married English professor, poet, and semi-vagabond) asked her to raise his brood, she felt that without her ""these children stared at a future whose door was closed."" Almost immediately, Carpenter resolved to give these teens the discipline and stability they never had. Household tasks were assigned; homework was carefully monitored; and morality (of a far more innocent generation) was instilled. Because of Carpenter's own lifetime of experiences, she was able to laugh at fashions (frayed, faded denim shorts above boots ""inspired by Nazi stormtroopers"") and antics that might have ruffled a younger parent. Yet she had her share of tense moments. What is a mother to do when the phone rings at 1:30 A.M. from the Austin police headquarters and she is told that her 12-year-old has been caught in a traffic violation? And imagine having to generate an entire term's work of 12th-grade English in four days so that your daughter -- who has spent the term reading Stephen King -- can graduate with her class. A wise and animated account of raising children well in spite of a particularly large generation gap.