Sarny, like most African American twelve year olds at the time was owned by a plantation owner. Clel Waller was the master at this particular plantation. Childhood for Sarny was never all that great. At the age of four her "birthing Mammy", birth mother, was sold. This event should not have affected Sarny that much because none of the birthing mothers were allowed to keep their own children. As soon as Sarny was born Old Delie, the mother who would raise her, took over the care of Sarny. Delie raises all of the little children and keeps a stick for each child that she marks with a notch each summer to record the children's age. Many of the other slaves think that Sarny is dumb because she is quiet and keeps to herself but she really just likes to listen to things and learn things. She learned about money this way. Since she is a child she has a duty to tend to the quarters, take care of the yard, and gather eggs. Sarny often thinks of all the things she has learned and tries to remember her birthing mother but she, of course, was too young to remember her mother. None of the slaves were allowed to pray so Delie would sometimes bring in the big cast iron pot and stick her head in it and pray. On occasion Sarny would pray with her. Waller's place lacked overseers which are people who would use the whip and gun but Waller found pleasure in doing it himself. The day that Waller brought John Sarny was tending to the rose bushes, she had to chew tobacco and spit it on the bugs. Night John was walking alone in front of the horse that Waller was riding. John had a shackle around his neck that was attached to the horse's saddle so if the horse stopped John was jerked back. Sarny noticed that John was completely naked and his back was covered in scars. She thought it was unusual that Waller would buy a slave in such a condition because scars meant that the slave was hard to get to work.