Between the late 40s and 60s the parents had to travel a lot following the carnival around in order to make a living, which resulted in leaving their kids behind, most of the time under the care of relatives in Indiana. Their marriage was not ideal, with minor and major problems leading to divorce. After the divorce, Sylvia went with her sister Jenny polio patient to live with her mother who was later arrested for shoplifting. They also had to share 3 spoons since these were the only cutlery available in the house. Then Lester forgot to pay on time and the torture started.