Meme Ortiz moves into Cathy’s house when her family leaves. Meme’s real name is Juan, and he has a sheepdog with both an English and a Spanish name. The house (which Cathy’s father built) is wooden and lopsided. In the back yard is a huge, “fat” tree. The children choose this tree for a “Tarzan Jumping Contest.” Meme wins, but breaks both of his arms in the process.
Meme and his dogs both emphasize the theme of names and show the bi-culturalism of the neighborhood. In this society that is divided between the Latino and the Anglo-American, it is even more difficult for a child to form her identity. The images of trees and falling (trying to fly and failing) are also recurring motifs.