42 pages 1 hour read

Richard Peck

A Long Way from Chicago

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1998

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Chapters 6-8

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 6 Summary: “Things with Wings”

Grandma meets Joey and Mary Alice at the train station. She is also there to see off an old friend who is leaving because she can no longer afford her house. This summer, Joey has his eye on a Terraplane 8 car in town, but he cannot afford driving lessons. One night, they see Dracula at the movie night in the park, and the walk home in the dark spooks them all. Mary Alice asks whether vampires exist, which prompts Grandma to reflect that movies prove how gullible people are, for they “[m]ake something seem real, and people will believe it” (107). Grandma sends Joey and Mary Alice into the attic to find items to donate to a church rummage sale. Later, they attend the rummage sale, where they contribute an old hat and a quilt. Both items appear to be the property of Abraham Lincoln, and Grandma makes $17 for them.

A rumor arises that claims that the items came from the foreclosed house of Grandma’s friend. This development causes trouble for the town’s banker. He is supposed to clear the land on which the house is built, but if the items originated there, the house must be designated a historical building that cannot be destroyed.