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Dicey's Song

Dicey's Song

by Cynthia Voigt

Dicey's Song Chapter 3 Summary

  • It’s early October, and Dicey checks the mail one day after school. There’s a letter from Boston, presumably about Momma. 
  • She takes the letter in to Gram, who reads it but refuses to tell Dicey what it says. All she’ll say is, "No change." Which annoys Dicey, because it’s three pages long, and it doesn’t take three pages to say that.
  • October goes on, with everyone waiting for the adoption documents to arrive. Everybody’s doing okay in school, and Dicey and Mina get an A on their science project. Win.
  • Mina keeps trying to be friends with Dicey, but Dicey’s having none of it. She says hi to Mina when she sees her in class, then hurries to her desk and avoids everybody. Yeah, she's not gonna win any Miss Congeniality sashes anytime soon.
  • Jeff keeps playing the guitar outside school every afternoon, and one day he convinces Dicey to sing harmony with him. She does, then tells him her sister is the one who can really sing, and that he should meet her sometime.
  • Jeff says he’d like to, and Dicey runs off to work. What, like he thought she was actually going to invite him? We’re talking Dicey here.
  • That afternoon at work, Dicey finds out Millie can’t read, because she has trouble ordering. She’s ordered corn flakes when she meant to order corn chips. 
  • Dicey offers to take over doing the ordering, and Millie’s thrilled. She tells Dicey she’s got the job. 
  • That night, Dicey watches Maybeth struggling to read again and worries that Maybeth will turn out like Millie. But after struggling to finish her homework, Maybeth starts playing the piano and sounds like her usual prodigy self.
  • Plus, she's been invited to a birthday party, so Gram cuts down one of her own shirts to make Maybeth a dress. She's totally thrilled and starts dancing around the room in it, Carlton-style
  • James has finished his report on the pilgrims, and Dicey reads it and thinks it’s awesome.
  • In the meantime, Mr. Chappelle, Dicey’s English teacher, has given his class an assignment: write a character sketch of someone you know in real life. Dicey runs through the people she knows in her head, and finally decides to write about her mother, calling her Mrs. Liza so nobody will know who she is.
  • Mina invites Dicey to come over to her house and discuss the assignment, but Dicey says she can’t. Mina tells Dicey she’s a hard person to be friends with. (Ya think?)
  • Dicey comes home from school one afternoon and finds Mr. Lingerle sitting at the piano playing Beethoven. He introduces himself to Dicey as Maybeth’s music teacher.
  • Gram invites Mr. Lingerle, who is obese, to stay for dinner. She cooks a giant pile of crabs.
  • Mr. Lingerle stays but doesn’t eat much. Sammy asks him if he’s had enough to eat, and Mr. Lingerle says no, but he’ll stuff himself with something when he gets home, because he’s nervous around new people.
  • Mr. Lingerle asks Gram if Maybeth can have two lessons a week instead of one, but Gram says they can’t afford it. Mr. Lingerle gets frustrated and says he’ll do it for free because Maybeth is so talented—it'd be a shame to let that talent go to waste, right?
  • Dicey finishes her apron in home ec, which is to say she kind of sews some pieces of fabric together and slaps some buttons on it. When they have to model them in class, everyone laughs at her, the jerks.
  • Dicey throws the apron in the trash outside of class. Mina tries to talk to her about it, but Dicey’s grouchy because (a) Mina laughed, and (b) Dicey knows they would have made room for her in the mechanical drawing class if she were a boy.
  • When she goes home, Gram’s cooking a steak dinner, but she’s in a bad mood because she had to buy the steak with the welfare check. In case you haven’t noticed, Gram’s not a fan of charity.
  • When they sit down to dinner, Maybeth’s still not home from her piano lesson.
  • Everybody starts to worry, but then Mr. Lingerle brings Maybeth home. Turns out they had a flat tire, Mr. Lingerle hurt his hand trying to change it, and they had to go to the emergency room.
  • Gram asks Mr. Lingerle to stay for dinner, and Sammy complains, because he’s afraid Mr. Lingerle will eat his steak. He asks Mr. Lingerle if he’s still nervous eating at their house, hoping he’ll say yes.
  • Mr. Lingerle laughs and the Tillermans join in, yukking it up with abandon.

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