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by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl Chapter 7 Summary

  • Archibald Hapwood Brubaker (now that's a name), aka "Archie", is a retired paleontologist.
  • His house is covered with fossils and old bones of prehistoric animals. Luckily, since we know his profession, we don't have to be frightened of his rather spooky décor. It's just a perk of the job, not an indication of insanity.
  • When he's not out digging for fossils, Archie is a professor.
  • After his wife passed away when he was 66, he moved from the East to Arizona to "join 'the other old fossils'" (7.3).
  • He loves the company of students, so he choses to live in a house near the high school.
  • It doesn't hurt that the house also has a giant, 30-foot-tall saguaro cactus, of which he is quite fond. He even gives it a name: Señor Saguaro.
  • While impressive in height, Señor Saguaro has seen better days. Instead of green, he is mostly a decaying brown and a lot of his, shall we say, skin is falling off the trunk.
  • Archie often talks to this cactus, but he also likes talking to high school students, too. So the guy's not totally nuts.
  • He doesn't officially teach, but students flocks to his place every Saturday, and he helps them learn some neat stuff about all kinds of different things. He even gives the occasional fossil necklace as a gift.
  • His regular visitors are known as the "Loyal Order of the Stone Bone," but any student is welcome to visit anytime.
  • Leo and Kevin are no exception. Hoping to discuss Stargirl, they arrive at Archie's house to find him reading out back. Welcome welcome, he tells the boys.
  • After they greet Archie, they greet the cactus, as all visitors are expected to do.
  • They explain that they are "baffled" by a new girl at school, but she needs no introduction to Archie. As it turns out, Stargirl is often at his house.
  • He admits that she is quite a different person (this from the guy who talks to cacti?), but he doesn't mean different in a negative way.
  • When Kevin tells Archie that Stargirl is like a different species, Archie tells the boys, "on the contrary, she is one of us. Most decidedly. She is us more than we are us. She is, I think, who we really are. Or were" (7.17). Those are some deep thoughts right there.
  • Unfortunately, they're lost on Leo and Kevin, who don't get what he means. To be fair, Leo says that Archie often speaks in riddles.
  • Archie takes this opportunity to give the boys a little more background on the new girl. Apparently, Stargirl's mother began bringing her to Archie about 5 years ago.
  • But the boys are mainly concerned with whether or not Stargirl is putting on an act at school. Archie's got an answer for that one, too: he tells them that if anyone is acting, it's everyone else. He considers Stargirl to be as real as a 60-million-year-old rodent skull he calls Barney.
  • Leo and Kevin aren't done asking questions. They want to know if Stargirl's name is real.
  • Wise old Archie tells them that that yes, all names are real. In fact, in the five years that he has known Stargirl, her name has gone from Pocket Mouse to Mudpie to Hullygully to Stargirl. She names herself what she feels like. Hey, that's not such a bad idea. Although it might get confusing after a while.
  • When Leo and Kevin wonder aloud what Stargirl's parents think of this, Archie theorizes that they must agree with her. Otherwise, why let her change her name?
  • The boys then wonder what kind of parents they could possibly be, and Archie assures them that they are normal people with normal jobs.
  • Her mom, who once homeschooled Stargirl, is now a costume designer for movies. Her father works at the same place most people work in Mica, MicaTronics.
  • They ask Archie where she is from, and he responds in riddles again and some foreign language. He whispers "Rara avis" which means "A rare bird."
  • When Kevin explains his and Leo's argument about whether or not to put Stargirl on the "Hot Seat," Archie just tells the two of them to work it out.
  • After talking with Archie a bit more, the boys take off. Just as they're leaving, Archie says something else that is rather cryptic and riddle-esque: "you'll know her more by your questions than by her answers. Keep looking at her long enough. One day you might see someone you know" (7.50).

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