The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 Chapter 14 Summary
Every Bird and Bug in Birmingham Stops and Wonders
- It's Sunday morning, and Kenny sees Joey getting ready to go to Sunday school with the neighbors.
- She's wearing a white skirt, lacy socks, and her shiny black shoes. Kenny tells her that she looks real pretty. Aw, how sweet.
- It's been a few days since the Wool Pooh incident, and Kenny is still feeling real tired and weak.
- Apparently he and Byron never told anyone what happened.
- So anyway, Kenny is sort of dozing off in the backyard when he hears a strange noise. The ground shakes a little and there's one, long thunder, then everything seems to hold perfectly still.
- People start coming out of their houses, wondering what the noise was, but no one knows.
- Then Momma screams.
- Kenny runs in the house and Byron explains that a neighbor just came by and said that someone dropped a bomb on Joey's church.
- Byron runs out the door. Kenny stands there for a minute in shock, then he follows Byron and everyone else in Birmingham toward the church.
- When Kenny gets to the church, it's complete chaos. What used to be the front of the church is now a pile of rocks. People are running around and screaming, but Kenny can't hear anything. It's like his ears have turned off.
- He sees Momma and Dad and Byron hugging and crying and calling out for Joey, but he doesn't go to them.
- Instead, he walks right into the wrecked church.
- A man walks by carrying a little girl. Kenny says it looks like he's covered in red paint.
- Then he sees a shiny black shoe just like Joey's sticking out from under some concrete. Kenny grabs it and pulls, but it seems like something is pulling back. Then Kenny sees the Wool Pooh again and it's his hand that has the shoe!
- Kenny pulls the shoe hard and it pops off of a little foot wearing a lacy white sock. Oh no.
Kenny gets real scared.
- He thinks the Wool Pooh might get him again.
- He walks out of the church and past where two little girls are laying on the ground. He walks past grownups shaking and crying. He walks past people just standing still with their mouths open. He walks all the way to Grandma's house carrying the ripped shoe without looking back.
- Kenny sits on his bed and looks at the shoe and tries to remember if he was mean to Joey that morning.
- Then Joey is standing in the door asking how Kenny got here so fast and why he changed his clothes.
- Kenny figures the Wool Pooh is taking her around for her last visits, like when he saw Joey in the water.
- Kenny's afraid to look at her. He's afraid she'll look like the girls on the ground at the church.
- Joey asks about the shoe and Kenny says it's hers and that he took it from the Wool Pooh.
- Joey starts to get freaked out because Kenny is acting so weird.
- She leaves and then comes back.
- Kenny tells her he loves her, and Joey throws the ripped shoe at him and holds up both of her shiny shoes.
- Finally Kenny starts to realize that it's really Joey alive.
- He asks her why she wasn't at the church. She says that she went outside because it was too hot, and she saw Kenny wave at her from across the street. Then Kenny kept running away, so Joey chased him—only he was wearing different clothes.
- Kenny has no idea what she's talking about.
- Joey is really freaking out now, yelling and crying because she doesn't understand what's going on. Grandma Sands comes out to see what the fuss is about.
- Kenny finally realizes that the Wool Pooh missed Joey, and he runs out of the house to tell Momma, Dad, and Byron that Joey's okay.
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