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When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me


by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me Chapter 4 Summary

The Speed Round

  • There are few things to know about this game show, the $20,000 Pyramid. First, there's a speed round where contestants give clues to celebrity players. The goal is to get them to guess a fairly common word.
  • Example: the answer is "fork." So you would give clues like, "You use this to put food in your mouth – not a spoon but a…" (4.1).
  • You can get 21 points total, and there's even a cash bonus of $2,100 for a perfect score – not too shabby.
  • Then there's the winner's circle. That's where the big money is – the $20,000.
  • Anywho, tonight is the apartment building's tenant meeting. Mom takes notes in shorthand about everyone's grievances and then sends a letter to the city. Despite this, Miranda adds, "nothing ever changes" (4.6).
  • Louisa, a nurse and friend of Miranda's mom, shows up first. Miranda's not usually into playing hostess, but offers Louisa Oreos and lemonade. She likes Louisa.
  • Soon everyone shows up and Mom is furiously taking notes, listening to the old people complain about the ramshackle building.
  • Speaking of which, we now get the story of the apartment and the first day Miranda spent in it. Back then it was filthy. Everything was black and dirty. Her mother almost cried.
  • There wasn't even a place to hang Mom's coat. Not that Miranda would know – she was a baby in her car seat that day. But she's heard this story many times.
  • Mom, though, decided to clean. She bought supplies and went to town cleaning the place. Mom, we can gather, is tough and determined.
  • This is also when Miranda's mom met Louisa, the nurse. Both were single mothers – Louisa was holding her little boy named Sal.
  • This, we learn, is the story of the day Miranda met Sal.

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