Study Guide

Family Members in Dandelion Wine

By Ray Bradbury

Family Members


Tom and Doug's parents are rarely seen in Dandelion Wine, but when they are, they're significant. We first see Mother Spaulding at home, doing the chores—you know, sprinkling the laundry with water from a ketchup bottle, making the downstairs bed, sending Tom out for ice cream and telling him to make sure it's packed tightly in the container.

She sort of seems like anyone's mom, until she goes out looking for a missing Doug and mentions the Lonely One to Tom, saying, "The Lonely One's around again. Killing people. No one's safe any more. You never know when the Lonely One'll turn up or where. So help me, when Doug gets home, I'll spank him within an inch of his life" (10.41). She's a softy, though—she's so relieved when she eventually does find him that she doesn't actually spank him.

Her only other appearance in the book is when she's outside beating rugs with the boys and the grandmothers. She's exactly who she needs to be: She runs the house, she cares for her kids, and she does a good job not damaging them for life so they can keep on having adventures and experiencing the joys of childhood.


We see Doug and Tom's dad at two major turning points in Doug's story: He takes them berry picking the day Doug realizes he's alive, and he helps them rescue the Tarot Witch from the ravine. He tells Doug to save his money for a new pair of sneakers instead of expecting his dad to buy a pair just because he wants them. He's pretty much all good dads everywhere.

Grandfather Spaulding

The maker of the dandelion wine of the title, Grandfather Spaulding runs the Green Town boarding house with his wife, Grandma Spaulding. His hanging of the porch swing every year is a harbinger of summer. He's also out with Doug and Tom the evening they run into Leo Auffmann and suggest the building of the Happiness Machine.

Grandfather Spaulding represents the elderly, who are set in their ways—see his chastising Bill Forrester for bringing in the easy-care grass—abut still delighted enough by life to experience its joys. Otherwise he wouldn't bottle so much freaking dandelion wine.

Grandma Spaulding

Doug and Tom's father's mother, Grandma Spaulding cooks up the good eats at the boarding house. She has bad eyesight and a disorganized kitchen, but these are the mysterious keys to her success. Organization and new glasses take away her cooking mojo, and only putting on her old glasses and going back to cooking without a recipe restores her skills.

Aunt Rose

Aunt Rose is Doug and Tom's relative from out of town whose brief visit to Green Town and attempts to organize Grandma Spaulding's life disrupts Grandma's kitchen magic.