Study Guide

Homecoming Part 1, Chapter 11

By Cynthia Voigt

Part 1, Chapter 11

  • The Tillermans stay with Cousin Eunice and things are… okay. Dicey is kind of exhausted with having to be grateful all the time.
  • On the plus side, it looks like their mother is alive. The police officer couldn't find any dead unidentified women that match her description, so the next thing he'll do is start calling hospitals in the area.
  • James is doing well in school—he likes learning—but Sammy is really demanding tons of Dicey's attention when he gets home. And Maybeth is, well, Maybeth, though Cousin Eunice certainly seems to like her a lot.
  • Dicey looks through some of Aunt Cilla's old photo albums and finds a handful of pictures of her grandmother, Abigail. She decides to meet with Father Joseph to see if he's had any more luck finding out about her relatives in Crisfield.
  • Father Joseph does have some info: Apparently, their mother was the youngest of three kids born to Abigail and John Tillerman. John Tillerman is dead now, but he seems to have been a pretty big jerk to his kids while he was alive. Abigail is alive, but she lives all by herself and doesn't even have a phone.
  • So the family's kind of messed up—big surprise there—and Father Joseph even wonders if mental illness runs in the family. After all, Maybeth and Sammy aren't doing so well in school. Maybeth won't talk, while Sammy fights with everyone and has no friends.
  • Oh no… Dicey tells him that Maybeth and Sammy will be fine; they just need time to adjust.
  • Still, Father Joseph urges her to think about foster care or adoption. Someone might like Sammy, but, Maybeth, well, he says she's "retarded," so that's going to be tough (stay classy, Father). And she and James have to think of themselves, since they're only children, too.
  • Dicey is furious. Her siblings are not defective.
  • That same afternoon, Dicey gets a letter in the mail with fifty-seven dollars in it. It's the money the Peewauket Police Department made from selling Momma's car. Score.
  • Dicey knows that she should probably give the money to Cousin Eunice or use it to buy clothes for the kids, but she doesn't, and instead she hides it away in a shoebox.
  • Having money makes Dicey feel a little better. And she decides she can earn more. She negotiates with Mr. Platernis at the grocery store and manages to land a job washing his windows three times a week for two dollars each time.
  • Then she picks up some other window-washing customers and before she knows it she's earning thirty bucks a week. Not too shabby.
  • In the meantime, Dicey buys a map of Maryland and finds Crisfield; she also asks Cousin Eunice more about Abigail Tillerman, though Eunice knows nothing.
  • She does, however, know something about the fights Sammy has been getting in. Eunice thinks Sammy is unruly—James is scholarly and Maybeth is so sweet, but Sammy is out of control, as far as she's concerned.
  • Later that night, Cousin Eunice tells Dicey that she had plans to become a nun, but that's all over with now. Father Joseph says it's her Christian duty to adopt the Tillerman children and give them a good home.
  • Dicey should feel relieved, but she doesn't—there's just something not quite right about Cousin Eunice's house. It's not a home if you always have to remember to feel grateful. And now they're going to be responsible for crushing Cousin Eunice's dreams, too? Ugh.
  • But Eunice claims she doesn't mind. Maybe Maybeth will be a nun one day—that would be nice—and James is so studious. But Sammy… well, something has to be done about him. Eunice can't adopt a child that would shame her with his bad behavior, can she?

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