Study Guide

A Long Way from Chicago Chapter 6

By Richard Peck

Chapter 6

Things with Wings (1934)

  • The following year, the kids are surprised to find Grandma waiting at the train station—even though she hasn't done that since their first year. They usually just find their way to her house on their own.
  • But it turns out that she's not there to pick them up; she's there to see Effie Wilcox off because Effie is leaving for good. She's going to live with her sister because the bank foreclosed on her house.
  • Grandma is pretty bummed, so that night the kids try to distract her with news from Chicago, like how bank robber John Dillinger was gunned down.
  • Joey goes on down to The Coffee Pot by himself and sees a sign for a rummage sale, as well as a schedule for upcoming movies. It looks like things are going to be pretty slow that week.
  • But then, as he's crossing the street, he falls in love at first sight. No, not with a girl, but with a brand new Terraplane 8 car. It probably looked something like this.
  • When he asks Ray, who works at the garage, about the car, Ray tells him that the Hudson Motor Car Company is sending their newest car around to drum up interest, especially since it's the same model that John Dillinger used to get away from the police.
  • Grandma decides that she wants to go to the outdoor movie night, so they accompany her to see Dracula.
  • Despite the fact that he's trying to be a grown-up, Joey finds the movie creepy…and so does Mary Alice.
  • They're all skittish as they walk home, even Grandma, who is usually the most fearless one of them all.
  • The next day, Joey asks Grandma for $2 so that he can take driving lessons with Ray, but she refuses. She tells him to go up to the attic and find things to sell at the rummage sale instead.
  • Joey and Mary Alice look around and bring down some things to take to the rummage sale. They also find some ancient valentines that were probably sent to Grandma in the past—which is definitely a weird thought.
  • They get to the rummage sale, and Grandma passes off an old stovepipe hat for a whopping $15 and also sells a quilt that has the initials M.T.L.—which the buyer takes to mean that it belonged to Mary Todd Lincoln.
  • Grandma also says that she found these items at Effie Wilcox's foreclosed house so that it throws a wrench in the bank's plan to sell it and have the land developed.
  • The next day, the banker, Mr. Weidenbach, is none too pleased with Grandma. He knows that she lied about those items, but he can't do anything to prove it.
  • But then, Grandma promises that if he gives Effie Wilcox the house, while still using the land for development, she'll pass around the rumor that those items didn't belong to the Lincolns after all.
  • And she also forces Mr. Weidenbach to give Joey and Mary Alice $2 each. This woman drives a hard bargain.
  • So, with his newly acquired $2, Joey sets up his driving lesson with Ray—and he's going to get to use the Terraplane, too.
  • Grandma and Mary Alice decide to come along for the ride, too, so they all go for a ride out in the countryside together.
  • On the day that the kids leave town, Grandma accompanies them to the train station…but she's not there to see them off. She's there to see Effie Wilcox come home.