Study Guide

The Usual Rules Chapter 28

By Joyce Maynard

Chapter 28

  • When the Christmas season arrives, Wendy realizes it's the first Christmas she's spent away from her family. Usually they always went to Connecticut to cut down a tree together.
  • She misses watching Louie get all excited about Christmas, but Josh was the one who really got into it. They went all out with stockings, Santa's footprints on the rug, and even Christmas sweaters.
  • One Saturday, Garrett takes Wendy along with him to the job site where he's been working. He talks about how he's disappointed his mother by not going to college and having what she considers an acceptable career.
  • Wendy is drawing in her room one day when Kate calls to check in on her. She misses Kate because she's been in Wendy's life for so long—since before Josh came around, even. Kate's always been her mom's best friend.
  • Louie also finally calls Wendy and agrees to talk to her. He's all excited because Kate took him to a magic show and says that the magician gave him a magic wand and told him to save it for his birthday.
  • The magician told him that there is one special wish in every wand, and that if he wishes really hard on his birthday, it might just come true.
  • Carolyn finally gets a response from her son and it's in super formal language. Despite his formality, he does plan to stop by to see her on Christmas Eve.
  • When Wendy asks Alan if Tim likes Christmas, he says that it's hard on his son because he likes a normal routine. He's even bothered by decorations because they make things look different.
  • Because Alan's wife always goes on vacation during the Christmas break, Wendy invites him and Tim over to her house on Christmas. He says he might just come over with a Christmas pudding.
  • Wendy sends Christmas gifts back to Alan and Louie, and she asks Violet what she'll be doing. She says that she and Walter Charles are spending Christmas with her mother; she's getting her a heart shaped pendant that she saw at the mall.
  • Amelia calls Wendy and tells her some shocking news: Apparently, Josh and Kate have been going out. She's even been sleeping over. Whoa.
  • After that phone call, Wendy goes to Carolyn to talk to her about these new developments, and Carolyn helps her see things from Josh and Kate's side—they've both always loved Wendy's mom and are now both dealing with the loss of her.
  • She also tells Wendy that they probably won't even be serious in the long run; they're just seeking comfort in whatever way that they can. That makes Wendy feel a little better about the whole thing.
  • Garrett gets a phone call from a hospital and learns that his mother has died. Wendy is surprised when he starts crying—she's shocked he's actually upset by the loss of her.
  • Because Garrett has to go to the funeral, he isn't around when Carolyn's son visits. Wendy is, though, and they spend all day cleaning the house before Nate shows up with Sharon, his fiancé.
  • Instead of being excited to meet Carolyn, though, Nate and Sharon just want to know her family's medical background because they're going to have a baby and want to know if there will be any genetic abnormalities. They don't try to get to know her as a person at all. Ouch.