How does Mr. Pignati treat John and Lorraine during their first visit?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John and Lorraine's first visit happens in chapter five after they have conned Mr. Pignati over the phone into giving them money for a fake charity. They show up to collect the money from the poor old man and he treats them with kindness and respect. He also treats them like adults by offering them some homemade wine. This suggests that he does not realize that they are teenagers. He then engages in small talk about his wife being in California, followed by explaining to them how he memorizes ten things at once through mental pictures. Once John reminds Lorraine that they have stayed too long chatting, she asks for the money. Mr. Pignati seems sad for them to leave, which suggests that he is very lonely and doesn't usually have many visitors. In an effort to have future visits, Mr. Pignati invites the two kids to go with him to the zoo sometime. Just before the kids leave, Mr. Pignati also shows them his pig collection:

"The table had pis all over it. And the shelve had pigs all over them. There were pigs all over the place. It was ridiculous. I never saw so many pigs. . . There were glass pigs and clay pigs and marble pigs" (46).

Mr. Pignati is so kind to John and Lorraine on their first visit. Not only does he treat them like adults, and with great kindness, he also shares different aspects of his life from his memory game, to his love of the zoo, and his personal pig collection. He is so nice, that the kids actually wind up visiting the zoo with him in chapter six and a good friendship begins.