Chapter 2 Summary

Since Ellie and Brenda do not return from their shopping trip until after seven, Jesse spends the entire day picking beans and helping his mother can them. The weather is stifling, and Momma is in a very bad temper. At suppertime she is too tired to fix a meal, so Jesse makes peanut-butter sandwiches for himself, May Belle, and little Joyce Ann. The three children go outside to eat where it is cooler. As they look over at the U-Haul still parked at the Perkins place, May Belle says that she hopes the new family has a little girl her age so she will have someone to play with. After they have all finished eating, Jesse goes alone to the room he shares with the little ones, hoping to find some peace.

Jesse lies on his bed and takes out his drawing pad and pencils. He is a talented artist and loves to draw. He especially likes to create cartoon animals, making up stories for them and placing them in “impossible fixes.” He is proud of his work and longs to share them with others, but his teachers look upon his drawing as “wasted time, wasted paper, wasted ability,” and his father scorns his interest in art as being effeminate, unfitting for a boy. The only adult who appreciates Jesse's talent and understands his passion for drawing is Miss Edmunds. Miss Edmunds is the music teacher who comes every Friday to Lark Creek Elementary to sing with the children for a glorious half hour, playing her guitar and allowing them to take turns on the autoharp, tambourines, and drums. Jesse is completely enamored of Miss Edmunds, but the people in Lark Creek look down on her, calling her “some kinda hippie” and deriding her for not using lipstick and for the cut of her jeans. Change is slow to come in the poor, rural town; it takes Lark Creek a long time to accept what is normal in nearby Washington, D.C., and its “fancy suburbs.”

Before Jesse knows it, it is nearly dark, and his mother is calling him to milk the cow. While he is busy...

(The entire section is 576 words.)