Chapter 4 Summary

Chapter 4: "The Day of Judgment—1932"

By 1932, Joey and Mary Alice realize that they actually look forward to their annual visits with Grandma. On their first morning there this year, they awaken to find Grandma busily at work in the kitchen, making her famous gooseberry pies. Pompous Mrs. L. J. Weidenbach drops by, with a clear purpose in mind. She wants Grandma to enter one of her renowned pies in competition at the upcoming county fair, to give their "small community" the opportunity to "make its mark."

Ordinarily, Mrs. Weidenbach's own bread-and-butter pickles take first prize at the contest, but this year, in the midst of the Depression, negative public feeling is running high against the bankers. Mr. Weidenbach wants to keep a low profile until times are better, so he has asked his wife not to enter her pickles at the fair this year. Mrs. Weidenbach is determined that the community should have a good showing, however. She has come to try to convince Grandma to enter one of her pies instead. Grandma relents when Mrs. Weidenbach agrees to drive her and the children to the fair on prize day in her Hupmobile.

A flurry of activity ensues as Grandma and the children bake countless pies in search of one worthy of a blue ribbon at the county fair. When the big day finally comes, Joey and Mary Alice are dumbfounded to see their normally plainly-clothed grandmother all decked out in a ready-made dress covered with flowers and a wide-brimmed hat decorated with blue ribbon to match. When they arrive at the fair, Grandma insists that they explore the grounds before going to the culinary competition. Joey, whose hero is Charles A. Lindbergh, is particularly captivated by a biplane that awaits in an open field. The pilot, Barnie Buchanan, will take passengers for a ride for the exorbitant fee of...

(The entire section is 771 words.)