Chapter 8 Summary
On Friday, Margaret and her classmates arrive at school to find their history tests graded and labeled correctly by name. Margaret is thrilled with her high A, but some other kids are not so happy. Mr. Benedict says nothing about the nameless tests, but he looks cheerful. Margaret guesses that he knows he won a round.
During class, Mr. Benedict brings up the subject of the special projects. Margaret worries about how to choose a meaningful topic. Plenty of things are meaningful to her, but it would be embarrassing to share them with Mr. Benedict. She definitely does not want to tell him about Moose, about “bras and what goes in them,” or about God.
After this last thought, Margaret reconsiders. She would not tell Mr. Benedict that she talks to God, but she could learn more about religion and tell her teacher about that. Right there in class, she has a silent discussion with God to ask whether He would “mind” her doing a project about him. She promises to share all her thoughts, and she adds:
I think it’s time for me to decide what to be. I can’t go on being nothing forever, can I?
On Saturday, it is time for Margaret’s first trip to the Lincoln Center with Grandma. Margaret gets to take the bus to New York alone, which she has never done before. Her mother gives her detailed instructions about where to sit on the bus (alone or next to a woman), and whom to ask if she needs help (a woman, preferably one with kids). Margaret rolls her eyes over the fuss and cringes with embarrassment when her mother has a chat with the bus driver in which she refers to Margaret as “this little girl.”
As usual, Grandma behaves completely differently, as if Margaret is almost grown up. This pleases Margaret, who is careful to sit silent and attentive, like the adults around her, through the Lincoln Center performance.
After the performance, Margaret asks if she can go to temple someday. This question excites Grandma almost to tears, and she exclaims that Margaret is a real Jewish girl. Margaret says firmly that she is not Jewish; she just wants to learn about religion. This does not dampen Grandma’s happiness, and she says she will make arrangements for Margaret to go to temple on the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.
When Margaret asks her mother about temple, her mother says, “That’s ridiculous!” Margaret protests that she has always been told she would be allowed to choose a religion when she grew up, but her mother says Margaret is not nearly grown up enough yet. “I just think it’s foolish for a girl of your age to bother herself with religion,” she says. But after a moment's reflection, she decides not to prevent Margaret from going.
Later, Margaret tells God about going to temple. “I’ll look for you God,” she says.