I’m sorry, but was it not just April? JFC.
The chapter that starts this next section (I section off the books in highly optimistic chunks when I reread them) is called “Minutes Like Hours” and the text bears that out, that’s for damn sure. So the kids are bored. They wake up and eat their cold gross eggs, they play board games or read chapters of the Bible (they’re supposed to memorize verses and get quizzed by Olivia, but of course they memorize whole chapters to sass at her because they’re sassy), they clean their room, they take a lot of baths. Rinse and repeat. In the evenings Corrine comes by with presents and to evade the nagging of her older children. Well, of Cathy, anyway. They play up in the attic and listen to records and the twins throw some tantrums and we learn about everyone’s underwear and OH MY GOD it’s like we’re there. Oh, and apparently all non-citrus fruit causes Carrie to have tummy troubles and it’s Cathy who has to hand wash all of the aforementioned underwear when this happens, unless she can run Carrie to the bathroom in time, and while this happens Chris LAUGHS. He LAUGHS. So that’s one of the reasons why Cathy is a touch on edge when Corrine shows up all windswept and “Oh I’ve been saaaaaaaaaaailing”. Cathy is understandable angry with their mother (this will be a running theme. I should just copy/paste that phrase) and Chris is just the worst thing and just loooooves their mom’s outfit and doesn’t she look greaaaaaaat and ugh Christopher. No. Well, turns out that Corrine wasn’t entirely honest with her oldest kids–there was a note from the Grandfather on the bottom of Olivia’s letter, and it said simply that the ONLY good thing about Corrine and Chris-the-Elder’s marriage was that it didn’t produce any “Devil’s issue”. Oooops. Corrine was just SO SURE that once her dad saw how peachy her kids were that he’d be totally fine with the whole thing, but that’s seeming less and less likely what with the whole Devil thing. They’re there ’till he dies, in short. Unless she can convince him! Because maybe she still can!
Sure thing, Corrine. Sure thing.
So now the older kids know that they’re going to be there a while so the effort to make the attic a super fancy funland begin in earnest. Dress up! They scrub everything! They get plants! Corrine can’t hang out even though she wants to because people get suspicious (I’m so sure)! Corrine brings them craft supplies and the kids make flowers and mushrooms and other colorful decorations for the attic, including Carrie’s red and purple worm and Cory’s big orange snail. Aw, the cuties. Cathy quizzes Corrine about everything she’s ostensibly learning in her secretarial classes, but their mom is not super forthcoming about that. Hmmmmmm I wonder why that could be? God Corrine, why are you so awful? More days go by. The kids prefer to stay up in the attic since Olivia never spies on them up there, because, we learn from Corrine, Olivia used to be locked in a closet by her parents as a punishment, leaving her with claustrophobia. Yikes. The grandmother seems to be softening sometimes, even giving them some chrysanthemums for their “garden”, but these moments are short-lived.
Cathy has a little breakdown one day since she, rather rightfully, thinks that her life is passing her by, but Chris convinces her to work for the day that they get out of the attic and gets their mom to buy Cathy some ballet costumes and music so that she can keep practicing. Okay, that’s pretty nice. Oh and this song gets quoted, so let’s share this moment with Cathy.
SO. More time goes by! They change the attic decorations to fall, they sunbathe naked on some old mattresses (wait what), and Chris and Cathy have some awkward conversation about the differences between boys and girls. Uh oh. The first big DRAMA occurs around now–during a game of hide and seek Cory hides inside and old trunk and gets trapped. Luckily they find him in time, but it’s a close, close call.
Oh not cool, dude. Wow.
So now it’s Thanksgiving. Corrine brings them some decorations and promises to bring them up some of the feast the next day. (The turkey won’t be ready when the grandmother brings up their basket) The next day Cathy decorates and sets their table and they wait. And wait. So…did Olivia not bring them anything? Because it’s getting later and later and there’s no sign of Corrine and they’re talking about how they’re starving–oh here’s Corrine. Turns out that her dad decided at the last minute to eat at the table with the guests, so Corrine wasn’t able to just put another tray together when she prepped her dad’s. But she brought them food WITHOUT PUMPKIN PIE and now she has to dash. WTF Corrine. No pumpkin pie?? Yes, I KNOW that John Amos already had it sliced and he would’ve gotten suspicious if four pieces disappeared but it is THANKSGIVING and your children live IN AN ATTIC.
GIVE THEM SOME PUMPKIN PIE.
Whew. I’m sorry, y’all, I just…had to get that out.
Of course the twins hate all the food and eat PB&Js. UGH. I wish it was Thanksgiving.
And then the twins get sick. Really sick. Temperature of 103.5 sick. Corrine is all worried for once and wants to take them to the doctor, but Olivia says no. Corrine acquiesces and the older two have to nurse the twins back to health. IT TAKES 19 DAYS. OMG. Corrine’s solution for future sickness is vitamins, so yeah that’ll help. Cathy points out that Corrine can use some of her time away from the house to buy the twins fresh fruit and Corrine naturally acts like Cathy is just making the WORST demands and Chris leaps into defense of Corrine and IT IS EXHAUSTING. Along we go to Christmas and Corrine brings them all lots of gifts and candy. The kids have even decided to make a gift for Olivia–an embroidered picture of a garden–and it goes over about as well as you’d expect. After Olivia rejects it, Cathy loses it (rightly so) and trashes the piece. Corrine comes back then and gives them more presents AND tells them what might be good news: Her dad is going to write her back into his will, and he’s leaving her everything. AND NOT JUST THAT but something else too: the Foxworths are throwing a big party that evening, to reintroduce Corrine to society, and after much pleading Corrine agrees to let Cathy and Chris hide upstairs where they can watch the party.
Corrine comes to get them in her party dress, and it is a dress that we will see again, my friends. It’s green chiffon and velvet with lots of sparkle and fluttering panels and Cathy is just overwhelmed and hopes to someday look like her mother. FORESHADOWING. The pair hides inside a big table where they can see out of a screened back and watch all of the fancy people as they dance and mill about. They notice that Corrine seems to dance with one man the most, and that from time to time they leave the main room together. Scandal! Olivia is there, in a RED dress (wooooo hoooo) and, at long last, they catch a glimpse of their grandfather. They overhear a bickering couple talk about their mother and Bart Winslow and once they’re back in the room, Cathy and Chris wonder if Corrine is in love with said Bart. Chris, being brilliant, decides that he wants to sneak around and explore a little more, so he gets a suit and wig from the attic and gets ready to leave. He and Cathy have another weird moment–she’s all “princess-like” in a new nightgown and he’s dazzled by her, and then he heads out. Cathy goes to bed and remembers their father, wishing him a Merry Christmas.
All right! Okay, back in the saddle. Coming up: OBVIOUSLY Chris’s little adventure doesn’t end well, Corrine gives Cathy “the talk”, and omfg THE SWAN BED. See you then!