"How about a story? Spin us a yarn."
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom came to mind.
"I could tell you an extensively strange story," I warned. "Oh, good!" Gram said. "Delicious!"
And that is how I happened to tell them about Phoebe, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.
In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.
A Face at the Window
Gramps says that I am a country girl at heart, and that is true. I have
lived most of my thirteen years in Bybanks, Kentucky, which is not much
more than a caboodle of houses roosting in a green spot alongside the
Ohio River. just over a year ago, my father plucked me up like a weed
and took me and all our belongings (no, that is not true--he did not
bring the chestnut tree, the willow, the maple, the hayloft, or the
swimming hole, which all belonged to me) and we drove three hundred
miles straight north and stopped in front of a house in Euclid, Ohio.
"No trees?" I said. "This is where we're going to live?"
"No," my father said. "This is Margaret's house."
The front door of the house opened and a lady with wild red hair stood
there. I looked up and down the street. The houses were all jammed
together like a row of birdhouses. In front of each house was a tiny
square of grass, and in front of that was a thin gray sidewalk running
alongside a gray road.
"Where's the barn?" I asked. "The river? The swimming hole?"
"Oh, Sal," my father said. "Come on. There's Margaret." He waved to the
lady at the door.
"We have to go back. I forgot something."
The lady with the wild red hair opened the door and came out onto the
"In the back of my closet," I said, under the floorboards. I put
something there, and I've got to have it."
"Don't be a goose. Come and see Margaret."
I did not want to see Margaret. I stood there, looking around, and
that's when I saw the face pressed up against an upstairs window next
door. It was a round girl's face, and it looked afraid. I didn't know it
then, but that face belonged to Phoebe Winterbottom, a girl who had a
powerful imagination, who would become my friend, and who would have
many peculiar things happen to her.
Not long ago, when I was locked in a car with my grandparents for six
days, I told them the story of Phoebe, and when I finished telling
them--or maybe even as I was telling them--I realized that the story of
Phoebe was like the plaster wall in our old house in Bybanks, Kentucky.
My father started chipping away at a plaster wall in the living room of
our house in Bybanks shortly after my mother left us one April morning.
Our house was an old farmhouse that my parents had been restoring, room
by room. Each night as he waited to hear from my mother, he chipped away
at that wall.
On the night that we got the bad news--that she was not returning--he
pounded and pounded, on that wall with a chisel and a hammer. At two
o'clock in the morning, he came up to my room. I was not asleep. He led
me downstairs and showed me what he had found. Hidden behind the wall
was a brick fireplace.
The reason that Phoebe's story reminds me of that plaster wall and the
hidden fireplace is that beneath Phoebe's story was another one. Mine.
Excerpted from "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech. Copyright © 1996 by Sharon Creech. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.