In her very own singularly beautiful style, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and also utterly relocating story of love, loss, and also the intricacy of person emotion.
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Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud that her country roots and the "Indian-ness in she blood," travels from Ohio to Idaho through her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she speak them the the story the Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a "potential lunatic," and also whose mommy disappeared.
As Sal entertains she grandparents with Phoebe"s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold—the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose just wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.
Oct 6, 2009
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About the author
Sharon Creech is an worldwide acclaimed writer who lives in upstate new York v her husband.Read more
Walk 2 Moons - Sharon Creech
A challenge at the home window
Gramps states that ns am a nation girl at heart, and also that is true. I have lived many of my thirteen year in Bybanks, Kentucky, i beg your pardon is no much much more than a caboodle of homes roosting in a eco-friendly spot alongside the Ohio River. Just over a year ago, my father plucked me up like a weed and took me and all our thing (no, that is not true—he go not carry the chestnut tree, the willow, the maple, the hayloft, or the swim hole, which every belonged to me) and we drove three hundred miles directly north and stopped in prior of a house in Euclid, Ohio.
No trees? i said. This is wherein we’re going come live?
No, my dad said. This is Margaret’s house.
The prior door that the residence opened and a lady through wild red hair stood there. Ns looked up and down the street. The residences were every jammed together prefer a row of birdhouses. In prior of each home was a small square the grass, and also in former of the was a thin gray sidewalk running alongside a gray road.
Where’s the barn? i asked. The river? The swim hole?
Oh, Sal, my dad said. Come on. Yes Margaret. The waved come the lady in ~ the door.
We need to go back. Ns forgot something.
The lady v the wild red hair opened up the door and also came the end onto the porch.
In the ago of my closet, ns said, under the floorboards. I put something there, and also I’ve acquired to have actually it.
Don’t it is in a goose. Come and see Margaret.
I go not want to watch Margaret. I stood there, spring around, and also that’s as soon as I experienced the confront pressed up versus an upstairs home window next door. It to be a ring girl’s face, and also it looked afraid. I didn’t recognize it then, but that confront belonged come Phoebe Winterbottom, a girl who had actually a powerful imagination, that would come to be my friend, and also who would have plenty of peculiar things take place to her.
Not long ago, when I to be locked in a vehicle with mine grandparents for 6 days, i told lock the story of Phoebe, and when i finished informing them—or maybe even as i was telling them—I realized the the story the Phoebe was like the plaster wall in our old home in Bybanks, Kentucky.
My father began chipping away at a plaster wall surface in the living room the our residence in Bybanks shortly after my mother left us one April morning. Our residence was one old farmhouse the my parents had been restoring, room through room. Every night as he waited to hear from my mother, he chipped away at that wall.
On the night the we got the bad news—that she was not returning—he pounded and also pounded top top that wall surface with a chisel and also a hammer. At two o’clock in the morning, he came approximately my room. Ns was no asleep. The led me downstairs and also showed me what he had actually found. Covert behind the wall was a brick fireplace.
The factor that Phoebe’s story reminds me of the plaster wall surface and the covert fireplace is the beneath Phoebe’s story was another one. Mine.
The Chickabiddy start a Story
It to be after every the adventures of Phoebe that my grandparents came up through a arrangement to drive from Kentucky come Ohio, wherein they would certainly pick me up, and then the 3 of united state would drive two thousand mile west to Lewiston, Idaho. This is how I became locked in a vehicle with lock for virtually a week. It was not a expedition that i was passionate to take, but it to be one I had actually to take.
Gramps had actually said, We’ll check out the entirety ding-dong country!
Gram squeezed my cheeks and also said, This pilgrimage will provide me a chance to be through my favourite chickabiddy again. Ns am, by the way, your only chickabiddy.
My father claimed that Gram couldn’t check out maps worth a hill of beans, and that he was grateful that I had actually agreed to go follow me and assist them uncover their way. I was only thirteen, and although ns did have a way with maps, that was not really since of that ability that ns was going, nor was it to see the totality ding-dong nation that Gram and also Gramps to be going. The real reasons were buried beneath piles and also piles that unsaid things.
Some that the actual reasons were:
1. Gram and Gramps wanted to view Momma, that was relaxing peacefully in Lewiston, Idaho.
2. Gram and also Gramps knew the I wanted to watch Momma, yet that i was afraid to.
3. Dad wanted to it is in alone through the red-headed Margaret Cadaver. That had already seen Momma, and he had not bring away me.
Also—although this wasn’t as important—Dad did no trust Gram and Gramps come behave themselves follow me the means unless they had me with them. Dad said that if they tried to go on your own, that would conserve everyone a lot of time and also embarrassment by calling the police and having castle arrested before they also left the driveway. It might sound a bit excessive for a male to contact the police top top his own tottery old parents, yet when mine grandparents acquired in a car, trouble simply naturally followed them like a filly trailing behind a mare.
My grandparents Hiddle were my father’s parents, full up come the tops of your heads through goodness and sweetness, and also mixed in with all that goodness and sweetness to be a huge dash the peculiarity. This combination made them amazing to know, yet you might never predict what they would carry out or say.
Once the was cleared up that the 3 of united state would go, the journey took on one alarming, expanding need come hurry the was like a walloping great thundercloud assembling about me. During the week prior to we left, the sound of the wind to be hurry, hurry, hurry, and at night even the silent darkness whispered rush, rush, rush. I did no think us would ever before leave, and yet ns did not want to leave. I did no really mean to endure the trip.
But ns had decided to go and I would go, and I had to be there by my mother’s birthday. This was extremely important. I believed that if there was any kind of chance to carry my mother ago home it would happen on she birthday. If I had actually said this aloud to my father or to my grandparents, castle would have said that I could as well try to record a fish in the air, so i did no say the aloud. However I thought it. Sometimes I am together ornery and stubborn together an old donkey. My father states I skinny on damaged reeds and will acquire a challenge full that swamp mud one day.
When at last Gram and Gramps Hiddle and also I set out that very first day of the trip, ns prayed for the very first thirty minutes solid. Ns prayed that we would certainly not it is in in an accident (I to be terrified that cars and buses) and that we would acquire there by my mother’s birthday—seven days away—and that we would bring her home. Over and over, i prayed the very same thing. Ns prayed come trees. This was simpler than praying straight to God. Over there was almost always a tree nearby.
As us pulled ~ above the Ohio Turnpike, i m sorry is the flattest, straightest item of roadway in God’s entirety creation, Gram interrupted my prayers. Salamanca—
I should describe right off the my genuine name is Salamanca Tree Hiddle. Salamanca, my parents thought, was the name of the Indian tribe to which my great-great-grandmother belonged. Mine parents were mistaken. The name of the tribe was Seneca, but due to the fact that my parents did not find their error till after ns was born and they were, by then, supplied to mine name, it stayed Salamanca.
My center name, Tree, originates from your basic tree, a point of together beauty come my mom that she make it part of my name. She wanted to be much more specific and also use sugar Maple Tree, her very favorite, but Salamanca street Maple Tree Hiddle to be a bit much also for her.
My mother used to call me Salamanca, however after she left, just my grandparents Hiddle referred to as me Salamanca (when they were no calling me chickabiddy). To most other people, i was Sal, and also to a few boys who believed they were especially amusing, i was Salamander.
In the car, together we started our lengthy journey to Lewiston, Idaho, mine grandmother Hiddle said, Salamanca, why don’t you game us?
What kind of thing did you have actually in mind?
Gramps said, How around a story? Spin united state a yarn.
I definitely do know heaps of stories, however I learned many of them from Gramps. Gram suggested I phone call one around my mother. The I can not do. I had actually just reached the suggest where I might stop thinking about her every minute that every day.
Gramps said, well then, what around your friends? girlfriend got any type of tales to tell around them?
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom concerned mind. There was definitely a hog’s belly complete of points to tell about her. I can tell you an generally strange story, ns warned.
Oh, good! Gram said. Delicious!
And that is just how I occurred to suspend mine tree prayers and also tell them about Phoebe Winterbottom, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.
Because I first saw Phoebe on the day mine father and I relocated to Euclid, I started my story of Phoebe through the visit come the red-headed Margaret Cadaver’s, whereby I also met Mrs. Partridge, her elderly mother. Margaret almost fell over herself gift nice to me. What lover hair, she said, and also Aren’t girlfriend sweet! ns was not sweet that day. I was being an especially ornery. Ns wouldn’t sit down and also I wouldn’t look at Margaret.
As us were leaving, Margaret whispered to mine father, John, have actually you told she yet—how us met?
My father looked uncomfortable. No, that said. I tried—but she doesn’t desire to know.
Now that was the truth, absolutely. Who cares? i thought. That cares exactly how he met Margaret Cadaver?
When at last we left Mrs. Cadaver and Mrs. Partridge, us drove for about three minutes. 2 blocks from Margaret Cadaver’s was the place where mine father and I were currently going to live.
Tiny, squirt trees. Little birdhouses in a row—and one of those birdhouses to be ours. No swim hole, no barn, no cows, no chickens, no pigs. Instead, a small white residence with a miniature patch of environment-friendly grass in prior of it. The wasn’t enough grass to save a cow lively for 5 minutes.
Let’s take a tour, my dad said, fairly too heartily.
We walked through the tiny living room right into the miniature kitchen and upstairs right into my father’s pint-sized bedroom and also on into my pocket-sized bedroom and into the wee bathroom. I looked out the upstairs window down right into the backyard. Fifty percent of the tiny yard was a cement patio and the other half was one more patch of grass the our imagine cow would devour in two bites. There to be a tall wood fence all roughly the yard, and also to the left and right the our garden were other, identical fenced plots.
After the relocating van arrived and two men crammed our Bybanks furniture right into our birdhouse, my father and also I inched right into the life room, crawling end sofas and also chairs and also tables and also boxes, boxes, boxes. Mm, my dad said. It looks as if us tried come squeeze all the animals into the chicken coop.
Three job later, I started school and saw Phoebe again. She was in my class. Most of the kids in my brand-new school spoke in quick, spicy bursts and also dressed in stiff, brand-new clothes and wore braces on their teeth. Many girls wore their hair in exactly the very same way: in a shoulder-length bob (that’s what they dubbed it) with lengthy bangs that they consistently shook out of their eyes. Us once had a equine who walk that.
Everybody kept emotional my hair. Don’t you ever reduced it? lock said. Have the right to you sit top top it? just how do you wash it? Is it normally black choose that? perform you usage conditioner? i couldn’t tell if they preferred my hair or if they assumed I looked choose a whang-doodle.
One girl, mary Lou Finney, stated the many peculiar things, favor out the the blue she would say, Omnipotent! or Beef brain! i couldn’t make any type of sense the it. There were Megan and also Christy, who jumped up and also down favor parched peas, moody Beth Ann, and also pink-cheeked Alex. There was Ben, who attracted cartoons every day long, and also a strange English teacher called Mr. Birkway.
And climate there to be Phoebe Winterbottom. Ben called her complimentary Bee ice cream Bottom and also drew a snapshot of a bumblebee through an ice cream cube on its bottom. Phoebe tore the up.
Phoebe to be a quiet girl that stayed mainly by herself. She had actually a pleasant round face and huge, enormous sky-blue eyes. Approximately this pleasant round face, she hair—as yellow as a crow’s foot—curled in short ringlets.
During that an initial week, when my father and also I were at Margaret’s (we ate dinner there 3 times the week), I saw Phoebe’s challenge twice much more at she window. When I waved in ~ her, but she no seem come notice, and at school she never discussed that she had actually seen me.
Then at some point at lunch, she slid right into the seat beside me and said, Sal, you’re so courageous. You’re ever before so brave.
To tell friend the truth, i was surprised. You could have knocked me over through a chicken feather. Me? I’m not brave, i said.
You are. You space brave.
I to be not. I, Salamanca Tree Hiddle, to be afraid that lots and also lots that things. Because that example, i was terrified of vehicle accidents, death, cancer, brain tumors, nuclear war, pregnant women, loud noises, strict teachers, elevators, and also scads of other things. However I was not afraid the spiders, snakes, and also wasps. Phoebe, and practically everyone rather in my new class, did not have actually much fondness because that these creatures.
But on the day, once a dignified black spider was investigating mine desk, i cupped mine hands around it, lugged it come the open up window, and set it outside on the ledge. Mary Lou Finney said, Alpha and also Omega, will you look at that! Beth Ann was together white as milk. All about the room, civilization were acting as if I had actually singlehandedly handled a fire-breathing dragon.
What i have due to the fact that realized is the if people expect you to it is in brave, sometimes you pretend the you are, even when you are frightened under to your an extremely bones. Yet this was later, throughout the whole thing with Phoebe’s lunatic, that i realized this.
At this suggest in mine story, Gram interrupted me to say, Why, Salamanca, of course you’re brave. All the Hiddles are brave. The a family trait. Look at at your daddy—your momma—
Momma’s not a actual Hiddle, ns said.
She practically is, Gram said. "You can not be married to a Hiddle the long and not become a Hiddle."
That is no what my mother used to say. She would certainly tell my father, girlfriend Hiddles room a an enig to me. I’ll never be a true Hiddle. She did no say this proudly. She stated it together if she to be sorry about it, together if it to be some type of failing in her.
My mother’s parents—my other set of grandparents—are Pickfords, and also they space as unlike mine grandparents Hiddle together a donkey is uneven a pickle. Grandmother and Grandfather Pickford stand straight up, together if sturdy, stole poles ran down their backs. They wear starched, ironed clothing, and also when they space shocked or surprised (which is often), lock say, Really? Is the so? and also their eyes open wide and your mouths revolve down at the corners.
Once i asked my mommy why Grandmother and also Grandfather Pickford never ever laughed. My mom said, They’re just so busy being respectable. That takes a the majority of concentration come be the respectable. And then my mother laughed and also laughed, in a tenderness way, and also you might tell her own spine was no made of steel due to the fact that she bending in half, laughing and laughing.
My mother said the Grandmother Pickford’s one action of defiance in her entirety life together a Pickford was in naming her. Grandmother Pickford, whose very own name is Gayfeather, named my mother Chanhassen. It’s an Indian name, meaning tree sweet juice, or—in other words—maple sugar. Just Grandmother Pickford ever dubbed my mother by she Indian name, though. Everyone else referred to as my mommy Sugar.
Most of the time, my mom seemed nothing like her parents at all, and it was difficult for me to imagine the she had actually come