"Time for Andrew" by Mary Downing Hahn, Chapters 16–24

May 12, 2023
Named after a long line of men in his family, twelve-year-old Andrew Joseph Tyler visits his ancestral home in Missouri and gets transported back in time.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–5, Chapters 6–10, Chapters 11–15, Chapters 16–24
Theo went right on aiming his ball at Hannah’s, and she continued to threaten him with death and perdition if he hit it.
“Those things on your pajamas—what are they?”
Andrew frowned. “Are you daft? They’re rockets.”
Without looking at me, he said, “To tell you the truth, I’m beginning to forget things too. The more I learn about you, the less I recollect about me. It’s as if your memories are crowding mine out, there’s no room for them in my head.”
“Well,” he said smugly, “at least I haven’t lost all my skills.”
For a moment, I didn’t know what Andrew was talking about. Old man, old man, what old man? Closing my eyes, I thought hard till I conjured up a picture—a bent figure in a dark room, face like a skull, bony hands, threatening me, scaring me.
The next night and the night after that, Andrew beat me at marbles as usual, but he seemed to take less pleasure in his victories. Instead of boasting and bragging and carrying on like a conceited jackanapes, he began asking questions about his family—the color of Hannah’s eyes, the smell of Papa’s pipe smoke, the words to “Yip-I-Addy-I-Ay,” his dog’s name.
Above our heads, Orion chased the Pleiades across the sky, Cassiopeia sat musing in her chair, and the Big Dipper poured stars that changed to fireflies as they fell.
“Hannah has a beau.” Theo sounded as if he were trying out a new word, testing it for rightness. He giggled. “Do you think she lets him kiss her?”
Theo and I begged her to forgive us, but Hannah’s dander was up.
“It sure is hot," I said. “A glass of lemonade would really taste good.”
Hannah laughed. “Andrew is known all over Riverview for his subtlety.”
I scowled at her, angered by the simpery way she spoke to John, but Hannah just laughed again.
While we scuffled, Papa’s voice rolled up the steps like thunder. “Stop the horseplay, boys, and go to sleep!”
His face was calm, his fingers deft, his body relaxed.
As perplexed as Theo, I pressed my hands against the sides of my head and tried to keep my identity from slipping away. Was I Drew or Andrew? I wasn’t sure anymore.
It was a steep climb, made treacherous by cinders, loose stones, and broken glass.
“So you showed up after all,” Edward said. “I didn’t think you’d have the intestinal fortitude.”
No matter how much he detested his cousin, he’d jump into the river and save him.
The branches of a sunken tree snagged my shirt and held me with bony fingers.
Too tired to fight it, I let the current carry me until I spotted Edward again. I floundered toward him and grabbed his shirt.
Half-blinded, I flung myself at him. We rolled on the ground, grappling and yelling.
Crouching beside me, he touched my left eye reverently. “You’re going to have a beaut of a shiner.”
The hot sun beat down on my head, the coarse grass scratched the back of my legs.
I’d hit Edward, I’d made him cry and snivel and threaten to tell, I’d chased him away.
Buster dropped to his haunches and panted happily into my face.
“Please don’t be too hard on them. Andrew’s health is still precarious, and Theo’s merely a child.”
After Emmet Burden drowned, I forbade you to go to the trestle. I presume you both remember my proscription?
“Lord A’mighty, I never would have guessed. He must be close to a hundred years old. That means—”
Still mad, I interrupted Andrew’s speculations.
It was obvious he didn’t enjoy being invisible. Staring at Hannah and Theo, he rocked the chair vigorously.
“I love you, Mama.”
She smiled. “Well, for goodness sake, you little jackanapes, I love you too.”
“That’s superstitious nonsense, Theodore. Surely you know better than to believe someone as well known for mendacity as your cousin.”
“Look in the graveyard,” Andrew said in a melancholy voice. “If you don’t see my tombstone, you’ll know I didn’t die.”
Cobwebs clung to my face like shrouds.
Sweat plastered my T-shirt to my back, gnats hummed in my ears, mosquitoes raised welts on my bare arms, but I was determined to search every inch of the burial ground for my friend.
Aunt Blythe paused to scrutinize the letter.
The old woman’s nose became a young girl’s profile, her eye became the girl’s ear, her chin the girl’s throat. Two images in the same space, wavering back and forth, changing from old to young and back again, fooling your eyes. An optical illusion, Dad said, proof there was more than one way to look at things.
“I’ll never forget the day Hannah and Father got into an argument about President Roosevelt. She was an ardent Democrat and Father—well, you can imagine. He must have been the stodgiest Republican ever born. They went at politics hammer and tongs.”
“I’ll never forget the day Hannah and Father got into an argument about President Roosevelt. She was an ardent Democrat and Father—well, you can imagine. He must have been the stodgiest Republican ever born. They went at politics hammer and tongs.”
While the women embraced, the man hobbled toward me. The hand clasping the cane was roped with veins, the eyes were deepset and hooded, but clear and bright.
“Don’t be so ornery, Andrew. What will Blythe think of you?”
“I say what’s on my mind. Always have.”
He was an absolute imp when he was your age and he still is. All that’s changed is his outside.

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