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Dandelion Wine – Chapters Twenty-five and Twenty-six

Chapters twenty-five and twenty-six could be titled “The Window”. Colonel Freeleigh, the same “Time Machine” the boys listened to in Chapter seventeen, has been confined to a hospital for his weakening health. His sole comfort is a phone in his room that he can use to dial the number of an old friend in Mexico City who lays his phone on an open window to allow him to hear the bustling noises outside. When the nurse learns of his phone calls, she tells him that she will give orders to take the phone away to prevent him from overworking his heart further. A desperate Freeleigh, feeling his chest pains worsen, dials his friend’s number once more, begging for one last listening to the sounds of the city people. As his friend does so, Freeleigh immerses himself in the activity of Mexico City, thinking of how grateful he is for this reminder that the world is still alive and moving. When Douglas and the other children stop by for a visit, they find Freeleigh dead, still holding the phone. Douglas listens to the phone in time to hear “two thousand miles away, the closing of a window,” a metaphor for Freeleigh’s death.

In the following chapter, Douglas sits silently as Tom pretends to be a Civil War soldier, pondering on how with Colonel Freeleigh’s death, all of his memories of the historical figures died too. Tom, however, fails to share in his brooding, only suggesting that he write his thoughts down in his tablet before resuming his play.


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