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Act I, Section 2
The second section of Act I again opens with the Stage Manger. He explains that since Grover's Corners is a very small town, all of its inhabitants like to know all the facts about everybody else. As a result, he begins to give details about some of the citizens. He starts with a flashforward, stating that after Doc Gibbs' death in 1930, the new hospital will be named after him. He adds that the doctor outlives his wife by a few years, for she dies of pneumonia. The Stage Manager then turns his attention to Joe Crowell, Jr., the paperboy. In another flashforward, the Stage Manager states that he is one of the smartest boys ever to graduate from high school in Grover's Corners. He states that Joe will receive a scholarship to Massachusetts Tech. Unfortunately, the talented boy's education will not be used, for he will be killed in France during World War II.
Howie Newsome, the milkman, enters along with his invisible horse and wagon; he has a short conversation with Doc Gibbs and learns that Mrs. Goruslawski has just delivered twins. Upon returning to his house, the doctor also informs his wife about the delivery. Mrs. Gibbs is pictured as an anxious, concerned mother and wife. She scolds her husband for having worked all night. She then screams to her children, George and Rebecca, to make haste, or they will be late for school. As she needles them, Rebecca complains to her mother about the blue gingham dress that her mother has ironed for her to wear to school. Mrs. Gibbs, however, insists that it looks nice on her and that she must wear it. Rebecca then complains that George is throwing soap at her. Mrs. Gibbs tells them to stop horsing around.
On another part of the stage, Mrs. Webb enters and calls her children, Wally and Emily, to come down for breakfast; they must hurry, or they will be late for school. When Wally studies at the breakfast table, Mrs. Webb reprimands him. Emily, remarks that she is the brightest girl in school and has a wonderful memory. Wally says she too is bright especially when she is looking at her stamp collection.
After waving goodbye to her two children, Mrs. Gibbs feeds the chickens with grain she has put in her apron. Mrs. Webb, who has been sitting on a bench and stringing beams, joins her neighbor. Mrs. Gibbs offers to help her string the beans; she also tells about a second-hand furniture dealer who has offered to pay three hundred and fifty dollars for Grandmother Wentworth's highboy. Mrs. Gibbs dreams of using the money from the sale to go to Paris. She explains that "at least once in your life before you die, you ought to see a country where they don't talk in English and don't even want to." Unfortunately, her husband is only interested in visiting Civil War battlefields.