My Life and Hard Times Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Chapter 1, The Night the Bed Fell

• Father decides to sleep in the attic, despite that Mother is against it. She says the wobbly bed up there will collapse and injure him. Father goes against her wishes.

• At 2 am James's army cot flips over, sending Mother into hysterics. She wakes up James's cousin Briggs, who knocks over a glass of camphor oil, nearly suffocating the whole family.
• Thurber explains that Briggs keeps a glass of camphor oil beside his bed because he is afraid of suffocating during the night if he falls asleep. A sniff of the oil keeps him awake.

• James's brother Herman tries to open the attic door, but finds it locked.
• Father hears the commotion downstairs and presuming it is a fire, he shouts that he is coming. Mother assumes that he is reciting his last words to God,

• The house does does calm down until...

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