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Word Count: 6,701
CHAPTER 1 Summary The narrator of the story Gene Forrester returns to Devon a school in New Hampshire that he attended fifteen years earlier Gene walks around the schools campus everything seems new and shiny with a fresh coat of varnish as if it is on display The campus looks the same as when Gene was there fifteen years earlier it is almost frozen in time Gene has come back to the school to visit a couple of places that he is fearful of It is early afternoon in November the grounds are deserted and everyone is at sports Gene wanders his way across a large yard called the Far Common and up to the First Academy Building He stops at the foot of a long white marble flight of stairs The steps seem to be very hard even after all these years they have only worn slightly After staring at the steps for awhile he heads back outside and trudges across the athletic field The wet snow and wind dont seem to bother him He knows where he is going and nothing will stop that As he approaches the river he searches for a particular tree now they all look the same though He eventually spots the tree that he is looking for he recognizes it for the small scars on its trunk and the one branch that sticks out over the river The tree unlike the building has changed over the years The tree now appeared weary from age enfeeble and dry Gene then turns back in the direction he came from and thinks the more things remain the same the more they change He then heads inside to get away from the rain This is when the story changes into a memory of his days at Devon School when Gene was only fifteen years old He is standing at the foot of the very same tree with his best friend
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