To Bobolink, For Her Spirit by William Inge: Summary

A group of autograph hunters is outside the 21 Club in New York. They are waiting for their favorite movie stars. There are six persons in the group. The ringleader of the group is Bobolink Bowen. She is a woman in her early thirties. She is fat and she looks self-satisfied and happy. She always smiles showing her teeth. Her clothes are simple. Nellie is a thin woman in her late twenties and she and Bobolink are close friends.

William Inge (1913-1973)

The two young boys, Relando and Fritz, are friends. The two young girls, Gretchen and Annamarie, are friends, too. They have been standing around for over an hour. They have learned how to pass the waiting periods: talk idly with one another, move restlessly about in a limited space. Gretchen knits and Fritz are working a crossword puzzle. Behind them stands a Doorman a strict person in a colorful uniform. He holds his head high and keeps it turned away from the autograph seekers as though he does not want to show any connection with them.

Renaldo says that Lana Turner was in that restaurant last week. Fritz wishes if he saw Lana all of a sudden. Bobolink has Lana's autograph. She proves it with her autograph book. She tells them that she got everything that is worth getting. Gretchen's girlfriend saw Lana last summer on the beach and that she was quite friendly. Bobolink adds that she is not proud and that the best ones never are proud. Fritz asks the Doorman how long Perry Como has been inside. The Doorman does not respond. Then Bobolinks tells Fritz that he does not pay any attention to the movie stars because he is bored with them. Bobolink says that she saw Perry Como going in and that nothing is sure in the world. Fritz is tired of waiting. Bobolink says she waited once three whole hours to get Elizabeth Taylor's autograph. There was not Elizabeth Taylor at all. She was some college girl trying to pretend she was Elizabeth Taylor. She was very angry, but she could do nothing. Nellie adds that once they were waiting outside the St. Regis for Ronald Colman, who was not very famous. Then Bobolink continues that they had been waiting for him all night and that they were about to give up and go. Just then, she saw a taxi stop and Van Johnson and Peter Lawford get out and they got their autograph. In the book, Peter Lawford wrote, "All my love to Bobolink", both of the movie stars were cute in real life as they were in the pictures.

A carefully dressed couple come out of the restaurant. They pretend that they have not seen the autograph hunters Gretchen guesses that she looks like Rosalind Russell, but Bobolink says that she is not Rolalind because she is not tall. The woman's dress may cost more than three hundred dollars. They wait until the Doorman hails a taxi. Just then, Fritz goes near the woman and asks for her autograph. She looks surprisingly at her partner and signs her name to Fritz's book and they go by taxi. The group studies her signature and read the name Irina Nechibidikoff. She seems to be a Russian. Fritz is happy because he has got her autograph whoever she is.

Bobolink is waiting there for Perry Como. She is not leaving the place until she gets his autograph. She has been waiting for him, although she got the autograph of many other famous stars. Actually, Bobolink's real favorite is Tyrone Power. She is president of the Tyrone Power Fan Club. When the others know this, they look impressed. But this subject is very sacred for Bobolink to take it lightly and she dramatizes her decency. And she says that she does not like to boast about it. She met Tyrone at the train when he was coming in from Hollywood. She had to fight the man at the gate to let her pass. Actually, Tyrone had come secretly, but she was informed of his arrival by a club. She found him in a carriage where he was packing his things hurriedly. He was not proud at all. She introduced herself as the president of the club and she told him that they had forty-three members and that they met once a week to discuss his career. He was very pleased to know this. Then he gave a lot of his autographs to give to other club members. Then she gave the book to Fritz, who read aloud "To Bobolink for her faithful enthusiasm and spirit." She continues the story. His secretary gives him a picture and he autographed it, too. He shook her hand and said that he had a great wish to visit the fan club, but he was very busy to do so.

Another couple appears in the entrance way. The young man is neat and handsome and. The girl is pretty and expensively dressed. The Doorman hails a taxi. The boys say that lie is not Perry Como although his face looks familiar. Bobolink says, after a moment's study, that the woman is not in the pictures. Fritz thinks that he might be somebody and asks for his autograph. They are not in the pictures. The young man and the girl smile at each other and sign the books while the Doorman hails a cab. Bobolink thinks that they are not very important. In the past, she got the autographs of very famous persons. The autograph seekers try to understand the names. Bobolink says that they might be famous one day but she has to time to waste on the people that might be famous. Bobolink and Nellie stand quietly away from the group now. Fritz reads the signature. They find that the woman is a model in an ad for hair remover. They guess that he might be a model, too. Bobolink evaluates her colleagues and says personally to Nellie that they are just kids. Renal-do does not know if Perry Como is inside. Bobolink confirms that he is inside. They all want to wait a little longer, but Annamarie says that she has to get home for supper. They keep on waiting patiently.

To Bobolink, For Her Spirit Study Center

Character Sketch of Bobolink

Scene outside the Club in To Bobolink for Her Spirit

Biography of William Inge