Briny Foss’s friend and neighbor on the Mississippi River. Zede becomes a father figure for Briny and teaches him and Queenie how to live on their shanty boat and navigate the river. Zede helps Briny bring Queenie to the hospital in Memphis when she is unable to deliver her twin babies on the boat. When Zede returns, he brings Silas, a homeless teenager he is caring for, with him. He tells Silas to look out for the young Foss children, but Silas is unable to stop the police from taking Rill Foss and her siblings away on Georgia Tann’s orders. After the Foss kids are taken, Zede takes care of Queenie and Briny. After Queenie’s death, however, Zede only has Briny to care for until the sudden reappearance of Rill and Fern Foss. Although Zede tries to take care of them all, Briny’s heartbreak and alcoholism make him self-destructive and he unties their boat during a storm, which leads to it being destroyed by a floating tree. After this, Rill decides she and Foss must return to their adopted parents—even though it breaks his heart, Zede agrees because he is too old to care for them all. Still, he takes care of Arney (the young woman who helps Rill and Fern find their family’s shanty boat). After going back to her adoptive parents, Rill never sees Old Zede again.
Old Zede Character Timeline in Before We Were Yours
The timeline below shows where the character Old Zede appears in Before We Were Yours. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...the big bed their parents usually sleep in. Rill worries about whether Briny, Queenie, and Zede got across the water alright. Before she gets into bed, she grabs Queenie’s cross and... (full context)