Eddie Kaspbrak drives into Boston behind the wheel of “the black '84 Cadillac he picked up from Butch Carrington at Cape Cod Limousine.” He thinks that he feels the onset of some sickness as he drives farther north, but Eddie knows that he is just scared. He looks in the dashboard and finds some silver dollars to pay for tolls. He remembers how one of his old friends used a silver dollar to save their lives, though he cannot remember which. He is starting to remember things, such as how he loved Bill Denbrough. He recalls how it had been Bill’s idea to build a dam in the Barrens. Their “baby dam” got destroyed by Victor Criss. Then, they meet Ben Hanscom and build a dam so well that they get into trouble with Officer Nell.
Like with Ben and Bill, as Eddie gets closer to Derry, the memories of his childhood come flooding back to him. And like Richie, the thought of returning home and facing his mortality makes Bill feel ill. However, there are clues in objects around him, such as the silver dollars, that prompt him to remember how he and the others defeated It in the past. The catalyst for Eddie’s memory is love.
Eddie recalls how Ben shows them how to flood out the whole Barrens, if they want to. Bill says that he also called Richie Tozier and that Stanley Uris, whom Ben does not know, may want to help. Bill confirms that Eddie has his aspirator and Ben asks if the chocolate milk trick worked on Eddie’s mother. Indeed, it did, Eddie tells him. Ben prompts the boys to take their shoes off and Eddie can hear the voice of his mother, warning him against having wet feet. Eddie reluctantly takes off his shoes, hearing his mother’s voice grow fainter in his head.
Eddie’s wish to bond with Bill and Ben overrides his mother’s imposed fear of hypochondria. By taking off his shoes and walking through the Barrens, he resists her imposition of the image of an impeccably clean boy who should seldom leave the house. Through his friends, in fact, he is able to find ways to resist his mother’s unhealthy attachment and her imposed fears, and experience a fuller boyhood.
Bill and Eddie set one of the boards across the stream. They place a second board two feet away from the first. Ben adds rocks and “muddy gook” from the streambed. The rocks and mud take the place of cement. Ben gets a third board and places it against the downstream board. He explains it as the strut that will handle the remaining water pressure. The boys watch as the two boards that form the base of the dam creak a little but do not move. They are stunned by the ingenuity. They then sit on the bank eating and not talking much as they watch “the water stack up behind the dam and sluice around the ends of the boards.”
This is an example of how the children learn from one another. Each has an individual talent and applies it during play and, later, during their collective effort to fight It. Ben’s talent is in engineering, which he has a knack for even early in life. This is one of the group’s pleasant memories of how they spent the summer of 1958.
Eddie then asks Ben what his mother said about his appearance when he got home after the fight with Henry Bowers. Ben says that she was out grocery-shopping, which gave him time to wash up and throw out his clothes. He explained the bruises as the result of falling, saying he was overexcited for the last day of school. Ben stands up, noticing that the current is eroding the fill. He suggests that they use chunks of sod to replace it. Suddenly, they hear a voice. They turn to see Richie Tozier and Stanley Uris.
Along with his engineering ability, Ben finds ingenious ways of fibbing to his mother to protect her from worrying about him, and he passes on this advice to Eddie. This is how the boys can maintain some independence from their mothers and continue to spend the summer exploring the Barrens and bonding without interference.
The five boys hang out into the afternoon. Richie offers cigarettes. Only Ben and Bill take one. Richie is known for having about a dozen different voices he uses. His ambition, he tells Eddie, is to become the world’s greatest ventriloquist. His friends, however, are unimpressed by his voices, which always sound like Richie. This is not to say that he could not be funny, but when Richie throws his voice, it does not go far. His friends are simply too kind to tell him the truth.
As part of the boys’ loyalty to each other, they do not hurt each other. Richie is still cultivating the talent that will make him famous. When he is not working on his voices, he finds small ways to rebel against convention and to assert his growing independence from his parents, such as by smoking cigarettes.
Ben introduces himself to Tozier. Richie introduces Stanley and says that he is a Jew who, according to Victor Criss, killed Christ. Stanley jokes that that must have been his father. Richie is amused. The boys then proceed to work on the dam for another hour, with Richie following Ben’s directions. Every now and again, he lapses into one of his voices. They use a car door, a corrugated piece of steel, and a stack of tires as the next stage of the dam. It is backstopped by a huge sloping hill of soil and stones. While the boys relax, Bill tells them about the winking photo of George.
Building the dam together helps the boys bond and build trust with each other. They joke about the anti-Semitism that plagues Stanley’s family, demonstrating how children sometimes have a wisdom that allows them to see the absurdity in their elders’ prejudices. When Bill realizes that he can trust the other boys, he tells them the secret of his experience of evil in George’s room, knowing that they will believe him.
Eddie quietly thinks of his own strange story of a leper on 29 Neibolt Street who offered to perform oral sex on him. On Saturdays, when Eddie can find no one to play with, he goes to the trainyards on his bike. One day, a trainman flings a box at him containing four lobsters. His mother receives the box with delight, but Eddie refuses to eat one of the creatures. He hates how they slither inside the box and click their claws. Instead, he goes to his room to read.
Both the leper and the lobsters are repulsive to Eddie because they conjure up his fears about disease and vermin. Eddie is not interested when his mother tells him that the Rockefellers also eat lobster. Here, Sonia exhibits class pretensions that do not make any impression on Eddie.
In other instances when Eddie goes to the trainyards, there are hobos and tramps. Often, they are drunk and want a cigarette. Sometimes, they are missing fingers. One day, a creature crawls from under the house on 29 Neibolt Street one day and offers “to give Eddie a blowjob for a quarter.” The hobo’s nostrils appear to be eaten away and yellow puke is stiffening on the front of his “old green flannel pants.” The leprous hobo then offers to perform the act for free. Eddie mounts his bike and takes off, but finds the hobo not only chasing him but gaining on him. Finally, when he flashes past Church School and goes through the Route 2 intersection, the hobo is gone.
Hobos are social outcasts who, in 1930s Derry, were the victims of the White Legion of Decency. Perhaps due to his mother Sonia’s class pretensions in addition to her imposed fears of illness, Eddie’s glamour is a hobo. On the cusp of adolescence, he seems to have fears about sex, which conflict with his worries about contamination. The colors yellow and green will reappear when the group goes to Its lair.
Eddie keeps the story about the hobo to himself for a week before telling Richie and Bill one day while they are reading comic books. Richie explains that the hobo probably had syphilis and incorrectly explains how one contracts that disease, as told to him by Vincent “Boogers” Taliendo.
In this era, the boys do not receive sex education but rely on older children or rumor to tell them what happens during sexual intercourse and how someone can contract venereal disease. These fallacies contribute to Eddie’s fears.
Eddie goes back to 29 Neibolt Street and looks under the porch. There is no one there. There are no hobos, but there are signs of them, such as empty liquor bottles and cans. A face appears in the cellar window. The skin of its forehead is split open. Its teeth poke out from sagging, livery lips “in a sneering ring.” It shoots a hand through the broken window pane. The hobo is wearing a silvery suit and introduces himself as Bob Gray. One of Its hands reaches Eddie’s shoulder and Eddie screams. Eddie reaches the end of the porch and the hobo crawls out. Its tongue drops from Its mouth and stretches to about three feet. Eddie races for his bike and wonders if he is having a nightmare. The leper again whispers for a “blowjob” and tells Eddie to bring his friends. That night, Eddie awakes in bed with a start, hearing the voice of the leper and closes his hand around his aspirator.
As with Ben, the glamour that Eddie experienced in real life returns to him in a dream. The children are haunted by their fears both when sleeping and when awake. As repulsed as Eddie is by the image of the hobo, it also fascinates him—just as Ben was fascinated by the sight of the clown / mummy on the frozen Canal. The hobo now appears in the form of a rotting body and in a suit that is similar to that of the clown on the ice. Its unraveling tongue seems like a grotesque party gag. Again, there is the contrast between the image of a figure of entertainment and something that conjures up personal horrors.
Richie is stunned by Bill’s story about the winking picture of George. Eddie is then prompted to share his own story about 29 Neibolt Street. Ben then tells his story about seeing the clown on the frozen Canal. Richie thinks that Ben dreamt about the floating balloons. The others ask if Richie has ever experienced anything out of the ordinary and he says that he has not. Stanley is the last with a story, though he struggles to tell it. Just when he starts to, “the whisky-roughened tones” of Officer Nell interrupt.
The children share their stories in an effort to bond around shared experiences of evil that the adults in their lives would neither understand nor believe. Richie is the outlier, but he does not express disbelief toward his friends’ experiences. His trust solidifies his bond with the group.