Gardner Edwards is the uncle of Samantha Parkington.
Personality and Facts
Gardner--nicknamed Gard--is the brother of Lydia Parkington and the only son of Mary Edwards. He is Samantha's only uncle. He is very playful with and dear to Samantha, calling her "Sam" as a nickname. He is a father figure in Sam's life and considers her his own little girl (and has probably had some hand in her upbringing since the death of her parents). He encourages Samantha to adapt to change and try new things often, in contrast with his more conservative mother.
Gardner is interested in progressive technology and changing attitudes about society. He owns a shiny black automobile, much to his mother's chagrin. Gardner is courting Cornelia from the beginning of the series; however, Samantha only refers to Cornelia as a "friend" as she does not know the whole story. She suspects there is more, as she does ask if they will marry. He proposes to Cornelia on Christmas Day, and they are married in the spring.
Gardner is a warm and playful man. He is also quite generous; he does not hesitate to offer Nellie O'Malley and her sisters a home with him when they are found in his home, despite their low class and Irish heritage. He pursues this enough to make Mike O'Malley sign away his rights to the girls to ensure they may be adopted.
In The Books
Meet Samantha: An American Girl
Uncle Gard is first mentioned without being seen--he is mentioned at the same time as Cornelia Pitts. Samantha thinks that Cornelia is not right for him. She asks Jessie if Gard will marry Cornelia and she tells Samantha that it is none of her business and children shouldn't ask such questions. Samantha thinks of him as quite handsome and thinks he should be a spy.
Later, as Samantha is working on her sampler, she hears sounds of a car coming down the street that is disturbing horses. Grandmary is upset that Gardner has brought his automobile. He is then seen walking up to the house with Cornelia, his girlfriend; they are smiling and dusting themselves off from the ride. He offers to take Samantha for a ride in the automobile, much to Grandmary's worry and initial refusal. He does get to take Samantha for a ride while she wears Cornelia's coat, during which she first hears about Nellie from Eddie Ryland.
The afternoon after Nellie is sent away, he and Cornelia are over for tea. Samantha normally jokes and laughs with him but ignores him as she is angry at grown ups. When Samantha says she knows what happened to Jessie and later says Grandmary was wrong not to tell her, Grandmary looks at Gardner and Cornelia. They are both silent, and Grandmary confesses she was wrong not to inform Samantha. She asks Samantha where her new doll is and when Samantha says she lost it and Grandmary becomes upset, Gardner quietly interrupts that Mrs. Hawkins informed him that Samantha gave the doll to Nellie.
Samantha Learns a Lesson: A School Story
Samantha's Surprise: A Christmas Story
Happy Birthday, Samantha!: A Springtime Story
Samantha Saves The Day: A Summer Story
Changes for Samantha: A Winter Story
Gardner and Cornelia return from their first visit since their honeymoon. Gardner kisses his mother, who quips that things have been too quiet without him and his motorcar. He teases Samantha when Cornelia says she looks to have grown a foot, saying she still has two--which is good because more than two would make it hard to use her new gift of a blue bicycle, the latest model from England. There are also bikes for Cornelia and him, which they will leave as they can come up and all ride together. Once Samantha is ready, he has her get onto the bike and helps her ride, only letting go when she is ready. He praises her quick learning and suggests they go to the park to ride together, if she is plucky enough.
At the park, he directs Samantha to go ahead of him and Cornelia. He shouts for her to look out when her skirt gets tangled as another cyclist is headed straight towards her. When Samantha crashes her bike over the bank, he and Cornelia run down the bank to help her and ask her if she is okay. He assures Grandmary that Samantha is okay, despite Grandmary's protests. He suggests that Samantha get back on the "horse that threw her", but says she can't once she points out the front wheel is flat when he picks up the bike. He says that Samantha shouldn't be disappointed and she will have a lot of time to practice.
He calls on a later Saturday, saying he'll be coming back up with Cornelia and the twins to go riding and on a picnic, saying it will be fun and encouraging Samantha to practice. When he arrives, he is shocked to see Samantha in bloomers, given his mother's conservative nature. He is the one to call out to Samantha to slow down as she pedals off, as she is leaving the rest of them behind.
Gardner has taken in the O'Malley girls and is first shown reading to Bridget and Jenny in the parlor. When Nellie tells the girls to go to bed, they cling to him and beg him not to go to bed yet. Nellie apologizes for their pestering but Gardner says it's all right as he likes being pestered by the two cherubs. He also tells Nellie not to call him sir as they are family now. When Gertrude comes to put the girls to bed, they huddle against him and don't go until Samantha lures them with a story.
At dinner (the night after going to the settlement house), Cornelia talks about the ruffian they encountered and Gardner is alarmed. He thanks Nellie for her bravery but insists that they take a cab from now on. Upon leaning that Nellie speaks German and Italian, he agrees that she is a marvel and tugs on her hairbow, smiling fondly.
On a clear Saturday morning, since Gardner does not have to go to the firm he asks who wants to go riding in the motorcar. They all go outdoors and get into the car; Gardner cranks it but it only runs for a moment before stopping. He gets out, cranks it again, and gets in the driver's seat but it stops again. He sighs, gets out, lifts the hood to look at the engine, and stares with his hands on his hips. He mutters to himself what the issue could be this time. At Nellie's suggestion that it may be the carburetor, he throws his head back and laughs and calls her quite a girl, wondering what he would do without her. After Nellie scolds her sisters and they go inside with Samantha, he calls them the gleesome threesome, causing Nellie to feel left out.
When Nellie writes Clark School, the letter is addressed to her guardians. Gardner opens it when it arrives a week later. He brings it up in the parlor with Nellie and says that the school has welcomed her to enroll. He and Cornelia turn to Nellie looking puzzled and hurt. When Nellie goes to speak to Samantha, he and Cornelia do not go up to tuck them in and Nellie believes they are talking.
The morning after Nellie confesses the whole story, Gardner has Uncle Mike brought to the household. Mike saying he found Nellie prompts Gardner to clarify that they found him--he had hired a detective to find him and bring him to the household. The Edwards had been looking for him since they took the girls in and the idea of Nellie moving to Boston made them think to speak to him sooner rather than later. He's brought legal papers to settle everything and make Mike sign his rights away to the girls and allow their full adoption. When Mike tries to bribe money for his signature Gardner is offended; Nellie steps in and tells him to just sign the papers with no fuss. After he does so and leaves, Gardner and Cornelia both collapse into chairs. Nellie is still solemn and Gardner pulls her into his lap and Cornelia asks what's on her mind, which gets her to confess that she also wants to go to a different school and prompts her enrollment into another school.
Gardner and Cornelia look after Bridget and Jenny while Samantha and Nellie join Grandmary and Archibald Beemis on their trip to Europe.
Gardner and Cornelia cannot go to Piney Point as they are caring for their infant son, William. They give a picture of the family to Grandmary as a present.
In The Film
As in the books, Gardner is spoken about before he is seen; Samantha asks if he has sent a letter and hopes he won't be late back from his trip to Europe as he has been gone a while, and he has promised to take Samantha to the World's Fair. While he is gone, he sends Samantha a stereopticon. When he returns from his European trip, he has Cornelia with him much to Samantha's disgust. When Gard announces that he is marrying Cornelia that July, Samantha is upset not only because she feels her uncle is leaving her, but because Gard breaks his promise to go to the fair. She mostly becomes Cornelia's bridesmaid and lends the veil to her because she loves her uncle, not because she cares for Cornelia.
Gardner initially wants Samantha to come live with him because he feels that he should help in her raising too and persuades Grandmary to let her come with him. When the Edwards learn that Nellie and her sisters are in an orphanage, he tries to go see them but is disallowed due to rules. He fusses at Samantha for her actions regarding the O'Malleys and initially insists that they be reported, but later recants. He is the one that offers Samantha the chance to live with them permanently, as well as the one to offer the O'Malley sisters a permanent home.
He is played by Jordan Bridges.
- ↑ Samantha: An American Girl Holiday: The Complete Telescript of Samantha's Movie, pg. 67:
- Minister: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together in the sight of God and the presence of these witnesses to unite Cornelia Stanton Pitt and Gardner Elliot Edwards in holy matrimony, a state first ordained by God in the Garden of Eden."
- ↑ As of Changes for Samantha he is also her guardian.
- ↑ The three girls are adopted as of Changes for Samantha.