A little girl sat perched on a dining room chair peering out the window into a billowing storm. Wiping her breath’s condensation off the window, she began to conceive of harrowing adventures that could occur on a stormy day like this one. It had rained all day; this fact kept all the five Moore children indoors. But it wasn’t going to be long before the enticing storm would capture two little girls for an afternoon of excitement.
She sat there a little longer before she got up and went to the bedroom she shared with her six-year old sister.
“What are you doing, Donna?” her little sister, Linda, asked while Donna changed into overalls. Eight-year old Donna looked at her sister thoughtfully. Linda was a beautiful little girl with long, brown curly hair which her mother kept in braids.
Donna eyed her sister, thinking what benefit could be had dragging Linda along. Then it occurred to her that Linda kept a substantial amount of change in her piggy bank.
“Well,” Donna said in perfect recitation of lines she had prepared, “do you want to come with me?”
“Oh, yes, where are we going?” Linda gleamed.
“I want to take a walk in the storm and get some hot chocolate at Quik-Stop, and maybe some french fries. Still wanna come?”
“Oh, yeah, I’ll go ask Mommy if we can go.”
“No,” Donna grabbed her arm, “don’t bother Mom, she won’t mind. I already asked her.” She lied so easily.
Linda threw on some clothes, Donna took a whiff of some socks on the floor and decided they were clean enough for another day’s use.
“Oh, by the way,” Donna said cautiously as they put their keds on, “I don’t have any money, do you?” A seasoned snoop, she knew perfectly well the exact contents of Linda’s piggy bank.
“I have money in my piggy bank, we can use that.”
“Sounds good, let’s go.” Linda emptied her bank, and Donna pocketed the change.
They grabbed their identical green rain jackets, wrapped their scarves around their necks and made their way to the front door. Their mother was in the family room watching “General Hospital”, and their brothers were in their room playing “Battleship” and listening to Beatles records. Their baby brother was fast asleep in his room. The coast was clear.
“I want to say goodbye to Mommy,” Linda said sweetly.
“No, don’t, don’t bother her, she watching her show. Come on, let’s go now before the storm passes.” Donna opened the front door and they went out.
The wind whistled and whipped around them as they stood on their small porch, the rain splashed at them, they covered their heads and made their way toward Vallejo Street.
Alvarado Avenue was the small and quaint block they lived on. It was a wonderful community. All the children knew and played with each other. Most attended the elementary school around the corner. It was a block of about ten houses on each side of the street. Every 4th of July, the families would throw a block party. Picnic and ping-pong tables were set up in the middle of the street, there were best-decorated bike contests, egg throwing contests, and watermelon eating contests. Everyone would be outside where all the families would pile lots of food on the picnic tables.
But, summer had passed, and during the winter, everyone stayed inside when it rained. And, on this day, the young Moore girls embarked on a great journey, a journey of about a mile and a half to the Quik-Stop.
“Are we going to walk past Sabin’s house?” Linda asked with a shy hope, blinking through the rain. “He lives by the bridge, and if we go that way and around the corner, maybe I could see him?
“I don’t know, I guess we could.” Donna replied nonchalantly. She had her mind set on hot chocolate and french fries.
As they continued to walk in the pouring rain, Linda began to act nervous. She had a crush on Sabin for over two months since they started school. After walking three blocks on Vallejo, they turned left onto a small muddy trail that led to the bridge that crossed the creek. Sabin’s house was two houses away from the bridge.
“Do you want me to see if he’s home?”
“No, no, I couldn’t see him, I like him too much.”
“But, you said you wanted to go this way. Golly, don’t be so stupid, if you like that boy, don’t you think you would want to see him?”
“I guess so.”
“OK, I’ll go to the door and ask for him. Maybe Matt’s home.” Donna was harboring a little crush on Sabin’s brother herself.
Linda began fidgeting as they approached the door, “Shut up,” Donna said, ringing the doorbell. Sabin answered.
“Hey Donna, what’s going on?”
“Uh, nothing,” Donna replied, “uhm, me and my sister are goin’ to Quik-Stop. Hey, do you know my sister, Linda?” Donna turned around and Linda was gone.
“I think so, she’s a grade below me.” Sabin asked. Linda was hiding behind one of the entry pillars.
“Uh..uh, hi.” Linda stuttered.
“Hey,” Sabin smiled, “can I come with you guys? I’m so bored.”
“Sure,….is Matt home?”
“No, he’s at Gene’s…hold on let me tell my sister.”
“Ewww, he’s coming with us…” Donna teased her sister. Linda waited angelically for her prince. Sabin returned and grabbed his coat and baseball cap.
Together they headed back to the bridge to get to Hoen Avenue. Linda was so enamored with the very presence of Sabin, she couldn’t walk straight.
“Hey, Linda,” Sabin asked, “isn’t Joe Miller in your class?”
“Oh, yes, I do.” she said breathlessly, “he sits right behind me. He gets in trouble all the time when he pulls my braids.”
“Oh, so you’re that girl, I think he likes you.” Sabin smiled.
Repulsed, Linda said, “He’s an ugly boy, I don’t like him at all. I like someone else.” She added with a twinkle in her eye.
As they approached the bridge, the trail became muddier. Linda was trying to step over a big rock when her foot slipped, and she fell down the side of the trail along the bank of the creek. She screamed, and grabbed some plants halfway down the bank.
“Donna, Donna….” she yelled.
“What are you doing, you’re gonna get dirty.” Her sister was annoyed.
“I fell,” she began to cry, “I’m slipping, help me.”
It was too slippery for Donna and Sabin to make their way down the bank, then Donna remembered when her brother was stuck in a sewer drain, her mom called the fire department.
“Sabin, run back to your house and call the fire department, I’ll wait here with Linda.”
“Do you want me to call your mom too?” Sabin offered.
“Nooooo, just the fire department.”
Sabin ran off, and Donna tried to comfort her sister. The fire engine arrived in less than 15 minutes with Sabin running behind. Two tall fireman jumped out of the truck and made their way to Linda. Donna immediately fell in love with both of them. In less than a minute, they pulled Linda up and she forgot all about her romantic pursuits, these guys were her heroes.
“Thank you,” she said to the fireman with blue eyes. She wiped the mud from her face and jacket.
“You’re welcome, little lady; but, what on earth brought you and your friends out on a day like this?
“Well, ” Linda began all flustered because he spoke directly to her.
Donna butted in, “We came out today to get some hot chocolate and french fries, and maybe have a little adventure. She’s my sister, and this is our friend, Sabin.”
“You’re not going to tell our parents, are you?” she added with feigned innocence.
The firemen had daughters of their own and could spot foul play from the beginning.
“I think we should call your parents,” said the other fireman.
“My mom’s not home,” Sabin said without any worry.
“Uhm, uh, couldn’t we go get some hot chocolate and talk about if you need to call our parents,” Donna nervously negotiated. “It’s raining and I’m cold, and I sure could use some hot chocolate, and poor little Linda must be really cold after falling in the mud.”
The firemen laughed out loud, but it was Linda’s tender look that stole their hearts, so they agreed to the older girl’s plans.
“OK, we’ll take you for a ride in the fire truck, get some hot chocolate and then drop you guys off at your homes, how does that sound?
All three jumped up and yelled, “Oh yeah…that would be a blast.”
As they drove to Quik-Stop, Donna was thinking how to avoid getting in trouble when she got home.
After they had hot chocolate, the firemen dropped off Sabin.
“Thanks for a great adventure, Donna. Thank you, Firemen.” Sabin waved as he went into his house.
“You can drop us off here at the corner, OK?” Donna suggested.
“What for? We’ll take you girls home.”
“Please,” Donna begged.
“Only if you promise to tell your mom the truth when you get home. Is that a deal?”
Yea, that’s a deal,” she agreed and they shook on it.
The girls climbed out of the fire truck at the corner of Vallejo and Alvarado, the firemen gave their mother a call from Quik-Stop so she was standing at the porch waiting for her daughters.
She waved at the firemen, saying “Thank you.”
Donna told her mother everything, and to this day, the punishment she got was worth the adventure she had on the day they went for hot chocolate.