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An embarrassing underwear incident? A lesson on a runaway bike? Grandma’s wig at the fire department?
These and lots of other funny events await ten-year-old Sofie, whose life is pretty ordinary until she finds out that in two weeks her family has to move in with her grandma – not her favorite grandma – her other grandma. As Sofie tries to adjust to her new life, she gets into various predicaments with her strange, eccentric grandma and her mysterious wig. In addition to the adjustments Sofie has to make, she must also impress the cute neighbor. As she learns the shocking reasons for the move, she develops a deep appreciation and love for her odd wig-wearing grandma. She learns the tough truth about family and that change is both unavoidable and necessary.
What People Are Saying:
“What a remarkable, hilarious, ultimately heart tugging story. Sofia is a very precocious 10 year old, she will have you laughing with her thoughts and crazy antics. I read this story to my seven year old daughter and we both laughed out loud. Even though it’s meant for a younger audience, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. Way to go Mrs. Suerth, I hope you’ll continue to write. Your humor is greatly needed in the world.” – Mom2LucaBella, Amazon Customer
“This book is highly recommended to just about everyone who loves to smile. It is intended for a younger audience, but I couldn’t help myself to enjoy this read! I love it!”
– Jtheobald, Amazon Customer
“Just great book! Very skillfully written and we love every minute of it…Renata Suerth has a lot potential and we wish her good luck with any future work! Congratulation! We can certainly recommended The Wig to everybody!” – Frank and Irena, Amazon Customer
This is going to be the worst summer of my life! And like with everything, one event leads to another. You just don’t expect a bunch of bad ones in a row.
When I heard the news, I headed for the phone and dialed. Depressed, I stared at the huge spider crawling across Mom’s French poster of a ballerina. Normally I’d scream. Not this time. I was too shocked by Mom’s news. Numb, actually. The phone rang four times before Maggie, my best friend, finally picked it up.
“Hi, Sofie. What’s up?” she asked.
Hearing my best friend’s voice made me feel even worse. “I have awful news, Maggie.” I started sobbing.
“Why are you crying?” Maggie asked.
I took two deep breaths and wiped the tears off my face so I could think better.
“What’s wrong? Tell me!” Maggie pleaded.
“You’ll never guess. It’s the worst news you can imagine,” I said.
Silence. Maggie was thinking.
“The worst news you can imagine,” I repeated.
“Did somebody die?” she finally asked.
“No.” I shook my head, horrified at the thought. Then I added, “It’s the second worst thing you can imagine.” I was a little annoyed with Maggie’s bad guess.
“I don’t know what the second worst thing is. What’s going on? Tell me!” she pleaded.
“We’re moving,” I blurted out.
“What?” she asked.
“We’re moving in with my grandma…into her house.”
“Why?” Maggie asked.
“Yeah. Mom just told me…she’s going back to school…she wants a better job…we need to save money. Can you believe that my parents already sold the house?”
“I didn’t know your house was up for sale,” Maggie said.
“Yeah, me neither,” I replied. I realized that we didn’t even have a ‘For Sale’ sign up or anything.
“They sold the house without telling you? That’s horrible!” Maggie gasped.
“You said it. We’re moving in two weeks,” I added.
“Two weeks?” Maggie repeated.
“Mom wants to go back to school and I have to change schools…Fifth grade in a new school! Can you believe it?”
“Change schools? Why? But your grandma lives in Oak Park,” Maggie reminded me.
“I know where Grandma Martha lives. We’re not moving in with her. We’re moving in with my dad’s mom, Grandma Ursula. Her house is bigger,” I told Maggie.
“Where does she live?” Maggie asked.
“In Stevens Point,” I answered.
“Where’s that?” she asked.
“It’s in another state,” I said.
“Another state?” she repeated.
“Yes. Wisconsin,” I said, sighing.
“Wisconsin?” she repeated.
“It’s four hours away,” I added.
“Four hours?” Maggie tends to repeat a lot when she’s shocked. “So you really have to change schools!” she concluded and exhaled really loud.
“That’s what I said! Why do you think I’m so upset?” I said, trying hard not to cry again.
The next thirteen days consisted of packing. With every new taped-up box, the house looked emptier and less like our house.
Maggie came over every day to help. Dad didn’t want the boxes to be all over the place so he asked us to try to stack them up in each room, in one of the corners. He didn’t want things to look any more chaotic than was necessary. So in the living room, Maggie and I made a pyramid out of the boxes. In the dining room, we built a tower. And in the family room, we constructed an igloo. That one was the hardest and the most impressive. (If I knew which box the camera was in I would’ve taken a picture of the igloo.) Unfortunately, Mom was horrified when she saw her dishes stacked up in our four-box-tower in the dining room. So, she forced us to disassemble all of our monuments.
Since our efforts weren’t appreciated, Maggie and I went up to my room to pack.
“You have a lot of stuff,” she observed and plopped down on my purple bean bag.
“Yeah, this is endless,” I agreed. “I don’t know how all this is going to fit in my new room since I have to share it with…”
“You have to share your room with Izzy?” Maggie asked, shocked.
“Oh, I didn’t tell you? Yeah, it just gets better every day,” I said, sarcastically.
“That’s awful. I can’t imagine sharing a room with Jack…”
(Jack is Maggie’s younger brother.)
“Izzy isn’t as annoying as Jack…” I started to say.
“He’s not that annoying!” Maggie protested.
Maggie looked hurt.
“I mean, all younger siblings are annoying,” I explained.
“Yeah,” Maggie agreed but still looked hurt.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so mad!”
“I don’t want to move.” I said, ready to cry again.
“It’s going to be hard at first, I’m sure. But I bet you’ll like it there, eventually. Is your grandma…what’s her name?” Maggie asked.
“Is your Grandma Ursula nice?” she asked.
“She’s OK, I guess,” I answered. “She’s not as nice as Grandma Martha…I don’t know, I only see Grandma Ursula a few times a year.”
“I’m sure she’ll be great…Is she a good cook, like Grandma Martha?”
“I don’t remember,” I mumbled.
“I bet she’ll do the dance competitions on your X-Box, just like Grandma Martha always did!”
“I don’t know.” I realized that I did not really know Grandma Ursula at all. I got a little worried.
“I bet she’ll make you a great Halloween costume, just like Grandma Martha,” Maggie said enthusiastically.
“I have no idea,” I said hopelessly. Tears filled my eyes so fast that I couldn’t see.
Maggie gave me a huge hug and said, “You’ll love Wisconsin. Maybe I can visit you this summer.”
“That would be great,” I said, trying to swallow the giant lump in my throat.
2. GOOD-BYE OAK PARK
The next morning, Izzy stormed into my room uninvited. “The movers are here!” she announced. I looked out my window and saw a huge truck in front of our house.
“Great,” I mumbled. “Why are you so excited about moving to Wisconsin?” I asked. For once, I was actually interested in her answer.
“Because,” she replied, unhelpfully.
“Can you be more specific?” I asked, annoyed.
“It’ll be fun,” she answered.
“Fun? Won’t you miss your friends?”
“Yes…but I’ll make new ones.”
“Did Mom tell you that?” I was suspicious.
“Both Mom and Dad said that,” she admitted.
“Of course they did. And you think it’s that easy?” I asked.
“Maybe it is…for a five year old. I’m not that optimistic.”
“Opti-what?” she asked.
“Nevermind. Can you leave my room and close the door behind you?” I asked.
“Why?” Izzy asked, looking confused.
“Just go. I want to be alone for a minute,” I explained. I looked at my lavender room. It never looked so gloomy. It was empty except for my bed. So this is it. I shook my head in disbelief. A two-week notice. That’s all my parents gave me – just a lousy two-week notice. I feel like I was just fired except I didn’t lose a job, I lost my home and my friends – my entire life.
The four-hour drive seemed like forty hours. Two hundred and forty miles of cornfields, or whatever else grew on this giant boring patch of no-man’s-land, was what separated me from my happy life and my iffy future. The drive seemed super long even though I wasn’t looking forward to arriving at our destination. Usually, when you’re looking forward to something, it takes forever. So, it didn’t make sense that this was taking so long. I definitely was not looking forward to temporarily living at Grandma Ursula’s. That’s for sure.
The closer we got to Stevens Point, the worse I felt. The opposite was true for Izzy. The closer we got, the more she wiggled in her booster seat.
“Can you sit still?” I asked.
“No. I’m excited,” she answered.
“You will have so much fun,” Dad chimed in. “I loved growing up in Wisconsin.”
“Think of all the adventures – ” Mom started to say.
“I don’t want to. I miss my friends.” I informed my clueless parents.
“Oh, Sofie, you’ll love it. I promise. You just have to be a little open-minded,” Mom continued.
Oh is that it? I just have to be a little open-minded? I thought. But out loud I said, “I’ll try, but don’t get your hopes up… I still don’t get why we have to move to another state.”
“I already told you,” Mom replied.
“Not really. It doesn’t make sense. There are lots of colleges near Oak Park. Don’t you know that?”
“I know, but this is what we have to do. You’ll understand when you’re older,” Mom said.
I hate when my parents say that. When I’m older, I won’t care anymore. And besides, I’m pretty mature for my age. Grandma Martha always says that. I miss her already.
“When are we going to visit Grandma Martha?” I asked.
“We just left…soon…we’ll visit her soon. She’ll probably want to visit us too,” Mom said.
“I doubt it,” I mumbled.
“What?” Mom asked.
“Nothing,” I answered.
My grandmas aren’t exactly the best of friends. They couldn’t be more different. Grandma Martha’s house always smells like a bakery. Just seeing her house from the street always makes me hungry because I know that inside her kitchen, there’s going to be a freshly-baked something waiting for me. Grandma Martha is plump and soft around the waist. When I throw my arms around her, it feels like I’m hugging a goose-down pillow. She smells like freshly-made apple pie. Grandma Martha is always smiling and wears pink lipstick. Grandma Ursula is none of these things. Like I said, they couldn’t be more different. So I didn’t envision my poor Grandma Martha driving four long hours just to hang out with Grandma Ursula.
“There’s the exit,” Dad announced.
“We’re here!” Izzy added and clapped her hands for emphasis.
“Hurray,” I added sarcastically. The town looked just like it did the last time we were here. It looked boring.
3. GRANDMA URSULA’S HEAD-GEAR
When we arrived at the house, Grandma Ursula was standing on her front porch with her arms crossed. Her posture didn’t exactly say, “Welcome.” Grandma Martha wouldn’t be standing on her front porch, looking like a sergeant. She’d be running toward us, all excited.
Grandma Ursula was wearing a sleeveless pink housedress with big white buttons going down the whole front of the dress. The dress had two pockets on each side of Grandma Ursula’s waist. The pockets wouldn’t even be noticeable if she hadn’t stuffed them with who-knows-what. They were bulging out, giving her figure a weird shape. The fact that she was wearing a housedress and that it was pink made her look less like a sergeant, obviously. Whoever heard of a sergeant wearing a pink housedress? Not me. But still, she did manage to look a little scary and weird.
Grandma Ursula was also wearing a wig. Yes, my grandma wears a wig. She’s been wearing one for a long time. Dad told me that she started wearing it when he was six years old. Obviously, that was way before I was born.
It’s a funny story. This is how Dad tells it, “I was racing through the living room when I noticed something furry resting on the couch. I was thrilled because I thought it was a puppy. But when it didn’t move, I was devastated because I thought the puppy was dead. And then, for a split second, I was mad at my parents for neglecting to inform me about the newly acquired puppy which, at the moment, appeared to be dead. When I got closer to the couch, I realized that the brown, furry object was not a puppy at all. It was a wig!
He continues, “I became uneasy, wondering if my parents skinned someone to get it. I saw something like that on TV once. Of course I was too young to have watched something like that on TV. Anyway…Horrified, I started to imagine my parents murdering someone with short brown hair and skinning this unsuspecting soul. Or worse, skinning the person alive!” At this point, Dad pretends to attack me and I scream.
“Just then,” he continues, “your grandma stormed into the living room with a giant knife in her hand, announcing that dinner will be ready in two minutes!”
“Well, I almost peed in my pants. Remember, I was only six. I thought I was next,” he tells me laughing.
“Oh, here’s my wig,” Dad says, trying to sound like Grandma. “God has not been kind to me. So I have to compensate for His neglect.”He fluffs up his short hair.
We both chuckle.
“Is this a wig?” Dad asks, switching roles. Now he’s playing himself at age six.
This is where I jump in and play the part of Grandma. “Yes,” I answer in a deep voice.
“W-Where did you get it?” Dad stammers.
“In a store. Where do you think?” I ask in a grandmotherly voice and adjust my imaginary wig.
“Uhm…a store,” he answers.
And then we both say, “The End.”
And we laugh.
Dad and I performed this skit a million times, seldom in front of an audience, but still. It’s my favorite story from Dad’s childhood. As a matter of fact, I love it so much that I decided to make it mine. This new acquisition, a.k.a. Dad’s memory, is stored in my brain in the file called, “Stories To Tell my Children and Other Important People”. Needless to say, I haven’t told anyone yet, not even Maggie. But right now, for some reason, I needed to remember the story.
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