The Girl Most Likely To ... - Part 37
by Barbara Lynn Terry
(Author's Note: There are 123 presents to open at the Pine Meadows Home For Adolescent Girls, and I will not go through all 21 girls opening their presents. You have to read and digest this chapter to understand why there are so many presents for only 21 girls. Barbara Lynn Terry)
Chapter 1 - The girls continue opening their presents.
"This next present is for Susan Connor." Joy handed Susan her present.
As she started to open the present, all eyes were watching, like they watched everbody else open their presents. But this time, all the girls were watching Susan more intently. As she set the wrapping paper aside, she opened the tiny box that was inside. Inside the box she saw a beautiful silver heart necklace, that had the inscription, "Sisters Are Forever". She started to put the necklace on, when Joy helped her close the the lobster style clasp. She looked around the room, with tears starting to form.
"Thank you, everybody. I will guard this with my life." The girls all knew she meant it, too.
"This next present is for Rachel Eileen Watkins, and it says it is from Santa Claus." Joy handed Rachel the present. After getting the wrapping paper off, she opened the box. She saw a really nice turquoise skirt and an off white blouse. Well, shirt as everybody calls them today. She told everybody that she was going to go and try this outfit on. She was gone for maybe fifteen minutes, and when she came down, show looked like she was going to a sock hop. She also put her hair in pig tails.
"OMG! Girl! You...you look...look like a...a ten year old," Sharon stammered as she saw Rachel in her new clothes.
"Thank you, Sharon, if one outfit can make me look younger than I am, I think I will like that."
Melanie was beaming because this was the outfit Tommy had bought for her on Rachel's first trip in to town.
Tommy was looking, too, and he knew he had bought the right outfit.
"I'm going upstairs and change. I need to hang this outfit up." She walked over to Tommy and gave him a hug and kiss on the cheek. Thank you, Tommy."
"Uhm, thank you, for what, Rach?"
"For this nice skirt and blouse. This is what you had under your arm on my first time in town. Wasn't it?"
Tommy put on his poker face, and stood there looking like he had no idea what Rachel was even talking about. As Rachel disappeared up the stairs, Tommy let out a sigh.
"I doth believe m'lady is mad." He made a circular motion with his hand to the side of his head.
"Mad, am I? Listen here Thomas Aloysius Barker, if you think for one minute I don't know what you have been up to, you are the one who is mad. Do I make myself very clear?"
"Ah ye...yes, Miss. Crystal clear." Tommy gulped, as he was backing away from Rachel. "You did look very cute in that outfit though."
"Yes, I did. Didn't I? Thanks to you and whomever you conspired with, Melanie Roberts." Rachel all the time had that sly look on her face.
"What? I didn't do anything."
"Sheryl, you're next," Joy said looking around for Sheryl.
Sheryl took the present from Joy, and opened it to find a very nice palette of eye, face and lip cosmetics. She thanked everybody, even though she didn't know who had bought it.
None of the girls knew who bought the presents for them. The girls did buy presents for everybody, as did the Kiwanis International Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and a dozen other charitable organizations, whose function it is to help young children and teens be independent with grace and dignity. Ms. Wells is always busy attending meetings with these organizations, to give them reports on each girl's progress through out the year. It is because of her that these organizations are involved with these girls who have been disadvantaged, even before coming to the home. Lions International also helps with extreme medical costs, should one of the girls need any type of surgery.
If it weren't for the charitable organizations, most of the presents wouldn't even be under the tree.
The next present Joy handed out was for Stephanie Reading. Stephanie took the present and opened it. It was a nice, white, hooded winter coat, with faux fur around the edge of the parka and down the front on each side of the zipper. Stephanie thanked everybody, and went to put it in her closet. When she came back down, Joy was already calling another name.
"Angela Stevenson, this box is for you."
Angela took the box, shook it to see if it rattled, which could mean a lot of things. But it didn't. She opened it with care and found a nice dress that could be worn to school, in town, or even just around the house. Girls not only make themselves up to look petty for their beaus and others, but also for themselves, too. If you have ever met a girl who was not satisfied with the way her body looks, you'll know what I am talking about. Angela's dress was light green gingham, with a scoop neck, back zipper, and she made her excuses to go and try it on.
There is a practice in the house, that whenever one of the girl's receives any type of clothing as a present, she tries it on, and shows the others how the garment or garments look on her. Angela came down, wearing the new dress.
"Sis," Joy said, with a wide smile. "That dress matches your eyes." Yes, Angela Mary Stevenson had emerald green eyes. When she looked at you, it looked as though she knew what you were thinking. They were mysterious and penetrating.
"Bridget Johnson, this is yours." Joy handed Bridget her present.
Bridget opened her present the same way as all the other girls did. She saw a black, multi-pocket purse with a detachable shoulder strap. This purse could be carried on the arm, or on the shoulder. It had pockets for almost everything under the sun, and it even had two hidden inner pockets as well. It had two compartments for the majority of the things girls and women carry in their purses. The two compartments were on both sides of a deep pocket that held a clutch wallet. After thanking everybody, she set the purse aside and waited for her name to be called again.
"Carla Rodriguez, you are next to receive what is under tree number one."
Carla opened her present. It was a nice multi-colored tiered skirt, and a multi-colored blouse. These colors were in the traditional Mexican flag colors.
"Oh! OMG! This is simply gorgeous. All right, which one of you knew this is what I wanted?" Carla looked around the room with a mock evil face. "Hmmm, silence, hey!" She squinted her eyes, and Sharon started laughing, as did Carla and the rest.
Jan told the girls to washed up for lunch and take their places. After grace was said, they all sat down. The chatter was about who got what, and tried to guess from whom they got it from. If Rachel had known Tommy had bought her a skirt and blouse outfit, she would have been on him like green on grass, trying to get Tommy to tell her what he got her. So it is a good thing she didn't know.
"After lunch, Carla, you can try on your new present."
"Thank you, Jan."
As the girls ate their lunch of grilled ham and cheese and chicken noodle soup, a woman of about thirty five walked in the house.
"Good afternoon, I'm looking for Melanie Roberts."
"MOTHER!" Melanie shouted loud enough to wake the dead. Melanie ran to her mother and practically jumped in to her arms. "Oh mother, I...am so happy...you came."
"After getting a nice card like what you sent me. I knew it was from the heart. Mel, honey, I have been on the phone with the judge and with Ms. Wells."
"Where is daddy?"
"He, well, let's just say, that he is no longer going to bother you. He died of a heart attack while having a major stroke. The doctor said it was his high blood pressure that caused the stroke. Mel, you can come home any time you want."
"I...you want me...to...come...home?"
"Yes, dear, I do. There will no more shouting, or calling you names. When you have a question, I will try to answer as best as I can. When you want to talk, I will sit and listen, and we will have many girls nights in. How does that sound, Melanie Marie Roberts?"
"If you only knew how many days I have wished for that very thing. But, what about school. You will have to register me back in the same school again."
"It is already done. You start right after the holidays. Ms. Wells said she will see to it that your transcripts are sent down to the school."
"You already have me...I can actually...go..."
Melanie broke down. Sharon went to get her a box of tissues from the kitchen cabinet. She handed the box of tissues to Melanie and sat down and held her. She looked at Melanie's mother with concern.
"Honey, it is alright," Mrs. Roberts had said. "We will work out whatever it is that you want to work out."
"I will miss my sisters, here. They have been my rock, my shoulders to cry on. Mom, I can 't leave now any way. See, Janice, one of the girls, just got out of the hospital. We decided not to open our Christmas presents until she was here with us, and we could open them all together. That is what we were doing before lunch was called. After lunch, we are going to finish opening our presents."
"There are a few there from me. I had them sent up here by UPS. Are you alright, now, honey?"
"Yes, mom. I am so, so, so, so happy to see you."
"Have you finished your lunch?"
"Sis," Sharon said, with a smile. "I will take your dishes in the kitchen. You take your mom in the living room."
Melanie and her mother went in the living room, and sat down on the sofa nearest to the tree. Melanie put her head on her mother's shoulder, and they sat there, not saying a word.
Lunch was over, and the girls all took their dishes in the kitchen. The dish brigade didn't waste any time getting started on washing, drying and putting the dishes away. Twenty minutes later, every dish was washed, dried and put away. This was a special day because it was still Christmas at the Pine Meadows Home For Adolescent Girls.
When all the girls were back in the living room, Joy started calling out names.
"Brenda, this is yours."
Brenda sat on the floor and opened her present. As she opened the box, she saw a beautiful dress. This was actually a saree, that is worn by women in India. It was purple with gold brocade stripes and flowers that circled the garment.
"OMG! I am trying this on." Brenda started to get up, when Melanie said she would help.
They went up to Brenda's room, and Brenda got out of her jeans and top. She needed help with the saree, because she had never worn one before. When she had it on Melanie said she needed her hair done, because a pony tail was not the right hair style for this dress.
Melanie fussed with Brenda's hair, until it was in an upsweep. Once her hair was styled, Brenda was ready to show the house how the saree looked on her.
Melanie went down first.
"Ladies, and gentleman, may I introduce the lovely Brenda Atkinson, wearing a one of a kind saree directly from India."
Brenda came down the stairs, and there were ooo's and ahhs.
Melanie's mother was in awe of this young girl's beauty.
"Young lady, you are very pretty. But that is a saree, and it should be worn to special functions."
"Yes, Mrs. Roberts. Thank you."
Melanie's mother smiled at the politeness Brenda had shown her.
"Do you girls always try on the clothes you get as presents, right away?"
"Yes, Mrs. Roberts," Joy answered her. "It is a tradition here at Pine Meadows. See, Mrs. Roberts, we are very curious about how we look in a certain outfit. Like Brenda's hair was in a pony tail when she opened her present. But her hair now, in that upsweep, is just perfect for that dress."
"Yes, it is. Did you do your hair, Brenda?"
"No, Mrs. Roberts, Melanie did."
"Well, it seems my daughter has learned quite a bit, living here."
"Yes, mother, I have. Mother, when I graduate from high school, I want to go to beauty school. The only problem is, I will need help with money to get in to a good school."
"Well, we will cross that bridge when we get to it. Beauty school will have to wait a few years, because you have to graduate from high school, and darling daughter, you need to open the rest of your presents. I have never seen so many presents under one tree."
"There are 123 presents there, for the girls. The youngest girl gets the privilege of handing out the presents. We get these present from Santa Claus, charitable organizations, the staff, and the girls buy some of the gifts, too.
"The girls here, live as though they were at home, rather than in an institution. They can come and go as they wish, and they can even ask for money from their accounts to buy something in town. The town is one mile from here. Melanie has been very good, while she has been here. We are going to be sorry to see her go."
"We won't be far, just in the next county. She can come and visit any time, and I will bring her." Melanie got up and started singing the house song.
"Cheer her up! Listen now!
The time has come for one and all
To give her all.
We are the sisters of the Pine Meadows Home for Adolescent Girls.
We come from cities near and far.
We're all for one, we're one for all
Each girl stands, her head so proudly high,
Her motto 'all for one and one for all.'
She's the one each girl looks up to.
Our house parents are not too soft,
They're like real parents,
We have a super who really loves us,
We're all for one, we're one for all,
We are the sisters of the Pine Meadows Home for Adolescent Girls."
"That is a tune from 'A League Of Their Own'. I see you have different words. You girls certainly know the right way to cheer somebody up."
"It didn't come all at once, Mrs. Roberts. It came after we all got to know one another. We think the words are very descriptive of how we want others to cheer us up. There were about five different changes to the words, before all the girls would vote for the song you just heard. We got the idea from 'A League Of Their Own'. We also have the 'Bring It On' movies.
"So, then, this is a 'chick flick' house."
"Well, whose next to open their present?"
Joy called Dee Small, "this one is for you."
Dee took her present and with deft hands opened it carefully, but quickly. Inside she found a nice pair of black pumps with two inch heels. It was accompanied by a nice, tan, A-line skirt and a white blouse. Dee thought to herself, with all the nice clothes everybody was getting, there must be a function coming up where the girls could wear their new clothes. She just had to ask.
"I was wondering something. With all of the new clothes that we are all getting, is there something coming up where we can wear our new clothes and show them off?"
"Well, Dee," Jan answered her, "the next function is the St. Valentine's Day dance at the rec center in town. So, yes, you girls may wear your new clothes to that."
"Thank you, Jan."
"You're very welcome, Dee."
"Amber Lewis, come on down, you are the next contestant to receive a very special gift." Joy handed the gift to Amber.
Amber's present was a package of tan, stay up, nylon stockings, a nice powder blue sundress, with a matching shirt. It also came with an outer, waist length jacket. Inside the wrappings was a box. It had a pair of powder blue pumps with two inch heels. Two inch heels were all the girls were allowed at Pine Meadows.
"I will be right back down, I am going to go and try this on."
Amber left the living room and went upstairs to her room. She set the dress and shoes on her bed, and got out of her Jeans and top. She put on a powder blue, full slip that she had in her dresser, then she put on the matching shirt, then the sundress. She zipped up the back, and sat down to put on the stockings and the shoes. She then put on the waist length jacket. After she was satisfied that everything fit perfectly, she went downstairs.
"Amber Lewis, you are going to knock them dead at the St. Valentine's Day dance. Girl, that dress is definitely you."
"Thank you, Connie. I do like the entire énsemble."
"It also brings out the blue in your eyes, too," Tommy said, with a wide grin.
"Thank you, Thomas Barker. That was very sweet." Amber gave Tommy a hug and kiss on the cheek. "I'm going to go and hang this up. Thank you, everybody, for this wonderful gift."
Amber went to hang up her new clothes, and get back in her jeans and top. Her jeans were black, with a long stemmed rose circling the right leg, with the flower part ending just below the right pocket. Her top had embroidered roses around the neckline. Joy called out another name.
"Janice Cummings, please come and get your wonderful free gift."
"What? You...you girls got...me a...present? Oh my. I wasn't expecting this at all.
"Jan, you have been a real mother to us, and we really appreciate that. This gift shows that we not only respect you, but we love you from our hearts."
"Thank you, Melanie. I...I don't...know what...to say. This is really an honor. Thank you, girls."
Jan sat down on the floor, cross legged, and opened her present. Inside was a cordless phone. Joy had over heard her talking to daddy about she needed a new one, because the one she had was kind of sad looking. Of course, you would be, too, if you had been constantly dropped on the floor.
"Oh my! But, how did you all know this is what I really needed?"
"Jan, we cannot reveal our sources because we pinky swore never to tell."
"Well, I guess I can't ask you to violate that."
"Why is that?" Tommy asked. "We guys pinky swear, too, but we still tell most of our friends about it."
"It's a girl thing, Tommy. See, what you guys don't get, is that when two girls pinky swear, both girls take whatever it is they pinky swore on, to the grave. They can't tell a soul, unless it is with the girl they pinky swore with. A pinky swear is the most inviolate promise two girls can ever make with each other."
"Wow, being a girl is really hard work. Isn't it?"
"Would you like a job, Tommy?"
"Uh, no thank you, ladies, I have two jobs already, three with school." The girls all giggled.
"Mr. Jack 'daddy' Olsen, please come and get your gift," Joy said, without emotion.
"I, uhm, am really honored, girls. Like Jan, I never expected to get a present."
"Daddy," Joy said, standing up and walking over to him. "You have shown us that you are here not only here to supervise us, but to protect us as well. If there was an award for the best RTC house father, you would win, hands down. We love you, daddy," Joy said, giving him a hug.
Jack's present was a nice Citizen Eco-Drive WR100 titanium bracelet, black dial, men's watch."
"Oh, uh, no girls. I cannot accept this. This watch is really expensive."
"You are in biiiiiiig twubble misther. You will accept that watch, and you will wear it with pride. I am not telling you how much it costs, because I hear, it was bought for cost. Now, do you accept this gift from your daughters? Or, do we give you one demerit."
"A demerit? Why would you give me a demerit?"
"For trying to refuse something that was bought for you from your daughters hearts."
"Oh my, Jack, that is a very serious charge. You had better accept it, or you will be doing a penance."
"So, I can't refuse this?"
"No, daddy, you can't."
"Well, in that case, thank you, ladies."
There were hugs all around, and Melanie's mother just stood there, in awe of this wonderful moment. She had never seen other institutions, but she thought that there weren't any like this one. The girls actually bought the staff presents. To Melanie's mother, this was just simply amazing.
Tommy also was surprised to see Jan and Jack get presents from the girls. This act of kindness showed everybody that the girls not only respected the staff, but loved them as well. This was a Christmas for the Guiness World Records.
Jan and Jack went in the office, making their excuses. Once inside the office, Jan sat in the chair by the side of the desk, while Jack sat in the office chair.
"Can you believe those little imps? They actually got us usable gifts. If we were in doubt about our programming having any effect on these girls, I think that doubt went out the window with the crows."
"You are right, Jack. These girls have shown us a love, I never even suspected they held for us. I mean, I know they said they love us and that, but I thought that was just being respectful. I didn't know how respectful until today. They really do love us from their hearts."
"God bless them. Everyone of those girls is going to be a decent woman when they are actually of age. I would say grow up, but they are already grown up."
"I quite agree, Jack. Madelline will be here in an hour. So, who is going to write the report?"
"I will, Jan. I need a little time to recover from that fast merry-go-round I just got off of." Jan giggled. Jan then went out by the girls.
"Girls, daddy says he needs time to stop being dizzy from that fast merry-go-round ride he just got off of." The girls all giggled, including Melanie's mother.
"Jan, we all had a mini conference, and it was decided several months ago, to get the staff something for Christmas. We bought those gifts, because of the things you have done for us, and for Rachel."
"Rachel? Why Rachel?"
"Because she is transgender, and you accepted her as one of your daughters, and have treated her like one of the girls since she has gotten here. Because of the respect and kindness you have shown Rachel, we thought you should be rewarded. This is our way of saying thank you."
"Now look what you have done. You all got me crying." Sharon handed Jan a box of tissues that was kept by the television. "All of you girls are going to be good mothers when you have children. I want you to know that I will not stand for being truant. You have to write at least once a week, after you leave here."
"Yes, Jan," all the girls answered together.
"Madelline will be here in about fifty five minutes, so I had better get in the office and put my two cents worth in the report."
Being hugged by 21 girls can feel like you are being crushed. But Jan knew it was a loving crush.
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