The Wisdom of the old folk - 2011
Jessie Butler was moving to a new school. It was called St. Cavan’s secondary school for girls.
But, the problem was, that she didn’t want to go to her new school. She wanted to stay at her old school, St. Philips, because all of her friends were there. She missed them all, but she missed her best friend Emma most of all. Emma and Jessie had been Best Friends since playschool when they were three. Jessie missed her already even though she had only been away from her for three days.
‘Mum’ said Jessie as her mum Carol drove her to her new school.
‘Yes’ said Carol as she parked the car out side the new school
‘Will I ever get to see Emma again?’
‘Oh of course you will darling, but now it is time to go to your new school’
‘But I don’t want to go to boarding school and you know that’ moaned Jessie
‘Yes I know that love but if we don’t get out of the car soon, we’ll be late’ Said Carol who wasn’t really listening to Jessie.
Jessie sighed and stumbled out of the car with her bag on her back and Carol followed. Jessie didn’t like the look of her new school. It was big and old and it had huge iron gates.
Suddenly a voice that came from a speaker on the gates made Jessie jump.
‘Who’s there?’ said the voice from the speaker Jessie Veronica Butler who will soon be educated at you grand school being escorted here by her mother Carol Casey Butler’ proclaimed Carol
‘You may enter, said the voice as the big iron gates opened. Jessie and Carol walked through the gates which closed behind them.
‘Well, here we are honey’ said Carol to Jessie as they reached the principal’s office.
Just then the door of the office opened and a man emerged from behind the door. He was small and had flaming red hair, with a beard to match. He was wearing a pinstripe suit with a white shirt and black shoes. He was carrying a black leather brief case.
‘Hello, Miss. Butler’ the principal said to Jessie but before Jessie could reply, the principal turned to Carol ‘and you must be Carol Butler, Jessica’s mother’ he said with a smile. ‘You can call me Mr. Katz’ said Mr. Katz the principal.
‘Yes sir’ said Jessie
‘No, Miss Butler,’ Mr. Katz said firmly ‘I pacifically told you to call me Mr. Katz not sir, yes?’
‘Yes, Mr. Katz’ said Jessie not paying much attention to Mr. Katz
‘Good’ said Mr. Katz ‘Now, Mrs. Butler,’ Mr. Katz turned around to face Carol ‘Would you be so kind as to fill out this form for me?’
‘Er, sure Mr. Katz’ said Carol
‘Good’ said Mr. Katz happily ‘Here we are Mrs. Butler’ said Mr. Katz again as he handed the form to Carol
* * *
‘Now this is where you will be sleeping’ said Mr. Katz as Jessie and Carol followed Mr. Katz into the west tower girl’s dormitory. ‘The beds are, as you can see, at either side of the room. You are on this side’ said Mr. Katz as he walked across the room to the other side which also had another row of beds ‘and you are on this bed’ said Mr. Katz as he pointed to the first bed in the row. ‘You are beside Daisy Gallagher, I presume you have picked the subjects for your weekly classes, Yes ?’ asked Mr. Katz.
‘Er..no, sorry Mr. Katz’ replied Jessie.
‘No !’ replied Mr. Katz, sounding surprised. ‘Well, here is a sheet of all the school’s available subjects. You will pick one language and three extra subjects and then, of course, you will do the usual subjects like irish, english, mathematics, geography, etcetera. Have you got that. Miss Butler ?’
‘Yes, Mr. Katz’ said Jessica as she looked at the sheet that Mr. Katz had handed to her.
‘Good, now your common room is through that door, the showers and toilets are through there,’ Mr. Katz indicated to a door on his left and one on his right. ‘You may take a shower every second day if you wish and you will get points for west tower if you are well behaved, and you will loose points if you misbehave. You may take snacks from your tuck-boxes once a day but only after dinner time …’ Mr. Katz just seemed to be droning on and on. Jessie at this point was beginning to get quite bored.
‘And finally …’ finished Mr. Katz (Jessie gave a sigh of relief) ‘…you will meet your new room mates in an hour or so, because at the moment they are on a visit to our local village called Clueo, which there is a notice on our notice board at the entrance as you just come in the door. Any questions ?’ Mr. Katz seemed at last to be unable to say anything more.
‘No, Mr. Katz’ said Jessie who was very thankful that Mr. Katz had at last finished his long and boring speech.
‘None, then I’ll leave you two to say your goodbyes’ and Mr. Katz walked out of the room leaving Carol and Jessie alone in the empty dormitory.
‘Well’ said Carol as she sat down on one of the empty beds, ‘I suppose this is it, time to say goodbye to my little girl.’
Carol reached her arms out to hug Jessie and they hugged warmly.
‘Listen mum’ said Jessie, ‘I’m not your little girl anymore, ok ?’
‘Ok’ said Carol, ‘but in my mind you will always be my little girl, alright sweetie ?’
‘Alright mum’ replied Jessie.
‘Well, goodbye love’ said Carl giving Jessie her last hug before she left.
‘Bye mum’ said Jessie who waved at her mum as she left the room.
Jessie sighed. She was now in her new secondary school and was in the empty dormitory of the west tower. She went over to her bed, ‘who was this Daisy Gallagher ?’ thought Jessie ‘is she nice?’. Now al that Jessie had to do is wait.
* * *
Jessie heard a clutter of footsteps and the door of the west tower dormitory opened. A whole host of girls came in. Jessie felt a flush of excitement and also like butterflies entered her tummy. A group of three giggling girls walked over in the direction of Jessie’s bed. ‘Could one of them be Daisy Gallagher ?’ Jessie wondered.
One of the girls was tall with long wavy blonde hair which was let loose and hung around her shoulders. She was wearing a red Abercrombie t-shirt with a pink cardigan. She was wearing skinny jeans with ugg boots on her bottom half. Jessie hoped that this was not Daisy as she didn’t look very nice.
The next girl had shoulder length light brown hair and was wearing it in a French plait. She was wearing a blue Abercrombie t-shirt with a green cardigan and she was also wearing skinny jeans and ugg boots.
Jessie also hoped that this was not Daisy either but the third girl caught Jessie’s eye. This girl was wearing a yellow long sleeved top that had a daisy in the centre and was wearing matching yellow leggings with red sandals.
This girl had long dark brown hair that hung over half of her face. This was the girl that Jessie hoped was Daisy. As the three giggling girls edged closer to her bed, Jessie felt more butterflies enter her stomach.
The girls were now at Jessie’s bed and her stomach was as full of butterflies as it could go.
‘So’, said the tall blonde haired girl, ‘this must be the new girl’ she said slowly, ‘what’s the name ?’
‘Jessie’ said Jessie trying not to sound as scared as she actually was.
‘Hmm, nice name, ain’t it Carmen’ said the blonde haired girl.
‘Lovely name’ said the girl in the green cardigan who appeared to be called Carmen. She sounded very sarcastic and Jessie was not convinced that Carmen thought that Jessie was a nice name.
‘Oh, sorry’ said the tall blonde haired girl ‘ we forgot to introduce ourselves. Right, so this is Carmen but you can call her ‘Car’, I’m ….’
‘Please don’t be Daisy, please don’t be Daisy’ Jessie pleaded to herself
‘… Ellen’. Jessie felt a few butterflies fly away. There was only one girl left and she really hoped that this girl was Daisy.
‘…and this’ finished Ellen ‘ is Daisy’. Daisy smiled at Jessie and Jessie smiled back. Jessie was so relieved that this was Daisy. Daisy sat down on the bed beside Jessie.
‘Hi Jessie’ said Daisy ‘I’m Daisy, what classes are you going to take’.
‘Oh’ said Jessie surprised as she had completely forgot to fill in the sheet about her weekly classes.
‘Eh… Well, I haven’t chosen them yet but I have the sheet here and em…’she paused, ‘ and you can help me choose them if you like’ she finished.
‘I’d love to Jessie’ replied Daisy happily.
‘Oh, no, you can call me Jess’ Jessie said to Daisy.
‘Ok’ said Daisy ‘Jess’. They both giggled.
‘But I thought we were going to do makeovers’ said Ellen in a tone of surprise.
‘Can’t we do it tomorrow Ellen because I really want to do this with Jess now’ said Daisy.
‘Oh, I suppose’ said Ellen meanly ‘ Come on Carmen’. And just before Ellen and Carmen left the room, Jessie though she heard Ellen say ‘…I mean she is my best friend’. Jessie turned to Daisy.
‘Is Ellen your best friend ?’ she asked Daisy, sounding surprised as Jessie didn’t think that Ellen and Daisy could possibly be best friends.
‘Oh, well, to tell the truth, no she isn’t my best friend at all’ replied Daisy. ‘Oh but please don’t tell anyone Jess?’ Daisy pleaded
‘Sure’ answered Jessie
‘Thanks Jess, thank you so much’ said Daisy
‘Mmm?’ asked Jessie as she ticked the box for French on her sheet
‘Do-do you,’ Daisy took a deep breath ‘do you have a best friend?’
‘Yea, why?’ answered Jessie curiously
‘Oh, no reason,’ replied Daisy, but Jessie wasn’t convinced
‘No, really why were you asking?’ pleaded Jessie
‘No, you’ll only laugh,’ said Daisy
‘No, I won’t Daisy, Please?’ asked Jessie
‘Ok, I was going to ask you to be my, B-best friend, there laugh’ Daisy Finished
‘No, I wasn’t going to laugh,’ said Jessie truthfully ‘and of course, I’ll be your best friend, you can have more than one best friend.’
‘Really?’ asked Daisy surprised ‘I mean I know we’ve only just met but, I really like you.’
‘Sure we can be best friends,’ Said Jessie truthfully and firmly
‘But we have to keep this a secret’ said Daisy
‘Definitely’ Promised Jessie
And that night Jessie had the best sleep she had in months
* * *
The next day Jessie woke with a start. She looked around her and there on the other side of her was Daisy. She smiled to herself. This really wasn’t a dream. Daisy and Jessie had really become best friends. Suddenly Jessie thought of Emma, how she would feel if Jessie suddenly told her that she had a new best friend ? Jessie sighed and decided that it was too early to think about that sort of thing. There was a yawn in the bed next to her and Jessie looked over to see Daisy , who was half awake.
‘M-m-morning Jess’ yawned Daisy, who sounded happy.
‘Good morning Daisy, had a good night’s sleep ?’ smiled Daisy.
‘Best ever, you ?’
‘But shush, we don’t want to wake Ellen up’ whispered Daisy. ‘Do you want to go down for breakfast ?’
‘Sure’, replied Jessie, ‘but I think I’ll get dressed first’
‘Good idea’ said Daisy as she and Jessie got dressed.
* * *
When they had finished getting dressed they linked arms and walked down the stairs to breakfast.
When they got downstairs to the breakfast room, Jessie could not believe here eyes. There were at least 20 different breakfast tables with about 6 chairs around each, but it was the middle table which caught Jessie’s eye the most. The table was huge and had a while frilly lace table cloth covering the whole table. In the middle was a huge vase with flowers… roses, lilies, tulips and every flower you could dream of. Then all around the vase of flowers were glasses of cranberry, apple and orange juice. There were also small little cardboard boxes full of different breakfast cereals. There was a menu at each table filled with the most gorgeous food imaginable. ‘Come on Jess’, said Daisy, ‘let’s have breakfast’.
* * *
As the months passed, Daisy and Jessie spent almost all of their time together. Daisy and Jessie were always happy when they were together but Ellen and Carmen were not.
One day after lessons when Jessie and Daisy had just come out of English classes and they were discussing their homework, Carmen and Ellen came over to them.
‘Well, look who it is ‘, sneered Ellen
‘Flower and Jess-Jess’, teased Carmen
‘Since when have you called me ‘Flower’ and Jessie ‘Jess-Jess’ ? ‘ questioned Daisy.
‘Since like forever’said Carmen.
‘And anyway’ said Ellen, ‘since when have you and Jess-Jess been close friends ? And why have you been spending so much time with her and so little with me ? I mean I am your best friend’, whined Ellen.
‘Well, one’ said Daisy in a serious voice ‘We have been close friends for a long time, since we came back from Clueo a few months ago and we’ve been spending so much time together because, well,’ she looked at Jessie, ‘ I hate to break it to you Ellen but Jess and me are best friends, and Ellen, we are not BFs anymore, I’m sorry Ellen but we just aren’t’
‘Ahh!’, screamed Ellen, ‘ come on Carmen’ and with that Ellen grabbed Carmen and stormed off.
‘Well’, said Daisy, ‘ at least that’s over’ and she sighed as her and Jessie walked off to the lunchroom for lunch.
* * *
The one thing that Daisy and Jessie were dreading was going to classes with Ellen and Carmen but luckily the only subject that they all shared was ‘social studies’ which Daisy and Jessie were heading for now. As they opened the door to go in they saw Ellen and Carmen who were chatting the moment that they saw Daisy and Jessie come in the door. Daisy and Jessie sat down at the table at the front of the class.
‘Now, today we will be going to our l;ocal village, Clueo, and we will be going to the old folk’s home to help one of the old folk. We will do this in groups of four, you may pick your group now’.
Ellen and Carmen automatically stayed together as did Daisy and Jessie. Everyone was in a group of four except Jessie, Daisy, Ellen and Carmen. ‘Oh no’, thought Jessie, ‘please don’t make Daisy, me, Ellen and Carmen share, please’. Oh. Well’, said Mr. Finnegan, the social studies teacher, ‘everyone is in groups of four except these these four girls so we can pair them up together, ok, girls ?’ asked Mr. Finnegan. ‘Yes, Mr. Finnegan’, all four of them said miserably.
‘This has to be the worst thing ever’ thought Jessie miserably as she and Daisy went over to work with Carmen and Ellen.
‘Now, class’, announced Mr. Finnegan, ‘stay in your groups and follow me’
* * *
When they got to Clueo they headed for the old folk’s home.
‘Here we are students’, said Mr. Finnegan when they reached the old folk’s home.
‘Now, I will announce the groups. Jenny, Siofra, Rose and Tia will be with Mr. Triocha Teddy. Jessie’, Jessie straightened up at the mention of her name, Daisy, Carmen and Ellen, you will be with Mrs. Lucinda Baker. All right you two groups, you can go in now. Lucinda Baker is on floor 1, room 30 and Mr. Triocha Teddy is on floor 5, room 20’.
Jessie, Daisy, Carmen and Ellen trooped inside the building, none of them talked while they were looking for number 30.
’26, 27, 28’, counted Jessie in her head, ’29, 30’ Jessie finished counting.
‘Let’s go in then’ Jessie whispered to Daisy.
‘Ok’ Daisy whispered.
As all four of them entered the room and closed the door behind them, they saw an old lady sitting on a chair nearby the window. She turned around as she heard the door of her room close.
‘Hello’ she said slowly, ‘my name is Lucinda Baker, but you can call me Lucy if you like’.
Lucinda had a kind wrinkley face and grey curly hair and she was wearing a blue jumper and a pink skirt with red and blue flowers.
‘I like your flowers on your mantelpiece, they’re lovely roses, roases are my favourite flowers’, complemented Daisy.
‘Well I hate them’, said Ellen, ‘I think they are actually horrible’.
‘I like …’ began Daisy.
‘Now girls’, said Lucinda calmly, ‘no need to argue. Would you like to hear a story of my childhood ?’
‘Yes, please’, said Jessie as she made herself comfortable on a nearby seat.
‘Allright’ said Ellen carelessly
‘Mmm, ok’, said Carmen
‘Ooh yes’, said Daisy excitedly.
‘All right’ said Lucinda slowly. ‘When I was around your age, me and my best friend Lillie had an argument, only over something silly, but we were never best friends after that argument and it really changed my life. My life has never been the same since. That’s why, as a little project, maybe you could all try to be nice to each other and try not to fight or argue over such little things. There’s just a little something to think about’
Jessie, Daisy, Ellen and Carmen were left speechless. Just then Mr. Finnegan came in.
‘Well, girls, I hope you enjoyed your stay with Mrs Baker.
* * *
The story that Lucinda told the four girls really hit them and how silly they were to be fighting and arguing over such little things. But one day when Daisy and Jessie were in the west tower common room, Ellen and Carmen came over to them.
‘Daisy, Jessie ?’ said Ellen looking at them, ‘we’re really sorry, Lucinda was right, we are fighting over silly things, we shouldn’t do this anymore’. Carmen nodded, but Daisy and Jessie just stared at Carmen and Ellen. Then finally, Daisy mustered up the courage to speak. ‘Ellen, I think you’re right, we were just fighting over silly things’.
‘Yea, you are right Ellen’.
Then Ellen and Carmen walked over to Daisy and Jessie and they all hugged. Now all that Jessie had to worry about was telling Emma she had new best friends, ‘but that’, she thought, ‘is another problem’.
By Emilie Williams Kimmerling