The Borrowed Grandma

2014 Winning Year 5 Short Story:
Ava Mason, Balmain Public School

Poppy ran out of the school building, eager to show her mother the note that the teacher had given the class.

“Mummy, Mummy,” exclaimed Poppy.

“Hold on! Catch your breath, hurricane!” laughed Mother. Poppy slowed down.

“Alright, tell me now,” said Mother.

“There is going to be a Grandparent’s Day on Monday, and all the Grandparents are invited! ” cried the ecstatic Poppy.

“But your Granny Mavis and Grandad Ben are in New York,” said Mother. Poppy’s face fell.

“But… but…who will I take then?” she said.

“I don’t know, precious,” Mother replied.

Poppy was silent the whole way home. They went past old Mrs Adkins’ house. Poppy loved Mrs Adkins because she was one of those people who was very kind to children, although children weren’t always kind to her. But Poppy could see past her mismatched clothes and wild hair and loved popping over at her house, so they could play games and water Mrs Adkins’ plants.

“Why, hello dearie, how are you today?” asked Mrs Adkins. Poppy just ran past her and into the house.

“Poppy!” shouted Mother. “You come out here and apologise to Mrs Adkins!”

“She had a bad day, I’m sorry.” said Mother.

“Oh, it’s all right, I’ve seen worse behaviour,” said Mrs Adkins.

Poppy lay awake all night, trying to find a solution to the problem that had so suddenly sprung up before her. When dawn broke, she had found a solution. She was going to borrow a grandma. At seven o’clock, Poppy sprang out of bed. She completed her morning chores, ate her breakfast and brushed her teeth, and she and Mother set off down the road. Poppy was bursting with excitement, as they rounded the corner, and approached the house Poppy was so desperately excited to see.

“Mum,” said Poppy.

“Yes, sweetie?” replied Mother.

“Um, you go on ahead, I want to ask Mrs Adkins something,” said Poppy cautiously.

“Okay, munchkin,” replied Mother “I’ll wait for you at the corner.”

Mrs Adkins was out the front of her house.

“Hello Poppy, how are you?” she asked.

“Good thanks, but anyway, um, my school is having a Grandparent’s Day and I was wondering if you…” Poppy’s voice trailed off.

“A Grandparent’s Day, that sounds like fun!” said Mrs Adkins.

“Uh, yeah, my Grandad and Granny are in New York so would you like to come as my Granny?” asked Poppy, suddenly embarrassed.

“Why, I’d love to come!” said Mrs Adkins. “When is it?”

Poppy was so excited she could hardly breathe.

“It’s next Monday, and thank you so much!” she breathed.

Then she turned and ran.

“What a funny girl,” Mrs Adkins said to herself, smiling.

On Monday, Poppy met Mrs Adkins at the school gates. Poppy smiled when she saw her.

“Hi!” yelled Poppy.

Mrs Adkins waved and hurried over. CLANG-CLANG-CLANG went the bell.

“Come on, I’ll show you my classroom,” said Poppy.

They went through the door and Poppy introduced Mrs Adkins to the teacher.

“Hi, I’m Gail Adkins, nice to meet you,” said Mrs Adkins.

“Melissa Shirley,” said the teacher.

She then clapped her hands and said, “Simmer down everyone, and let’s all say a big welcome to our Grandparents!”

The children obediently welcomed the grandparents.

“Please chat amongst yourselves while I get the refreshments from the staff room,” said the teacher.

Poppy looked around and started inspecting the Grandparents. The grandmothers wore neat skirts and cardigans. Some grandpas were wearing smart hats, and Poppy’s best friend’s Grandma had a woollen shawl draped gracefully over her shoulders. Then Poppy looked at Mrs Adkins. She suddenly noticed the mean boys in the class laughing and pointing in her direction. Terrified, Poppy looked away.

“Hey,” one of the boys said. “Is that your grandma?”

Poppy squirmed.

“Isn’t she the old cat lady who waves like a dummy?” another one said. They all laughed.

Then the teacher came in and said, “Okay, now we’re going to do Show and Tell,” she began, “…but the grandparents will be doing the talking!” She smiled. First, Jack’s Grandpa came up to the front and spoke for ten long minutes about the history of cardboard. Then Bella’s Granny gave them all a lecture on etiquette. The children all writhed with boredom.

Then Mrs Adkins walked up the front, and Poppy felt her stomach drop. There were smothered giggles from the boys. Poppy signaled urgently for her to come back.

“Good morning students, I am Poppy’s Grandma.” she said

“Now, you may know me as the crazy old lady who lives on Palm Street, but what you don’t know, is that I have a passion for telling stories.” Everyone sat forward slightly.

“Okay, here we go, once upon a time…”

Dedicated to Mrs Fitz, my borrowed grandma

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