On the last day of school, Ally tells everyone all the things she will do this summer, like hanging with her friends in the ice cream club, swimming,
riding horses, and most importantly, spending time with her Gammie. But Ally soon finds that everything doesn't go as planned. With the help of her family and best friend, Kylie, Ally discovers that she is not alone and that what she feels after losing her grandmother is normal.
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By Nakeshia Nickerson, Steve Feldman
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Nakeshia Nickerson
All rights reserved.
My Summer Plans
Today is the last day of 5th grade at Pepper Falls Elementary with only two hours left, and I can't wait! Mr. Blunger, my teacher, is at the front of the class saying something, but I'm way too excited to listen to anything. Instead, I'm watching the clock closely, counting every second that passes. When my friend Ally leans over and whispers "Hey, Kylie, what are you going to say when you get up there?" Knowing this is going to put a damper on my excitement, I can't help but frown. "What are you talking about, Ally?" I reply, "Mr. Blunger wants us to stand at the front of the class and read our assignment, telling everyone what our summer plans are. So ... what are you gonna say?" OMG! I thought, starting to panic. I hope he doesn't call me first. I don't think I can make up an amazing summer adventure in the next two minutes. Hmmm, let's see—there has to be something I can say. Oh, I know! I'll tell everyone I'm going to Egypt! And that I'm going to learn to do gymnastics like Gabby Douglas! Yeah, I bet that's waaay cooler than everyone else's plans. Aww, no—I can't say that. I know everyone will ask me to bring back pictures or show them what I learned or something, so that won't work, especially if I don't even have any cool stories to tell everyone next year. Ugh, if I don't think of something quickly, I'll have to use my six-year-old sister, Abby's, idea of opening a restaurant and serving Krabby Patties. Looking around the room, I can tell everyone already knew what they are going to say, especially Cody, the class know-it-all, sitting at the front straight up in his seat as usual. He is holding a piece of paper in one hand and something that looks like a glass apple in the other. I know it is a gift for Mr. Blunger because Cody gives the teacher a gift every year. In first grade, he gave Mrs. Tate a big basket of her favorite cookies for her birthday and then asked me right in front of her what I got for her, which happened to be nothing. I bet this apple will probably make the rest of us look bad.
"Kylie, didn't you do your assignment last night?" Ally, asks, making the same face my mom did when I washed all the laundry with no detergent. "Of course, I did my homework, but Abby—I mean the cat—I mean the dog ate it."
"You don't even have a dog, Kylie"
"Duh. I said Abby ate it, remember?"
Thankfully, before she can answer, Mr. Blunger calls Ally to the front of the class. She jumps out of her seat like she is happy to go first. Then, she tells everyone that she will do a lot this summer, like ballet, horseback riding, and hanging out with her friends. And, most importantly, she plans to spend time at her grandma's house. "I used to go over to Gammie's house every weekend before she got sick, says Ally. But this summer, I'm going to go every night with my mom to help take care of her," Ally continues proudly. We're going to play checkers, watch shows, tell stories and plant flowers together." Ally goes on and on, describing her plans for the summer. I laugh at some of the things she says because she is really funny. That's how we became friends, I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was a long, long time ago. I was putting on my boots in the coat room getting ready for recess when she came in. She was reading a book and tripped over my rain coat. "Are you ok? I screamed. Yes, I am alright she said, before she introduced herself to me.
"Hi! My name is Ally, but the grown-ups call me Alaina," she said. She didn't stop talking while she put on her purple rain coat—it had a big yellow duck on the back—and her yellow boots. Her long brown hair was in a ponytail, and she asked me to grab her hat and umbrella from the top shelf where our teacher, Mrs. Massey always puts them because Ally was too short to reach them. When we got outside, I watched her while she splashed around in the puddles and made mud pies, which made me laugh and laugh. We've been bestest friends ever since, even though she tries to get away with calling me the Jolly Green Giant. I just call her Munchkin back. We both say "Whatever!" and "Jinx!" and laugh until we can't breathe.
My memories of my first meeting with Ally are interrupted by Mr. Blunger, calling his second victim, Parker Jr., or PJ as we call him. PJ told us about his plans to go to camp with Zayne and to the pool with his brother. Next, Mr. Blunger calls Jack, but he of course calls him by his real name, Jackson. Jack tells us he is going to London and then Paris for a few weeks. He goes on forever about how excited he is and all the things he can't wait to do. After a bit, Mr. Blunger leans back in his seat with his hands across his stomach as if summer vacation had already started. I guess for him it has—he doesn't have to get up in front of the class to tell about his summer plans.
After Jack finishes, Mr. Blunger shouts out Makenzie's name. Makenzie really doesn't like to be called by her real name, so everyone calls her Miko. It didn't seem like long before it is my turn to go to the front of the class. I told everyone how much I love hanging out with my friends, and it is what I plan to do this the summer. Luckily, the bell rang, and I didn't have to tell anyone about the Krabby Patties idea.
Tyler the Terror
It isn't long before I start my summer plan, also known as "operation nothing else to do but hang out with friends this summer." Most of the time, that meant Ally, because her house is where my parents take me while they are at work. Sometimes, I even get to spend the night when they are both working late. One morning, my mom dropped me off at Ally's house a little early. Everyone is awake except for Ally. I wait and wait for her to come downstairs—long enough for me to watch half a movie —but she still doesn't wake up.
"Kylie, honey, go upstairs and wake Alaina, please," her mom says. But Tyler, Ally's 7 year old brother, heard his mom's request and pushed past me before I got up the stairs.
"Wake up, sleepy head!" he yells at Ally, throwing pillows and fluffy bears at her.
"Whatever, Tyler, go away," Ally mumbles while rolling to her side. I open the curtains and give Ally a little nudge to get her up, but that doesn't work either.
"Leave me alone," she says, pulling the covers over her eyes in a final attempt to go back to sleep, a plan that would have worked if it weren't for Ally's mom knocking on the door seconds later. "Tyler go downstairs honey, give your sister some privacy." She says as she sits on the edge of the bed and reach to pull back the covers from Ally's face.
"Wake up, Alaina. I know that you're tired, but if it's this hard for you to get up in the mornings, I can't let you go to Gammie's every night with me anymore."
"No, Mom, I'm up. I'm up! I like helping you with Gammie. She's sick and needs me. I have to help you! Plus, Gammie said she would tell me another story tonight. I have to go Mom—I really have to! We're partners; please don't leave me," Ally pleads.
"Okay, honey. We'll look after Gammie together, but you have to work on not sleeping so late in the mornings. Get dressed, sweetie; everyone's waiting for you to come down for breakfast," she continues on her way out of the room.
"Yes!!" Ally shouts, jumping from under the covers. "You should come with us tonight Kylie, I can't wait for you to meet Gammie!." Ally says while ruffling through her closet, looking for some clothes, getting dressed as fast as she can.
We make it downstairs just in time to see Ally's dad as he leaves for work. "Bye, Daddy," Ally shoutes, sprinting into the kitchen. Her mom, busy preparing oatmeal, doesn't see Tyler setting a trap for Ally. "Whipped cream in my chair? Really, Tyler, you can't be more creative?" Ally says rolling her eyes.
"Whatever, ALLY MCBADLY. You didn't say that yesterday when you sat in it," says Tyler, laughing.
Ignoring her little brother, Ally switches chairs and starts to eat her breakfast. "Mom, can Kylie come with us to Gammie's house tonight?"
"Sure. Make sure to ask your parents, Kylie," Her mom replys.
"Okay, I will call them now," I say, happy to find any excuse to leave the table since Tyler contines to make disgusting faces with food hanging out of his mouth. Thank heavens Abby went to camp this summer. She would have driven me crazy like Tyler does to Ally, I thought.
* * *
Today seemed hotter than usual. Tyler stayed in the house with his best friend, Noah, playing video games, sword fighting with plastic bats, and trying to train the yucky green lizard he got for his birthday to do tricks. This made Ally very happy because it meant he is out of her hair for at least a few hours and gave her a chance to hang out with me, Miko, PJ, Jack, and Zayne without any interruptions. Our ice cream club, named after our favorite activity: eating ice cream meets at least once a week in Ally's tree house. Ally's ice cream choice of the day is a chocolate and vanilla swirled cone. Mine, as usual, is cookies and cream—two scoops!—piled high with extra sprinkles. Walking back to Ally's seemed to take extra long, so everyone decide to start eating their ice cream on the way. "This is Gammie's favorite ice cream. She loves chocolate and vanilla swirled together. That's why I picked it today," Ally says, skipping around us in a circle. "Kylie, did you ask your mom if you can come with me tonight?"
"Yup, she said I can go! Your mom told me your Gammie is the best at checkers. But I've been practicing, so I am ready for her tonight." I reply
"Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you, Kylie. Gammie knows every trick in the book, and she will use them if she has to," Ally says. By the time we got back to her tree house, our ice cream is already half gone and the rest is melting. We are so focused on our tasty treats that we don't mind the ice cream dripping down our hands. After finishing our cones, we decide to go swimming.
Excerpted from Gammie by Nakeshia Nickerson, Steve Feldman. Copyright © 2013 Nakeshia Nickerson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
1. My Summer Plans.................... 1
2. Tyler the Terror.................... 5
3. Gammie's House.................... 9
4. Batter Heaven.................... 13
5. Birthday Surprise.................... 15
6. Losing Gammie.................... 19
7. Saying Good-bye.................... 23
8. It's All Right to Be Sad.................... 27