Mrs. Wolford was a peculiar lady. She and my family were the two who had lived on the same street for exactly sixty-four years. My grandparents, growing up, had lived two houses apart until Grandma had moved into Grandpa’s house when she was nineteen. Dad was born two years later. Mrs. Wolford was the same age as my grandparents, sixty-four years old, and she knew more about my family than I did, having witnessed every event ever occurred with my family.

     My parents and sister, Julia, found Mrs. Wolford loving and sweet, a part of the family. I did not. To me, she was creepy and was always poking her nose into other people’s business. Every day as I walked home from school, she would call, “Hey, Amanda darling, I’ve baked some cookies for you. Care to try a bite?” or “Mandy, you look very tired today. Do you want some lemonade?” And every day, I would reply, “No thanks, I’m not hungry.” She tried to gain my affection, but I refused. Mrs. Wolford was not my cup of tea.

     My mother spoke to me about her, saying I should get to know Mrs. Wolford better. “She was never married, and her parents died at a young age. She gets very lonely with nobody around.” Well, she had my whole family whom she visited often. I saw no reason how she could be lonely.

     Then one day, I walked home from school and she wasn’t there. She wasn’t offering me a slice of homemade pie or a fresh smoothie. This was strange. Mrs. Wolford had always been there after school when I walked home. Never had she gone shopping or been on vacation while I was there. For all I knew, she had never been on a vacation in her life! But what was with this? She wasn’t there!

     Don’t ask me why, but this bothered me deeply. What happened to her? I didn’t like Mrs. Wolford, yet I still was concerned. I became even more concerned the next day when she wasn’t there again. I was worried, no doubt. After a week of no Mrs. Wolford, I finally decided to investigate. Despite me not wanting to, I gathered up my courage and knocked on her door. I waited, then knocked again. I heard some noise from inside the house, and the door opened. There stood creepy Mrs. Wolford, wearing a housecoat and slippers. Her eyes were puffy and wet.

     “Why, hello, Amanda! What brings you to my house?”

     I stood, not daring to speak.

     “Come on in, Mandy! Would you like some, uh, lemonade?”

     “Oh, um, sure,” I replied. That was the first time I had accepted anything from her.

     As we sipped lemonade in her kitchen, I looked around I had never in my thirteen years been inside her house. I had pictured creepy things, stuff that reflected Mrs. Wolford herself, but it looked very similar to my grandparent’s house.

     “Oops,” muttered Mrs. Wolford as she dropped her glass. It shattered on the hard floor. I laughed. Then she laughed. Soon we were laughing so hard tears were coming out of our eyes. It wasn’t even very funny, but I think we were both just relieved that we had finally, officially, met.

     The next four hours were spent talking and laughing. I learned so much from her, and she learned much about me. She wasn’t really as creepy as she seemed. In fact, she was loving and sweet, what my family thought. And as I walked home, I realized how true that saying was: “Never judge a book by its cover.”

* * *

Wondering what this is? It’s part of a series of posts from stories and essays I wrote during school. This particular one is a story I had to write in grade eight using the sentence: “‘Oops,’ muttered Mrs. Wolford.”

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