Home is Where the Heart is"

Chapter 9 OLD FRIENDS –NEW FRIENDS

The next morning Carrie was really nervous. She even spilled her milk at breakfast, which made Rose laugh. But Carrie sure didn’t feel like laughing. Today she was starting school in Walnut Grove again. At first Carrie hadn’t really minded that she was going to go to school, she thought it would be fun to be back in her old school. But now that she thought about it she realized it was going to be a lot different than last time. This time she was on her own – she didn’t have her siblings with her. Also she knew the teacher was new. Laura and Jenny both said Miss. Plum was really nice, but Carrie wasn’t sure she believed them.

As she was walking to school with Jenny and Laura, Carrie felt even more nervous. At first she had told Laura that she didn’t have to go with her to school. After all Carrie wasn’t a little girl anymore, and she had gone to the very same school before. But it didn’t take long for Carrie to give in. She realized it might be nice to have her big sister with her. Jenny was telling Carrie all about school on the way there, but Carrie wasn’t really listening. She was too nervous!

When they arrived at school, Carrie saw some other kids playing outside the school house. They were a bit early, because Laura wanted a chance to talk to Miss. Plum about Carrie before school started. Jenny ran over to say hi to some of her friends, while Laura and Carrie walked inside.

“Hello Carrie, it’s really nice to meet you. Your sister has told me all about you. “
Carrie looked up at Miss. Plum. She had blonde hair and a friendly smile, and seemed to be about the same age as Laura. Carrie decided right away that she liked Miss Plum. Miss Plum turned to Laura.
“Don’t worry Laura, we’ll take good care of her.“
“I know you will”, Laura said. Laura said goodbye to Carrie, and left. Miss. Plum rang the bell, and all the other children came in to the little school house. They were all laughing and talking as they took their seats. But when they saw Carrie they all stopped and just looked at her.

“All right, children. Take your seats”, Miss. Plum told them. “This is Carrie Ingalls. I believe some of you already know Carrie?”. A blonde girl wearing a light blue dress raised her hand. Carrie recognized her right away. It was Nancy Oleson.
“I remember her”, Nancy said. “She used to live here with her family, but then they became really poor and had to move away”. Carrie felt her face get red of shame and anger. It was true that her family had to leave town because of money problems, but she didn’t like Nancy saying it like that.
“Nancy! That’s enough”, Miss. Plum said. “Carrie, why don’t you take that seat next Jenny?” Carrie walked over there, and sat down next to Jenny.
“Ignore Nancy”, Jenny whispered, “She’s always mean”.
“I know”, Carrie whispered back, “I remember her”. She felt a little better now that she noticed Jenny was on her side.

When it was time for lunch, Carrie sat with Jenny. Carrie knew that Laura had probably told Jenny to sit with her, but she still thought it was nice of her to do it. During lunch some of the kids came over to Carrie and Jenny. The two boys Carrie had seen at her old house were there. She found out their names were Jeb and Jason Carter. Jeb was 14, and his little brother was 10. Jeb was really serious, but nice. Jason was a lot more outgoing. He kept asking Carrie questions about Burr Oak. Carrie knew she really should like these boys, but it was just hard. After all they lived in her house, while she had to live in that horrible town! It didn’t seem fair. Deep down Carrie knew it wasn’t really their fault, but it still bothered her.

Then Nancy came over with her brother Willie. Nancy said she was sorry for what she said, but you could see on the look on her brother’s face that he had made her apologize. Then Nancy started talking about Carrie’s dress. Carrie was wearing her green dress from Burr Oak, and Nancy was rather impressed with it. None of the girls in Walnut Grove, except Nancy, ever got store-bought dresses. Nancy said Carrie’s dress was simple, but rather nice. And coming from Nancy that was a big compliment.

Carrie talked to Nancy, cause even though she didn’t really like her, she was at least a familiar face. But when Nancy started asking questions about Cassandra, Carrie turned to Willie instead. He seemed a lot older now, and more serious. “I guess we’re all growing up now”, Carrie thought to herself. Willie wanted to know all about how the rest of the Ingalls’ family were doing. Especially Albert and James. The boys had all been friends, and Willie really missed them. Carrie tried to sound happy when she talked about her family. She told Willie how Albert was studying hard, so that he’d one day be a doctor, just like he’d always planned, and how James was now captain of his football team.

Carrie tried her best to not let any of the kids know how unhappy she was in Burr Oak. She was almost glad when recess was over and they all went back inside again. The rest of the school day passed rather smoothly for Carrie. She had always been a good student, so she didn’t have any problems here in Walnut Grove either. It seemed the kids here were studying pretty much the same things as the kids in Burr Oak.

When Carrie and Jenny got home after school, Laura wanted to hear all about Carrie’s first day. But Carrie didn’t know what to tell her. She had liked being back in her old school, and seeing some of her old friends. And even the new kids had been really nice to her. But it just wasn’t the same as it had used to be.


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