Jan Burland, “A Big Brown Envelope,” Friend, Feb 1985, 9
Monday was sharing day at Patty’s school. When it was her turn to stand up and speak, she said, “My family is moving to Florida at the end of this week. It won’t snow there the way it does here. My new school is called Palm Grove. I’m sure going to miss everyone.”
The class grew very quiet. Even Patty’s best friends, Jean and Robert, did not know what to say.
When the weekend came, Patty bid her friends a tearful good-bye. Then she was too busy moving to be very sad. And the new town in Florida was exciting, at least at first. There was no school because of the holidays, and Mom, Dad, and Patty went to the zoo and the park and the ocean. They found a wonderful old museum too. But it was different at Palm Grove School. Patty’s classmates were nice to her, but they had their own projects and their own friends already, and Patty felt left out.
“Don’t worry,” said Mom. “You’ll make new friends soon. If you want something to do right now, though, why don’t you write a letter to Jean and tell her about all the new things here?”
So Patty sat down and wrote a long letter about the zoo and the park and the ocean and the museum. She tried to make her letter sound happy, but when she wrote about her new school, she couldn’t help but tell how lonely she was.
Not many days later a big brown envelope addressed to Patty came in the mail. Inside were photographs! There was a picture of Patty’s old class with everyone waving. There was a picture of Jean standing next to a very big snowman, and there was a blurry picture of Robert going lickety-split on a sled. Twenty-five letters—one from everybody in her old class—were also inside the envelope.
Patty took the pictures to her new school on sharing day. First she showed her new class the picture of her old friends. Then she showed them the one with the big snowdrifts. When she held up the pictures of Jean with the snowman and Robert on his sled, everyone began to ask questions.
“How do you make a snowman?”
“Did you ever build a snowman?”
“Did you have a sled?”
“How fast can you go?”
Patty’s classmates asked more questions during lunchtime and recess. She told them about ice-skating and skiing and even about snowball fights. Soon Patty had many friends at Palm Grove School.
Then one sharing day Tim stood up and said he would be moving to another state. All the children were sad. Then Patty looked at him and smiled. She and the rest of the class would plan a very special surprise. They would send it to Tim in a big brown envelope.
[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney^ Back to top