Forgetful Jane

Jane was always forgetting things.

Sometimes she forgot to hang up her coat. Sometimes she forgot to put her toys away. Sometimes she forgot to brush her teeth and make her bed. And almost always when she checked out books at the library, she forgot to return them until they were overdue.

But what made Mother most unhappy was that Jane often forgot to bring her boots home from school. Or her cap. Or her mittens. Every winter morning Jane dressed warmly before leaving for school. But when Jane came home, very often her mittens were missing. Or her cap. Or her boots.

Mother would say, “Jane, did you forget again?”

And Jane would always answer, “Oh, Mother, I’m so busy thinking that I don’t have time to remember.”

One Friday afternoon Jane was very busy thinking. The sun was warm when she came out of school. She walked along, kicking a stone in front of her. She didn’t notice that she had forgotten her cap and her mittens and her boots. She was too busy thinking.

When Jane opened her eyes on Saturday morning, she saw something outside her window. She rushed over to look out at the small white flakes that were falling.

“Hurray!” Jane called. “It’s snowing!”

She put on her Saturday play clothes and ran out to the kitchen.

“Your breakfast is ready,” Mother said.

“I have to hurry,” Jane cried, “because I want to play in the snow!”

But when Jane started to get ready to go outside, her face wrinkled up in a frown.

“Where are my boots?” she called.

“I don’t know,” Mother answered. “Did you forget to bring them home from school?”

Jane nodded her head. “And I guess I forgot my cap and mittens, too,” she said slowly after she had looked all around her room. “But I remembered my coat,” she finished proudly.

“Jane,” Mother said patiently, “you can’t go outside to play in the snow wearing just your coat.”

“Please,” Jane pleaded, “I love the snow.”

“Well, maybe I can think of something,” Mother said. And she did.

She thought of boots belonging to Jane’s big brother Bud, to use for Jane’s feet. Of course, they were too big, and Jane could barely lift her feet to walk in them.

Then Mother thought of the scarf that belonged to Daddy, to use for Jane’s head. Of course, it was too long and had to be wound three times around Jane’s head. She could hardly see out.

And finally, Mother thought of her own gloves, to use for Jane’s hands. Of course, the fingers were too big and too long and just kept flapping even when Jane pulled the gloves on as far as she could.

But at last Jane was ready to go outside.

She decided to make a snowman. Over and over she rolled the snowballs. Next she piled them one on top of the other, and finally her snowman was finished. She put a broom in his hand and an old hat of Daddy’s on his head.

Just then Daddy drove up.

“Hi!” Jane called out.

Daddy pretended to be surprised.

“Who’s that talking?” he asked. “All I can see are two funny looking snowmen.”

“Oh, Daddy,” Jane said. “I’m not a snowman. I’m Jane.”

“So you are,” Daddy laughed. “But why are you dressed up like that? Are you trying to scare the snowman?”

Jane began to laugh. “Daddy, you know I’m not. It’s just that I was thinking so hard yesterday that I forgot to bring home my boots and cap and mittens.”

“Well,” Daddy smiled, “you had better come inside now to eat some lunch. We don’t want you to frighten someone who is driving by.”

After lunch Jane started to get ready to go back outside. But Bud needed his boots to go sliding with the boys. Daddy needed his scarf when he went to the hardware store. And Mother needed her gloves when she went outside to sweep the front porch.

So Jane had to sit all alone inside the house, just looking out at all of the beautiful white snow.

On Monday afternoon Jane came running home from school wearing her cap and her mittens and her boots.

“Why, Jane,” Mother said, “you remembered everything. Have you given up thinking?”

“No, Mother,” Jane answered. “I’m still thinking, but now I’ve decided to think about remembering things.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Dick Brown