Window Friends


Monday had finally arrived and Janet was excited. At last it was time for her first day of school in the city.

Janet sat up in bed and stretched. Then she started to unbutton her pajamas.

“Mother! Come quick!” she called.

Mother came running with the juice pitcher still in her hand.

“What are these red spots all over me?” Janet asked.

“You have the measles,” Mother said softly.

“Measles!” Janet echoed. “But I have to go to school!”

“I’m sorry,” Mother said as she tucked Janet back into bed. “You’ll have to wait at least a week to go to school. Now if you’ll lie still, I’ll bring your breakfast to you on a tray.”

Janet lay back on the pillow trying not to cry. “I wish we’d never moved to this new place,” she said to herself. “I’ll never have any friends now.”

“Are you itchy and uncomfortable?” Mother asked when she returned with Janet’s breakfast tray.

“No, it’s just—” A tear rolled down Janet’s cheek. She tried to brush it away, but another soon took its place. “Oh, Mother,” she cried, “I miss my friends so much! How will I ever make new friends when I can’t even go to school?”

Mother put her arm around Janet. “Remember what I told you a long time ago,” she answered. “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Janet looked up and asked, “How can I be a friend when there’s no one around?”

“Just keep your eyes open,” said Mother. “You never know when you’ll have the chance to be a friend.”

Janet spent a long lonely day in bed. The next morning she felt better, but the red spots still covered her chest, face, and arms.

After breakfast Mother told her she could put on her robe and sit by the window for a little change.

It seemed strange to look out and see only the wall of another apartment house instead of a beautiful backyard.

Suddenly there was a movement at the window directly across from her. Janet watched as a girl about her age settled herself in front of the window and began to read.

Janet waved to get her attention, but the girl did not see her. Janet had an idea. She took a large sheet of paper and wrote HI on it in large letters. Then she taped the paper to the window and waited impatiently to see what might happen.

A short time later the girl across the way stopped reading and glanced out the window.

In a few minutes she held up a large piece of paper with HI written on it. Under the paper stood a girl with a big smile on her face.

The girls waved at each other. Quickly Janet made another sign. My name is Janet, she wrote. I have measles. Under the words she drew a funny picture of a girl with red spots all over.

The other girl giggled at Janet’s sign. Then she disappeared for a few minutes. Soon she returned with a sign.

I’m Kelly, Janet read. I have a cold. Below the words she had drawn a face with a funny big red nose.

The girls exchanged several more messages. Then Janet asked Kelly for her phone number.

“Look, Mother, no more measles,” Janet said the next Monday morning. “Today I can start school!”

“You really sound happy about that,” Mother replied.

“I am!” Janet said. “I’ll be in the same class as Kelly. She’s going to introduce me to all her friends.” Then she added, “You were right—the only way to have a friend is to be one, and making friends in a big city isn’t any different than it is anywhere else.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch