Äiti’s Mandolin

Laura’s hopeful words immediately made Marianna felt better. Laura always had something interesting to suggest.

“We have all these great stories and poems and we want to make them into a real book. Right?” Laura’s blue eyes always sparkled when she was excited about something.

“Right. We’ll put a cardboard cover on the book so it’ll look real.”

“Yes, but first we should type them up so the book looks real on the inside, too.”

That was a wonderful idea, except . . . “We don’t have a typewriter,” Marianna pointed out the obvious.

“We’ll start saving our money till we have enough to buy one. Äiti gives each of us five cents every day, right?”


“So instead of buying candies and chewing gum with the nickels, we’ll put them in a box and not spend anything till we have enough for a typewriter.”

Marianna jumped off the bed all excited. “And I have just the box for the nickels.” She ran to fetch a green box she’d found in the garbage bin in the school yard. Obviously thrown out by someone who had no regard for cute green boxes.

Laura inspected it, turning it over in her hands. “Where did you get it?”

It wouldn’t be smart to tell Laura she’d picked it out of the garbage, so Marianna shrugged and said casually, “A kid in school didn’t want it anymore.”

Well, that wasn’t a lie, because obviously a kid hadn’t wanted it any more, or it wouldn’t have ended up in the garbage. It wasn’t like Marianna had stolen it or anything. And it was clean and it was empty.

Laura cut a slot on the lid and then taped it shut so they wouldn’t be tempted to touch their savings. Every day the girls deposited their nickels into the Green Box and Laura drew a bar graph in a notebook to keep careful track of their savings.

* Äiti = Mother

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Äit’s Mandolin