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Phoebe Caulfield's Christmas Vacation

What I Did Over My Christmas Vacation



Lots of things happened over my vacation. I got a couple things on Christmas Day. My Mother and Daddy gave me thirty dollars. It’s the first year they gave me money instead of a present. They said I’m old enough now to do something responsible with it. My brother, D.B. (they stand for something, but ever since he became a real writer everyone’s been calling him D.B.) sent me a journal with blank pages in it, since he knows I like to write stories. I'm writing my fourth sequel about Hazle Weatherfeild. I haven’t finished the other three yet but I got the idea for what happens after all those so I wanted to write it down before it went away. This time her father comes back again. D.B. and Daddy and Holden told me that her father can’t be “20 years of age” cause Hazle is 10 so that means he would have been around 10 when she was born. In the first place, I didn’t say he was 20, I said he was AROUND 20. But I get what they’re saying. Still, it would make a good reason for him to put her in an orphanage. I’m 10 and I know my parents would ship me right off to Siberia if I came home with a baby. And I’m certain that if stupid Curtis Weintraub got stuck with one he’d toss it right out a speeding cab in front of an orphanage without stopping or nothing. Second, none of that matters exactly cause that gave me an this idea that maybe he’s not really her father. Maybe he could be one of the bad guys who happens to be the culprit on one of the cases Hazle’s investigating. And this time he’ll be a tall attractive gentleman of 30 years of age so it makes more sense. I’ll show it to D.B. the next time he comes home. You see, right now he’s out in Hollywood writing for the pictures. He hasn’t made one yet, but he’s really good so I’ll bet one of his will come out sooner or later. He’s not home much anymore, not even for Christmas, but that’s okay. That way I didn’t have to hide his present from him like I do with Mother and Daddy. Besides, I get his room while he's away.

My brother Holden’s away too, but not for the same reasons. He was sent away to go to a boarding school called Pency, but he got kicked out. He told me before he told Mother or Daddy. I was SO mad at him. I thought Daddy was gonna kill him. He almost did last time. I've never been to France, but if I did I bet I still would have heard Daddy yelling at Holden. I wish he would stop getting into so much trouble. He's always being lazy and swearing and smoking. He lit a cigarette in my room, and now my Mother thinks I smoke too! I wish he didn't do that. I wish he wouldn't do a lot of things. If he just tried to focus in school then he might have passed another class besides English. And he can’t even get THAT right. When I asked him what he wanted to do what he grew up he started telling me about this song he heard that made him think about catching children in rye if they fell off a cliff. But it’s not a SONG it’s a POEM by Robert Burns. I’m not even in High School and I know that. And besides, I know that’s what he wants to do and all, but it’s not exactly a real job you could apply for. That’s probably why Holden wanted to move away to a ranch, and I was gonna let him use my Christmas money to do it, but he gave most of it back and decided to stay after I started crying. I couldn’t help it! I just know that if he left he wouldn’t have come back this time. He doesn’t like it here and he wouldn’t have liked it there either. He never likes anything that way. I would’ve gone with him if he let me. I wouldn’t have been any trouble. Honest I wouldn’t. He took me to the park and I went on the carousel. I know I'm too old for it, but it was still fun. For Christmas he tried getting me this record that I've been wanting for the longest time, but it ended up getting broken. That's okay. I still got the pieces in my (or D.B.'s) drawer. Holden also let me keep his red hunting cap that he bought for a buck. I have to say I guess people look at you funny if you wear in public when you’re not hunting anything. But I still have it. I like the color a lot. It matches my hair.

Luckily Daddy didn't kill Holden when we got home, because he got real sick. And not chicken soup sick neither, but hospital sick. Holden kept puking and passing out. He must’ve caught it on his way home. Everyone's all worried about him now. Ever since Daddy had to leave for a business trip in California Mother's been crying a lot. She’s been getting these headaches and smoking more (but please don’t tell her I know that). It's cause Allie died when he got real sick. He was my other brother. I miss him too. When Mother and Daddy would go out and Holden and D.B. were away he'd be the only one at home with me. He was kinda weird, but real smart. Daddy tried to get him into baseball, but he'd just write stuff all over his glove. I don’t know what ever happened to that. I bet either D.B. or Holden took it. They miss him too.

I've been taking all of Holden’s calls at home since he's not there. I write them all down in one of my notebooks. I’m used to it since everyone seems to give D.B. and my parents a buzz when they’re not home. A few of them mentioned him in the hospital, but most of them didn’t know and just called to say “merry Christmas”. One of them was a guy from Holden’s fencing team asking if he found their gear. Some of them asked if he was in a mental hospital or something. I told them he wasn’t and they said “Uh huh, alright” but I could tell it wasn’t the honest kind of “alright”, y’know? I noticed one was this girl asking how Holden was doing. I didn't get her name. When I told Holden about it on one of the visits to the hospital and he said it was probably this girl he was supposed to trim a Christmas tree with. But when he said that he sounded dissapointed. I don't think he wanted it to be that girl. You should have heard the way he said it. I know you'd agree with me.

BUT this all happened before the very best part. The part where I got to play Benedict Arnold, practically the biggest part in my school's play “A Christmas Pageant for Americans”! They picked me cause they ran out of boys. That only happens when we play baseball! It was kind of funny dressing up in boy’s uniform, even if it was incredibly cheap-looking. I also had to wear this really itchy white wig, but since I have red hair it became really obvious whenever one of them would stick out. They tried cutting my real hair short but I still had strands sticking out, so my mom had to keep sticking them back with all these bobby pins. It HURT every time she put one in, like a bunch of needles getting stuck in my scalp. But I guess none of that is important now. I had to have practiced all my lines in about a million times. I did it in D.B.’s room a lot cause it has lots of space and since I spend most of my part on my deathbed it’s hard to get myself into character in my little room with my dresses hanging up and stuffed animals looking at me. D.B. told me in one of his letters that when Shakespeare had his plays made they had a bunch of guys dress up as the girl characters. I’ll bet they had to be better actors than the ones in my class. I don't mean to sound like a diva or anything, but I swear nobody else in class even TRIED to learn their lines. Ms.Callon had to keep whispering the right lines offstage to everybody, but even that didn’t work. There’s this real dramatic part where I’m dying in my bed and everything so I say "Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another." and then Archie Norton, the doctor, is supposed to say “May he eternally regret his treason in the afterlife.” but instead he just STOPS in the middle of the scene. They had to keep shortening the lines so everyone could remember them better, so it turned into “Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson in Heaven”.

Alice, my best friend in the whole wide world, said that the same thing happened when she had to play Mary in the reenactment of the birth of Jesus for Church. She was so scared that she was gonna drop the baby, cause it was real and she's never had any little brothers or sisters. I think it would have been better if they just used a doll but I guess they wanted it to be realistic. When she tried to say her lines the baby started crying, and it didn't help that she had a really bad cold. Nobody could hear her or anything else with it screaming its head off. We exchanged our gifts after that. I got her a pair of gloves for Christmas. I got it for her cause whenever we leave school and all she’s always leaving her gloves in her desk. Once we get out the door of the school she always says “I gotta go back for my gloves” and leaves me in the cold to run back in. So I got her a second pair so she she won't have to worry as much. I think she liked them. She said so, anyways. She got me a scarf with an elephant on the end.

Luckily we didn’t have too many mistakes and if there were Mother didn’t notice. She said it was “splendid” and got me all these lovely roses like a real actress in one of D.B.’s pictures. Right now they’re still in this vase in the kitchen. Roses die really quickly, but I heard that if you flatten them in a book you can keep it. It might just be me who noticed. I’m sure if D.B. or Holden or even Daddy or Allie were there they might have noticed something. Still, I wasn’t thinking that when I was bowing. I just smiled, and I really meant it.

And that’s what I did over my Christmas vacation.




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