Recap: Sender is watching Orville fly in Kitty Hawk. A stranger comes and starts taking photos. Sender tells him to stop but he doesn’t listen. Charlie Taylor grabs the man’s camera away. The man stomps off but threatens to do something. Sender worries what the man might do.

“Ezzie, please go make the beds in the guest room. The Arons will be here any minute.” Ima handed me bedding and towels.

I plodded downstairs.

Why was Hashem doing this, making us have strangers in our house? They weren’t even frum. I knew I had the wrong attitude, but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want them to come. Maybe this would just be for a week, I prayed.

An hour later, an old station wagon pulled onto our driveway. A man slid out of the car. He was wearing a cap and overalls. Next, his wife got out of the car. She was wearing pants. She opened the back seat and extracted two toddlers.

Ima ran outside to welcome them.

The wife hugged Ima. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “We are so grateful, Rebbetzin. You are a lifesaver.” She spoke with a Russian accent.

“Please come in. It’s our pleasure.” She pointed to me. “This is our son, Ezra.”

The wife nodded at me. The husband shook my hand, and the two toddlers rushed into the house.

“We’re not so baby-proof. I apologize,” my mother said.

“Are they twins?” Ima asked.

“No, Mickey is four and Tori is two,” the husband replied.

Aba rushed out from his study and embraced the man. ”Efraim, I’m so glad you are okay.”

“Thank G-d!” he said.

“There’s an organization, a gemach that put together some clothing for the babies and for both of you. Mrs. Kahn will be bringing everything over shortly.”

“So kind!” the wife said.

Just then, we heard a crash and I realized with a sinking feeling that it was coming from my room. I’d neglected to shut my door and those kids had bee-lined right in there. The mother and father, with me close behind, rushed up the stairs.

The boys were sitting in the middle of the floor, holding the pieces of what was left of my two model airplanes. I’d worked months on those. I felt a hot anger coursing through me. I left the room so I wouldn’t explode like a volcano in front of our guests.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” The mother grabbed her son. “Tori!”

Ima put her arm around my shoulder. “Ezra, tell her it’s okay. He’ll just have to keep things up higher next time.”

“I’m so sorry,” the mother was crying.

“It’s okay,” I lied.

That wasn’t the issue. I had worked on them for months, but there was no point in discussing it.

The father started to spank him.

“No,” my mother rushed over. “He’s just a baby. He didn’t mean anything. Please don’t hit him.”

“He’s so wild,” the husband said.

Tori squirmed out of his father’s arms and rushed into his mother’s, where he knew he’d be safe.

I thought a spanking was a grand idea, but no one was asking me.

“We have to stock up on some toys,” Ima said.

“All our toys were burned,” the mother whispered and then she began crying again.

Ima put her arm on her shoulder. “Don’t worry. We’ll get new toys for the children. The main thing is that you are all fine and no one was injured.”

“Yes, you’re right. Thank G-d!” the mother and the father both said.

In the meantime, Tori escaped from his mother, and in a matter of minutes he had thumped down the stairs on his stomach and he was heading for the bookcase of s’farim. By the time we all reached the living room, he’d already pulled down half of Aba’s s’farim, and they were lying in a pile on the floor.

“I’m so sorry. He’s very active,” the mother said.

“I see that.” Ima started replacing the s’farim.

“I think we better get a play pen for him,” Ima said. “Ezra, can you call Danny and see if his mother has a pack-and-play and some toys we can borrow?”

Danny had four younger siblings and a few older ones. His mother was happy to send over a pack-and-play and a pile of toys and books. Aba drove me over to Danny’s to borrow the items.

While he was schmoozing with Danny’s father, I went upstairs to talk to Danny. “How do you do it?”

“What?” he asked.

“How do you stand having little kids around?”

“Oh, you’ll get used to it.”

“I don’t know.” I told him what happened to my model plane.

Chezky once colored with red marker all over my show board for the science project. It’s one of those things. You just have to deal. Ezra, did you figure out what you’re doing for the writing club project yet?”

“No. Why?”

“Ariel told me he figured out a good idea.”

“Well, of course. He’s the best writer in seventh grade and maybe the whole school.”

“He’s doing a whole project about the Brooklyn Bridge.”

“Maybe you could do something about a famous bridge?”

I shrugged.

“I can’t copy him.” What in the world was I going to do?

“Hey, can I come back with you? I want to meet those kids.”

“Sure, maybe you can calm them down.”

“Yeh, and I want to read more of that journal.”

Now, that was a good idea. That would distract me from all my troubles.

 To be continued…

By Susie Garber