Katie checked the mail on Tuesday morning. A letter for Ellie was right
on top. It was from Calgary. "Doug's finally written to them,"
Katie thought. "I'll bet he's decided something. I sure hope it's good
news. Maybe he's coming home." She really hoped he was. She knew how
much Gale missed her father.
Katie went through the rest of the mail. On the very bottom of the pile
was a letter from her brother. It was addressed to the whole family so Katie
opened it as soon as she was back in the kitchen. The letter was full of
good news. Jim's job at the hotel was working out fine. He'd made a couple
of friends and said he was having fun, but he missed the family a lot. He
even mentioned Katie. Katie smiled at that. At least someone in the family
thought about her - sometimes. She folded the letter and tried to slip it
back into the envelope but it wouldn't fit. Something else was still inside.
She found a note.
"P.S. I was about to mail this letter when I got some great news.
One of the guys working at the front desk got fired and they need somebody
to take his place. This other guy who already works there, can get me the
job. It's a great opportunity, much more money than working in the kitchen
and a lot easier, too. Only trouble is I need to wear a jacket and tie.
The one I have with me has stripes and looks kind of crazy and they won't
let me wear it on the job. Can the cookie jar lend me some money so I can
buy another one? I'll need $45.00 but I'll pay it back by the end of the
summer from all the extra money I'm going to be making. Please send it as
quickly as possible. The guy who got fired has one week's notice and I have
to start soon. Don't let me down. I can really use the extra money for school.
Love again, Jim."
Katie put down Jim's note and sighed. It was really too bad. The cookie
jar was empty and there was no hope for Jim's money. Max had just paid over
$400.00 for the transmission in his cab so there wasn't anything left in
the bank, either.
"I guess Jim's out of luck," thought Katie. "It looks
like he'll just have to keep his job in the kitchen and..."
All of sudden, Katie thought of something. She had the money her brother
needed right in her pocket. She took out her fifty dollar bill and looked
at it. A big smile crept onto her face.
"I'm the only one in the family who can help," she thought.
"It's all up to me." She got the phone book and looked up the
address of the telegraph office. "I'll wire him the money right away
so he'll be sure to get it in plenty of time. And I'll tell dad all about
it at dinner tonight. Won't he be surprised to hear how I handled the whole
thing by myself."
Katie caught a bus to the telegraph office and when she wired the money
she sent a message to go with it: "Here's money for your suit so you
won't have to make soup." But she didn't put her name at the end. She
wanted the money to come from the whole family so instead she signed it
The Cookie Jar. The people in the telegraph office thought she was crazy
but Katie didn't mind. She felt terrific about the whole thing.
"I'm really part of the family now," she told herself as she
rode the bus home. "I'm helping to pay for things just like everyone
else. I can't wait to hear what dad'Il say. This is ten times better than
just putting the money in the cookie jar."
Katie put Jim's letter out on the kitchen table so the others could
read it as soon as they got home from work. She didn't replace the note
because she wanted to keep that part a surprise until she told them about
sending the money.
As soon as Max came in, he picked up Jim's letter. He read it over three
times. "Isn't that something," he said proudly. "He's really
making a go of it on his own, and he doesn't need us to help out at all.
I must say I'm pleasantly surprised by all this, I really am. I've been
expecting to hear from Jim but I wasn't exactly expecting to hear just the
Katie was puzzled. She couldn't quite understand what he meant. "What
kind of news were you expecting?" she asked.
Max just laughed and shrugged his shoulders, so Susie explained. "He
means that he was expecting Jim to write home for money," she said.
"All the guys down at the cab lot told me he would," said
Max. "But I kept telling them that Jim would never do that. He's old
enough to look after himself now, I told them. He won't come crying to me
as soon as he hits a problem. They just laughed and told me I'd see. Well
I'll be the one laughing at them tomorrow. They'll be the ones seeing who
A sinking feeling crept into the pit of Katie's stomach. She wondered
what her father would say when she showed him Jim's note. What would he
say when she told him about the $45.00 she had just sent? What would he
think of Jim then? She began to feel very uncomfortable. She closed her
eyes and wished that her father would be quiet and start eating his dinner.
But Max didn't; he just went right on talking.
"Oh I've got to give Jim credit. He's shown he can take care of
himself just fine. And now that we're on the subject, so have you, Susie.
You're doing a great job this summer. You've been earning your share and
never once have you asked for a free handout. You're just like Jim. You're
"What's getting into you tonight, Max? You're positively mellow,"
Susie said with a laugh. She wanted to make a joke out of it but she was
obviously pleased to hear Max tell her how he felt.
"They certainly are something, aren't they Katydid?" said
Max. "I'll bet you feel the same way. Makes you proud to be part of
a family that can take care of itself, doesn't it?"
Katie agreed with him, of course. Anyone would the way he put it. But
it wasn't how she felt. She wanted Max to be proud of her too. The only
trouble was, she couldn't tell him about wiring Jim the money now, not after
everything he had just said. Max would be terribly disappointed if he found
out about the $45.00. It would even make him look bad in front of all the
other cab drivers down at the lot. So Katie decided to keep Jim's note in
her pocket and not say anything to anybody. She bit her lip. Sending Jim
the money was just about the best thing she had ever done and now she had
to keep it a secret. It didn't seem fair.
Susie was going to a movie and rushed out as soon as dinner was over.
Max got a phone call while Katie was doing the dishes. Someone wanted to
see him right away but he didn't tell Katie who it was.
"I'm just going to meet an old friend who wants to talk about something,"
he said as he went out the door. "I'll be gone for a little while,
but I'll be back in time to see you into bed."