I decided to choose my favorite short story of Kit’s to have my dolls reenact as the final Kit story installment so I chose Kit’s Home Run by Valerie Tripp:
It was finally summer and Kit and Stirling were celebrating by playing catch outside.
Stirling fired a fastball at Kit which thonked into her mitt. She loved that sound and the way her hand tingled as she caught the ball.
“That was really strong!” said Kit as she threw it back.
“Yeah, I bet my arm got strong from delivering all those newspapers. And you’re a pretty good catcher – just like Ernie Lombardi!” Stirling joshed. Ernie Lombardi was the famous catcher of the Cincinnati Reds.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could go to a Reds game?” Kit said wistfully, knowing full well that would never happen what with her dad loosing his job and the family struggling so hard just to make ends meet, “I remember last year my dad took me to a game and we saw Ernie dive headfirst onto home plate to beat the ball!”
Kit caught another ball of Stirling’s, “And-” she began but was interrupted by Mrs. Howard.
“Stirling, dear,” Mrs. Howard nervously fluttered, “It’s time for you to go sell your papers. I don’t want you to rush or you’ll get overheated.”
“Yes, Mother,” said Stirling.
“Go inside and wash your hands and don’t forget to wear a cap to protect your fair skin.”
“Yes, Mother,” Stirling turned to Kit, “Bye,” He said and shot one more blaster high in the sky.
Kit squinted, keeping her eye on the ball. She ran backward, stretched her arm out and took a wild leap, snagging the ball in mid-air.
“Got it!” she shouted.
Suddenly, bam! Kit slammed into the flower garden on her bottom.
Mrs. Howard rushed over to her, “Kit! Are you all right?”
“Sure,” said Kit as she got up.
“Ooh, but my flowers!” Mrs. Howard wailed, “You’ve killed them!”
Kit felt really bad, she knew how hard Mrs. Howard had cared for them. The plants had been limp and lifeless until she started to nurse them back to health. She watered and pruned them and cooed to them as if they were babies. And now, thanks to Kit, they were flattened.
“Gosh, Mrs. Howard, I’m sorry.”
“Me too,” said Stirling, “Sorry, Mother.”
“It’s that baseball playing!” she fussed, “You know I don’t like it. Your bones are delicate, Stirling, and I worry both of you will be hurt. And now it has hurt my roses. Go to your job, Stirling, you can’t be late.”
As Stirling left, Kit turned to Mrs. Howard, “Can I help you fix them?”
“No, but really Kit, I must say I do not understand why you like baseball. It’s so rough and noisy. In my day, girls were gentle and quiet. Not tomboys! And look at you, all dirty and sweaty! Go inside and clean yourself up.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Kit.
As Kit walked inside with Grace trailing her she couldn’t help feeling that Mrs. Howard fussed too much about everything. Kit was truly sorry to have damaged her flowers but Mrs. Howard seemed to treat everything as if it were a weak and pitiful thing like Stirling. And Stirling was contributing more to the household than Mrs. Howard was. Mrs. Howard used to help with house work but ever since Aunt Millie had arrived all she did was insist that she clean the room she and Stirling lived in. Mother has said a hundred times that we’ve all got to work together to make our boarding house succeed, Kit thought as she went back to her afternoon chores, If we’re a team, Mrs. Howard sure isn’t a star player.
“Run, Kit! Run!” someone yelled. Kit ran faster as she saw the left fielder who was chasing her with the ball come in closer. Kit had been on her way home from the library when some of her friends had asked her to play baseball. Now she was on her way to home plate and the bases were loaded.
“Keep going, Kit!”
Kit kept running but oh, no! Kit saw the fielder coming in even closer to her. There was only one thing to do. Dive, Kit said to herself, Dive like Ernie Lombardi.
Kit dove. Flinging her arms forward, she flew through the air and landed with on oomph! trying to touch home plate.
Just as Kit hit the plate, Kathy’s arm smacked her on the mouth but Kit didn’t care. She was safe! Her face might have been clobbered but so was the other team! Her grand slam had just scored four runs!
“Hurray!” her team cheered pounding her on the back.
Suddenly everyone was quiet.
“Yikes,” said Kathy, “I’m sorry.”
“Wassamada?” Kit tried to ask but her mouth felt mushy.
“You’re lip,” said Kathy, “I bet it’s going to need stiches.”
Kit touched her lip and her finger was bloody.
“You’d better go home.”
Kit felt weak and muzzy-headed as she walked home. Mother and Aunt Millie will know what to do. But then she remembered, oh no! No one was home because they had gone to the bank to see about getting a Homeowner’s Loan so they could continue to pay the mortgage. The only person at home was Mrs. I-don’t-approve-of-baseball, Mrs. Fussbudget. Kit groaned to herself, Wait till she gets a load of my face. She’ll have a fit!
Kit dragged her feet.
Mrs. Howard turned toward her as she walked into the kitchen, “Kit! Your face! How did that happen? Oh! Don’t tell me. You were playing baseball.”
Kit nodded steeling herself for a big speech about how bad it was for girls to play baseball but instead Mrs. Howard said, “Sit down, Lamby,” and started cleaning her injuries. She gave Kit a wet cloth to hold to her lip.
She was patient and gentle, calm and kind, “Feel a little better?”
“Sanks,” Kit nodded.
“I still think we’d better go to the hospital. I think your lip might need stitches and we’ll have to walk because there’s no car.”
Kit was grateful for Mrs. Howard on the walk to the hospital. She murmured encouragements and let Kit lean on her arm. Normally Kit hated being treated like a baby, but because she still felt woozy and in pain it wasn’t so bad.
“Sanks,” Kit struggled to speak through her swollen lip, “Sanks for being so nice.”
“Well, taking care of injured things like people and plants is all I’m good at besides cooking and cleaning. I’m actually grateful to you, dear, for giving me a chance to feel useful for a change. Stirling doesn’t need me to fuss over him and now that Aunt Millie is here…” Mrs. Howard sighed. Kit looked at Mrs. Howard with new eyes, I guess I needed a clonk on the head to finally understand her, Kit thought.
When they reached the hospital Mrs. Howard arranged for an appointment and then took her to the hospitality shop just off the front lobby to wait.
The shop was busy with people buying flowers and little gifts and cards for the patients.
Mrs. Howard walked up to the table, “Mr. Hoffstader, could you give us a cool cloth for Kit to use on her lip? Her old one is all bloody.”
Kit pressed the new one to her lip and looked around. She noticed many of the flowers were drooping and looked kind of pitiful. Suddenly Kit had an idea.
She couldn’t stop herself from asking, “Mr. Hoffstader, who takes care of the plants and flowers at your shop?”
“My wife used to, but she’s been home with our new baby for two weeks now, and I’m too busy cooking or cleaning up to remember the plants.”
Kit felt the same way she felt at the baseball game. She was just going to have to dive headfirst and hope for the best, “Seems like you could use a helper. Mrs. Howard would be perfect. She’s not only great with plants. She’s also great at cleaning, and she’s a good cook, too. She’s very nice to injured people, so everyone here would like her. Isn’t that true, Mrs. Howard?”
“Well yes, I guess so,” Mrs. Howard blushed.
“I do need help during the lunch hour,” said Mr. Hoffstader, “But I couldn’t pay much. Would two dollars a week be all right?”
Mrs. Howard was too surprised to talk until Kit nudged her, “Why, yes, I guess so.”
“Can you start tomorrow?”
“Why yes, I..”
Then she stopped herself and beamed at Kit and then said firmly, “Yes, I am sure I can!”
“Then I’ll see you at eleven o-clock.”
“Thank you so much!”
Mrs. Howard went over to Kit, “Did that really just happen? Did you just find me a job?”
Kit smiled crookedly, “I guess I did.”
Mrs. Howard laughed, “How lucky that you got that split lip. I’ll never fuss at you or Stirling about baseball again.”
Mrs. Howard kept her word. In fact she didn’t fuss nearly as much about anything anymore. Mrs. Howard loved her job and Mr. Hoffstader was very pleased with her. A few weeks later she found a perfect way to thank Kit by taking Kit and Stirling to a Reds’ game.
They sat in the dining room when they got back, “It was so nice of you to do this for us Mrs. Howard,” Kit thanked her, “Seeing Ernie Lombardi hit that grand slam was terrific!”
Mrs. Howard grinned, “Mr. Lombardi’s home run was like yours, Kit. Because of it, four good things happened. I got a job, Stirling doesn’t have me fussing over him so much, your parents have my rent coming in, and -”
“-and I got to go to a Reds’ game!” Kit finished for her.
“Yes!” said Mrs. Howard, “Your home run was truly a grand slam.”
Kit and Kathy played themselves
Mrs. Howard……………….Carlie Cullen
Mr. Hoffstader……………..Suzuki Schinici
Ball Players…………………Nellie O’Malley, Mary-Grace Gardner
Well, I had a GREAT time with my dolls doing all these Kit stories and Kit had a wonderful time being the first historical girl of the year. We both can’t believe her year is now up and she must pack up her things and give up her room.
I can just hear you readers asking, “Who is going to be the next historical girl of the year?
Well gosh and golly, it’s ‘olly Molly!!
Molly is really special to me because her books introduced me to the world of AG and as a kid I related to her the most. So I am going to try my very best to have the dolls really make her stories come to life. Molly’s first story will start in July but I’ll be giving you a little sneak peek before then. Stay tuned!