Emily Gets New Neighbors and Saves the Day – Chapter 1

Emily of Ladera         Hi!  My name is Emily Thomas. I live with my parents and my brother Danny in a two-story house in Ladera Ranch.(That’s in California.) We love our house and our school and our neighbors, but sometimes things we love change.

First of all, way last summer our old neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. O’Dell, put a FOR SALE sign in their yard. They were getting pretty old, like my grandpa and grandma. All their kids had grown up and moved away to houses of their own.

Also, last summer their German Shepherd dog died. His name was “Rascal” and he used to go on slow walks with Mr. O’Dell. This made them both very sad.

“This house is too big for the two of us,” said Mrs. O’Dell.

“My old bones are achy and stiff,” said Mr. O’Dell. “I want the warm air of Arizona.”

“Let’s move to Phoenix,” she said. “We could live near our son and his family.”

“That’s a good idea!” he agreed. “And I hear they have a new litter of puppies.”

Pretty soon, Danny and I noticed “SOLD” written across the sign in their yard. Then a month later a big, moving truck pulled up in front. Four men in blue uniforms carried out all their furniture and boxes of stuff.

When it was time for them to go, we all went outside to tell them good-bye.  Dad shook hands with Mr. O’Dell and said we would pray for them. Mom hugged Mrs. O’Dell and gave her a bag of sandwiches and fruit to eat on the way.

Mrs. O’Dell hugged Danny and me and kissed our cheeks. Danny was really embarrassed!

Then our neighbors got into their car and waved one more time. Their car followed the moving truck down the street and around the corner. And that was the last time we saw them.

Later we got a post card with their new address, so at least we can send them Christmas cards.

My family wondered who would move into the O’Dell’s old house. We tried to guess how many kids there would be and if there would be any our same ages. Mom and dad hoped it would be a friendly and quiet family.

We prayed that God would send just the right neighbors to live next to us.

Well, we had to wait a long time. We had to wait at least three months! But finally a couple of weeks ago we saw another big moving truck pull up in front of the house. It had license plates on the back that showed it was from the state of Michigan! Mom helped me look that up on a map of the United States. It’s a long way from California. Way past Arizona!!

This time the men who carried in the furniture and boxes wore green uniforms. The lady who took down the FOR SALE sign let them into the house. We watched the furniture to see if we could guess something about the people. We saw two big desks and a lot of computer stuff get carried inside. We saw a big dining room table and chairs go in, and we saw a small kitchen table and more chairs that were painted blue go in.

In the afternoon, we saw the men unload one huge bed and matching dresser and chest of drawers, and a great big mirror. I could tell that the men didn’t want to carry those heavy things upstairs. They took a snack break before they started and then tossed the empty soda cans into the bushes between our two houses.

Later we saw them take in a small bed and dresser and chest of drawers, and then a small desk with a chair. The furniture was painted white with gold trim.

They carried boxes and cartons of all sizes into the O’Dell’s old house, but no more beds. Danny and I guessed that they had only one child, and that it was a girl. That would be fun for me! Would she be thirteen like Danny, or ten, like me?

I was very excited and couldn’t wait to see what she was like.

But nothing happened. We didn’t see any people move in. We didn’t see any cars park in the driveway. We didn’t see any lights go on inside the house at night.

Then finally last Sunday morning when we woke up, there were two cars in the driveway. One was a small red sports car, and the other was a gold colored Lexus!

“Wow,” Dad said. “They drive nice cars.”

“Their license plates say – Michigan,” said Mom. “They’ve driven a long ways. I bet they are tired.”

When we came home from church, nothing had changed. The two cars were still in the driveway and we didn’t see any people. The curtains were still closed and no lights were on even that night when it got dark.

“Should we go over and introduce ourselves?” wondered Mom. “I could take them some cookies, or a casserole.”

“Let’s wait until they get settled in a bit,” said Dad.

The next morning when I got up for school, I looked out my window. The sprinklers were going in the front yard and the red sports car was gone.

“Did you see the new neighbors?” I asked Mom.

“No, Emily,” she said, “the car was gone when I got up, and the sprinklers must be on a timer. They came on all by themselves.”

All the time I was dressing and getting my things ready for school, I peeked out the windows to see if I could see who the new girl was. But when my car pool ride came, I still hadn’t seen her.

After school, the first thing I noticed was that the gold colored Lexus was gone and the red sports car was back.

“I’m going to take one of these over to our new neighbors,” Mom said. “Do you want to come along?” She had made a double batch of lemon bars and they were sitting on the table, one wrapped in clear plastic. She picked that one up and I followed her out the door.

Lemon Bars on a plate

By that time, I really, really wanted to see who the new girl was. I skipped ahead of Mom and got to the door first.

But we were disappointed because no one answered when we rang the doorbell. I tried to peek in the long window beside the door, but it had frosted glass.

“We’ll try again later,” said Mom.

By that time, I was wondering if we had invisible ghosts for neighbors!

For two more days we noticed when the cars were there and when they were gone. But we never saw who drove them or rode in them. We saw lights come on in different rooms upstairs and downstairs, but we didn’t see any people behind the curtains. And early on trash day, we saw that someone had rolled out the trash barrels, but we didn’t see who.

Now, this was getting spooky! Were our new neighbors very shy, or were they stuck up, or were they really invisible?

I decided to make a plan…….

(To be continued.)

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