Charlotte continued to gain strength, and although she didn't eat as well as Mama would have liked, she was able to play outside again with Wanda, who carried rocks and laid out a square playhouse on the hillside. Mama gave them some old jar lids for plates and they took their dolls and doll clothes to the sunny house.
On cool days Uncle Dewey and Aunt Leola came to visit , bringing their baby boy, Dane. They lived in the old family farmhouse with Grandma. Charlotte was eighteen months older than the little boy and she loved him even if he did still sleep a lot.
Mama was sewing today and Charlotte wanted to go play with Dane, but Mama had told her she didn't have time to take her and the cows might be in the road. So, what could she do? Wanda wouldn't be home for hours. She went to the toy box but the old dolls with holes in their sawdust heads didn't appeal to her today. Begging got her nowhere. She sorta wanted something to eat; some candy would be good. There were some chocolate squares on top of Mama's cabinet. She wasn't supposed to eat any of them though; Mama had said they were medicine. But surely just one wouldn't hurt her. Carefully she climbed up on the old trunk and took a step over onto the cabinet. By standing on her tiptoes, her fingers touched the box. She gave a little jump to grab it. Crash! She had knocked a pan off onto the floor!
"Charlotte!" said Mama as she rushed into the kitchen. "What on earth are you doing on the cabinet? Is that the Exlax box you have in your hand?"
Charlotte went outside, wandered around, talked to the old black cat and the hound dog. Soon she had walked to the barn; the cows were not anywhere close. She dabbled in the mud in the road, and her feet took her closer and closer to Dane's house. She looked back toward home. She didn't see Mama; she ran to the gate and crawled under.
Aunt Leola came to the door when Charlotte knocked. She asked if Mama had let her come by herself and how long she could stay. "I can stay for one hour," said Charlotte.
to be continued ...