October 2003 Book Review
Ginnie and The Mystery Light by Catherine Woolley
Prelude to Adventure
Ginnie Fellows was making a wide detour to get home from school.
She faced a mean wind and spitting snow this December afternoon,
but she did not want to pass Geneva's house.
Geneva Porter, her dearest friend and closer companion in school
and out, was not there. Geneva had gone far away from this New
Jersey suburb to South Carolina, where her father had been sent to
open a factory. The Porters would be away for at least a year, and
Ginnie did not want to see their house, where she had spent so
many happy hours, knowing it was cold and empty.
She reached her own house, stamped snow from her feet, and let
herself in with her key. She knew her mother had gone to a
Warmth greeted her and the wriggling, golden ecstasy of Honey,
the cocker. In the living room, as Ginnie slipped off her coat, the
little black cat Mumbo sat up in an armchair, stretched luxuriously,
opened a pink mouth in a yawn and fixed topaz eyes on Ginnie.
Ginnie knelt to hug Honey, then picked Mumbo up in her arms and
sank into the chair. Instantly, as she held the cat over her shoulder, stroking, a deep rumble of delight began.
Ginnie sat gazing out at the snowy day. There was a very empty
space where Geneva had always been, and she could not seem to
fill it in. This was Friday so she did not have to do homework. If
Geneva were here Ginnie would have stopped at the Porters' or
Geneva would have come here, and one or the other would have
stayed to dinner and maybe for the night. Ginnie gave a lonely
sigh and set Mumbo on the floor. I'll make some fudge, she thought. Chocolate fudge might help lift her spirits.
In the kitchen she got out milk, sugar, butter, and walnuts, and
sawed off two squares of cooking chocolate. She knew the recipe
Ginnie cut up nuts while the mixture slowly melted and turned
chocolaty brown, bubbling around the edge. She stood at the
stove, spoon in hand, and the delicious, rich aroma began to drift
to her nostrils. Now the fudge reached a high boil and she turned
the heat to a simmer.
The candy had reached the soft-ball stage and Ginnie was beating it
when Mother came in. "That smells wonderful!!" Mrs. Fellows cried.
"What a good idea on a day like this!"
"I couldn't think of anything else to do." Ginnie reached for the bowl of
chopped walnuts, and Mother watched as she blended in the nuts and quickly poured the thickened mixture into a pan. "I didn't get a letter
from Geneva, did I?" Ginnie inquired.
"No, you didn't."
"I've only had one letter since she left two weeks ago."
"She's busy getting adjusted to a new school and new people, "her
mother assured her. "You'll hear."
"And I can't write her because I don't have her address," Ginnie said.
"They were still at the motel when she wrote."
"Geneva hasn't forgotten you," Mother told her. "Now I'm going to get
some apples ready to bake, and we might as well have baked potatoes too."
"What else are we having for dinner?"
"Can I make it?" Ginnie was cutting the fudge into generous squares.
She slid a spatula under one and bit into it. "Mm!"
Outside, daylight had gone. Snow tapped the window and wind rattled
the pane, but here in the bright, warm kitchen Ginnie felt cheerful once more. She got out a bowl and set about happily mixing chopped beef, breadcrumbs soaked in milk, chopped onion and an egg. The egg
made the meat mixture slippery and she squeezed it through her hands, enjoying the cold wetness. She salted and peppered, tasted, and finally spooned it into a pan.
"Good dinner," she commented, as her mother cut up slices of yellow turnip.
Daddy came home, reporting that roads were getting slippery. They
sat down to their dinner, and Ginnie was bringing in the baked apples
when the telephone rang.
She went back for cream as her mother answered.
She had the carton out when she heard Mother's surprised
Ginnie's head jerked up, she sat down the cream carton and rushed
to the telephone.
"How wonderful to hear from you, dear!" Mother was saying. "How
do you like Bellport?" Geneva apparently liked Bellport and then
Mother said, as Ginnie hovered impatiently, "Here's Ginnie, dying
to talk to you."
"Hi, Geneva!" Ginnie cried into the phone.
Neither knew what to say next.
"You sound as if you were right down the steet," Ginnie told her
"You too. Ginnie," Geneva said, finally getting to the business of the
call, "I called you up because my mother and father and I were just
talking, and my mother said--well, I just had to call you right away!
Can you come down and visit during Christmas vacation?"
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