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Mother Goose and Me
by Walter B. Jackson

In the 5th grade I had a pretty girlfriend named Cindy. She would talk to me on the telephone and even say "hi" while we were playing on the playground. It was real puppy love. At Christmas, I gave her a neat box of handkerchiefs embroidered with pictures of Mother Goose.

Cindy seemed pleased and showed them off at the First Baptist Church where her daddy was the preacher. She must have liked them because for several months we enjoyed a heavy duty romance consisting of smiling at each other, writing notes, and talking on the phone; however, as the school year came to a close, she told me she was moving.

As luck would have it, also in my class was a fine looking girl named Patsy. When we began our 6th grade year, being the cool dude that I was, I decided it was time to make my move. Cleverly, I wrote Patsy a note and asked her to be my girlfriend. I gave the note to one of my buddies for delivery.

Right after lunch, while the teacher wasn't looking, Patsy handed her response to me under my desk and quickly looked the other way.

Nervously, I opened the note. There it was, in black and white, the answer I was waiting for: "Okay! I will be your girlfriend."

Wow! I felt as if I were "choppin' in high cotton."

When Christmas rolled around, I had to get Patsy a nice present. From past experience with Cindy, I knew just what to do. I would go back to the nickel store and get her a box of those Mother Goose handkerchiefs.

I peddled my bicycle as fast as I could to Perry Brothers Five and Dime. Counting the coins in my pocket, I walked down the middle aisle until I came to the section where the handkerchiefs were displayed. Two different boxes of brightly colored Mother Goose characters caught my eye. I finally picked the ones I just knew would impress her.

The next morning I jumped out of bed, grabbed the gift, and bounded off to school. When I got there, I sought out my delivery buddy and gave him the brightly adorned package for quick delivery.

Well, to make a long story short, my buddy messed up big time. He delivered the gift in front of a gang of sixth grade girls who were busily engaged in conversation.

With all of her friends huddled around, Patsy anxiously opened her gift. As she ripped the last shred of paper from the box and saw the Mother Goose handkerchiefs, it happened -- she burst into tears!

Later that afternoon, her best friend handed me a note. As I stared at my 'Dear John' letter, I could not believe the words she had written: "I thought you were going to ask me to go steady. I don't ever want to be your girlfriend again."

Now, 50 years later, Patsy will not let the Mother Goose handkerchiefs be forgotten.

Patsy phoned the other day and proceeded to read the obituary of my first true love, Cindy. When she finished she asked curtly, "Do you think she still had those Mother Goose handkerchiefs?"

I doubt that Cindy would have remembered me or my childhood gift. I never saw her after the 5th grade; however, I am sure she never changed and kept that sweet, friendly and compassionate personality that had so infatuated me in elementary school. Her obituary read, "Cindy invested her life in making the world a better place and in making the people of the world better people. Her unconditional love brought out the best in all."

Patsy will never let me forget the time I made a fool of myself. She enjoys telling this story just to needle me. Actually, I'm beginning to enjoy it. I've lived long enough to appreciate the fact that true, lifelong friendships and fond memories can stem from even the smallest incidents and deeds of our childhood. And this is no fairytale.


Walter B. Jackson holds a B. A. in Political Science from the University of Houston. Walter lives in Mexia, Texas, where he teaches English and Spanish at Coolidge High School.

Walter spent most of his professional life as a chamber of commerce executive in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas. He served as president of the Humble, Conroe, and Galveston Chambers of Commerce, and later as Director of International and Domestic Business for the Greater Houston Partnership.

Read more of Walter Jackson's stories at USADS:
Uncle Buck
A Nun's Tale
My Sunny Friend
Angels Carried Him Away

Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.


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