Being a military child, I moved around a lot, so I know what it's like to have to adapt to new people and new surroundings, when you're young. Yes, I write a fair few stories on the subject, but it never stops being relevant for kids who move around when they're young. I wrote this story with that in mind. Here is the link to listen to this story as a podcast!
Heather's New Home Town
Heather had liked her old house. It had a bush in the front garden, with pink roses growing on it. And there was a built-in wardrobe in the spare room, that she sometimes liked to use as a den.
She had liked her old home town, too. She knew the man in the post office and he always let her take an extra penny sweet when Heather went in to buy some with her mum. She knew the lady who delivered the post and who always wore shorts, even when it was raining. And she knew the lollipop man, who helped her cross the road safely on her way to school. His name was Robert, but Heather always called him Smiler, because he was so cheerful all the time.
The new house was quite nice, but Heather didn't really want to be there. She missed her old bedroom and her friends at her old school. Everything was different in the new town; the park didn't have a zip-wire and the corner shop didn't have a hot food counter, like the one in Heather's old town, had. She was going to miss being treated to a sausage roll on the way home from school, now and then.
Mum was still busy unpacking boxes in the new house. Heather's little brother was having his afternoon nap. Heather sighed and glanced out of the window. "Mum?" She asked. "Can I go for a walk?"
Mum frowned, looking like she might say no. "You don't know this town very well..." She began. "I don't want you getting lost."
Heather's face fell. "Please, Mum," she begged. "I know the way to the shops and back, because we went loads of times before we moved in. I promise I won't get lost." She folded her arms across her chest. "I am eight and a half, you know. You let me walk to the park from our old house by myself..."
Mum pulled a face. "That was because the park was only around the corner," she insisted.
"The shops aren't much further away than that," Heather insisted. "I won't be going very far by myself."
Heather's mum tutted and opened her mouth to argue. But there were a whole heap of boxes still left to be unpacked and the last thing she needed was a grumpy Heather to deal with as well, so, with a long sigh, she finally nodded her head. "Go on, then. But only as far as the shops. And I want you home in an hour, tops."
Heather promised and kissed her mum on the cheek, before heading out into the street. If this town was going to be her new home, she figured she'd better get used to it.
It was still morning and before long, Heather noticed the postman coming down the street. He was wearing long trousers and Heather sighed to herself. She missed the post lady in her old town. But as she got closer to the postman, he smiled at Heather and waved. Heather couldn't help but wave back.
"Morning!" The postman called, cheerily. "Lovely day, isn't it?"
Heather managed a smile. "Yes," she replied as he passed by. "It's sunny..." Her words trailed off as she decided to carry on walking.
Her new school, which she'd be starting the following week, was just around the corner from Heather's new house. As Heather paused, looking at the unfamiliar building, a smiling lady approached her. The lady was holding a stop sign and she had a reflective yellow coat tucked under her arm. "Hello," she grinned. "I don't recognise you as one of my regular schoolies!"
Heather giggled. "I'm not," she replied. "Not yet, anyway. I start next week."
The lady nodded. "Well, I'm Beatrice and I work as the lollipop lady," she explained. "I'll look forward to seeing you next week!"
The lady had kind eyes and something about her smile made Heather feel instantly better.
Heather kept walking until she reached the shops. Digging into the pocket of her jeans, she pulled out a fifty pence piece and decided to pop into the post office for some sweets.
The post office was bigger than the one in her old home town, and Heather felt a little bit disorientated as she stepped inside. She found the pick 'n' mix sweets and began scooping some into a little paper bag, carefully counting in her head to make sure she didn't go over fifty pence worth.
"Delilah!" A voice called, suddenly. "Those new chews have arrived!"
Heather peeped from around the corner, to see two women, around her mum's age, opening a large box of chewy sweets.
"I think we've got to taste-test them, don't you?" One of them asked the other.
The lady Heather assumed was called Delilah was about to answer, when she spotted Heather. "Hello," she smiled. "Are you alright, there?"
Heather nodded and walked slowly to the counter. "I'd just like to pay for these sweets, please," she said, putting the bag onto the counter, along with her fifty pence piece.
"Would you like to try one of these new chews, too?" The other lady asked. "They've just arrived!"
Heather blushed. "I've spent all my money on the stuff in the bag..."
Delilah nodded. "Okay. I've not seen you, before! And this is a small town, so we tend to get to know everyone. I'm Delilah and this is Marie."
Heather smiled and gave them a little wave. "I'm Heather," she explained. "And I've just moved here, with my mum and brother."
"Welcome to town," Marie grinned. "Is it very different to your old place?"
Heather chuckled. "Actually, not as different as I thought..."
Delilah clapped her hands. "Well, it's always nice to see a new face." She took two chews out of the box and dropped them into Heather's bag of sweets. "Consider those a welcoming gift," she laughed. "I hope you'll be happy, here."
Heather nodded. "I think I will be," she said.
Marie smiled. "Glad to hear it."
Heather thanked the ladies and left the shop feeling brighter than she had all day. On the way back home, she spotted the postman coming back up the road and she waved again.
Heather paused outside her new house. There was a bush beneath the windowsill, with pretty little blue flowers, just beginning to bloom. Heather smiled to herself. Everything about the new house and the new town seemed so different, yet it was somehow just the same. Different people, perhaps, but the same smiles. New places to explore, but the same feeling of being exactly where you belong.
She opened the door and stepped inside.
"Home, sweet home."