Kirsten is an 18-inch-tall girl from 1854, and Nellie is
an 18-inch-tall girl from 1906. Mini Kit is a 6-inch-tall doll
from 1934. They all live together in a balanced, precarious, yet cheerful existence.
One day, Kirsten and Nellie decided to play school. Nellie didn't
think it would be much fun to try to boss a poorly-behaved student
around. And Kirsten didn't want to prepare lesson plans and do
all the hard work of being a teacher. So instead...
...they just turned the TV on to PBS, figuring that whatever was on, it must be educational.
Many times, they'd be correct. Technically, they were correct this time...
...but I am not sure that Ed Slott's financial advice is particularly useful for Kirsten and Nellie.
"'...people lose most of their money because it gets taxed too quickly after death.'" Nellie took down diligent notes.
Kirsten tried to, but her slate didn't have enough room to write
everything she needed to know. Instead, she paid careful
attention and took mental notes. She came to a startling
"What's wrong now, Kirsten?" I asked.
"I'm worried about retirement." Kirsten looked at me pleadingly.
"See, my Midsummer Dress, my Recess Set...even my School Accessories!
People are always worried about Kirsten retirements. And
I'm worried too! Most humans only retire once, but lately I've
been having several retirements a year!"
"So, in order that I can be better-prepared for the inevitable problem of retirement...."
I held my breath, waiting to tell her that I couldn't buy that $80+ retired plaid dress of hers from eBay.
"Can I pleeeeease have a Roth IRA?"
"Please?" Kirsten looked up at me with pleading eyes. "The
savings will grow tax-free and I'll make sure to name the correct
beneficiary so that my investment doesn't get eaten up in taxes--"
While I tried to figure out how to explain to Kirsten that she didn't
need to worry about her fiscal security (let alone the estate tax), the
program ended. Nellie realized Kirsten was done learning for the
day, and decided to clean up.
As she put Kirsten's slate away, she noticed something new.
"More theater seats?" She scratched her head. "That pretty
shelving unit has been there for quite a while, but those seats are
new. Kirsten and I already have seats to sit in...why would Miss
Cheap Lady get more?"
Curious, she investigated.
"What's this stuffed cat doing in the seats?" Nellie asked. "I don't think it's a present for Kirsten's birthday...is it?"
A voice Nellie had never heard before sounded from across the room.
"W--who's there?" Nellie asked, not sure if she should be
frightened or curious.
A head poked out from behind the computer. The voice that replied did sound a bit intimidated, but there was a hint of determination too. "Mabel is my doll, miss, and I would like to have her back."
"Oh!" Nellie said. "I'm so sorry!" She picked up Mabel and
brought her right over. "You can call me Nellie, and--" Her
jaw dropped. "Are you...a new girl come to live with us?"
"I think so. My papa thought this would be a good place for me."
Nellie grinned. "Wow, look at how much we have in common!
But why are you hiding? You know we're friendly, right?"
"I know you're friendly...Nellie."
Nellie blinked. How did this girl know her name?
The girl continued, "But I've been reading about this place, and
your roommate seems rather scary. I don't think she takes well to
"Hey!" Kirsten called from over the futon. "What's going on?"
"Oh!" Nellie cried, blocking Kirsten's view. "Nothing, Miss Kirsten!"
"Who are you talking to?" Kirsten asked.
Nellie grabbed the new girl and dragged her away. "N--no one!
I was just--just--playing with Pegleg Sally! See?"
Nellie's little heart throbbed as she stood in front of Pegleg
Sally who, in turn, hid the new girl. She hated to lie, but she
felt she had no choice. Would it work?
"But Pegleg Sally is quiet," Kirsten said. "I could've sworn I heard another voice..."
"Miss Kirsten!" Nellie said desperately. "Do you remember what
you did after your birthday last year? Why don't you tell
us--uh--me and Pegleg Sally, and whoever's reading this, and no one
else, because there's no one else here--about that again?"
Kirsten paused, then nodded. "All right."
"Whew," someone said.
"Who was that?" Kirsten growled.
Nellie blurted out, "You were sleeping in Miss Cheap Lady's bed..."
"Oh, right, right," Kirsten said. "I was sleeping in the Cheap Lady's bed..."
"She wasn't too pleased when she came in. 'Kirsten!' she bellowed. 'What are you doing in my bed?'"
"I felt just like Goldilocks!
"'Good morning to you, too!' I replied. 'Since you didn't make me a bed like Michele's Kirsten got for HER birthday, I thought I could just take yours.'
"'And that's why you set the thermostat to 60 degrees in the middle of the summer?' the Cheap Lady said.
"'It's your fault for making me a flannel nightgown,' I said.
"'But it was historically accurate!' the Cheap Lady complained.
"To distract the Cheap Lady from whining even more, I pointed to the
manila envelope she held in her hand. 'Hey, what's that?'
"'It's from Katie,' the Cheap Lady said. 'She's my long-lost-twin and Secret Sister for 2007!'
"So I tore it open...and wow!
"'What a beautiful dress!' I exclaimed. 'It's even better than having a new bed!' And I went to pose with Pegleg Sally."
Kirsten grinned. "Wasn't that a good story, Nellie?"
Nellie was gone.
"Nellie?" Kirsten frowned, going to the laptop. "What's this stuffed cat doing here? Mini Kit?"
Mini Kit looked up guiltily.
"Do you know what's going on?" Kirsten asked. "Nellie's acting awful weird."
"I think I could tell you," Mini Kit said. "For a price."
("Miss Cheap Lady?" Nellie whispered. "Stopping in the middle of a story is really mean...")
On to 6.9.08