Sally Calls a Wrong Number

One day Sally’s mom walked into the kitchen and discovered Sally chatting away on the phone.  A few weeks earlier Sally’s mom had shown her how to dial the phone to talk to Grandma.  They enjoyed their chats, Sally usually does most of the talking, sharing her various adventures with Grandma.  As Mom listened she heard Sally recount about her latest dance recital and even twirled about as if the person on the other end could see her. Then the conversation turned to the garden and the tomatoes that were almost ready.  After recounting how her dad had squished a tomato bug Sally held the phone out to Mom, “The lady would like to talk to you,” Sally said.

“Hello?” Mom said into the receiver.

“Hello,” said the other voice with a chuckle. “I think that your daughter called a wrong number.”

“Um, sorry about that, it won’t happen again.”

“No, no,  it was quite alright. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a little voice and I truly miss them.”

There was something vaguely familiar about the lady’s voice that Sally’s mom couldn’t place. “Would you mind if I asked your name and where you are from?” Mom asked.

“I’m Katheryn Trumble, I have an apartment at Greenleaf in Smithville”

“Oh, ok, I’m relieved that Sally didn’t call anyone long distance. Trumble? You did say Trumble right?”

“Yes, dear.”

“My kindergarten teacher was a Mrs. Trumble, she was tall and had red hair.”

“Well I’m not as tall as I used to be and my hair isn’t red anymore but I did teach kindergarten for a while. What’s your name?”

“Mary Beth Jones, no wait, that’s my married name, Mary Beth White.”

There was silence over the line for a few moments before Mrs. Trumble said, “I remember you, blond curls, fond of polka dots, and loved to talk.”

“Guilty as charged,” Mom responded. “So how are you?”

“I’m doing ok, knees don’t work like they used to and the days get long, but I’m ok.”

Mom paused, not sure whether to respond with “great” or “that’s too bad” instead she said, “How about if Sally and I come to visit you, is there a good time or day?”

“You don’t have to do that,” Mrs. Trumble weakly exclaimed and then added, “I usually have doctors appointments on Wednesday mornings and a hair appointment Friday afternoons.”

Mom glances at the calendar, “Ok, how about next Monday, say after lunch. Would that suit?”

“That would be fine, I’m in apartment 21 down WillowTree Lane.”

“Great, see you then.”

After a rainy drive to Greenleaf, Mom parks the car in a spot reserved for visitors.  “Sally, I need you to be on your best behavior and don’t touch anything, ok?” Sally nods in agreement. “How about you carry in the cookies while I hold the umbrella.” Sally nodded again and took the plate of chocolate chip cookies they had made that morning.  Getting directions from a group playing dominos in the lobby they maneuvered the hallways until they came to apartment 21.  The door label read Mr. and Mrs. Frank Trumble. “I forgot she was married,” Mom whispered to herself.  She lightly knocked on the door. “Come on in” came the reply.

When Mom opened the door Sally marched in, walked right up to the white-haired retired Kindergarten teacher and proclaimed, “We brought you chocolate chip cookies, we made them this morning, I hope you like them and you don’t have died beets or something.”

“Sally!” Mom barked, “I’m sorry Mrs. Trumble, Sally forgot her manners”

“it seems to me that I remember another little girl that did something just like that one morning before class when it was my birthday, well everything but the ‘died beets’,” Mrs. Trumble replied.  “This rain is really playing havoc with my knees, so if it is ok I’ll just sit here.” Mrs. Trumble accepted the plate and gave Sally and Mom a good look. “Sally looks just like you did, polka dot dress and all,” she observed.  Looking at Sally She asked, “how old are you, Sally?”

“I’m four,” Sally answered proudly.

“Her birthday is in next months so she’ll be in Kindergarten this fall,” Mom added.

“Really? That’s fantastic, you’ll learn so much. Every morning we used to start with the sunshine song, do you think your mom will remember it?”  Without missing a beat Mrs. Trumble softly sang the song that started each day of her class and Mom joined in.

After the song, Mrs. Trumble began to ask Sally about her numbers, colors, and letters.  While they were talking Mom looked around the small apartment.  The furniture had obviously come from a larger house, one wall was covered with pictures of Mrs. Trumble’s family. Over the pictures, there was a wooden plaque that read, “All Because Two People Fell in Love…” On another wall was a triangular shadow box with a carefully folded United State’s flag.  Beneath the flag was an old picture of a young man in uniform along with several medals.  Seeing Sally’s mom looking at the flag Mrs. Trumble said, “Frank passed last December, I’m not sure if you ever met him.”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Mom replied, “didn’t he come for a veteran’s program one year?”

“That’s right, I’d forgotten about that,” Mrs. Trumble confirmed.

They visited for a bit more.  Seeing that Sally was getting bored with the adult remembrances Mom got up to leave. “Thanks for letting us visit, its been fun to catch up,” Mom said. “Would you mind if we visited again sometime soon?”

“I’d hate for you to bother, although I would enjoy talking to Sally over the phone and hearing about all she is learning.”

“It’s no bother, really, and I’m sure that Sally would love to call you sometime,” Mom replied.

“Hope you like the cookies,” Sally chimed in.

Not only did Sally call Mrs. Trumble once a week or so but they also visited every now and again.  When Mrs. Trumble became ill Sally insisted that her Kindergarten class send her a card.  Her teacher did one better and created a video of the whole class singing the sunshine song just for her.  But this is not the end of the story, just the beginning of a relationship that started because of a wrong number. Or was it a wrong number?

Dale Heinold
Follow Me
Latest posts by Dale Heinold (see all)

One Response - Add Comment