Monday, 22 March 2010


Eva Goes On Holiday  # 6

Miss Manfred and The Lady who sits with us in the dining room and when we play games indoors said that it’s my birthday today.

How was I supposed to know, nobody told me.

It was an ordinary day; we played on the beach in the morning, then we had to go to the nurse and she did what she calls an examination and I had to take my vest off again; I have to do this all the time here, at least maybe three or four times already, or maybe six. The nurse says that the sea air has done me good and that my chest is much clearer and that I’ll be a new girl when I go home.  That’s so silly, I don’t think that I can be new, how can I be new when I’m already a big girl.

After our lunch we had to lie down again for a rest and then we went to tea and to play games indoors in the big dining room. All the other children from the  big house were there too and when I tried to go to the table for the children from the isolation ward, where we always sit, The Lady called me back and said to come to the front next to her table where she and Miss Manfred and some of the other grown-ups sit to have their meals and watch us play.

Nobody else had ever had to do this before and I was really frightened. I knew I hadn’t done anything bad, I don’t think Miss Manfred had seen us when Susie and I went and hid in the dunes and pretended to be lost, because we went back before she noticed that we had run away.

I went to The Lady and I saw that she was smiling, so she couldn’t be cross with me. When grown-ups tell me off they never smile, they look serious and angry and upset. Then they tell me that they are very upset and they don’t think that I might be upset because they are cross with me.

The Lady and Miss Manfred were standing by a little table between the big tables for the grown-ups and I saw that they had a cake on it; the cake looked very nice and I thought how lucky they were to have it.

The Lady made me stand by the little table, right in front of all the children and the grown-ups and she said that it was a very special day for me because it was my birthday and then she said that I could choose any song and that all the children would sing it for me because it was my birthday and did I know which song I wanted them to sing for me. And that I could also choose a game to play afterwards and that the cake was for my table and for the other girls from the isolation ward and that everybody would have a piece of cake to eat and that there was enough cake for everybody.

I have never had a cake because of me before and I didn’t know any songs for everybody to sing and I didn’t want to choose a game either. Nobody told me that it was my birthday and I didn’t like to stand there and everybody staring at me. I could tell that The Lady was looking at Miss Manfred and that Miss Manfred was looking back at the Lady and they were making private grown-up faces at each other, with smiles and shruggy shoulders. I know grown-ups when they think you can’t see them because they are taller than you and secretly they are saying that they think you are stupid and they make poor child faces, when really they have no idea that they are being creepy with their songs and their games.

In the end The Lady said that everybody should sing the song about the Jolly Rambler and would I like that. Well of course I know that song, we sing it all the time and it is nothing special and I could have told her that too and she also said we could play a game of Black Peter afterwards, if I liked.

So she made me stand there and everybody sang about the Jolly Rambler and I had to pretend to be glad because it was specially for me, but it was really creepy and I could see that I hadn’t cleaned my shoes after we had been to the beach and there was a lot of sand in the cracks. I am glad I was dribbling sand all over their clean floor.

After everybody had shouted happy birthday Eva, The Lady let me go back to my table.

The cake was lovely and I ate a very big piece all by myself. When I go home again I must ask Mum if I can have a cake for my next birthday. At least, I won’t have to  have a song sung for me.


  1. Dear little Eva. What a special tale, Friko. I'm glad the cake was nice.

  2. Very nice look inside a little girl's head.

  3. friko - i really admire your ability to place the reader inside your head and see the world through a child's eyes. it's a special gift that provides deep resonant revelations for me. thankyou. steven

  4. I have twice tried to leave comments today that get something like an "ERROR" screen after. Anyway, do know that I am reading and appreciating. Love that saavy, sassy little Eva!

  5. "How can I be new when I'm already a big girl" - the impeccable logic of children.

    This is the kind of literary magic I like - you become the child so the reader can feel what that's like.

  6. Friko, thank you for these words about Eva, and also for the words in the comments you've left for me.

    Still looking forward to our actually being able to talk, not type. xo

  7. The possibility of Eva's final fate worries me. I know we will hear more about her. I remember when she was sent away to the seaside.

    Beautifully told.

  8. Aloha from Hawaii my talented Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  9. Great writing. Next installment?

  10. Great piece! Shall I look forward to more?
    By the way, Thank you for your comment!
    I wasn't sad in that picture but you're right I did look like it. I was actually very tired. But I did end up getting my mind off of everything by starting Shakespeare's Richard III (Act I Scene I Line 106)... still can't grasp the flow well though! But I've never read it, and someday I want to be able to say "I read that." =]

  11. I felt for Eva. I wouldn't have wanted the song. No way! (I wouldn't mind now.)

  12. We often forget how tender and fragile a small child's ego can be. I am amazed that you can see through her eyes so well.

  13. This seems the perfect excuse to go and bake a cake - can I offer you a slice then Friko?!

  14. Told from the heart. Another delightful episode in little Eva's life.

  15. I like the little spark that Eva shows in being secretly glad about leaving sand on the floor. That little spark can make all the difference to a child's survival in the land of grown ups and being a good girl.

  16. Everybody -
    Thank you all for saying kind things about little Eva and her tale.
    Her stay at the Sanatorium is coming to an end; she is getting better, the Kur has done her a lot of good.

    She may write a few more stories about life back home, before she finally grows up to become old enough to speak with the voice of a 'big girl'.

  17. Its a bit creepy but you describe exactly the feeling I had at my first birthday in Kindergarten. Being in the centre of attention was so horrible . I was made to wear a paper crown so everybody could see it was my birthday. I hated it, because I did stick out from the crowd.


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.