Redmond Rogers & the Riches of Life

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New friends

Mum said she would walk to school with me for the first day and then I could walk to and from school on my own. This was Mum’s last day before she started work tomorrow.

I packed my lunch into my bag and it was time to go. Mum wanted to leave early so we had plenty of time and so I could be relaxed without the stress of being late on my first day.

We started walking down the road towards the main street and to the school. It didn’t take too long before we were at the gates of the school. Mum said to me “Have a great day and I will see you back at the house this afternoon”.

“Thanks Mum” I said and walked through the gates.

There were a group of kids in front of the classroom that I would be in. They looked like they were playing hopscotch. I use to play that in Cookeville. I walked over to them and asked if there was room for one more to play. Simon was the first to introduce himself and said there was always room for one more. He was very tall and had brown hair that was wavy like mine, although longer. He turned and introduced me to Michael. Michael was about the same height as me with really dark hair and really well tanned skin with dark brown eyes. Simon turned and pointed to the two girls, Isabel and Rachael. Isabel stepped forward and held out her hand to shake. She was about the same height as me and had light brown hair and very light green eyes. Then there was Rachael. Rachael was tall and slim and had long straight brown hair tied in a pony tail. I smiled and said hello and started to play hopscotch with them and before we knew it, we were all laughing like we had known each other all our lives. The bell rang and it was time to enter the classroom for my first day at Kendall Springs State School.

Miss Have was writing on the whiteboard when we all entered the classroom and she had written my name on the board. I felt my cheeks turn red at the thought of everyone seeing my name on the board and everyone looking at me. She asked us all to quickly take our seats, so she could introduce the new student to the class.

She asked me to come up to the front of the class, so I could be introduced properly.

“Class this is Redmond Rogers” she said. “Please make him feel welcome as he and his Mother have just moved to Kendall Springs all the way from Cookeville”. She turned to me and said “You may now take your seat Redmond”.

Miss Have began the class and asked us all to get our book out in relation to Parliament and asked me if I had read as she had asked. I told her I had read and she asked me to explain what I understood about Parliament and what it meant. After I finished explaining what I knew from reading about Parliament she said “Thank you Redmond” and continued to talk about politicians and how this affected us in the community.

Before too long the bell sounded and we were excused from class. Simon was sitting behind me and asked if I wanted to hang out with him and the others who had played hopscotch before school.

Once we were all in the school yard, Michael asked why we had moved to Kendall Springs. I told them all that we had moved for a fresh start away from my Dad who seemed to think it was more important to drink each day than anything else. They all nodded as if they understood what it would be like. I didn’t tell them anything else. Simon seemed to have big feet or maybe he was just clumsy. Every time it was his turn he would either fall over or lose his spot. I really did like him and he seemed the friendliest of them all. Isabel and Rachael were nice too and they had little sisters who also attended the school. Michael had a big brother who was already in College and Simon was like me, an only child. We seemed to have a lot in common.

Simon asked if he could come over to my house at the end of school after I told him we had huge trees in the back yard that were fun to climb.

The bell rang and it was time to go back into class. For the rest of the day, Simon and I were side by side and talked at every opportunity we could. He really was a good kid and seemed to like everything I liked.

Once the final bell rang and it was the end of our school day, Simon and I started walking towards my house and never had a quiet moment as we were always talking about anything and everything.

Before long we turned into Harrison St and Simon said he only lived two streets away, so we could walk to school together each day. We walked into our driveway and headed straight up the front steps into the house. Mum was in the kitchen and she had baked a huge batch of biscuits with chocolate chips. These were my favourite. I introduced Simon to Mum and we sat and ate biscuits and drank milk while telling Mum about our day. We told her about the politicians that Miss Have had told us about and Mum started telling us about other politicians and what they had done over the course of their leadership of the country.

Simon and I went out to the backyard to climb one of the large trees. Simon couldn’t believe how big they were and started climbing before I had even told him that you could see the beach from the tree. I followed right behind him and there was a lot of room in the tree for both of us. I told Simon this would be the perfect spot to build a tree house and we started talking about how we could build it and get it to stay high up in the tree. How we could make a special trap door, so only those that we wanted in the tree house could get up and join the special club. We found ourselves laughing so much that we both had sore tummies.

Then we looked out to the beach and I told Simon how Mum and I had walked there yesterday and found a cave. The cave was at the side of a mountain but you could get to it from walking on the beach. Then I explained how we had found a river inside the cave and that it must go somewhere. Simon said “Maybe we could build a raft and paddle through the river to see where it leads”.

I told him I had thought the very same thing and that we would need to get some materials to be able to build it. “Maybe the others could help too” I said. “That would make it easier and we could all go into the cave and ride on the river”.

We had homework to finish and had decided to go up into my room and get through the homework together.

Once we were up in my room we unpacked our bags to get our homework books. It was homework in relation to Parliament. We both rolled our eyes and started reading the questions. We would write down the same answer, but change a few words so our homework wasn’t exactly the same.

It was then Simon noticed my pirate ship picture on the wall. He was just staring at it like I had done the day before.

“Where did you get the picture from” Simon asked? I told him I had found it up in the attic above my wardrobe.

He was amazed that we had an attic and wanted to see it. So we went into the wardrobe and pulled the drawers across to reach the chain and pull it down. Simon had never seen anything like this and couldn’t wait to get up inside the attic. Once we had both climbed the steps into the attic we both looked around and Simon thought it was a great cubby house. “It just needs a little cleaning and it would be perfect” he said.

I had forgotten to tell Mum about the attic and said to Simon that we should clean it up and make it our cubby. I don’t think Mum would mind. There is only old stuff up here and we didn’t even know whose stuff it was. I guess if we just hung out up here we wouldn’t be doing anything wrong.

We started shifting boxes and stacking them up on top of each other into one corner. I found an old broom and it was made of straw. I thought it would be alright to use to sweep the floor. I started sweeping and there was so much dust flying around the room that we both started coughing. Simon went to the one window and tried to open it, but it was stuck. I went over to help him and between the two of us we managed to pull the latch open. Once we had the window open, the dust started to clear. I said to Simon that we should go through each box to see if there were any materials to help make a raft to go down the river in the cave.

We found old clothes in most of the boxes that we went through. There was nothing that we could use to build a raft. We packed the clothes back into the boxes and stacked the boxes on top of each other in one corner of the attic.

We closed the window and made our way back into the wardrobe of my room and shut the door once we had got back out onto the drawers.

It was time to finish doing our home work and worry about building a raft another day. We finished our homework and made our way back downstairs to find Mum in the kitchen preparing dinner.

Simon said good bye and left to go home before it got too late and he got into trouble for being late home.

Mum and I sat down to eat dinner and I told Mum about the attic. She didn’t know about it, but said it was ok for me to go up there from time to time as long as I was careful.

This was our second day in Kendall Springs and I hadn’t even thought about Dad or Cookeville. It seemed like such a long time ago, but it was only two days ago that we had left.

As we sat down to dinner, Mum asked me about school and if I had met any new friends. I told her about Michael, Isabel and Rachael, but Simon seemed to be my favourite. He just seemed to like the same things as me, but the other kids seemed pretty cool too. I’m sure I would get to know them better, but I was also sure Simon would be my favourite.

The next morning as I was leaving to go to school, I saw Simon coming up the driveway. He waved and as we got near each other he cried out “Hi Red”. It had been a while since I had been called that. Mum always called me Redmond and I liked being called Red.

We walked together to school and were talking about the pirate ship picture that was in my room. Simon said he thought it must be really old and it had to be real. I wasn’t so sure, but was happy to go along with what he said as the picture was black and white, so maybe it was really old.

Before too long we arrived at school and found Isabel and Rachael playing hopscotch. I think that was their favourite game. That’s all I had seen them do since I had started here. Isabel seemed the more talkative one out of the two and started telling us that we were probably going to be tested today about our research on Parliament.

The bell rang and it was time to go inside and start our school day. Miss Have was writing on the board when we all walked in. “Take your seats everyone” she said. Everyone was quick to take their seats when Miss Have turned around and told us that we would be doing a test on Parliament today. I looked around to see Rachael and Isabel and we all smiled. She had been right.

The next few weeks went by really quickly and before I knew it I had settled into Kendall Springs like I had always been there. Mum had settled into her new job at the Journal and was really happy.

There had been no contact from Dad that I knew of and Mum sure didn’t say anything about him.

Simon and I walked to and from school every day and Isabel, Rachael and Michael went the other way. They all lived in the other direction to Simon and I, but we always hung out together at school and on the weekends. Simon would come to my house and we would walk into town and meet the others and go to the local park.

It was on a warm Saturday that we all decided to go to the beach and mess around in the water for a while. It wasn’t long before I said to the others “Let’s go and check out the cave. It’s not too far from here”. We all walked along the sand to the side of the big hill, which really looked as big as a mountain, but the tide was in and the water was too high to get around to where the cave was. We all decided we would come back another day and try again.

I invited everyone back to my house as Mum had said she would like to meet all my friends.

We got back to my house and Mum was in the kitchen making biscuits. She loved to make chocolate chip biscuits and muffins. Today she had made extra as she knew I was going to bring my friends back to the house. We all sat around the dining table and talked and ate the warm chocolate chip biscuits. Mum seemed to want to get to know my friends and I felt like they could stay here all day. It was a nice feeling, having real friends and how easy everyone got along.

Isabel and Rachael decided it was time to go and got up and thanked Mum for the biscuits and milk.

They both left the house and Mum told me it was nice that I had girl friends as well as boys.

Simon, Michael and I all went upstairs to my room and Simon and I told Michael about the attic above the wardrobe.

I pointed out the picture to Michael of the pirate ship and Simon went over to take the picture off the wall. As Simon took the picture off the hook it slipped from his hands and fell to the floor.

The glass smashed and glass had gone all over the floor. Mum came running up the stairs to see what the noise was. We showed her the picture and Simon was still standing there in shock just looking at the broken frame on the floor. Mum went and got a broom and started to sweep up the broken glass. It was at that moment that Simon told me he had a bad habit of breaking things, but it was always an accident and he never meant to do anything bad. Mum told Simon it was just that, an accident and finished cleaning up the broken glass and left the room.

I picked up the pirate ship picture and I noticed a piece of paper that was sticking out from behind the picture. I looked at Simon and Michael as I slowly took it out. I opened it up to find it was some sort of map. “A treasure map” Michael said and started jumping around the room with excitement.

We opened it right up and it sure looked like some sort of map. There was markings on it and a cross. We had all seen these types of maps before in stories, but to see one in real life. It was really something. We had to try and work out where to start and find what was at the end. It really could be a treasure map. We tried to decide where the best place was to hide the map, after all we had found it and we didn’t want anyone else to have it.

I decided to put it back in the picture behind the pirate ship. No-one else would look there and if Simon hasn’t been so clumsy and smashed the picture, we may never have found the map anyway.

After putting the map back behind the pirate ship picture, I placed the picture back on the wall. It looked the same, but was now missing the glass at the front.

Michael, Simon and I went downstairs and Michael and Simon said their goodbyes and left.

I was still deciding on whether to tell Mum about the map, but thought it was probably best if I didn’t for now. Mum said she wasn’t worried about the broken picture and it was just an accident. I told Mum how Simon had said he was always breaking things, but never meant to, he was just clumsy.

The next morning I met Simon in our driveway and we walked to school and all we talked about was the map. It was going to be exciting finding a treasure. The only problem was we had to work out where to start. Or maybe we needed to look at the map more closely for any clues. Yes this is what we needed to do. This was where we would start.

After school that day, Simon and I walked back with Michael following behind us asking about the treasure map. We all went straight to my house and couldn’t get to the map fast enough.

Mum was still at work, so we had a little bit of time before we needed to be doing our homework and get into trouble for not doing it. I took the picture and gently took the map out from behind the picture.

Michael said we needed a magnifier to see the picture more closely and to see if there was any smaller writing or other clues.

We had the map sitting on the desk in my room and were all staring at it, trying to work out what it all meant. I noticed there was a river on the map. “If this map is from around here, then maybe this river is a big clue. How many rivers are there in town?” I asked.

Michael said “There is no river, only the beach”. Then I remembered the river that I saw in the cave when I was at the beach with Mum. “No, wait” I said, “there is a river at the beach and it’s in that cave I was telling you about”.

“You mean the cave that was full of water when we went the other day” said Michael.

“Yes” I said. “The cave Mum and I walked into from the beach, but it must have been while the tide was out, isn’t that called low tide”? I asked and Simon and Michael nodded in agreement.

We needed to find out the tide times to work out the best time we could go to the beach and enter the cave. Of course we would take the map with us, so we could work it out while we were there. We all jumped around with excitement until we heard Mum calling out. “Oh oh” said Simon “it’s time for us to be doing homework or we will all be in trouble”. We all laughed and got our homework books out.

I looked at the others and then at the map and said “I will go and talk to Mum and you put the map back in the picture”. I went downstairs to Mum and asked her about her day, trying to avoid her coming up to my room.

I distracted Mum long enough and by the time I got back to my room, the boys had put the picture back with the map tucked safely inside.

We decided to look on the internet and find tide times and then we would know when the best time to go to the beach without the tide being in and not being able to get inside the cave.

It wasn’t as easy as we first thought and we needed to put in Kendall Springs to see where the tide times were. Once we found that, then it was easy.

According to the tide times on the internet tonight would be high tide, which meant we could go tomorrow morning and be able to get inside the cave. We finished our homework and Michael and Simon left. We had decided we would meet back at my house tomorrow morning at 9am. This would give us plenty of time as the tide would be out and we could explore the cave with our map.

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