Anyway, the girls take a bus into the city and Nana meets them at the bus stop. They get their luggage and Nana hails a cab. Stephanie acts like a know it all, even though she only lived in the city until the summer before 4th grade. Kate is not impressed, and I wouldn't be either. Patti acts a little scared, even though she lived in the city when she was in 1st grade. The girls are supposed to meet up with Stephanie's old best friend from the city, Tiffany, but she decided to stay late at dance class and will come over later.
After the girls arrive at Nana's apartment and settle in, it's time to eat. Nana says she didn't know what to get so she "got a little of everything at the delicatessen." She wasn't kidding. There was a 3 foot long hero sandwich with salami, cheese, ham, tomatoes, and lettuce; a plate of stuffed eggs decorated with pimiento; a big bowl of potato salad; bags of barbecue and sour cream and onion potato chips; cheese dip; and fruit salad. Plus, sodas and chocolate fudge cake. As the girls are about to eat, Tiffany shows up. She acts really snotty and criticizes Stephanie's haircut and her sweater. She brags that she is going to be a "real" actress--one who is trained on the stage and can act, dance and sing. She won't eat any of the food because it is too fatty and greasy, and bad for her skin.
Nana asks the girls if they would like to rent some movies. She belongs to a video club that delivers. They've got to be in NYC. You can get anything delivered in NYC! I'm sure you can probably get things delivered in Chicago as well, but here in the suburbs, about the only thing you can get delivered is pizza. And Jimmy John's. The girls look at the list of movies. Kate is excited that there's two whole pages of foreign films. She chooses a Swedish movie called Raspberries in the Fall. What 5th grade girl wants to watch foreign films?! It's not much better than Lauren's pick though--Mare's Nest, an old 1930s comedy. Tiffany chooses Aardvarks, which is a play that was filmed. I don't remember what movies I watched in 5th grade, but there is no way I would have watched any of those movies! I realize this takes place long before High School Musical or Camp Rock, but there's got to be good movies for kids back in 1988. Anyway, the girls grab some Dr Peppers (club soda for Tiffany), Cheese Doodles (celery sticks for Tiffany) and fudge cake (nothing for Tiffany) and sit down to watch the movies. They watch Aardvarks first, and it's about three people sitting on stools on an empty stage talking about death. Again, WHY would 5th grade girls want to watch this movie?? I like independent and foreign films now, but I certainly didn't when I was in 5th grade.
They decide to watch Kate's movie next, but it's in Swedish with subtitles, and Tiffany gets bored. She starts talking to Stephanie about kids they knew, and Kate gets mad. She takes movies very seriously and doesn't like when people talk during movies (I don't either). Tiffany starts gossiping about some girl named Myra Dillard who thinks she is so cool because she lost weight, permed her hair and sings in a rock group. Tiffany won't shut up, so Kate says to her "Are all the kids from the city as rude as you are? Or did we just get lucky?" Tiffany storms out. Nana makes sure the doorman calls her a cab. Stephanie is all pissed off at Kate. The girls get ready for bed. Lauren decides she wants to write in her journal. All four girls are keeping journals as part of a class assignment. The girls all have matching journals. As Lauren reaches into her suitcase for her journal, she realizes--it's not her suitcase! There's men's hiking boots, a blue sweater with a red stripe and reindeer on the front, and an old-fashioned tape reel. Here's what Lauren actually packed:
Besides my best blue sweater, I'd packed my turquoise-and-black top, my black stretch pants, two pairs of leg warmers, and my silver Reeboks. All of my favorite stuff had gone off with somebody else!
Is that the same turquoise and black top she purchased in #4 Patti's New Look, when Patti bought that crazy outfit? Also, silver Reeboks? Awesome.
It's too late to do anything about the suitcase, so the girls go to bed. The next morning, Nana makes the girls blueberry waffles and offers to ask her friends if they have some kind of tape recorder they can use to play the tape. The name C Harkness is on the tape, so they get out the telephone book and call all the Harknesses in the book. They don't get anywhere, so they decide to try again later. Nana lets them go shopping in the city by themselves and plans to meet up with them at 1pm for lunch at Scrumptious. Since Lauren has no clothes, Patti lets her borrow some green stretch pants and Nana loans her a gray wool sweater with flowers and dark green leaves on it. Stephanie invites Tiffany to hang out with them, but she turns them down. She agrees to meet up with everyone for dinner and ice skating that evening.
As the girls head to the bus stop (I avoid taking the city buses whenever possible, I can't imagine taking the bus when I was in 5th grade!) they see a sign on a lamppost for a lost dog. They take the bus for awhile and then get off to do some shopping. They go to Rumpelstiltskin, a toy store, and a fancy dress shop called Nell's. Then they go to a pet shop where Patti buys a lizard for her brother and Lauren buys a toy for her cat. Then it's time to meet Nana for lunch. That was it? What was so great about those stores? Stephanie kept talking about how great the shopping was in the city, but they could have just gone to the mall in Riverhurst.
At Scrumptious, Lauren orders a grilled cheese sandwich and a strawberry ice-cream soda called "Berry Best." I have to admit, that sounds like a great lunch to me! They are about to eat their dessert, a chocolate mousse for four, when Lauren says she wishes she had her journal to keep track of their adventures. Stephanie offers to tear out a few sheets from hers. As she reads the journal, she realizes it's not hers. It's Kate's, and it says some not-so-nice things about Stephanie and Tiffany. Stephanie storms out. Nana pays for their lunch and then goes with Stephanie, leaving the 3 girls alone. She gives the girls $20 for cab fare and they tell her they'll go to the Historical Society Museum. Unfortunately, the museum is closed for renovations. The girls decide to look up the other Harknesses they got from the phone book, to try to find Lauren's missing suitcase. Are they crazy?! You don't just go knocking on strangers' doors in the city! Luckily nothing bad happens. They end up by Patti & Stephanie's old elementary school, so they decide to check it out. While they are there, they run into Myra Dillard, who Patti and Stephanie knew back in 1st grade, and who Tiffany had gossiped about the night before. Myra turns out to be really nice and friendly, and the girls make plans to hang out with her the next day. Then they decide to take the bus back to Nana's.
Patti gets on the bus first, but Lauren and Kate are distracted by a mime performing nearby, and the bus (and Patti!) leaves without them. As they try to decide what to do, they find a small dog under a car. Lauren crawls under the car to get the dog and they decide to take it back to Nana's. Kate hails a cab (just like a city person!). The cab driver isn't thrilled about the dog but agrees to take them anyway. As they are riding in the cab, they see Patti jogging along the sidewalk and ask the driver to stop and pick up Patti. He's even less thrilled about this, but agrees to it anyway. Patti thinks the dog they found is the missing dog from the sign on the lamppost. When they get to Nana's, they call the number on the sign and it is the missing dog! What are the chances of that?! The woman, Elizabeth, comes over to get the dog. She offers the girls a reward, but they won't accept it. Elizabeth does the lighting for a play and asks if the girls would like to watch from backstage that night. Of course Nana has no problem letting the girls go off with a stranger in the city, so they agree to it. They invite Stephanie, but she has plans with Tiffany.
Meanwhile, Stephanie had played the tape Lauren found in the suitcase and it's very strange. There's nothing on it until the end, when they hear a man and woman arguing and a loud bang. The girls are a bit freaked out, but there isn't much they can do. They eat tuna sandwiches on toast and then Elizabeth comes to pick them up for the play. As they are watching the play from backstage, they recognize a conversation that sounds just like the one on the tape. They tell Elizabeth about it afterwards, and it turns out C Harkness is Charlie Harkness, the man who wrote the play! What a coincidence! Then, Elizabeth takes them to her place where they eat brownies and drink hot apple cider. When the girls get back to Nana's, they find out Stephanie got stood up. Tiffany forgot about going to dinner and skating with her, and went out with her other friends. Stephanie decides Tiffany isn't really that great after all, and is a crummy friend.
The girls call up Myra Dillard and go over to her house for lunch. Myra shows them where the band practices, and plays and sings some songs for them. Turns out, Tiffany wanted to be in the band but was turned down because she can't sing. For lunch, the girls eat ham and cheese croissants, macaroni salad and lime ice cream with little blueberry tarts for dessert. Lauren says that "just listing the food we ate during the weekend was going to take up two or three pages of my journal." ha.
At school on Monday, Lauren is up at the board working on a math problem, when she is called to the principal's office. Turns out C Harkness is on the phone--he saw "Riverhurst" and "Lauren" on the cover of the journal, then looked inside and found "Patti," "Kate" and "Stephanie" inside. He called the school and asked if they could help. They said yes, of course: Everybody knows the Sleepover Friends! He and Lauren agree to put the suitcases on buses so they can pick them up later. So this old guy looked through Lauren's stuff? And are the girls really known as the Sleepover Friends at school?? I thought that was just what they called themselves. At least Lauren is getting her stretch pants and silver Reeboks back!
Up next: I am going to make a Dr Pepper ice cream float, and look for #6 Kate's Camp-Out later this week.