Misty floated along, wondering where she would end up this time. She knew she should be deciding to go home, but this had all been so exciting, she had met some really nice people, and she hadn’t had to listen to the constant carping and bickering. ‘I think I’ll just go to wherever the umbrella takes me, and see what happens.’ she thought. She drifted along contentedly, thoughts drifting too, not going anywhere.
“Hector, have you seen Misty?” Mom Merriweather was in the usual grouchy mood. “I’ve been looking for her all morning. I wanted her to do the laundry today; I have other things to do! That girl is so lazy, she tries my patience.”
“I saw her go out after she cleared away the breakfast things. She was dressed for the weather and took the big umbrella. She mumbled something about getting away from all the negative stuff that goes on here all the time. Frankly, I don’t blame her. If I didn’t have to get the car working for Dad again, I’d take off, too.”
“What do you mean negative stuff?” Mrs. Merriweather asked.
“Well, for one, you are always carping and nagging at her, at everyone, really. You never just ask us to do something, you snap at us, and call us lazy when we work as hard as you or Dad. We are all just waiting for the chance to get away, as far away as we can get. We are all well able to get jobs and support ourselves.” Hector knew he shouldn’t have said any of that, but he was too angry to care. Misty was anything but lazy, she did most of the housework while Mom spent her time doing her crafts. Sure, they sold and brought in some cash, but it wasn’t fair. Misty hardly had time to get her homework from school done, often well into the small hours of the morning. And on top of the housework and most of the cooking, she took care of three year old Peter, who was an inquisitive, adventurous child, and had often got himself into dangerous situations.
“Well, I never!” Mrs. Merriweather exclaimed. “How dare you speak to me like that?” She was livid. No child of hers had the right to criticize her! “Go find her, now!” she ordered, and turned to stalk out of the room.
“Ok, Mom, but maybe you should have a look and see what Peter is up to. He is usually doing something dangerous when he’s this quiet. Misty usually saves him, but since she’s not here, and he’s you child, maybe you should take on the responsibility. It is yours, anyway.” He went and got his boots and coat and headed out. Although he knew he shouldn’t have been so disrespectful of his Mother, he was glad he had finally let her know how they all felt.
His mother was standing staring after him, shocked at what he’d said, when there was a shriek and crash. She rushed into the dining room and found Peter lying stunned and unmoving, on the floor beside an overturned chair and stool. She rushed to him and ran her hands over his arms and legs, and checked his head. His left arm was broken and he had a growing lump on his head. She jumped up and shouted for her husband and younger daughter Aoife. (Eefah)
By the time they had carefully moved Peter to the car and off to the hospital, she had run through what Hector had said. Maybe he was right. She thought back over the last almost four years, and realised that Misty had indeed done all the housework, most of the cooking, and looked after Peter from the time he was starting to toddle, all while continuing to get straight A’s in her school work. ‘Hector is right,’ she thought. ‘I have been neglecting my job as Mother and Homemaker. I resented Peter because I didn’t want another child, but did nothing to prevent getting pregnant again.
I hid in my jewellery making, saying it was for extra income when we don’t need it. I just wanted to earn my spending money, not have to ask Joshua for it. And I do enjoy making the jewelry. Poor Misty, I have been grossly unfair to her. I do hope she’s all right, wherever she is. Maybe Tobias and Aoife (Eefah) have found her by now. ‘Please, dear Lord, forgive me for being so selfish and unseeing, heal my little boy, and bring Misty home safely. I will listen to Hector, and I will become the Mother my children deserve. I will ask their forgiveness, and Joshua’s, and admit to myself that I love Peter as much as I love the others. Amen.’ She sighed and followed as they took Peter into the Emergency entrance of the hospital.
Misty floated in the fog, not really thinking of where she was going, her thoughts too jumbled to be coherent. After a while she realised that the fog had a yellow tinge, and there was an acrid odor in the air. ‘I must be near a city,’ she thought. ‘this stuff looks and smells like smog. Where am I now?’
Slowly, though she actually felt no movement, she knew that she was moving downwards. Soon her feet touched ground, and she could see. There were people walking along the street, horses pulling carriages and wagons, and they were dressed in early 1900s styles. A big bell rang, ‘bong bong bong bong, bong bong bong bong.’ That sounded like Big Ben! ‘Oh! I am in London England at the time Mary Poppins was nanny to the Banks children!’ The umbrella must have brought me here, it came home!’
The fog had thinned a lot, and she walked along, staring around. No one seemed to see her; in fact, her arm brushed a woman’s arm and went right through. ‘I seem to be invisible, and like a ghost,’ she thought. ‘How weird!’ She came to the entrance to a park, and turned in. Soon she saw a young woman sitting on a bench watching two children playing. As she drew nearer, the woman turned and looked at her. It was Mary Poppins, and she didn’t seem very pleased with Misty. She beckoned, and Misty went and joined her on the bench.
“Misty, how and why did you ever come here, of all places?” Mary asked.
Misty explained how things were at home, now fed up she had felt and about taking the forbidden umbrella in defiance when she left home. She recounted her adventures in Wonderland and Neverland, and did the clock sound for Mary, who laughed.
“You have done well, except this last time. You let your mind wander, and the umbrella took over. But it cannot be here in this time. It already is here, in its earlier version.”
Misty looked around to see that no one seemed to notice her. Mary smiled. “Don’t worry, only I can see you, and to everyone else, I am just sitting here watching Jane and Michael. Now, if you aren’t ready to go home just yet, walk along the path and think of another land you’d like to see. Perhaps Oz, where you could meet the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow; perhaps you can even meet Ozma. Then, when you really miss home, you can think of those you love and miss, and the umbrella and it will take you back. You will find you have been gone several hours, and they are worried about you. Go now, for the strain of two of the umbrellas in this time is very hard on me. Have a safe journey and a happy homecoming.”
Misty thanked Mary, and stood and walked away. Ozland? Yes, that would be a fun place to visit. But after - would it, could it be a happy homecoming? She had her doubts, but decided to put her faith in Mary Poppins.