My performance in Peter Pan will be a "thing of beauty." It will be a "joy forever," because my family will never stop talking about it. Neither will Ms. Bunder. The tryouts are in only two weeks. I must prepare myself in every way. Once I get my part, I will rehearse without cease! But first I must decide which part I want. Captain Hook? Peter Pan? Wendy? Or any of the other roles?

Pluses and Minuses:

PLUS: A starring role. Get to be wise older sister and best friend of Peter Pan.
MINUS: Must compete with Briana for the role. (She will be nasty if she doesn't get the part and even worse if she does.)

PLUS: Another starring role. No lines to memorize.
MINUS: Can't stand the name! Don't want to be a cute little fairy with wings!

PLUS: Get to sing, dance, and be on stage.
MINUS: Don't want to spend the entire play in boys' pajamas

The best part of the play. Sings and dances and never has to grow up. Wears cute elf costume.
What are the chances of my getting it?

Gets to wave mean-looking hook and menace everyone. Sword fight with Peter Pan
MINUS: Will the boys laugh at me for trying out for this role?

When Abby came home from school on Friday, there was a letter waiting for her on the hall table. It was in a long, shiny envelope with pictures of cats all over the front and back. Her name and address were printed on a small white label. She recognized the thin black lettering right away.

"It's from Grandma Emma!" she called. Grandma Emma, her mother's mother, was her favorite relative. She lived halfway across the country with her dog, Zipper.

Abby wanted to tear the envelope open, but she didn't. Grandma Emma's envelopes were all handmade from catalog pages or old magazines. Abby saved them in a large manila folder. Grandma Emma had promised that the next time she came to visit, she would teach Abby to make her own envelopes.

She yanked open the drawer where her mother kept a letter opener, then carefully slit the envelope open. Grandma Emma's favorite stationery slid out.

Abby scanned the letter quickly and then yelled to Alex. "Grandma Emma is coming to visit!"

"Hooray" he yelled back.

She ran to her room to check the dates on a calendar.

There were plenty of calendars to check. Abby had seventy-four. She had been collecting them since first grade. There was the Spuds Calendar she bought in fourth grade, the Polar Bear Calendar she slept with in first grade, and the Ancient Monuments Calendar she had bought when she was trying out for the soccer team and the Genius Calendar Natalie had given her a month ago. Those were the ones she kept dates on.

She flipped through the pages of the Genius Calendar with its pictures of Einstein, Shakespeare, and Mozart. Maybe one day her sister Isabel would have her face on a Genius Calendar. Or her little brother, Alex. Eva was more likely to show up on a sports calendar. She was the captain of her lacrosse, basketball and swim teams.

Abby marked the date of her grandmother's arrival in purple. There was another purple date circled the same week: the play! Wait until Grandma Emma heard! She would get to visit the Hayes family AND see Abby perform!