"Remember," said Ms. Bernsley, "all the girls will be out of school tomorrow."
"Not fair," said one of the boys.
"What are you doing tomorrow, Raggedy Ann?" whispered Cindy. She leaned over in her seat so the teacher couldn't hear her.
Ashley would not look at Cindy. She hated when Cindy called her Raggedy Ann. Ashley had a Raggedy Ann doll and loved her. But she had to admit Raggedies were funny-looking. But, thought Ashley, Cindy was right. With her freckled face. coarse red hair and button-shaped eyes, she did look like a real live Raggedy Ann.
Except for Cindy, Ashley liked her new school. She liked Ms. Bernsley. She enjoyed playing with the other third-graders. Today, however, Ashley wished she could crawl under her desk and hide.
"Cindy, it's your turn," said Ms. Bernsley. "Tell the class where you will be going tomorrow for Take Your Daughter To Work Day."
With a smug look, Cindy walked to the front of the class. "My mother has a very important job," said Cindy, holding up a picture of a large gray building. "She's an attorney in a big law firm. I'm going to work with her."
All the other girls in Ashley's class had working moms. They would be going to work with their mothers or fathers. Some children in her class, including her best friend, came from single-parent homes. Susan's mother worked two jobs. Her best friend would have plenty to write about.
"Very good," said Ms. Bernsley, smiling at Cindy. "Betty, you are next."
Betty would be spending the day with her dad driving a tractor. Other girls would be working in stores or offices. All the girls in the class had some business to go to. They would have no problem writing interesting reports to share with the class on Monday.
"Thank you, Betty," said the teacher.
Ashley held her breath. Please don't let Ms. Bernsley call me, she silently begged.
The teacher glanced at her watch. "Sorry, girls. We are out of time."
Ashley sighed in relief. As Ms. Bernsley went over the homework assignment, the children stirred in their seats, waiting to be dismissed.
"When the girls return on Monday," the teacher went on, "they will bring an extra assignment. Each girl must bring in a report on what they did for Take Your Daughter To Work Day."
When Ms. Bernsley dismissed the class, Ashley got out of her seat and hurried toward the door.
"Hey, wait for me," called Susan.
"What can I write a report about?" whispered Ashley. She could just picture Cindy laughing at her as she stood in front of the class, with blank paper.
"Can't you go to work with your dad?" asked Susan.
"My dad's out of town again," said Ashley, trying not to whine. Her father was gone a lot. He worked as much as he could so her mom could stay home.
"You can come with me and my mom," answered Susan.
"I can't," answered Ashley, shaking her head. Somehow going to work with someone else's parent seemed like cheating.
Susan chatted on about what she would be doing tomorrow. "During the day I'll help people cross the street," continued Susan. "At night I'm going to my mom's second job at Sears."
Ashley tried not to be envious.
"See you on Monday," said Susan, turning toward the bus. "Maybe your mother will do something exciting for Take Your Daughter To Work Day."
Exciting! What a laugh! All her mom did all day was change Brian's dirty diapers and wash dishes. Why couldn't her mother work like all the other mothers?
"Over here, Ashley," yelled her mom, standing next to their black van.