Antonia Gigglegoose and her Bread Box
Once there was a young girl whose name was Antonia Gigglegoose. Antonia lived in a breadbox. Actually, it wasn’t really the same as an ordinary breadbox that sits on your kitchen cupboard, it was really an old abandoned crate painted with the words “McGibbens Fresh Bread and other Baked Goods” on its side. These words were painted in what was once red paint but had now faded into a soft pink hue that was reminiscent of the faintest blush that bepaints a lady’s cheek when her hand is kissed by a handsome prince
Antonia liked her breadbox house. She didn’t like it because the gaps between the boards allowed water drops to come through when it rained and puddles to formed at the bottom of the crate. And she didn’t like it because in the evenings her mother, with a pin, would have to pick out slivers of wood she got under her skin when she moved against the wood. Afterwords her mom would put stinging medication on these sliver sores and Antonia did not like that very much at all. Nooooo Antonia liked her breadbox house because it belonged to her and her alone. You see, Antonia Gigglegoose came from a very large family. There were Gigglegoose brothers in the first and second grade, and Gigglegoose sisters in the fourth and fifth grades. There were even Gigglegoose triplets in kindergarten! Antonia herself was in the third grade and she didn’t very much want to admit to anyone that she was related to any of the other Gigglegooses. But as luck would have it, all Gigglegooses could be spotted from a mile away…because all Gigglegooses had green hair! Well, almost green. Gigglegoose hair was so black that when the lighting was juuuuuust right it sometimes looked as green and as glimmering as a big ol’ housefly. There seemed no escaping for Antonia, she would always be part of the swarm of children that made up the Gigglegoose family…that is until she found her breadbox home.
Antonia found her box purely by coincidence. One afternoon, while Antonia was slowly clumping off the bus after a long hot day at school, she spied something off in the distance. She untangled one of the triplet off her right shoulder, and another triplet off of her left shoulder and the third triplet clinging off her backpack (they were sticking to her like flies stick to fly paper) and while all her brothers and sisters made their way to the house, Antonia walked towards the object she spied in the distance. The closer Antonia got the more excited she became. It was the McGibbons breadbox crate! It must have always been sitting there in the middle of the filed, she just hadn’t noticed it before. Suddenly a wonderful idea made its way into Antonia’s brain…this crate would make a marvelous hiding place, some special spot she could go to get away from all her annoying brothers and sisters!
You see, with so many brothers and sisters Antonia had no space to call her own. She had to share EVERYTHING-her toys, her clothes, even her seat at the dinner table (where there were only so many chairs and Antoina had one of the smaller bums in the family). Finding this new breadbox space seemed, to Antonia, like a gift from the angels.
After discovering her new home, Antonia did several things to make her box more homey. First, she found some old craft paint and painted some lovely daises and curly cues on the sides of her crate. Then she found an old yellow bath mat that had somehow made its way into the basement. The old mat was being used as a plug for the broken window in the furnace room. “Oh well” Antonia sighed to herself, “no one will miss it” but as she pulled it from the window, Antonia discovered a little meadow mouse had made himself a home in the mat’s fuzz. “Come along little mouse. There is more room for you with me in my new home” said Antonia as she carefully scooped the little mouse onto her hands and into her pocket.
At first Antonia spent hours and hours in her breadbox. She spent most of her time sweeping and dusting and mopping….and coughing (it was a very dusty and dirty box). The previous tenets of the box, who were probably some messy bugs and moles, were NOT very good housekeepers. While she was housecleaning, Antonia discovered she had another roommate besides the little mouse she brought with her. This new roommate was a big old hairy spider! But this big old spider was not much of a housekeeper either. He would constantly leave his half-eaten dinner wrapped up in his web- a sight that wasn’t all that appetizing to Antonia. But she didn’t mind sharing her space with a spider- he didn’t take up all that much room- not nearly as much room as all of Antonia’s brothers and sisters.
A few weeks after Antonia had moved into her new house., she had an unexpected visitor- Six Toe Joe the family dog. Six Toe Joe was named Six Toe Joe because he had an extra toe on each of his back paws giving him…. well Six Toes on each paw. Six Toe was fairly excited to see Antonia, so he wagged his tail and slobbered all over her face. “Six Toe, what are you doing here?” Get back home and make sure none of my Gigglegoose brothers and sisters see you. I don’t want any of them following you here and invading my space!” Six Pack looked up at Antonia and blinked his big brown eyes. He seemed to understand Antonia’s pleas for privacy and proceeded to lay down on the old yellow bath mat and way his tail.
Eventually, Antonia was making a rather comfortable home for herself. Over the next several days she had collected more treasures to make her breadbox more comfortable; an old blue chipped sailor boy cookie jar, an old car seat (with only a few springs poking through the upholstery that pinched her bum whenever she bounded on it) and an old jam jar in which she put wildflowers…buttercups and honeysuckle to be exact. She also had her meadow mouse and spider friends, as well as Six Toe and all his toes.
Eventually Antonia realized there was something missing from Antonia’s new home, and that something was people. Antonia was lonely. For all of her life, Antonia longed for her own space and maybe a little bit of privacy, she wished to fill it with people! She enjoyed having her critter friends around, but they weren’t very good conversationalists. The little meadow mouse would just wander around the crate looking for leftover crumbs from Antonia’s snacks. The spider would just hide in his web, coming out once in a while to wrap up a fly or some other squishy bug that he had captured. And Six Toe, well Six Toe Joe would just lie don’t on the yellow bath mat and wag his brown tail tipping over the jar of wild flowers and making a huge mess for Antonia to clean.
One day Antonia was sitting alone in her crate, as usual, with the mouse, the spider and with Six Toe. She had her chin in her hand and she was twirling her shiny black-green hair around and around with her fingers (Antonia always played with her hair when she was troubled and trying to figure out an answer to her problems). Antonia was wondering what she could do to make her breadbox home more interesting and less lonely. Suddenly Antonia sprang up her car seat couch and exclaimed, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll invite all of my brothers and sisters over to my box. They will love to invade my privacy and bug me by getting into my stuff!”
So that is what Antonia did. She climbed on top of her breadbox crate and stared shouting at the top of her lungs, “Yoo hoo, over here! All you Gigglegoose brothers and sisters … look over here”! In order to catch the attention of all her brothers and sisters who were, by the way, milling and tumbling and wrestling all over the front yard, she waved her arms like a crazy windmill.
Eventually one of the Gigglegoose brothers spotted Antonia. “Look! There is a little girl yelling and and waving her arms over there in the middle of the field. Hey, it looks like Antonia.”
“It is Antonia, “exclaimed the oldest Gigglegoose, “that is where she has been hiding, in that ratty old bread crate. Six Toe has been sniffing around there for weeks…I thought he had cornered himself a skunk, but there is no skunk, it’s only Antonia!”
“What is she doing over there?” questioned the triplets all together.
“Let’s go find out!” all the Gigglegooses cried together and like a herd of migrating wildebeests they scampered over to the crate and to the frantically waving Antonia.
“Antonia, Antonia, what is this place? A playhouse” A fort”
“No”, replied Antonia, “it’s not a playhouse and it’s not a fort. It is a home and this spider, and this mouse and Six Toe all live here with me.”
“Why’d ya move out here for?” Asked one of the triplets wiping his nose with Antonia’s shirt sleeve.
“I moved out here because sometimes I need to get away from all of you. “ Antonia said pulling her sleeve and rubbing it on her pant leg in order to clean it.
“Well, if you wanted to get away from us, why’d you call us over here?” rationalized Antonia’s older sister.
“I’m beginning to wonder that myself,” Antonia said taking the sailor boy cookie jar away from the youngest Gigglegoose, who was wearing it as a hat.
“This is so cool,” a Gigglegoose brother said shaking the side of the crate checking to see if it was sturdy. “We could make an awesome spaceship out of this”
“No. It’s not a spaceship, it’s a house.” Antonia said.
“It may be a house to you, but it is a spaceship to me.”
“And a submarine to me”
“And a motor home to me”
At this, all the Gogglegoose children swarmed in and over and around the breadbox crate that Antonia had once called her home. At first Antonia enjoyed having all of her brothers and sisters with her, they were people to play with and talked to. But eventually Antonia began to get tired of all the noise and she ended up spending most of her time in her box with her hands over her ears. And if you looked closely enough you could see the meadow mouse, Six Toe and the spider, all had their paws and legs over their ears as well…the noise was unbearable!
Soon Antonia began to wish she could find some place quiet where she could just be alone. But where could she go? She had already given the secret of her breadbox home away to all of her Gigglegoose brothers and sisters. All at once Antonia saw the solution to her problem. Smiling to herself, Antonia carefully and quietly crept out of her breadbox without any of her brothers and sisters seeing her. Antonia then scampered across the small field between the breadbox and the Gigglegoose house. She opened the door and crept quickly to her bedroom There was no one in the house but her mother who was to busy concentrating on fixing the kitchen sink to notice her come in. The house was filled with peace and quiet. Her friends the mouse, the spider and Six Tow had all followed her because they too were getting headaches from the screeching and hollering of the Gigglegoose children.
Who would have thought she could find such quiet in the family house?
Antonia sat on her bed, pulled her checkered quilt over her legs and with Six Toe curled up at the edge of the bed and the meadow mouse and spider on the window ledge, she put her arms behind her head and smiled to herself in the stillness of her bedroom. She still had her breadbox home whenever she wanted to play with her brothers and sisters and make lots of noise, but if she ever needed some peace and quiet, well she could always come home.
…stay tuned for the next Antonia adventure “Antonia Gets a Job”