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«New York, New York!», Ann Martin

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New York,New York!

 

Ann M. Martin

 

Claudia.

Chapter 1.

By now some of you might be wondering a few things. You might be wondering what the Baby-sitters Club is. You might be wondering who the rest of my friends are. Oh, and I guess you might be wondering who I am.

Well, I'll start with that last part. I am Claudia Kishi. I'm thirteen years old and I'm an eighth-grader at Stoneybrook Middle School. So are my friends Stacey McGill, Mary Anne Spier, Kristy Thomas, and Dawn Schafer. Mallory Pike and Jessi (short for Jessica) Ramsey, 'are sixth-graders at SMS. (They're best friends.) And we are the main members of the BSC. Kristy Thomas founded the club. It was her idea to get together a group of her friends who like to baby-sit, and for us to hold meetings three times a week. While we're meeting (in my room — club headquarters), parents call and line up sitters for their kids. They know they're bound to find a sitter, since when they phone during a meeting they reach all seven of us. Our club has turned into a business, and it's very successful. It's fun, too. My friends and I love children, and we've had some interesting sitting adventures. Plus, we've had lots of good times together as a club. We've had sleepovers and pizza parties, studied together, gone shopping together, and taken trips together.

Now we would soon be off on another trip. ToNew York City . The home of museums, theaters, the Hard Rock Cafe, Bloomingdale's, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Macy's, South Street Seaport, Lord and Taylor, Madison Square Garden, Saks Fifth Avenue, and HIM. McKenzie Clarke.

Even though it was only Wednesday, and the BSC members wouldn't be leaving on their wonderful two-week'trip until Saturday, I had started packing. My suitcase was open on my bed. And already it was as cluttered and messy as my room usually is. Except that my room is cluttered with art supplies — paper, paints, pastels, canvases, an easel, and boxes of "stuff." My mother says I am a pack rat. So what? Pack rats are probably very nice animals. And I bet they're prepared for anything. I know I am.

Anyway, my suitcase was cluttered with about three years' worth of clothing, and a whole pile of things that I couldn't decide whether to pack. Would I need suntan lotion and three bathing suits? Probably not. I took them out and dropped them on the floor. Then I began weeding out articles of clothing, entire outfits. I wondered if my other friends were having as hard a time packing as I was. We had all decided to pack that afternoon. Then we were going to ask Stacey her opinion of the things we were bringing. (Stacey is aNew York expert, since she grew up there.) We figured that if Stacey said we'd made any horrible packing boo-boos, we'd have almost three days to straighten them out before we left on our trip.

Stacey, I knew, would be methodically placing just the right things in her suitcase. Since she's a little wild, her clothing would be sophisticated and extremely chilly. (My friends and I now say that something is "chilly" when it's really, really cool.) Stacey would be packing black leggings (some with stirrups on the feet, some without) and baggy black and white and red tops. She would probably pack or wear her black cowboy boots. Stacey and I both look good in black and white. Stace's hair is blonde and curly, usually as the result of a perm (the curliness, I mean; not its color). Her eyes are a deep blue, and she has neat dimples when she smiles. Stacey wears very chilly jewelry, (so do I; we both have pierced ears), and she loves to do things that make herself look a little unusual. She might sprinkle glitter in her hair, or paint her nails silver.

Stacey lived in New York until she was twelve. She lived there with her mom and dad. (She has no sisters or brothers.) Then, just before seventh grade started, the McGills moved here. Mr. McGill's company had transferred him to their offices in Stamford, which is not far from Stoneybrook. The McGills had been in Connecticut for only about a year, when Mr. McGill was transferred back to New York. (I cried a lot when my new best friend moved away.) But once they were in the city again, Mr. and Mrs. McGill began arguing and fighting. They decided to get a divorce. And Stacey's mom decided to move back to Connecticut, while Mr. McGill stayed in New York with his job. Now Stacey lives in Stoneybrook again, but she visits her dad pretty often.

Sound like a tough life? Well, that's not all. Stacey has a disease called diabetes. She happens to have a severe form of it, and she's been pretty sick a few times. (Stacey is well acquainted with hospitals.) She can control her diabetes partly by sticking to a strict, calorie-counting diet, which allows her no candy or desserts. Poor thing. I, personally, am addicted to candy and junk food. Stacey also has to give herself injections (ew!) of something called insulin. I hope she stays healthy. I don't want her to land in the hospital again.

I imagined Kristy packing. Even though Kristy lives in a mansion with her mom and her millionaire stepfather, she was probably just tossing jeans and turtleneck shirts or T-shirts into a duffel bag. Kristy has never been one to dress up, and she has not always been rich. Until the summer before eighth grade, Kristy lived right across the street from me in a little house with her mom and her three brothers. (Mr. Thomas walked out on his family when Kristy was about six.) But then Mrs. Thomas married Watson the millionaire. Watson moved the Thomases across town to his mansion. So now Kristy lives in this ritzy house with her new family, which includes (aside from her mother and brothers) her adopted sister, Emily; her grandmother; her stepbrother and stepsister (only sometimes); and a cat, a dog, and some fish.

Kristy's life may have changed, but her taste hasn't. She's still a tomboy who loves sports and animals and who hates to get dressed up. When Stacey inspects Kristy's suitcase, she's going to have to do some fast talking to convince Kristy to add so much as a skirt to her pile of jeans. Oh, well. Kristy may be a little less mature than some of us, but we love her anyway.


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