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About Sean

"I Don't Know" - a story related by 'PUMPKIN' 



(copyright S.J.P-H)


The above picture is a watercolor sketch of 'Pumpkin,' done by his mother, 'Lili,' when he was seven.


Once there was a little boy whose name was Sam. He had hazel eyes mixed with green. He had black hair and a big smile with lots of white teeth. He lived on a farm and was always dirty.


He wore gumboots and overalls whenever he was outside because there was so much dirt. There was dirt in the gardens. Dirt on the tracks. Dirt in the paddocks. Even the animals were dirty - they didn't have baths, you see.


When Sam wanted to go inside his house he had to leave his gumboots on the kitchen porch. This was so that he didn't make dirty tracks on his mother's clean kitchen floor. The trouble was that Sam's gumboots had a hole in them. When it had been raining outside Sam's socks got wet through the holes. He would leave his boots outside, but his wet socks would make a trail of footprints across the kitchen floor. 


Sam's mother would yell out, "Oh, Sam, couldn't you tell me there were holes in your gumboots?"


Sam would say, "I don't know."



Sam was supposed to take off his overalls when he got inside so that he didn't dirty the furniture when he sat on it. But Sam always forgot to take them off. He would sit on the couch and watch television until his mother saw him there.


Sam's mother would yell out, "Oh, Sam !  How many times do I have to tell you to change your dirty clothes?"


Sam would say, "I don't know."



When it was time to eat his dinner, Sam was supposed to wash his face and hands. But he never did. He would sit at the table until his mother saw him.


Sam's mother would cry, "Oh, Sam !  Why haven't you washed your face and hands?"


Sam would say, "I don't know."



After his dinner it was time for Sam's bath. He mother always made sure he had his bath. Sam liked his bath. He spent a long time in the bath. He liked to pretend it was a swimming pool. He swam up and down making great waves. The waves went over the side of the bath. There was water all over the floor and dripping down the walls. When Sam's mother came to get him out, she slipped on the water and bumped her head on the wall.


Sam's mother yelled, "Oh, Sam !  What a mess !  Why do you always have to make the water go everywhere?"


Sam said, "I don't know."



After Sam had finished his bath and had dressed in his pyjamas he was supposed to go to bed. But Sam never did. He would sneak outside without putting on his dressing gown and slippers. He would run up the dirty tracks to the dirty paddocks in his bare feet. He would call to the dirty animals to come to him. He would cuddle them and kiss them goodnight.


When he went back to his room, his mother would be waiting for him. She would have her arms crossed across her chest and one of her feet would be tapping. She was angry. She would look at Sam. She would cry, "Sam, take a look in your mirror !"


Sam did. He looked in the mirror and he saw himself. He was no longer clean. His face was dirty from kissing the animals. His pyjamas were dirty from cuddling the animals. 


Sam's mother gave up. "Get into bed, Sam," she said, quietly.


Sam did, but as he did he lifted his feet and they were dirty from running barefoot along the tracks.


Sam's mother yelled, "Oh, Sam !  Won't you ever learn?"


Sam said, "I don't know."



One day Sam woke up very late. This was unusual because Sam's mother usually woke him up herself. Sam got out of bed and went to his mother's room to see what had happened to her. Sam's mother was still in bed.


Sam said to her, "What's wrong, Mummy?"


Sam's mother said, "I don't know."



Sam thought that this was very strange, but he didn't ask any more questions. He went to the bathroom and cleaned his teeth. He washed his face and hands. Then he got dressed into clean clothes. 


He went to sit at the kitchen table to eat his breakfast. He waited for his mother to make his breakfast. His mother didn't come.


Sam went to his mother's room. She was still in bed.


Sam said, "I washed my face and hands. I cleaned my teeth. I got dressed into clean clothes. Are you going to make my breakfast?"


Sam's mother said, "I don't know."



Sam wasn't sure if that meant his mother would make his breakfast or not. He decided to make his own breakfast. He made himself a bowl of cereal. When he had finished eating, his mother had still not appeared. 


Sam decided to visit the animals. He talked to the animals for a long time.


Sam said to them, "My Mummy is acting very strangely today. She hasn't got out of bed. She didn't make my breakfast. I asked her if she was going to make my breakfast, but she said she didn't know."



At lunchtime, Sam was hungry. He went back to the house. He took off his dirty gumboots on the kitchen porch. He took off his wet socks. He dried his feet with an old towel that hung on the porch. He went inside. He went into the lounge room, but he was careful not to sit on the couch with his dirty overalls.


His mother was sitting on the couch watching television. Sam saw that she was still in her night dress.


"Aren't you getting dressed today, Mummy?" said Sam.


"I don't know," said Sam's mother.


Sam shook his head. This was very strange.


Sam asked, "What are we having for lunch?"


Sam's mother said, "I don't know."


Sam wasn't sure if that meant his mother would make his lunch or not. He decided to make his own lunch. He made himself a sandwich.



When Sam saw his sandwich sitting on the plate, he thought about his mother. He decided to make her a sandwich, too. When he had made it, he took it to her in the lounge room. Sam's mother was crying.


"Why are you crying, Mummy?" asked Sam.


"I don't know," said his mother.


"I made you a sandwich," said Sam.


"Thank you," said his mother, and took it.


Sam went to his room and took off his dirty overalls. He put on a clean track suit to wear while he was inside. Then he went to the bathroom and washed his face and hands, (though he was a little late in remembering). 


After that, he got his sandwich and took it into the lounge room to eat it next to his mother. He saw that she hadn't eaten her sandwich yet.


"Why haven't you eaten your sandwich, Mummy?" asked Sam.


"I don't know," said his mother.


Sam put his sandwich on the table and he sat next to his mother. He looked at her for a long time while she watched the television. Then he made up his mind. He put his arms around her and he gave her a long cuddle. Sam's mother cuddled him, too.



While they were cuddling each other, Sam and his mother began to cry quietly. 


When they saw that they were crying, they said at the same time, "Why are you crying?"


Then they answered each other at the same time, "I don't know."


Then they suddenly started to laugh. The laugh felt good. It made Sam and his mother feel happy. It made Sam's mother feel better.


She said, "I think I had better go and get dressed."


Sam smiled. 


After that, Sam's mother didn't yell at him so much. This was partly because Sam tried harder to do the right things, but most of all it was because Sam didn't say "I don't know" any more, (if he could help it).


He didn't like not knowing why his mother had acted so strangely that day. He had wanted to know the answer to his questions. He had wanted to help her if he could, and he hadn't been able to help her because she wouldn't tell him what was wrong.


Sam decided that he would always try to answer his mother when she asked him questions. Even if those questions seemed silly. He would try to tell her the truth. At least then she wouldn't always be wondering what he really meant when he said "I don't know."


He hoped that one day, if he did that long enough, she would tell him what she really meant, too.


In the meantime, Sam and his mother gave each other a big cuddle every day.



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