From Coast to Coast With a Thief as Our Host

by Maria Wiseman


Patience Montana Bradshaw, was moving to Cleveland with her twin brother, Spencer Kansas Bradshaw and her older sister, Kyrie Ohio Bradshaw. Their middle names were the states they were born in. Their mother had wanted to name them after the months they were born, but Kyrie's was October and Spencer's was May. The reason they were moving to Cleveland was because their aunt, Veronica Harris had kindly offered to take them in to live with her. Their parents had recently died in a car crash involving a tour bus. Their neighbor, jolly old Miss Tisdale is going with them to chaperon them.

Our story begins in 1929, with the kid in the back of a wagon on their way to the train station.

"Is it going to rain today, Mr. Kempler?" Pat Bradshaw asked.

"No, I think if anything, it'll snow."

"SNOW?" The kids cried out. The only time they had ever seen snow was 5 years ago when they were just little kids.

"Now kids, don't yell Mr. Kempler's ear off, he needs to hear to drive," Miss Tisdale said, "how about I tell you a story instead?"

"A story? Miss Tisdale, I am 16 years old, and I don't need fairy tales to keep me quiet. What I really want right now is a good movie. Maybe with Claudette in it. Yes, Claudette would be nice right now," Kyrie sighed. "Sorry to be bursting your bubble, but who's Claudette? Is she somebody from those nickelodeons that you love so much?" Spencer asked Kyrie. "Oh go away. You have no appreciation for the finer things in life. And It's not a 'nickelodeon', its a Theater."

While her brother and sister quibbled, Pat dreamed what Cleveland would be like. Maybe there will be fancy servants and things like that, she thought. Oh well, I'll just have to wait until we get there.

About 2 hours later, the wagon pulled up to the train station. Tired and hungry, the kids dismounted the wagon and waited for Miss Tisdale.

"I wonder what Aunt Veronica will be like. I like that name," Pat said to Kyrie and Spencer.

"Well, as you know," Kyrie replied, "We have to go on a long journey before we can see her. I think Miss Tisdale said it would be at least a week."

"Naw, I think it'll be longer than that," Spencer said.

"Don't say Naw, its SO country!" While Kyrie and Spencer argued yet again, Pat decided to walk around to stretch her legs after the long wagon ride.

As she turned around the corner, she spotted two shady looking characters. They were men wearing dark brown coats and hats. One of the men had a strange scar on his cheek.

Pat shivered. "I hope I don't see them to often," she thought.

Hurrying around the corner, back to where the other kids were, she wondered who the two men could be and why the one had a scar. Shaking her head, she sat down next to Spencer. Leaning over to him, she asked, "Have you seen two shady looking men wearing dark brown coats?"

"No, have you?"

"Why would I be asking you if I didn't?" She stood up and walked over to Kyrie.

"Hi Pat! Did you find anything interesting?"

Pat nodded and started to tell Kyrie her story. Just then, the conductor shouted "ALL ABOARD" and the group loaded up. From then on, it was all a blur to Pat. They were hurried to their room, which was quite nice, with two seats bolted to the floor and a nice bed. The girls sat down on the seats. They were very comfortable. Then, Pat saw the two men staring at them through the open doorway. Kyrie saw them to, got up and walked to the door.

"Well I never!" She said, giving them a dirty look and slammed the door in their face.

"I don't know who those men are, but I don't like them! Imagine, staring at US!"

WHile her sister ranted, Pat decided to walk around the train.

After a while, she found a shelf that had a sign on it that said "Library". Opening it up, she selected the following books to bring back to the group:

Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Robin Hood, and Romeo and Juliet.

A few days, she and Kyrie stayed up reading late into the night. Then, Kyrie put down her book and said, "Time for bed!"

The girls took turns using the tiny bathroom to change in. When Pat came out, she turned down the bedcovers and knelt down to say her prayers. When she was done, she hopped into bed and pulled them back up again. When Kyrie came out of the bathroom, she told Pat, "Hey can't I sleep closer to the wall?"

Pat scooted over to let Kyrie lay there.

In the middle of the night, Pat woke up with a start. She looked over at Kyrie, who was sleeping silently behind her lacy eye mask. She slowly got out of bed and tiptoed out into the hall just in time to see..."Miss Tisdale!"

The two men that had been looking in at she and Kyrie were dragging Miss Tisdale away! Suddenly, she felt a cold, rough hand clamp over her mouth, and a harsh warning to, "Stay quiet!"

The burly man tied Pat to a chair near the door in the girls room. When he was gone, Pat tried, unsuccessfully, to wriggle out of the ropes. Then, through the gag the man had stuffed in her mouth, she made some odd gurgling sounds, hoping to wake Kyrie.

"Mmmmmgggghiiiipppp!" She had to laugh at herself for that! But Kyrie woke up, startled out of her dreams, by the wierd noise.

"Hey! What are you doing all tied up?" While Kyrie untied her, Pat told her about the kidnapping. Then they went to get Spencer The bandits had stopped the train, so it was easier to walk.

They woke Spencer, and set off after the bandits. Kyrie said she had been talking to a cute boy in the 'library the other night, and he said the they would get to Cleveland in the morning.

"Then we can't be far away!" Pat exclaimed.

The group set of through the forest, and soon could see the sky-scrapers of Cleveland. They had followed the bandits, after finding them camping in a clearing a mile or so back. They could just see the black sedan they were driving. Pat was devising a plan in her head.

"Okay. Spencer, you go and find the police station. Kyrie and I will follow these guys, and try to capture them," Pat was saying. All the sudden, the sedan stopped in front of a dark alley. Spencer ran off to get the police, and Kyrie and Pat hid behind a trash can. The kidnappers pulled Miss Tisdale out of the car, and rushed back into the alley. The girls followed.

Pat could see that they had gone into a small room, with moth-eaten curtains on the windows.

"Look!" Pat pointed to the door, which had been left open. "We need to save her!"

The girls squatted on either side of the door and waited, until the 2 men were sitting on the side of the table that did not face the window. When they finally did sit that way, Pat counted quietly to 3.

"1-2-3!"

The girls jumped into the room and tackled the men!

Pat tackled the man who had tied her to a chair, knocking him out with the handle of his gun, and Kyrie tackled the one with a scar. The girls had to fight very hard to keep the men down, and when Kyrie had finally knocked him out, she jumped up to get the ropes off Miss Tisdale. She stuffed her hankie in his mouth and tied him up. Then she threw some rope to Pat, who tied and gagged the other thief. The girls shoved the men into the corner, then asked Miss Tisdale some questions.

"Miss Tisdale, why did they capture you? Why not that woman in the next car with all the jewels?" Pat asked.

"Well, girls, it goes like this. When I was in my 20's, it was during the first world war. I really wanted to enlist, but, as you know, only men could. But I felt it was my duty to, as my great great great grandmother fought in the Revolutionary war, and my great aunt Jenny in the civil war. So I went straight to the top, to the president, Woodrow Wilson. Well, he said I couldn't enlist, but I could go to-well, I still can't tell you where I went, but I went there to be a spy for our side, and the allies. I gathered so much information, that we were able to win the war, and well, that's why they wanted me. Those men were from the country I went to spy in, and they want all the information, and secret papers that we borrowed from them. I don't have them, but they found me and wanted me to find the papers and give them to them," Miss Tisdale smiled to the girls when she finished, "but now that you girls captured THEM, I'm sure that I'll be safe."

It took a moment for the girls to soak all this new information in, but Kyrie was the first to speak. "You kept all this to yourself for 10 years? It's almost like a movie!"

Then Pat thought of another question. "Why did you live in Dry Cut Falls?"

Miss Tisdale explained. "I lived there, because it was the only place that the men at headquarters could find that was low-profile enough for me to live there. Also, my name really was Charlotte Cummings. I had to become a nice old-maid neighbor, because the men thought I was young. I'm really only 32."

Just then, Spencer arrived with the police, and a woman. "Kyrie, Pat, Miss Tisdale," he said, as the police picked up the men and hauled them to the jail truck they had driven over, "this is Aunt Veronica!"

Mouths dropped all around the room, and Veronica came over to hug the girls.

"I've been waiting to see you for such a long time!" she said as the girls embraced.

"We have too! And have we got some stories to tell you!"

Aunt Veronica listened eagerly as they all walked back to the big apartment building.

"I hope you don't mind that I've taken the liberty of decorating rooms for you. I do hope you like them," Aunt Veronica said.

When they walked through the revolving doors to a great marble lounge. Kyrie gasped and said, "Why it looks just like the lounge in 'Three Smart Girls'! Oh by the way, Aunt V, there isn't any Deanna Durbin memorabilia in my boudoir, is there?"

"Oh Kyrie," Pat said with an exasperated sigh, "Can't you just call it your bedroom?"

When they entered Aunt Veronica's apartment, Spencer said, "This is an apartment? I thought they were little, tiny places with a kitchen, a sitting room, and a bedroom!"

Aunt Veronica laughed and said, "This is Cleveland, Spencer. This apartment has a sitting room, kitchen, dining room, den, library, and 4 bedrooms! Now, Kyrie, your room is the first down that hallway there, and Pat, yours is the second, and Spencer, yours is on the other side, second door. I hope you like them!"

When they went in, they found that they did, indeed like them, and that there was all new clothes for them in big closets. After they had all changed, they rejoined in the sitting room, where hot cocoa and petits fours were served.

"Oooh! I've always dreamed of trying petti fours!" Kyrie gasped.

When Aunt Veronica came out, she announced that they would be going to the science museum today, and a film studio the next. The children quickly got ready, and they walked the short way to the museum.

"Pat, there is a museum of natural history, downtown, where they have all kinds of animals, that are stuffed. They have lions, wolves, moose, elephants, anything you can think of! Why, even next month, they're getting a stuffed whale!"

They really enjoyed the museum, and when they got home, they ate a fabulous dinner, and a dip in the exquisite pool, until 10 that night.

From where she was sitting on the couch, Pat turned to Kyrie and said, "I'm glad to be home."