Henry the Garden Ape
And the Purple Swimming Pool
By Inez R. Chaffin
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Z., are you ready to clean out the attic?” asked Inga, peeping over
the gate that separates the two houses.
calls her Miss Z. because some of the kids in the neighborhood can not
say Zanefomo. She is the oldest lady on the block.
She invites all the kids to her house every Saturday morning to
watch cartoons. When she plans a special project, all the kids are
there. Someone is always at
Miss Z’s. She love kids and enjoys doing things with them, especially
“I sure am honey, just waiting on you and the other kids.”
Miss Z replied as she swept off her sidewalk.
“Mom said I could come on over, if it’s ok with you.”
“Sure it is, I’ll get us some milk and cookies.”
bounced down the narrow trail and up the back steps. This was the
quickest way to the kitchen.
“Miss Z. What kind
of things do you have in the attic?” Inga asked.
“Oh lets see dearrie, some things up there are a lot older than
you. Most of the stuff belongs to my kids,” she answered, pouring Inga
“They don’t want it?”
“Oh, they have already gotten the stuff they want.”
The back door opened and four more kids entered the kitchen. Miss
Z served them milk and cookies and soon everyone was ready for the attic
adventure. Inga was the
first kids to follow behind Miss Z. She told the kids to be careful
since the steps were narrow, she didn’t want anyone falling.
Inga was not so sure if this job was for her.
There were spider webs in some of the corners and the room was
not well lit. Grabbing Miss
Z’s hand, she became pale as she looked in the corner and saw a huge
“Miss Z. what is that?” Inga yelled.
of the other kids looked to see what Inga was making a giant commotion
“Inga. It’s all right dear. It’s only a stuffed animal my
son won at the fair many years ago,” Miss Z explained.
“I can’t do this.” Inga relied as she walked down the
“Inga, go set on the steps, you may have got too hot.” Miss Z
could not bear seeing that monster again. She was so afraid of things
that are creepy and scary. Maybe
she should go and get her dad to come and get it out of the attic.
“Dad. Come get this monster out of Miss Z’s attic.” She
said running through the yards.
“What are you screaming about?” her dad asked, sitting on the
“There is a big, white monster in Miss Z’s attic. I can’t
help her with that thing up there.”
“Let me come see what is so horrible in the attic. Probably
“Yes dad, there is. A big white monster. You’ll see.” Inga
replied, following her dad down the path.
escaped to the front porch, listening for the footsteps of her
father’s, coming down from the attic.
Finally! She heard him come down and shut the back door.
“Inga! Everything is clear now. You can go back up.” Her dad
“Thanks, dad.” Inga answered.
Inga could get to the bottom of the stairs, the other kids began to come
“Boy, Miss Z has some really cool stuff.” One of the kids
“Are you finished?” Asked Inga.
“That didn’t take long.” Inga said.
“Is everyone ready for another snack, or do you want to start
on our garden?” Miss Z asked.
“Let’s start on the garden!” All the kids said at once.
“I’m ready, if you are!”Said Miss Z, “Inga are you going
to help us?”
“I sure am. Sorry about the way the monster scared me in the attic, I
just don’t like things like that.”
“Oh honey! Don’t let an old stuffed animal scare you, besides OLE
Henry has been in the family for a long time now. He hasn’t let
anything happen to us yet. Just get it out of your head and get your
digging gloves on.”
“I’ll try.” Inga mumbled to herself.
kids were having a wonderful time planting the flowers in different
flowerbeds and vegetables in rows of their own.
Miss Z brought out sandwiches and lemonade for everyone to drink.
The kids were sitting near the garden area when Miss Z spotted
Henry behind the barn, sitting in a purple swimming pool.
She was in high hopes Inga would not spot it. Instead she led
them over to the shade tree and told them a story about how Henry was
her son’s Robert, best imaginary friend. One thing was, everyone could
see Henry .The other thing was only Robert could see Henry come alive.
He too, had a fear of monsters when he was Inga’s age.
kids let after Miss Z finished her story.
She thanked them for all their great help and gathered up their
treasures from the attic. She did not forget about Inga, Miss Z scooped
up the box in her arms and walked to Inga’s house where she found her
telling her mother about the big, ugly, white monster.
“Inga.” Miss Z called.
“What’s that, Miss Z?” Inga asked, walking over to look in
“I found you some dress up clothes.
Ruthie wore them all the time for dress up.”
“Oh Miss Z! They are beautiful.”
enjoying a glass of tea with Inga and her mother, Miss Z decided she
needed to go and get some rest. Inga
thanked Miss Z again and walked her to the door.
mother prepared her bath water. Soaking
in the tub of hot water would make her relax and sleep well, her mother
lay in bed that night, watching the reflections of the trees from the
bright full moon. She tried
to put the thoughts of a monster out of her head.
Suddenly she heard splashing water outside. Maybe it was Miss Z
watering the gardens. Starting
to fall asleep, she heard splashing water again, only followed by
someone laughing. Inga decided to see what was happening.
“Oh no!” Inga screamed, jumping back into her bed, covering
her head. She lay very still.
“Come play with me.”
to move, Inga slowly pulled the covers away from her head.
“Come play with me Inga.”
moved to the window again where she heard the voice and laughter.
could not believe her eyes. Henry was playing in a purple swimming pool,
asking her to play once more. She
decided she would walk to the gate and that was as far as she would go.
laughter and splashing of the water did sound tempting as Inga peeked
over the gate, only wanting to watch Henry. Surprised, Inga noticed that
Henry was wearing a Pokka dot bikini and she was not a Henry, but a
Henrietta and she was no longer scared.