Writing 101- Day 18. Help the Old Lady Please!

Craft a story from the perspective of a twelve-year-old observing it all. For your twist, focus on specific character qualities, drawing from elements we’ve worked on in this course, like voice and dialogue.

Dear Granny

I decided to write to you an e-mail. Sorry I am not sending you a real letter. I know you like letters and prefer them to e-mails, but I would have to ask mum to give me money for a stamp and she will want to know why I am writing to you.

I know it is not good to hide stuff from mum and dad, but I don’t want them to worry about me. I think they may have noticed I was upset, but were too busy to speak to me. I hope you can have a word with them instead.

I couldn’t sleep last night. They watched some really loud movie, with lots of gunshots and shouts, but this is not why I couldn’t sleep. I cried myself to sleep. It is good that the movie was so loud, as mum and dad didn’t realise I had been crying.

Remember that old lady who lives just opposite our house? Mrs Pauley? You know, whose house everyone calls ‘Mrs Pauley’s Post Office’ because she collects parcels for the whole neighbourhood. Mum, dad and most parents work all day, so they miss the postman and he leaves their parcels with Mrs Pauley, to save them going to the depot to pick them up. Isn’t that nice of her!

Well, Mrs Pauley seems to be in trouble, Granny. I don’t know why, but yesterday the police knocked on her door. There was a big angry man with them, too. She cried and seemed to be begging them for something. She was on her own, as all her six sons are grown ups now and live in their own houses. I have seen most of them I think, they are nice people, buy they weren’t around yesterday to help her. They must be busy too, like all adults. Like mum and dad.

I overheard what mum was saying to dad last night. She sounded worried. She was saying that Mrs Pauley’s benefits are obviously not enough and she has been struggling with the rent. What are benefits, Granny, can’t we give her some if hers are not enough? And why does she have to pay rent? Isn’t that something you do when you have a job and money? She is old now, she hasn’t got a job, so she can’t have money, why are they asking her to pay? She is so nice, everyone loves her, can’t she stay there for free? I thought that old people don’t have to worry about money and just take it easy…

I asked mum, can’t we help her? My both parents work, so they have money, why don’t they pay her rent, just to help her out? Why did dad smirk at me like that when I asked this question, was it stupid?

Maybe I don’t understand the adults’ world well enough. Do I, Grandma? I think I do, as I am a big boy now, I am twelve! Why don’t people just help each other? Mum is saying that Mrs Pauley has been living in this house for 40 years, can you believe that, nearly as long as mum’s age. She is so nice to me. When Mr Pauley was alive, she used to give me sweets. And he used to give me CD’s. Mum said he got them for free, as he used to work at the newsagents and the CD’s were off the papers he hadn’t managed to sell. I think he was buying them for me, though.

She doesn’t give me sweets anymore, since Mr Pauley died. I guess she has no money now, because she has no job. Oh, is this what benefits means – money? But mum said that other people on benefits drive expensive cars and have money. I am confused.

This is why I cried last night, because I was worried for Mrs Pauley. Can you speak to mum and dad please? Ask them to do something? If they can’t give her money, why doesn’t she stay with us? We all love her. If we can help the people we love, we should do that, at least this is what my parents have taught me. Can you ask them to do this? Please?

I love you very much, please write soon.

Your loving grandson, Joe


  1. Great way to tell Joe’s story as an email to his grandma. I’d be awfully proud of this young man if he were my grandson! I think you nailed it really well – his confusion but his compassion and love for Mrs. Pauley. I just hope some young person thinks that way about me someday. Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

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