March came to Atlanta, bringing chilly temperatures and breezy wind. Samantha Parker and Elizabeth Martin always enjoyed the month of March because of three things: One… Easter came every now and
then in that month, Two… one week spring vacation from school, Three… Elizabeth’s birthday was on the seventeenth of the month. Since it was the twelfth of March, Samantha and Elizabeth were on
their last day of vacation. This was Friday, but they still had Saturday and Sunday ‘till they went back to school.
Samantha and Elizabeth had spent the first part of the day looking through gramophone records and looking at the toys at the toy store. But now, they found themselves sitting on a park bench.
“Wanna spend the night at my house tonight?” asked Samantha.
“Maybe. Don’t know yet,” Elizabeth answered.
They sat in silence for a while, until Elizabeth said, “Atlanta’s such a big city, but there’s nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Feels like we been everywhere and done everything. We done seen
all the movies at the theatre, the ones that’s playin’ now, that is.”
“Oh, stop complaining!” Samantha said. “I’m sure we can think of something to do.”
They sat there waiting for something exciting to happen for five minutes. Soon, the five minutes turned into ten, and the ten turned into twenty.
“Ain’t nothing’ gonna happen,” Elizabeth said. “You ready to go home?”
“I reckon so,” Samantha answered.
Slowly, Samantha and Elizabeth walked towards home with nothing to do. But when they were at the corner of Revelle Street and Aberdeen Lane, they got an exciting surprise. There was a stray dog
sitting on the sidewalk.
“Look, ‘Liza! It’s a little puppy dog!” Samantha exclaimed.
“Does it belong to anybody?” Elizabeth asked excitedly.
“Let’s go see if its wearing a collar,” replied Samantha.
The girls hurriedly ran across the intersection and stopped where the dog was. Elizabeth looked for a collar, but didn’t find one.
“Reckon he’s homeless?” she asked.
“Maybe,” Samantha answered.
The sad, small, skinny puppy looked up at the girls.
“Let’s take him home and feed him,” Elizabeth said. “We’ll go to my house first.”
“Okay,” Samantha replied. She picked up the puppy and followed Elizabeth.
The puppy, or “Lillian”, as Samantha and Elizabeth finally decided to name it, was a Jack Russell Terrier breed. When the girls went inside Elizabeth’s house, they immediately went to
find Mrs. Martin. When they found her, and Mrs. Martin saw the puppy, Samantha and Elizabeth could tell Mrs. Martin was surprised.
Can we keep her?” Elizabeth asked. “We named her Lillian and we found her sitting at the corner of Revelle and Aberdeen. I know she’s just starving!”
“I don’t know, Elizabeth,” Mrs. Martin answered. “I’ll have to talk to your father about it.”
“Ok,” Elizabeth replied.
“But for now, take Lillian out in the back yard and feed her. There’s some stale bread on the counter,” Mrs. Martin said.
“All right,” said Elizabeth. She turned to Samantha and said, “Come on.”
The girls went out into the back yard with Lillian. They sat the small puppy on the grass and gave her a piece of bread. Lillian ate it hungrily and begged for more. Soon, the bread was gone,
and they got a bowl of water for Lillian to drink. When Lillian was finished with her meal, Samantha and Elizabeth tried to train her. First, they tried to teach Lillian her name.
They decided that they would take turns training her, Elizabeth would go first, then Samantha. By the end of the day, they had succeeded in teaching Lillian her name and how to sit.
Around six o’clock that evening, Elizabeth’s father came home from work. Samantha and Elizabeth raced inside to ask him if Elizabeth could keep Lillian.
“Hi, Dad,” Elizabeth said. “Me and Samantha need to ask you something very important.”
“What is it, Elizabeth?” asked Mr. Martin.
“Coming home from town today, we found the cutest little puppy sitting on the corner of Revelle and Aberdeen. It was starving, so Samantha and I, well, we brought it here. Ma gave us some
stale bread to feed it, and we’ve already named it and trained it to sit and we’ve taught it its’ name. We named the puppy after Lillian Gish.”
“Sounds like you two’ve had an exciting day,” Mr. Martin said.
“Can we keep the puppy?” Elizabeth asked.
“It’s okay with me, but what’s your ma saying about all this?” Mr. Martin asked.
“She said to ask you,” answered Elizabeth.
“Go tell your ma I said its okay, and that the rest of it is up to her,” replied Mr. Martin.
“Okay!” Elizabeth said. She and Samantha went to find Mrs. Martin.
Miraculously, Mrs. Martin agreed, and Lillian was now an official member of the Martin family.
Thirty minutes later, just before Samantha went home, Elizabeth said to her friend, “Let’s not get into a war over Lillian like we did over Flipper the fish.”
“All right,” Samantha said. She looked up at the sky, which was now pinkish- red from the setting sun. “Guess I’d better be getting on home.”
“Okay,” Elizabeth replied. “I’ll meet you in the morning. Nine as always?”
“Yep. I’ll meet you at nine,” Samantha answered.
Just as they agreed, they met in Elizabeth’s backyard at nine on the dot. Instead of going to town that day, Samantha and Elizabeth decided to stay at Elizabeth’s and play with Lillian. Today, they
would attempt to teach the puppy to stay and lie down. They succeeded in teaching Lillian to stay, but lie down would be more trouble, as they could already see.
At lunch, they brought their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches outside and ate them while they sat on the back porch. As they ate, they discussed upcoming events such as the start of school
and Elizabeth’s birthday. Elizabeth’s birthday was the most anticipated upcoming event. On the twenty-first, they would have a small tea party at Elizabeth’s house with some of their friends. Some
people that Elizabeth decided to invite were, of course, Samantha, Amelia, Karen, Annabelle, and a few others. Naturally, none of the girls could wait.
The weekend passed by quickly and soon, school started back. Lillian was heartbroken when Elizabeth left her Monday morning, but Elizabeth whispered softly to the sad puppy, “I’ll be back soon.”
Samantha, Elizabeth, and Annabelle went out into Elizabeth’s back yard. Yes, the twenty-first was here, and so was Elizabeth’s party. So far, only the three girls were there. Amelia and Karen would
be coming later.
“Oh, Lillian’s so cute!” Annabelle exclaimed as the puppy rolled over in the grass.
“Don’t know how long she’d been sitting there on that sidewalk,” Elizabeth said. “Ain’t no telling if someone just left her there.”
“Guess we’ll never know,” replied Annabelle. “There’s some pretty mean people in this world, even in Atlanta.”
Just then, Amelia and Karen came through the back gate. They ran towards Lillian, and Lillian ran towards them.
Soon, everybody arrived and the party started. All the girls sat around a table in the back yard, drinking tea and talking. The main topic was little Lillian, running around the yard and sniffing
everything she could get to. Everything was going well outside, but not inside. Inside the house, the Martins were talking with Mr. Simmons, the pastor of the Methodist church that Samantha
“I hear that your daughter has a puppy. Mine ran away the other day and I just can’t find it anywhere. May I see this puppy?” asked the pastor.
“Yes,” Mrs. Martin answered. “She’s out in the back yard.”
The pastor, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Martin, went out.
“Elizabeth,” Mrs. Martin called. “There’s somebody here who wants to see you.”
Elizabeth stood up and asked, “Yes?”
The pastor spoke up. “Where is your little dog?”
“Over there,” Elizabeth answered, pointing to the corner of the fence. She would have asked why, but she knew it wasn’t polite.
After looking closely at the puppy, the pastor said to Elizabeth’s parents, “Yes, I do believe that’s my puppy.”
“What’s going on?” Elizabeth asked.
“You see, Mr. Simmons has lost a puppy just like Lillian,“ Mrs. Martin said. “He says…”
“This is my dog,” the pastor interrupted. “I must take it home with me right now.”
“No!” Elizabeth shouted. “You can’t do that! I won’t let you!”
“There’s nothing you can do,” the pastor said as he picked the puppy up.
“Yes there is, and I will stop you!” protested Elizabeth. “Lillian wasn’t wearing a collar when Samantha and I found her. She was cold and shivering. How can you be sure this is your dog?”
“Don’t you think I would be able to recognize my own pets?” the pastor asked.
“Maybe, but here’s what we’ll do,” Elizabeth said. “You call her first, by the name you think she knows, and I’ll call her by that name, too. We’ll see who she runs to.”
“Agreed,” the pastor replied. He called the puppy. “Savannah!”
The puppy hesitated and took a few steps forward, but it didn’t run to anybody yet.
Then Elizabeth called the dog. “Savannah!”
The puppy didn’t move.
“See?” Elizabeth said. “The puppy didn’t respond. Now we’ll call her by the name Lillian. That’s what I named her.”
“Lillian!” the pastor called.
The puppy moved about a foot forward, but then stopped.
“Lillian!” Elizabeth called.
Thankfully, the puppy happily bounded towards Elizabeth.
“She’s not your dog,” Elizabeth said.
“She will be now,” the pastor replied. “She may respond to the name Lillian, but I named her Savannah. I don’t care what you, your parents, or your friends say, I am taking this puppy home with me
this minute!” He picked the dog up again, then said to everyone, “Goodbye.”
Elizabeth turned to her father with tears in her eyes. “You can’t let him do this, pa! You just can’t!”
“He says it’s his puppy, Elizabeth,” Mr. Martin replied. “We don’t go around taking things that belong to other people.”
“Well, he just took Lillian from me!” Elizabeth exclaimed.
“Apparently Lillian, or Savannah, as he calls her, must’ve belonged to him in the first place,” Mr. Martin said.
“But she belongs to me now!” Elizabeth replied. “Forgive me for sayin’ this, but that Mr. Simmons is just plain evil! Evil!” She stormed inside the house.
“We’ve just got to get that puppy back to Elizabeth,” Mrs. Martin said to Mr. Martin as they sat in the living room. “”There ain’t no telling what she might do if we don’t.”
“The puppy did belong to the pastor, but even I know he shouldn’t have come here like that today, and taking that poor dog away from Elizabeth, right there in front of all her friends,” Mr.
“Well, try and meet the pastor tomorrow and persuade him to give ‘Lizabeth the puppy back,” said Mrs. Martin.
“I’ll see what I can do,” Mr. Martin said.
Samantha was given permission to stay overnight at Elizabeth’s house. She would try to comfort Elizabeth in her time of loss. Upstairs, Elizabeth sat in the window seat staring somewhere above the
city lights outside with a faraway look in her eyes.
“’Liza,” Samantha said. “We’ll get Lillian back. I know we will.”
Elizabeth kept quiet but turned around to look at her friend.
"I know it was wrong for him to take Lillian away from us like that, but he’s not evil.”
This time, Elizabeth spoke up and said, “You don’t have to do that. It won’t work. Lillian belongs to him now, and not me. I guess I’ll never see little Lillian again. She probably misses me,
and I know I miss her.”
“We will get her back,” Samantha said. “I promise it.”
Elizabeth replied as a tear slipped down her cheek, “I sure do hope you’re right.”
The next day was Sunday, and both Samantha and Mr. Martin would be meeting with the pastor. Samantha got the first chance after the church service, as everybody was
The Parker family were usually one of the last families to leave on Sundays. Samantha knew she had to give her mother an excuse, so she told her mother, “Ma, can I walk home today?”
“Why would you want to do that?” Mrs. Parker asked. “It’s mighty cold outside.”
“I don’t know,” answered Samantha. “I guess I’d just like to do something different for a change.”
“Okay,” replied Mrs. Parker. “But hurry home.”
“All right, Ma. I’ll take the long route so I can see more sights,” said Samantha.
As soon as the rest of the Parker family was out of sight, Samantha went to the back of the church. She knew that the pastor went to his office after church. She wasn’t sure if he was in there now,
but Samantha would just have to take a chance. She knocked and waited a few seconds.
She thought to herself, “Don’t know whether or not I should be so nice. He sure wasn’t nice coming there and ruining ‘Liza’s party and taking Lillian. I’ll just make it known that I didn’t
Samantha knocked again, and this time, the pastor came to the door.
“Hello, Mr. Simmons,” Samantha said. She walked right into the office and sat down. “I would like to talk to you.”
“Yes, Samantha?” the pastor asked.
“I want you to give my friend her puppy back,” Samantha quickly answered. “You never had the right to take it.”
“What do you know about that?” asked the pastor.
“I was there at the party. You awfully upset Elizabeth, and I did not appreciate it,” Samantha answered.
“That was my puppy,” the pastor rudely replied. “Not your friend’s.”
“How would you like it if somebody took something from you that you loved so dearly?” asked Samantha.
“I believe I do not have an answer for that,” answered the pastor.
“For you to be a preacher, you are downright cruel and heartless!” Samantha exclaimed. She knew she shouldn’t have said that, for she knew that the pastor would most likely tell her parents.
But anyway, she continued, “If I have to get arrested, hurt, or who knows what, I will get my friend’s puppy back from you.”
“You just try,” the pastor said.
“I will try!” Samantha replied. “And you can’t stop me!” She stood up, walked to the door and said, “Good bye.” She yanked the door open, walked out, and loudly shut the door. Samantha didn’t
care if anybody heard her. She whispered, “’Liza is right. That man is evil!”
After meeting with the pastor, Samantha had no desire to walk the long route home. Instead, she took her and Elizabeth’s secret route. It was the shortest route back to Revelle Street. Samantha did
make plans to stop by Elizabeth’s house, but she didn’t. She knew well that the only news Elizabeth wanted to hear was good news, but all she had was bad.
When Samantha went inside her house, Mrs. Parker asked her, “I thought you were going to take the long route home.”
“No,” Samantha replied. “I just came the short way. Guess I didn’t really feel like walking all that way.”
Soon, the hot pot of vegetable soup that Mrs. Parker was cooking was done, and they ate lunch.
“Please give my daughter her puppy back,” said Mr. Martin.
Now Mr. Martin was trying to persuade the pastor to give Lillian back to Elizabeth.
“I’m sorry but I can’t do that,” Mr. Simmons said.
“Elizabeth never did anything wrong. She and Samantha innocently found the puppy sitting on the sidewalk. They didn’t know who it belonged to; they probably didn’t even know it belonged to
anybody,” Mr. Martin replied.
“This is my final choice,” the pastor said. “Your daughter will not get the dog back. And I would gladly appreciate it if you would kindly leave my office.”
Mr. Martin stood up. “Whatever you say. Goodbye.” He walked out of the office.
Back at the Martin house, when Mr. Martin came home, Mrs. Martin asked, “What did he say?”
“He says he’s not going to give Lillian back,” Mr. Martin answered.
“So what do we do?” Mrs. Martin asked. “Elizabeth’ll be devastated if we don’t do something soon.”
“Maybe we can buy a puppy similar to Lillian at the pet store,” Mr. Martin suggested,
“Elizabeth would rather have the real Lillian back,” replied Mrs. Martin. “That’s something that’s very obvious.”
“I guess we’ll have to wait and hope for the best,” Mr. Martin said.
Nighttime fell, and most everybody on Revelle Street was asleep. Everybody but Samantha and Elizabeth, that was. Samantha lay wide awake in bed thinking about the events of the day. How could
somebody be so mean as to take a poor, helpless puppy from somebody? The more Samantha thought about it, the more she wanted to take action. Finally, she climbed out of bed and put back on her
dress. She was going to get Lillian back, and it would require some drastic measures.
As Samantha quietly snuck out of the house, she realized that she would need Elizabeth’s help. So she walked down to Elizabeth’s house in the dim moonlight, careful not to make any noise. Then it
hit her as she stopped in front of the Martin house: how was she supposed to get Elizabeth’s attention without waking up the rest of the Martins and the neighborhood? Samantha stood there in deep
thought, then decided to try throwing a small rock next to Elizabeth’s window. This would be her only chance, so she would have to throw it perfectly and quietly. Samantha aimed at the area beside
the window and threw the rock. Perfect hit! But Elizabeth didn’t come to the window.
“Now what do I do?” Samantha whispered.
Then, thankfully, Elizabeth came to the window. She raised it and gasped, “Sammy! What in the world are you doing here!?”
Samantha motioned for Elizabeth to be quiet, then answered, “We’re going to get Lillian back.”
When Samantha said that, Elizabeth had mixed emotions. She felt happy that they were going to get Lillian, but she was worried about what might happen, too. Her parents had always told her
to take chances, because you have to suffer the consequences, anyway. Elizabeth changed into a dress and quietly snuck out of her house.
“Sammy!” Elizabeth exclaimed as soon as she reached the place where her friend was standing. “What do you mean we’re going to get Lillian?”
“I know where Mr. Simmons lives. We’ll go around there and get Lillian and bring her back here,” Samantha answered.
“Are you sure it’s safe?” Elizabeth asked.
“Maybe. Don’t know,” replied Samantha. “Come on.”
Samantha and Elizabeth walked down their secret route. Samantha led the way to the pastor’s house, which was on Ninth Street. Soon, they made it there.
“Gee, that’s a big house!” Elizabeth said. “Looks almost as if it could be haunted!”
“You’re right,” Samantha replied. “Let’s keep our voices down so nobody hears us.”
"How do we get in?" Elizabeth asked.
“We’ll try the front door,” Samantha answered.
They quietly stepped up on the front porch and went over to the door. Samantha turned the doorknob, and it wasn’t locked. Samantha and Elizabeth slipped inside, careful to thoroughly check
their surroundings. The coast was clear, and Samantha went one way, Elizabeth the other.
On Samantha’s route, she went through the living room, the kitchen, two closets and a guest bedroom. No sign of Lillian.
On Elizabeth’s route, she went through the dining room, a bathroom, and a parlor. No sign of Lillian.
They met back at the front door and told one another their news.
“Let’s go upstairs and look,” Elizabeth said. “I’m not giving up!”
“Okay,” Samantha replied.
The two girls climbed the tall, narrow steps and soon, found their selves on the second floor of the big house. There was a long hallway upstairs, so Samantha checked the left side of the
hallway, while Elizabeth checked the right.
When Elizabeth went in another spare bedroom, she heard whimpering come from inside of the closet. She quickly opened the door, and to her surprise, found Lillian shoved into the
corner. The poor dog’s mouth was taped shut with duct tape, and her legs were tied together.
“Oh, Lillian!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “What has this evil man done to you?” She hurriedly went to find Samantha, then they both went back to the spare bedroom.
When Lillian was free, Elizabeth said, “This man has to be stopped immediately!”
“I see what you mean!” Samantha replied.
Lillian let out a loud bark.
“Lillian!” Elizabeth hissed. “Be quiet!”
But it was too late. Both Samantha and Elizabeth could hear footsteps coming down the hallway.
“Quick! Hide!” Samantha said. She, Elizabeth, and little Lillian hid in the closet, fearful of what was going to happen next.
The footsteps came into the bedroom. The pastor heard them talking, and he was coming to see who it was.
All of a sudden, the closet door flew open, and there stood the pastor. Everybody was silent for a minute or two, but then Elizabeth said, “You are a very evil man, Mr.
“Should I tell your parents or just go ahead and report you two to the authorities?” asked the pastor.
“None of the above,” Elizabeth said. “Except we could work that out vice-versa: you get arrested or we tell your parents.”
“Get out of my house this instant!” shouted the pastor. “And take that whimpering thing you call a dog with you! GET OUT!”
“Right away!” Elizabeth said. She turned to her friend, “Come on, Sammy.”
As they walked home, Samantha said, “Well, we got that all straightened out.”
“I’m glad we did,” Elizabeth replied. “Nobody is ever going to take Lillian from us again, we’ll be sure of that, won’t we?”
“We sure will,” Samantha said.
They walked on in silence for a short while, then Elizabeth spoke up. “Let’s get on home ‘fore somebody notices we’re gone.”
Okay,” Samantha replied.
Samantha and Elizabeth quickly went home, happy that they had gotten Lillian back. And maybe now, Mr. Simmons had gotten the hint not to mess with Samantha and Elizabeth again.
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