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Ride of a Lifetime

Author(s): Penny Estelle

Book 2 in The Wickware Sagas
Middle Grade Historical Time Travel Adventure

Jim Abernathy is the new kid at Langdon Middle School - and a bully. With the death of his mother, and his father having to work two jobs, Jim has been on his own for the last year. In that year, Jim has become a bitter and brooding young man. A new job in Phoenix is just what Jim and his dad need for a new start.

Miss Wickware, and all the students in her history class, get a dose of Jim’s surly attitude the second he walks through the door. Everyone holds their breaths when their teacher and Jim go nose to nose. Miss Wickware wins the first round.

The class must draw historical subjects out of a box and present oral reports on whom or what they have drawn. Jim draws Sybil Ludington. “Great, another seamstress!”

Jim’s ideas about women in history take a whole new turn when he walks out of class and into the Eighteenth Century and the life of Sybil Ludington.


“Class, this is Jim Abernathy. Where are you from, Jim?”
“We are glad to have you in our class and I’m sure you’ll like Phoenix.”
“Oh yeah!” Jim snorted. “Let me think…I was living by the ocean, with a bunch of cool kids and now we’ve moved to a place that is hotter than…well, really hot, and I go to school with a bunch of geeks. Yeah, I’m living the dream all right.”
Miss Wickware’s smile never wavered. She crossed to her desk, picking up a small brown box. She sat on an empty desk to address the class. “In the next month we will be covering the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. These were hard times for our country. I want you all to hear and learn about some of the events and folks that lived during these trying times.”
She held out the box. “Everyone will come up and pick a piece of paper out of this box. I need a short oral report on the subject you pick.
“How long before it’s due?” someone asked.
“It’s due tomorrow.” The class exploded in moans and groans. “Settle down. It’s your only homework and it doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. It does have to be factual. Now who wants to be first?”
“I will!” Stanley Cohen said, jumping up from his seat. He looked at the subject he picked and smiled. “George Washington! No need for me to wait till tomorrow, Miss Wickware. George Washington, wearer of wooden teeth and first president of the United States.” Stanley grinned and bowed at the waist.
The class laughed, all except Jim who murmured loud enough for everyone to hear, “What a dork.”
The smile vanished from Stanley’s face. Miss Wickware put her arm around his shoulders. “We will need a little more than that Stanley, but it’s the perfect ending for your report!” His smile reappeared and he returned to his desk.
One by one, students picked their subjects.
“Who’s General “Mad” Anthony Wayne?”
“Who’s Dr. William Bean?”
“What was the battle of Tippecanoe?”
Wanda Clark was next. “Finally—a girl! Betsy Ross!”
“That’s because the only thing girls could do was sew,” Jim chuckled, slouching in his desk.
“Thank you, Wanda,” Miss Wickware interjected, before another confrontation could start. “Jim, you are next.”
Jim slowly pushed himself up and took his time walking to the box. He looked at the piece of paper he had drawn. “Sybil Ludington? Never heard of her.”
“Oh, just another seamstress,” Wanda called out.
The class erupted into laughter. Two spots burned on Jim’s cheeks. “This assignment is stupid!” He threw the paper down and stomped back to his desk.
The temper tantrum was ignored. Miss Wickware had them get their history books and turn to chapter four—The British Are Coming!
With only a few minutes left until the bell rang, she spoke to them about what to expect in class for the next few weeks. Miss Wickware picked up the paper Jim had thrown on the floor, which he hoped she had forgotten about. “Jim, I need you to remain for a few minutes, please.”
The bell rang and the class stampeded out the door. Whispered comments reached his ears as the last student left and the door banged shut.
“Now he’s going to get it.”
“He’s such a jerk.”
Jim slunk down further into his seat. Some of the kids had told him that strange things happened in this class. Weird stuff that couldn’t be explained. Miss Wickware had the power to mess with your mind. “Whatever! She’s an old lady. It’s a crock.”
She took her teacher’s chair and rolled it over to sit in front of Jim’s desk. His legs were stretched out, blocking her path. She looked from his legs to his face. Without saying a word, he let out a sigh and grudgingly pulled his legs in and sat up a little straighter.
She sat down and handed him the paper he had thrown away. A little embarrassed, he all but snatched it out of her hand and put it in his pocket.
“Jim, I don’t know what’s going on in your life or why you had to move to Phoenix. It’s apparent you weren’t in favor of the move.”
Jim’s expression had Duh written all over it!
“I have been the history teacher for Langdon Middle School for a lot of years. This is a nice school, Jim. I think you will like it if you give it a chance. I like the kids here. I like the programs they have to offer.”
“Blah, blah, blah, blah,” he thought. “Get on with it.”
“But let me tell you what I don’t like.” Miss Wickware leaned over and put her hands on his. He tried to pull them back, but couldn’t. His arms wouldn’t, or couldn’t, move. He looked into her eyes. They went from light to dark blue. Little sparks seemed to be shooting in all directions.
“I don’t like it when a student comes into my classroom and thinks he can act up. I don’t like it when a new student comes into my room and calls my students names. I don’t like it when a new student comes into my room and thinks he can run my show, but what I really don’t like,” Miss Wickware said getting closer,” is when a student comes to this school and bullies kids smaller than he is. Even more annoying than that, is when he bullies the girls.” The last part was said so quietly, Jim wasn’t sure if he heard it right. Miss Wickware was nose to nose with him, eyes crackling and the lights in the room flickering.
“Okay, okay, I get it. Let me go!” Jim cried.
“As long as we understand each other.” Smiling, Miss Wickware stood up. “Have a nice evening, Jim.”
He bolted from his desk, slamming out the door. Jim hadn’t taken more than a few steps before he stumbled, falling to his hands and knees. He was in a forest, thick with trees. The sun was barely able to peek through. He turned quickly around and found no school or anything else he recognized. “Wickware did this!” Blackness clouded his vision and Jim fainted.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-77127-338-1
Genre: Tween
Date Published: 06/06/2013
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

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