A change of plans changes Caroline's position in an important line.

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Caroline was eating her scrambled eggs too fast.


“Don’t gobble, Caroline,” her mother said. “You have plenty of time. The movie doesn’t begin until ten o’clock.” It was Saturday morning, and Pinocchio was going to be shown at school.


“But I have to be first in line,” said Caroline. “If I’m first, maybe I will get to sit next to Miss Olmstead.”


Miss Olmstead was Caroline’s favorite teacher. She had long brown hair and she smiled a lot.


Caroline finished her eggs, put on her coat, and ran to the door.


But her mother called after her, “Caroline, come back. You forgot to brush your teeth.”


Caroline ran back, brushed her teeth, and ran to the door.


But her mother called after her, “Caroline, you forgot your quarter for the movie. Come back and I’ll give it to you.”


The principal was going to collect all the quarters to buy toys for children in the hospital.


While her mother looked in her purse for the quarter, Caroline hopped up and down saying, “Please hurry!” She did want to be first in line.


Caroline hurried to school as fast as she could, but she arrived too late. Nancy was already standing on the top step of the main entrance. Caroline took her place behind Nancy. She was disappointed not to be first, but it wasn’t too bad to be second. After all, Miss Olmstead had two sides. If Nancy sat on one side, Caroline could have the other side.


But now Frances was coming up to join them. Frances was Nancy’s best friend.


Frances said, “Caroline, could I please stand in front of you, so I can be right after Nancy?”


Caroline shook her head. She couldn’t let Frances stand in front of her. That would make her third, and Miss Olmstead didn’t have three sides.


Frances turned to Nancy. “Nancy, you’ll let me stand in front of you, won’t you?”


Nancy said, “All right.” She couldn’t say no to her best friend.


So now Caroline was third in line.


More children kept coming. Frances let a boy with red hair stand in front of her, and he let a boy with a computer game stand in front of him. Everyone else who came was able to get into line ahead of a friend.


The line grew longer and longer. Poor Caroline wasn’t third anymore. Soon she was tenth, then twenty-first. No matter how many children came, Caroline was last in line.


First in Line


By ten o’clock the line stretched all the way around the school to the side entrance. Caroline was standing just in front of the side entrance when the door suddenly opened.


The principal was there. He was surprised to see the line of children facing the wrong way. “Now, why on earth . . . ,” he wondered aloud. Then he said, “I guess no one told them to come in the side entrance.”


The principal cupped his hands around his mouth and called, “Turn around, boys and girls, and have your quarters ready!”


Naturally, Caroline was first in line. At last! She gave her quarter to the principal and went into the auditorium. Miss Olmstead was already sitting down. Caroline went over and sat down in the seat next to her.


“Well, Caroline!” Miss Olmstead said, smiling. “You must have hurried to be first inside.”


“I did,” said Caroline happily, and she settled back to wait for the movie to begin.