City Stories: A Book for Adult Beginning Readers

by Larissa Phillips

Clock Icon 40 minute read


Chapter One

This is Jan.
Jan is a mom.
Jan is from Jamaica.

When Jan was a kid, Jan was in Jamaica.
It was Jan and Mom and Jan’s Gran-Gran, in Jamaica.
Jan had a dad, as well, but he was in the US.

Jan was sad.
She was with her Gran-Gran a lot, but she did miss her Dad.
Dad did miss Jan and Mom, as well.

When Jan was ten, Jan’s Mom said, “Dad has a good job,
and he has put a lot of cash into the bank.
He says we can go to the US.”
So Jan said good-bye to Gran-Gran, and got on a jet with Mom.

Jan’s Dad met them at the jet.
The chill in the air was bad!
Jan had to fuss, as the chill was bad.

Mom said, “Hush, Jan. Yes, the chill is bad, but Dad has a hat.”
Dad said, “Get this stuff on! Get this hat on! Zip up!”
Jan did as he said. Then the chill was not so bad.

Then, Jan was in New York City!
The city was big.
Jan was with Mom and Dad.

When Jan got big, she met Mel.
Mel and Jan fell in love.
They had kids, Sal and Pat.
They got a house on Ash Street.

Chapter Two

Jan has Mel and Sal and Pat.
Jan has a good life.
She has good kids and a good man, and she has a good job.
It is all good. Jan is all set.

But Jan has a wish.
Back when she was ten, and Jan got on that jet,
she said good-bye to her Gran-Gran.
Gran-Gran is back home in Jamaica. She is 94!
Jan does miss her Gran-Gran.

“When will I get to see my Gran-Gran?” says Jan.
Soon it will be Gran-Gran’s birthday.
Gran-Gran will be 95!
Jan has a big wish—to get back to Jamaica for Gran-Gran’s birthday.

But Jan has no cash to get on the jet.
She can not get back to her Gran-Gran.
This is sad for Jan.
How can she miss Gran-Gran’s birthday?

“Mom is sad,” says Pat.
“Can we help her?” says Sal.
“Let’s get the cash for Mom,” says Pat.
“Then she can get on the jet, and see her Gran-Gran.”

“How can we get that much cash?” says Sal.
Sal is the big kid.
She gets it that it is a lot of cash.
“We can have a tag sale,” says Pat.
Pat is the small kid, with a lot of hope.
“We can sell our stuff.
We can sell our stuff to get cash for Mom.”

For a tag sale, you get all your stuff that you do not want.
Pots and pans. Clothing. Dolls. Fishing rods. Toys.
Then, you make signs. “Tag Sale. Sunday. 10–2.”
You sell all your stuff.

Sal and Pat had the tag sale.
It was a good day with a lot of sun.
All the people were out on Ash Street.
Sal and Pat got lots of cash for the stuff.

Chapter Three

“Mom, we got cash for you! To go see your Gran-Gran!”
Sal and Pat were so happy to tell this to Jan.
It was not a lot of cash. It was $55.
But Jan was glad.

The girls got a big hug.
“Thank you, Sal and Pat,” Jan said. “Thank you!”
Jan still has to get $550. Can she get the cash?
Will she get the cash to see her Gran-Gran?”

At the job, Jan’s boss saw that Jan was sad.
She said, “Jan, what is up? Are you sad?”
Jan said, “Yes, I am very sad.
My Gran-Gran will be 95 this fall.
She will have a big birthday bash, and I will miss it.”

Jan said, “I miss my Gran-Gran so much.
She was a mom to me when I was a kid.
My mom was at the job a lot.
My Gran-Gran was the mom for us.
And I will not get to see Gran-Gran when she is 95.”

Jan’s boss said, “Jan, do not get upset.
A man quit his job with us.
You can have the shift that he had.
It is the Sunday shift.
You will get a lot of cash for the Sunday shift.
Then you can get the cash for the jet.”

Jan said, “Oh! I think I can do that!
Let me check with Mel and the kids.
But I think I can do that.
Then I will get the cash for the jet, and I will get to see my Gran-Gran!”

What is this? Jan is on the jet!
Jan is on the jet to go see her Gran-Gran!
At the job, Jan did the Sunday shift. Soon, Jan had the cash.
Jan will see her Gran-Gran.

Jan will miss the kids.
She will miss Mel.
But it is OK.
She will get to see her Gran-Gran.

Chapter Four

Jan gets off the jet in Jamaica.
It is hot in Jamaica!
There is no chill in Jamaica.
Jan has to get rid of the hat.
This is all good.

A gal says, “Is that Jan?”
It is Kim.
When Jan was a kid, Kim was her best pal.
Kim is at the jet to pick up Jan.

Kim says, “Jan! What is up?!”
Jan says, “It is HOT in Jamaica.
But it is so good.
I did miss all of this.
I am so glad to be back.”

Kim and Jan go to Gran-Gran’s.
Jan says, “Gran-Gran?”
But Gran-Gran is not there.
Where is Gran-Gran?

Kim says, “Jan!
Gran-Gran is here.”
Gran-Gran is in bed.
Is Gran-Gran sick?
No, Gran-Gran is OK.

Jan says, “Gran-Gran?”
Gran-Gran says, “Jan? My baby gal?”
Jan says, “I am big, but I am Jan.”
Gran-Gran says, “Baby gal! I did miss my baby gal!”
At last, Jan gets to hug her Gran-Gran.

Jan was there for Gran-Gran’s big birthday bash.
Jan got to see all her pals from when she was a kid.
Jan’s Gran-Gran would not quit with the hugs for Jan.
“It is so good to be with my gal,” says Jan’s Gran-Gran.
“I missed my Jan.”

Jan calls Mel and the kids.
“It is so good to be here,” she says.
“I am glad to see all my pals, and my Gran-Gran.
But I miss you all, too.
Next time, let’s all go!”


Chapter One

This is Mel.
Mel is the dad of Sal and Pat.
Mel is Jan’s husband.

Mel has a job in a shop.
It is a good job.

When Mel was a kid,
Mel’s dad was mad a lot.
His dad would yell a lot.
His dad hit Mel a lot.

Mel said, “When I am big, I will NOT get mad at the kids.
I will NOT hit my kids.
I will NOT yell at my kids.”

Now Mel is a dad.
Mel has good kids.
But . . . kids will be kids.
Sal and Pat will fuss.
Sal and Pat will mess stuff up.
Sal will yell at Pat, and Pat will yell back at Sal.

When his kids get mad, Mel will get a bit mad.
But he will not hit his kids.
He will not yell back at his kids.

Mel hugs his kids a lot.
And his kids will hug and kiss him back.
Mel is a good dad, and a good man.

Chapter Two

Mel is big now.
He does not yell, or hit his kids.
He will not be like his dad.

But Mel is still mad at his dad.
He will not chat with his dad.
And he will not see him.

But now Mel’s dad is sick.
Mel’s dad calls Mel.
Mel will not pick up the call.

Mel has a sis, Deb.
Deb is not mad at their dad.
Deb says, “Mel, Dad is sad that you will not see him.”

Deb says, “Mel, Dad calls for you.
You have to see him.”
Mel says to Deb, “Dad can go to hell.”

Deb says, “Mel! Dad is sick!
Soon Dad will not be with us.
He is very sick.”

Mel says, “So what?
Dad hit me when I was a kid.
He was such a bad dad.”

Now Deb is mad at Mel.
And Mel is mad at their dad.
And their dad is still very sick.

Chapter Three

Deb will not stop.
“Mel! Dad is sick.
A son has to go to his dad.
A son has to check on his dad.”

Mel is still mad at his dad.
But he is sad that his dad is sick.
What if his dad will not get well?
What if this is it?

Mel thinks back to when he was a kid.
When he was a kid, his dad did yell.
And he did hit him.
But he was still a dad.

His dad would say, “Mel, get the fishing rod.
Let’s go fishing.”
And they would go fishing all day.
Mel and his dad got lots of fish.

And if a kid was bad to Mel, his dad got mad.
His dad would say, “Mel is my kid.
Do not mess with my kid!”
Mel’s dad was not all bad.

Mel thinks of all this.
He thinks of when his dad did good stuff.
He thinks of when his dad was a good dad.
He thinks of his dad in bed, sick and old.

But Mel is still mad.
It is not OK that his dad hit him.
He can’t let go of this.
But . . . his dad is sick.

At last, Mel says, “I will go to my dad.”
He calls Deb to tell her.
Deb says, “Oh good, Mel!
Dad will be so happy to see you.”

Chapter Four

Mel is on his way to see his dad.
Will his dad be mad at him?
Will he still hit Mel?
And yell at him?

Mel is not at all himself.
He gets lost in the halls of the hospital.
His hands are wet.
He can not get a good breath.

At last, Mel gets to his dad’s bed.
His dad is asleep.
Mel goes in and sits by the bed.
Mel’s dad sleeps.

Mel has not seen his dad in 15 years.
His dad is now an old man.
His dad is not big and bad.
He is small and old.

“Mel?” It is Mel’s dad.
“Mel, is that you?”
His dad is old and sick, in bed.
He is so sick.

“Hi, Dad. It is me. It is Mel.”
“Mel! I am so glad to see you,” says Mel’s dad.
He picks up Mel’s hand.
“I am glad to see you, too, Dad,” says Mel.

After that, Mel goes to see his dad a lot.
Mel’s dad wants to tell him something.
“Mel,” he says, “I was not a good dad.
I can see that. And I am sorry, Mel.”

“It’s OK, Dad,” says Mel. “There was good stuff, too.”
“Like the fishing?” says his dad.
“Yes, Dad, the fishing!”
“You were the best at fishing, Mel.”
Mel gives his dad a hug.
He is glad he is here with his dad.


Chapter One

This is Clem.
Clem has two sons.
Clem’s sons are good in school.
Clem brags to all her pals.

Clem’s sons get all A’s in school.
On the job, Clem says, “Check this out!
My kids are the best kids.
My kids get the best marks.”

Clem says, “Trev is the best at math.
Trev gets all A’s on his math tests.
Fred is the best at English.
Fred gets all A’s on his English tests.”

Clem’s pal are sick of this.
When Clem is not at the job, they say, “I am so sick of Clem!
Clem has got to stop.

She brags too much!”
But Clem will not stop.
She says, “My boys are the best.
They get gold stars and all A’s in English.
They win gold medals.”

Clem holds up the test.
She holds it up, but something is off.
She holds the test wrong.
And it is not an English test.

Clem’s pal Fran says,
“Hmm. This is not right.
Clem holds up the test wrong.
And she says it is an English test, but it is not.”

Clem’s pal Fran says, “I do not think Clem can read.”
Fran has a plan. It is kind of a bad plan.
She says, “I will set a trap for Clem.
I will trick Clem to show us all that she can not read.”

Chapter Two

Clem is at the job.
Clem says, “Look, Fran.
My kids got the best marks in the class on this test.”
Fran rolls her eyes and says, “Oh yes. What a shock.”
Then Fran gets a test from her bag.

Watch as Fran sets the trap for Clem!
“Clem,” she says, “Can I get some help from you?
My kids did not do so well on their tests.
I must help them to do well on the next test. Can you help me?”
“What?” says Clem. “Why me?”

“Your kids get the best marks on their tests,” says Fran.
“You tell us this all the time.
If you can help them get such good marks, you should help me and my kids.”
Clem looks a bit sick.
“OK,” she says at last.

Fran calls to all the men and women at the job,
“Watch Clem help me!”
Fran says this with a wink. It is not a kind wink.
Lots of people are sick of Clem.
They think she brags too much.
They want to see her mess up.
“Let’s see, Clem,” they say. “Help Fran!”

Fran hands Clem the test.
All the people watch as Clem stands still and gets red.
“Get on it, Clem,” says Fran. “Can you help or not?”
In her mind, Clem goes back to when she was a small kid.
She is in the front of her class.
But when the teacher calls on her, she can not read.

Back at the job, Clem is still red.
All the people look glad to see her mess up.
Fran stands next to her, with a big grin.
“OK, I can not read!” Clem yells.
Clem runs from the lunch room.
In the bathroom stall, she sobs and sobs.

Back in the lunch room, it is Fran’s turn to get red.
“That was not kind, Fran,” says a man.
“Fran, why did you do that?” asks a woman.
Fran feels bad. “It was just a small trick.
I did not think it would be this bad,” she says.
Fran finds Clem at the sink in the bathroom.
“I’m so sorry, Clem,” she says.
Clem nods. “It’s OK. I should not brag so much.
But I am so proud of my kids.
I was the bad kid in school.
When I could not spell or read, the teachers hit me.
In the end, I quit school. I did not get to read.”
Fran says, “I can help you. I can help you find a class.”

Chapter Three

Clem has to get to her class, but she can not find it.
She thinks, I will ask that woman for help.
“Miss?” she says, “I can not find this class. Can you help me?”
The woman says, “Yes, this . . . my class, too!
I help you . . . get . . . class.
Clem, I am Ying. It is good class. Come.”

Ying can not speak English so well.
But she has a kind face, with quick, kind eyes.
She asks Clem where she is from.
Clem says, “I am from Russia.”
Ying is from China.
She pats Clem’s hand. “We will get English!”

Clem and Ying find the class.
Ying is glad to be in class.
But for Clem, class is a bad thing.
When Clem was a kid, the teacher hit Clem.
She had to hold out her hand, and the teacher hit her hand with a stick.
Clem knows this teacher will not hit her, but she is still scared.

The class is a bit odd.
The teacher tells the men and women to say things.
“Hello. My name is Clem.” Or, “Hello, my name is Ying.”
Then they say, “Hello, Clem, how are you? I am fine.”
This is OK for Clem. She is good at this!
But will this help her to read?

Then the teacher hands out a paper.
“Put your name and address on the paper,” she says.
She tells the students to put lots of things on the paper.
But she still did not tell the students how to read or write.
Clem is upset.
She still can not do this.

At home, Clem gets out her book from class.
“What are you doing, Mama?” asks Clem’s son Fred.
“Nothing,” she says. She puts the book back in her bag.
Clem has not told her kids that she is in a class.
Clem has not told her kids that she can not read.
They know she can not read. But they do not talk about it.

At the end of the next class, the teacher wants to talk to Clem.
Clem shakes as she gets to the teacher’s desk.
“Clem, this is your test. You did not do well.”
Clem says, “Yes, but I will get it. I will not stop until I get it.”
The teacher says, “Clem, I do not think this is the class for you.”
“What?” Clem is upset. “I want to be in this class!”
“I am sorry, Clem. This is not the class for you.”

Clem is so upset. The teacher wants to kick her out of class!
“What do I do if I can not be in this class?” she asks.
“It is okay, Clem,” says the teacher. “This is not the end.
There is a class at the library.
The class is for men and women who can not read.
The teacher will help you to read.”
“What is this class for?” asks Clem.
“This class is for men and women who want to learn English.
It is not for men and women who want to learn to read.”

Chapter Four

Clem is in the new class.
The class is good!
The class is for men and women who can not read.
At last, Clem can read a bit.
But there still a thing that Clem must do.
The teacher says, “Get help at home. Get help from your kids.”

Clem will not tell the kids that she can not read.
Clem’s kids know. It is just a thing that they do not say.
Clem is upset that she must say this to the kids.
But she must get the help from them.
At last, Clem says, “Kids, I must ask for help from you.
I am in a class. The class is to learn to read.
And I must get help from you.”
The kids nod. “Yes, Mama. That is great!”

The kids are glad that Clem is in a class.
“Mama,” they say, “we think you are strong and brave.
We are so proud of you.
You are the best mom.”
Clem gets a big hug from her sons.
She says, “I am proud of you kids.”

Clem gets stuck at the blends.
One day she runs into her pal Ying.
“Clem!” says Ying with a grin. “How are you? I am fine!”
“I am fine, too,” says Clem. “How is the English class?”
“Oh Clem,” says Ying. “That class is so good.
My English is so good now! And how is the reading class?”
Clem shrugs. “Well, I am stuck. My kids help me, but I am still stuck.”
Ying says, “Then you must ask the teacher for help.”

At the end of class, Clem asks the teacher for help.
She does not want to ask, but she must.
“I can not get past the blends,” she says.
The teacher does not get mad.
He wants to help.
“Can you get to a computer?” he asks.
“Yes,” says Clem.
“My kids have a computer.”
“There is a web site that can help you,” says the teacher.

Clem gets to the web site.
She will not stop trying.
She gets past the blends.

One day, Clem is at a shop.
Fred calls on his cell. “Mama, where are you?” he says.
Clem looks up. She says, “I am at the end of Elm Street.
I am at Elm and Mink Street.
I am next to the shag rug shop.
I am past the ring shop, and next to the butcher shop.
I am at the bus stop.”
Fred says, “Wow, Mama. You can read all that!”

Clem can read.
She gets a card from a pal, and she can read it.
She gets a letter from the bank, and she can read it.
She gets a card from the boss, and she can read it.
She gets the newspaper, and she can read it.
She gets a menu in the restaurant, and she can read it.
She gets a map for the bus, and she can read it.

This is the best part.
Clem is on the job. Her pal Fran is there.
“Fran, look at this. Did you see this test?
It got the best mark in the class.
It is not my kids’ test. It is my test.”
Fran and Clem grin, and Fran hugs Clem.
“Great job, Clem!”
Clem can still brag.
But now, when Clem brags, it is about Clem.


Chapter One

This is Ying.
Ying is from China.
When Ying was a kid, she lived in a small town in China.
From when she was very small, she did not want
to be on a farm or in a small town.
She said, “Is this all there is?
Pigs and crops and plants?
I want lots of fun things in life, and pretty things.”

When Ying was 17, she went to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a part of China. There are a lot of jobs and cash.
There are men and women from all over the world.
Ying was glad to be in a big, fast city.
She got a good job in a bank.
She felt a big rush to be in Hong Kong, with such a good job.
And she was in love with all the pretty things in the shops.
But Ying did still want more!

Ying met a man. His name was Sun Wen.
“You can call me Wen,” he said.
Wen was from the US.
He had a big shop in New York City.
He was in Hong Kong with a long list of things he had to get for the shop.
“Oh!” said Ying. “Pretty things? Gifts and such?”
“No,” said Wen. “Not pretty things. Things for the house.
Mops and pans, stuff like that.”

Ying was so glad she had met a man who ran a shop.
This was a thing she would want to do.
“How did you get the shop?” she asked Wen.
“How do you run it?
What is it like to be in New York City?”
She had a lot of things to ask Wen.
She had a plan to have a shop of her own.

Ying was glad to help Wen find the things for his shop.
They went all over Hong Kong.
They went to shops and factories.
They put bids on lots of goods.
Wen was glad to get this help from Ying.
Ying was good at all the parts of this job.

At last, Wen had all the things for his shop.
He still had a day left in Hong Kong.
He went to find Ying.
He liked Ying. He liked Ying A LOT.
She had such a good mind.
She was full of zest and fun.
“I think she would like New York City,” Wen said.
“And she would be good in the shop.”

Wen took Ying to the falls.
They took a bus, and then they went on foot the rest of the way to this beautiful spot.
Ying said, “I wish you did not have to go back to the US.”
Wen said, “I must get back to the shop.
But . . . there is one thing left that I still must find.”
Ying said, “What is that? I will help you find it!”
Wen held out a box with a ring in it.
He said, “Well . . . I still must find a wife.”

Ying had to gasp as she held the ring.
Did she want to be Wen’s wife?
And go to the US? And live in New York City?
And run a shop with Wen?
Of course she did!
This was what she had wanted ever since she was small.
“Yes!” she said with a yell. “I will be your wife!”

Chapter Two

Now Ying is Wen’s wife!
She has a job in Wen’s shop in the US.
She has to help Wen stock the shelf.
She has to help Wen run the shop.
It is a big shop.
The shop sells things for the house, things from China.

In China, Ying was bold.
She did all kinds of things in life.
She was not afraid.
Ying was bold and glad and full of zest and fun.
In New York City, Ying is not Ying.
She is afraid.

“You must ask the people in the shop if they want help,” says Wen.
“You act all shy,” he says.
(When Wen and Ying chat with each other, it is in Chinese.)
“You must ask them how they are. And if they want help.
You must say, ‘Hello! How are you? Can I help you find something?’”
But Ying will not ask the people if they want help.
She will not even say hello.
In the US, Ying is shy and afraid.

Now Wen is mad at Ying.
“What is up with you? You must talk to the people!”
“I can’t do it!” says Ying with a big sob.
“I can not talk to them. I can not talk in English!”
Wen stops. “What? Yes, you can. In Hong Kong you could talk in English.”

Ying says, “In Hong Kong, I had a small bit of English,
just enough for the job.
It was OK in Hong Kong. This is the US.
Here, I do not have enough English.”

Wen is the kind of man who wants to fix a problem.
“Oh! It is the English!” he says.
“Well, that is not a bad thing. You can just get a book.
You can fix this problem. I will get you a book to learn English.”
Wen is the kind of man who will do things by himself.
He gets Ying a book. He is glad this problem is all set.

Ying is glad she has a book.
At last she can get good at English.
She sits with the book and does her best.
She sits with the book all day in the shop.
And all night she sits with the book in her lap.

After six months, she still can not talk in English.
She still can not talk to the men and women in the shop.
Wen is mad at her a lot.
Ying is mad at Wen.
She should not have left Hong Kong!

“I can not talk in English!” she yells at Wen.
“And this shop is bad! There are no beautiful things in the shop!
I have nothing to do in the US.
All I do is sell mops and pans.
I want to go back to Hong Kong!”

Chapter Three

Ying is all set to go back to Hong Kong.
No more US! No more shop! No more Wen!
But then the best thing happens.
A Chinese-American woman is in the shop.
“Hello,” she says in English. “Can you help me?”
Ying just shrugs. She still can not talk in English.
“Oh!” says the woman. “Do you need help with English?”

The Chinese-American woman gets out a pen and a pad.
“My mom did not talk in English for 15 years!” she says.
“Then she went to this class. It is a good class!
You should go to this class.”
She hands Ying the pad.
“Go here,” she says in Chinese. “Learn English!”
Ying nods. “OK,” she says. “I will go.”

Ying goes to the class.
She is so glad to be in a class!
A book is not the best way to get good English. A class will help!
In the hall, Ying finds a woman who is lost. It is Clem.
“Come!” she says to Clem. “Let’s go to English class!”
They go to the class together.

But when she is in the class, Ying still will not talk.
The teacher calls on her. “Hello, Ying! How are you today?”
Ying gets red and will not talk.
At home she tells Wen. “I still can not talk in class.”
“Why not?” asks Wen.
“I am still not good in English,” Ying says.
“I want to talk in English only when I am the best.”

“Ying,” says Wen, “You can not get good in English if you do not talk.”
Wen tells her how, when he was a kid, and got to the US, he did not talk in English.
“But then I had to talk in English.
The gas man was at the door, and my mother and father could not talk in English.
So I had to talk.
And then the teacher, and the landlord, and the cop, and lots and lots of people.
I had to do all the talking.”
Soon, Wen was good at English.
“It is OK to mess up,” Wen told Ying.
“When you mess up, you learn. It is OK.
You must mess up in English, and then you will learn!”

Ying gets this.
I have to mess up, she thinks.
But it is hard.
Ying thinks, I need a pal to chat with.
She calls Clem to ask.
“My English still so bad,” she says.
“You help me? Chat with me?”

Clem is glad to help.
Clem and Ying get coffee and chat in English.
Ying can mess up in front of Clem.
She knows Clem does not mind.
Then, a man from the class asks if he can chat with them.
Then, a woman from the class asks.
Soon, Ying and Clem have a group that gets coffee and chats in English.
Ying loves this. She chats in English—and she has pals!

At last, Ying will talk in English, in the shop and in class.
And on the bus and at the park and in the book shop. Everywhere!
“Hello! Ying says to the people in the shop. “How are you? Can I help?”
At the park she says, “Hello! Happy good day!”
At the book shop she says, “Good day. I look book for husband. You help me?”
On the bus she says, “Hello. Thank you. Help me find stop for Elm Street. Please.”
Ying is glad to be in New York City, with a job in the shop, and with her pals,
and with her good man Wen.

Chapter Four

Ying still goes to English class. But now her English is very good.
She chats in English to all the people she finds.
This helps her to get better and better.
Now that she can talk in English, she is the old Ying again.
This is the Ying that wants fun.
The Ying that wants new things all the time.
Ying is back!

Ying is glad to work in the shop, and chat with the people.
She helps Wen pick out new things to sell in the shop.
She goes with Wen back to Hong Kong on trips to get stuff for the shop.
She tells Wen, “We should sell snacks in the shop!
The kind of snacks that you get in Hong Kong.”
Wen thinks this is a good plan.
He puts in a snack bar, and they sell Hong Kong snacks and drinks.

But Ying still wants more.
“Wen,” she says, “I want something more, but I am not sure what.”
What can Wen do? He can not stop her!
Ying tells Wen, “I got into a class.
It is for people who want to run a business.”
“But we already run a business.”
Ying shrugs. “But I want more. I want a bigger business.”
Wen says, “OK, good luck.” He can not stop Ying!

In her class, Ying has to make a plan for a new business.
Her plan is for a gift shop.
It is the shop she has had in her mind since she was a small child.
Ying loves the plan for this beautiful shop.
She puts everything she has into the plan for this shop.
She works out all parts of the shop, even how much everything would cost,
down to the last penny.

When the plan is done, Ying goes to Wen.
“Wen,” she says, “I have a plan for a shop.
The shop would sell all the stuff I miss from Hong Kong.
Pretty things, and stuff for dress-up, and beautiful gifts.
A shop for women, with tea and cakes. A pretty shop.
And look,” she says. “I have all the cash worked out, down to the last penny.”
Wen says, “Hmmm. Not bad.”

Wen and Ying do not have the cash to rent a spot for Ying’s shop.
“So,” says Ying, “what if we put my shop in the back of this shop?”
This is not what Wen had in mind for his shop.
But Ying knows it is the best way.
She shows Wen her plan again.
All the cash works out, down to the last penny.
At last, Wen grins and says, “Let’s give it a shot.”

Ying has set up a small shop in the back end of the big shop.
It is beautiful. She sells pretty gifts and beautiful things.
She brings in cakes from another shop, and sells them there.
People love Ying’s shop!
“Soon we can rent a new spot just for your shop,” says Wen.
He is proud of his wife. And Ying is glad to be in the US with Wen.

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