“Benjamin’s Lost,” Friend, Sept. 1992, 32
While Benjamin’s mother was busy unpacking moving boxes, he went out to ride his tricycle. He peddled back and forth in front of his new house. Then he peddled from corner to corner and back again. Soon Benjamin wiped his brow. He was tired. He got off his tricycle, climbed up the steps to the porch, and tried to open the door. It was locked. Benjamin knocked and yelled, “Mom, I’m thirsty.”
No one answered.
“Mom,” he yelled again. “I need a drink.”
Still no answer.
Benjamin looked at the tall door. “This looks like my door,” he said. “But maybe I’m at the wrong house.” He climbed back on his tricycle and looked at the doors of all the houses. They were all tall. Just like his door.
“I know,” he said. “My house has a brick chimney.” He rode past every house again. All the chimneys were brick, just like his.
Benjamin scratched his head. He looked up and down the street. He wondered how he would ever find his house.
Then Benjamin remembered his garage. It was big enough for two cars. Benjamin peddled fast to find that garage. But all the houses had garages big enough for two cars, just like his. Tears filled Benjamin’s eyes. “I’m thirsty,” he cried. “And I want my mom.”
“Is something wrong?” a voice behind him asked.
Benjamin turned around and saw a letter carrier.
“I can’t find my house,” he said, wiping away his tears. “All the houses look the same. They all have tall doors. They all have brick chimneys. And they all have garages big enough for two cars.”
“You do have a problem,” the letter carrier said. “Maybe I can help.”
“How?” Benjamin asked.
“Come walk with me while I deliver the mail on this block, and we’ll look for your house together.”
A hint of a smile crept across Benjamin’s face. He followed the letter carrier up a front walk.
“Ring the bell,” the mailman said.
A girl answered the door, and Benjamin’s shoulders drooped. “I don’t have a sister,” he said.
At the next house, Benjamin turned away when an old man took his letters.
The tears came back to Benjamin’s eyes. His body trembled. “We’ll never find my house,” he cried.
The letter carrier put his arm around Benjamin. “Come on, let’s try the next house.”
Benjamin looked at the house. It had a tall front door. It had a brick chimney. And it had a garage big enough to hold two cars. Benjamin knocked. “Maybe this is my house,” he said.
“Coming,” called a voice.
Benjamin jumped up and down. “It’s my mom! It’s my mom!”
When she opened the door, Benjamin leaped into her arms. “I was lost,” he said. “I couldn’t tell which house was ours. They all look alike.” Then he saw some numbers next to the door. “What are those?”
“That’s our address,” his mother said.
“One three five,” Benjamin read as he slid down from her arms. “Do all the houses have the same numbers?”
His mother shook her head. “We are the only house on this street with the numbers one three five.”
“Oh,” Benjamin said. “Now I know what to do next time I can’t find my house.”
“What?” asked his mother.
“What?” asked the letter carrier.
“I don’t need to look at the doors or the chimneys or the garages,” he said. “All I need to do is find the numbers one three five. I’ll never be lost again.”
And with a big smile, Benjamin ran inside for a drink.