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Illustration from What is the Full Moon Full of

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Shulamith Levey Oppenheim

Unpublished Stories


The Best Presents of All

It was my nephew who, when I asked after his birthday, what was his favorite present, answered, without losing a beat, "Daddy came home from the hospital."

Daddy being a physician, the grin was ear to ear!

Most presents that I get are wrapped in picture paper and bright satin ribbon.

They're piled up on a chair in front of my birthday cake or
They're under the Christmas tree or
They're set around the menorah at Chanukah.

Sometimes they pop out of my parents' suitcases when they've been on a trip


I've got presents that nobody gives to me,
That are never wrapped,
That are just THERE.

My apple tree that blooms while I'm sleeping.

The stone I found in the road that looks like any old stone until I put it in water and it's a jewel!

A phoebe's nest in the old Christmas wreath, where I can watch the mommy and daddy birds sitting on their eggs and see the babies hatch and being fed ... and flying off!

Hot chocolate when my friends and I come in from sledding with frozen fingers.

The full moon lighting up my room.

My friend Sophie, who likes my peanut butter and banana sandwich on brown bread better than her tuna fish sandwich on white bread-and we switch!

The sidewalk in front of my house where I draw a hopscotch with pink chalk.


A butterfly wriggling out of its cocoon right under my nose.

Winter buds, waiting for spring.

My mother's bread, just baked.

Baby snakes.

My dog Rita, sitting by the back door after I've been up and down the street and across the field and into the woods looking for her.

Piles of crisp brown leaves to jump in-and how they smell.

Music coming from the livingroom when I'm in bed.

The first tomato from my tomato plant.

Soap that smells like my Nana and honeysuckle.

My grandfather's red woolen cap with earflaps that come way down.



Mommy and Daddy coming in to read to me and tuck me in and kiss me "Night."

These are the best presents of all!

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