By Monika


What a nice present from Mouse on his birthday. (Nothing smoking, running, or exploding!)

Jamie deserved credit as well, Vincent thought, as he thanked Mouse for his thoughtful gift of a  blank notebook. For Ideas and Thoughts that are Important! Mouse had said. So he should never forget something really nice, new, or personal. Or family things!! Never forget family things. It's really good to have family!!


Later, as he sat at his desk with his new journal, he thought about the change Jamie had brought to Mouse’s life. She'd told Mouse it was time for him to say when they would marry. Everyone had laughed until they’d understood she was serious. Finally, Mouse got it – he was supposed to do something without a reminder or he would have to live without Jamie’s smile for days. And that was not good for him.


All were there to witness the wedding of that pair (Vincent was best man for Mouse and Cathy was Jamie’s bridesmaid!) It was a wedding no one missed, and everyone remembered the event as they grew old. Mouse wore a suit that Cathy had tailored for him – her wedding present to him. Jamie wore a dream of dress all the women in the community helped make. (Cathy had supplied the fabric ­– smooth and looking like clouds.) As Jamie walked toward Father and Mouse in the Great Hall for her marriage ceremony, she was proud to be there with her intended.


All were thinking the honeymoon would last maybe three days, and then Mouse would go back to his work – and get lost in it as usual, disappearing for days and days. But everyone was wrong. Sure, Janie was busy guarding the tunnels, and Mouse was working and inventing wonders never before seen Below (or Up Top, for that matter). But as soon as evening came, Mouse headed home. He had a home now.


Vincent thought of the new people who came below during that time, visiting and returning above. Some he thought of as friends already.


Like Jasper, the young doctor who had begun to help Father in the tunnels. He’d been laid off his job due to to financial cutbacks at the hospital. He hadn’t found a new position fast enough, and he was living in the park without home or friends. Father was happy to have his help, as he wanted all the people below to be seen for regular examinations.


But, as everywhere else, tunnel dwellers didn’t like to go to the doctor. And that included Mouse and Jamie. So Father told them they would be doing him a favor – and set a good example for the children – if they’d let Jasper take a look at them.


Father was stunned when Jasper told him (after asking Jamie for permission) that Mouse and Jamie would soon be parents! Mouse a Daddy!!! Heaven, hold all your angels ready, Father prayed.


After a very interesting pregnancy (and a very panicked Mouse the whole nine months and particularly at the birth) Jamie and Mouse became parents to little Phillip (Jamie’s Father’s name) Vincent Jacob (a long name for a little boy) and Mary Catherine .


Twins! Mouse had insisted that be kept a secret. Something Jasper was not allowed to tell! But everyone was happy to be at the birth. Vincent was named godfather for Phil and Rebecca godmother for little Mary. By the time the naming ceremony came around, it seemed Mouse might  explode with pride for his own family.


The best family in all worlds, according to Mouse, of course. Even Vincent could have only second place in this matter!


Mouse, as a father, was always there, never leaving his kids to feel alone. He was always in a bit of a panic, worried, for example, because Phil was teething but Mary was not yet. Or because Mary broke her arm as she stumbled on the path to the storeroom to surprise her Daddy with some cake. How could he be mad, once he was sure she was going to be okay? And the birthday parties ... things Mouse had never had, but wanted now for his little ones. He worried, too, about how quickly time was passing, that he might miss something.


And now his children would be learning physics, reading, and all they could as if in a ordinary school (Jamie tried to keep Mouse from performing experiments with the kids in the same room.).


There would be adventures to come. Mouse would have to be patient with himself when he couldn`t 

watch out for his kids. But, as he told Vincent over and over, it was wonderful to have a family of his own!!



Vincent well remembered a silent, shy little boy who “took” his bread and was gone through a hole in the tunnel walls. Everyone could see the man he’d grown up to be. Vincent couldn`t be prouder  – Mouse was like his own son and yet also a friend.


And the notebook – blank for now, but not for long – would hold many memories and a special place in his heart for the friend who gave it to him.