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1987

Mrs. Waldo

Sam is looking at some merchandise in the clothes department when Jeff zooms by on a skateboard.

"Hi Sam, bye Sam!" He calls out.

"You missed our checkers game, you know!" Sam calls after him. "Jeff, Jodie's lookin' for you," he adds. "Skateboards! Hmph! Oh, well."

In the meantime, Jodie is carries a huge load of books into the children's department and puts them on the counter. She needs to study them for a big exam tomorrow for her business course at Metro College. Jeff is supposed to help her by quizzing her from one of the books, but he's not around, and she only has an hour for her break so she decides to start without him. She picks up the books again and makes her way across the room. At that moment, Jeff rides in on his skateboard and runs into her, knocking her books all over the place.

Having run into her, Jeff remembers he has a note to give her from Muffy. She thanks him, and he's about to zip off again on his skateboard when Jodie reminds him to skateboard safely by getting a helmet and some elbow and knee pads. By the time Jodie remembers to call out and remind him that he was supposed to help her study, he's gone. So she opens her note from Muffy, which she reads aloud.

"'Dear Jodie. I'm so glad we're chums. I can't wait til tomorrow comes. Off on our picnic then to the museum, those dinosaur bones, I can't wait to see 'em, so ta-ta for now, adios, bye and ciao.' Oh no, not tomorrow! Oh I forgot completely! . . . I can't go. I've got this big exam. I can't miss it. How am I gonna tell Muffy?"

Meanwhile the mime lady is skateboarding as well. TXL is happy to see that she has a helmet along with elbow and knee pads. "Where are you riding?" she asks. The mime "walks" a bit and we hear the noise of traffic. "In traffic? With all the cars?" TXL exclaims, "No way! Find somewhere safe to ride!" So the mime "walks" back the other way. Now we hear birds singing and children playing, so we know she's in a park. Finally, she gets on the skateboard and promptly falls on her rear.

"Maybe you need one more pad," says TXL.

Now we see Jodie again, this time with fewer books, and she has come into the stockroom to study. She tells us that Muffy didn't take the news of not going to the museum very well, but she can't think about that now, she has to study. "Where is Jeff?" She wonders. "He promised to help me study. Why do people break their promises?"

"I know just how you feel, Jodie," says an unfamiliar voice.

"Who said that? Who's in here?"

It turns out that it's a very small woman (played by Mignon Elkins), standing on the stockroom shelf.

"Who are you?"

"How do you do, Jodie?" The lady says with a gentle British accent.

"Have we met? I'm sure I'd remember you, you're an elf or a leprechaun, or. . ."

"No." The woman says, "This is just a little bit of magic I picked up from my husband, Waldo."

"Waldo?" Jodie says, "You're married to Waldo the Magnificent? Then you must be Mrs. - Mrs. - Magnificent?"

"My friends call me Mattie. Short for Matilda. Oh, Waldo's spoken so highly of you and Jeff and Sam and Muffy. I felt I could come to you if I needed a place to - to -" Then she begins to cry.

"Aw. What's wrong, Mattie?" Jodie asks.

"Tonight is Waldo's and my 30th wedding anniversary," she sobs.

"But that's wonderful! Married 30 years ago today?"

"Waldo forgot," snaps Mattie.

"Oh." Jodie says.

Mattie explains that she went to the Chez Pierre's for an anniversary dinner. She bought a new dress and "waited and waited and waited for 2 hours!"

"Maybe Waldo got lost, or . . ." Jodie begins.

"Oh, no," insists Mattie, "He doesn't care anymore. All he thinks about is his magic act. Where he's going to appear next what tricks he's going to do. He forgot all about me," she begins to cry again, "and our anniversary!" she wails.

"Aw, Mattie, that's too bad," soothes Jodie. She gently begins to sing, "Easy now, it'll be all right. You found a friend in me tonight. If you're feeling lonely and blue, that's okay 'cause I've been there too. Maybe tomorrow will bring a brighter day and a song to sing. But for now you just hold on tight, you've found a friend in me tonight."

"Thank you Jodie." Mattie says. "Waldo was right. You are very kind. Oh, Waldo!" She starts crying again.

Without thinking about how small she is, Jodie hands her a handkerchief, which lands on her head, as big to her as a sheet. She pulls it down. "Thank you, Jodie," she says, then, with a touch of irony, "this will last awhile."

Mattie tells Jodie she doesn't know how long she'll stay. She made herself small so she wouldn't be any trouble. She brought camping gear and plenty of food. Jodie tells her she can stay as long as she wants. Then, Mattie goes into her tent for a rest.

Meanwhile, at her home, Muffy is fuming. "All my plans have gone awry. It makes a mouse wanna cry! Oh, no grapes! No hot dog! No bun!" She says, tossing the items out of her picnic basket. "Jodie's cancelled all our fun! And I won't see that brontosaurus, 'cause Jodie's chosen to ignore us. How can she do this to me, I'm as upset as I can be!"

Then we see Mattie again. "How could Waldo do this to me?" she says, "I can't believe he forgot our anniversary."

Then it's Jodie. "How could Jeff do this to me? He promised to help me study."

Then Sam, "Jeff forgot our checker game. How could he forget."

Then we see all of them in a four-way split screen. "How could (he/she) do this to me?" They all moan.

"It's so unfair, don't you see?" Muffy adds.

A bit later, Sam is in the computer room, trying to play checkers. "Ho hum. Not much fun playing checkers by yourself," he says, "Everytime I do I lose. Jeff and I haven't played a game of checkers ever since he got that skateboard you know."

Just then, Waldo suddenly appears in the room. Startled, Sam tosses the checkerboard and sends the checkers flying.

"Strange move," says Waldo. "Oh! Did I frighten you?"

"Don't do that to a person! Haven't you ever thought of using the door?"

So Waldo goes back outside and knocks on the door. "Who is it?" snaps Sam.

"It's is I, Waldo the Magnificent, may I come in?"

"No!" says Sam.

"No?"

"Oh, just kidding. Come on in Waldo, kind of been expecting you."

"Oh, so Mattie's here then. She left me a note."

"Yeah, forgot your wedding anniversary. Left your darling waitin' at the restaurant, huh? Bad move Waldo."

Waldo explains that he didn't really forget, he just thought "today was tomorrow." He'd lost track of time, being so busy with his magic act. "The reviews have been wonderful!" he says.

"Not from Mattie, they haven't," says Sam.

Waldo says that Mattie has been dropping hints that she isn't happy with all the time he spends performing. The night before, Mattie sabotaged his act. She packed a chicken suit instead of his normal attire, so there he was on stage dressed like a chicken. When he tried to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he got mayonnaise instead. When he tried to produce the head of a lion, he pulled out a head of lettuce. Then a pickle, bread, and a rubber chicken. When he said the magic words, the whole thing turned into a chicken sandwich (with pickle!) Embarrassed, he left the stage. The whole evening went on like that. "And look what she wrote inside my hat!"

He shows Sam the hat band, which normally reads "Waldo the Magnificent," but with her addition, it reads, "Waldo the not so Magnificent."

Sam tells him that Mattie has shrunk herself down and is on a shelf in the stockroom.

"Clever girl, Mattie, I taught her that trick years ago! Well, I must be off." Then poof! He disappears.

Sam shudders. "Oh, boy. Did it again! When is that man ever gonna learn to use the -"

Poof! Sam is startled again by Waldo's sudden appearance.

"Sorry, I meant to use the door!" Waldo says, grabbing his hat and walking out the door, leaving a very shaken security guard behind.

Out in the hallway, outside Muffy's place, a piece of paper falls to the floor. Jeff is skateboarding by, now with a helmet and knee and elbow pads, and he stops to pick it up. It's an ad for the brontosaurus exhibit at the museum. He wonders where it came from.

"I toseed it on the floor," says Muffy, coming out on her balcony. "Don't need it anymore." She explains that she and Jodie aren't going to the museum after all. "Jodie doesn't want to. She has an old test review."

"Test?" Jeff wonders. Then he snaps his fingers. "Her business course. Oh! I was supposed to help her study for it. Right after I finished playing checkers with Sam. Oh, boy."

"Broken promises, you do it too! It's going around like some old flu!"

Jeff explains that he didn't mean to break his promise, he just got caught up with his skateboard and forgot.

"Jodie doesn't care," moans Muffy, "It just isn't fair!"

"Now wait a minute Muffy," Jeff says soothingly, "Sometimes people have to do things so they can't do other things that they'd really rather do if they didn't have to do the first things in the first place."

"Huh?"

So Jeff explains himself with a Willoby tale he read that morning. Muffy asks him to tell it to her. She snuggles up to him and he tells her all about it.

Papa Willoby and his daughter Wanda were both excited. Papa had a new job, selling "awesome possum pens," pens that write upside down like possums do, and Wanda was taking ballet classes. At first Wanda had to put an "R" and an "L" on her right and left feet so she would remember the right foot to start on, which was sometimes the left foot. But she was doing well, and when the teacher put on a ballet recital, "Possum Lake," Wanda had a small but important role. Unfortunately, she overheard her father telling her mother that he had a client all the way across Possum Ridge the same night as Wanda's recital and he wasn't sure he'd make it in time. Wanda was heartbroken, but she tried to be brave. At the performance, she peered out from behind the curtain and saw her family, and an empty seat where Papa would have been sitting.

At this point, Muffy lets out a disgusted, "Oh!"

But as she danced across the stage, she pirouetted twice and faced the audience just in time to see her father, huffing and puffing as he sat down next to her brother Wendall. He had run all the way there just to see her. Muffy gives a delighted sigh.

"Well," says Jeff in a cozy voice, "The sight of her Papa's tired, beaming face made Wanda feel very warm inside. Well, she knew it was a moment - a look that she would never forget for the rest of her life."

Muffy is thrilled with the story. "Papa Willoby made it all fine. Unlike a certain friend of mine."

"Aw, Muffy, don't you see, even if Papa hadn't made it back to the concert in time it didn't mean that he loved Wanda less. Sometimes we can't do all the things we want to for our family and friends."

"But that doesn't mean that we still don't care about them," says Jodie softly, walking up to Jeff and Muffy.

"Hi, Jodie," says Jeff. "I'm sorry I didn't get to help you study."

Jodie says it's all right, and Jeff suggests they could fit it in later. Then, Jodie turns to Muffy. "I'm really sorry about the museum."

"Well, I can be understanding, too," says Muffy, "I can forgive a friend like you."

Jodie draws a deep, relieved breath. "Oh, good. I'm glad we got this straightened out. I just wish we could do the same for Mattie and Waldo."

Then, from afar, comes a yelping. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Then in rolls Sam, with a throw pillow on his head and two pillows tied fore and aft. He crashes into the corner.

"Oh, Sam, are you all right?"

"I'm right as rain, Jodie. I just landed on these pillows after all." He explains that Jeff's skateboarding looked like fun, so he decided to try it himself. "It is fun, too. Um, I just thought that maybe though Jeff you could give me a few pointers, like, uh, how to stop?"

"Oh, Sam," chuckles Jeff.

Next we visit the mime lady, who is practicing ballet at a barre. But there's something wrong. She's wearing tap shoes! After she hears that, she does a simple tap dance.

Now it's time for Waldo to speak to Mattie. He is very nervous about choosing the right words to express his sorrow.

"Look, you only need two words," Sam tells him, "I'm sorry. - Uh, dear. Add a "dear." Maudie always loved it when I called her sweet names. And flowers. Flowers would be a nice touch. Yeah. Maudie loved flowers."

So Waldo goes into the stockroom. "Mattie. My dearest. My darling. Sweet blossom. Beloved. My precious. Pussycat. My treasure, my sweet!"

"My word!" cries Mattie, coming out of her tent. "What are you babbling about?"

"Sam said I should call you sweet names."

"I don't need any sweet names," says Mattie, "I need you, across the table from me, at the restaurant for our anniversary."

"I know it was dreadful of me to forget," Waldo says. "You look very nice in that gown."

Mattie softens. "Well, thank you."

"Flowers!" he announces, pulling out a small spray.

"How lovely!" cries Mattie. But then they squirt her with water like a hose.

"Wrong flowers!" groans Waldo, "Those are the trick flowers from my magic act."

"You and your magic. I am so tired of magic!" Mattie snaps, and she goes back into the tent.

Just then, Sam comes in. "Well, how did it go old buddy? Which one of those sweet names won her over? Was it peach blossom? Kissy face?"

Waldo turns around and quite deliberately squirts Sam in the face with his trick flowers. Then he walks away. "What did I say?" Sam sputters as he wipes his face. "Did you try Tiger Toes?" He calls after the retreating Waldo. "Glamour Lips would have been good."

Now thoroughly depressed, Waldo is playing the saxophone in the children's department. Kind of.

"That's not a saxophone it's more like a screech and a moan!" Muffy comments, and she's right. She and Sam and Jeff are wearing earmuffs to mute the noise. Jodie comes in to find out what the noise is, and Jeff, while putting some earmuffs on her ears, explains.

"He says it's the only instrument that sounds as bad as he feels."

"He must feel terrible!" Sam says.

They explain to Jodie that the apology was a disaster.

"If only Waldo had been at that restaurant with Mattie, I mean, none of this would have happened!" Jeff says.

"Well, you know, maybe they can still have that special anniversary celebration. The night's not over yet." Jodie says.

But how? Mattie won't leave the shelf. So Jodie suggests they set up an anniversary dinner on the shelf.

"But where are you going to find a tiny little table and itsy bitsy chairs?" Sam wonders.

It hits them all at once. "The dollhouse!"

So they head for the stockroom. Jodie sets things up, asking for things from Jeff like a surgeon prompting her scrub nurse.

"Table," says Jodie. Jeff hands her a table.

"Chair," she says next. Jeff hands her a chair.

"Buttons," she says, and Jeff hands her buttons. "Just the right size for dinner plates," she explains. They set everything up outside Mattie's tent. Now all they need is Waldo. He finally comes in after having freshened up a bit. He tries to climb up on the shelf.

"Oh, Waldo! Don't you think you should shrink down to size first?" Jeff reminds him. So Waldo says a spell and poof! He's on the shelf outside the tent. "Mattie. Dearest. Sweet Blossom. Honeybunch."

Mattie peaks her head out. "If you'll promise to stop using those names, I'll come out."

"Fine, dear - uh, Mattie."

So she comes outside. "What's this?" she asks, seeing the table setting.

"Our anniversary celebration. Better late than never," says Waldo gently. "Mattie, I, um, you see, well," he takes off his hat and looks at the others. "Could we have the song now?"

"Song?" asks Mattie.

Waldo has put his feelings into words, and Jeff has set them to music. "Now, please?" he prompts Sam, who begins to play on the harmonica. "May I have this dance?" Waldo asks Mattie.

"It's a long time since we danced," says Mattie.

Then Jeff and Jodie begin to sing, "Don't let the magic die, don't let it slip away. Love is a precious gift and doesn't come every day. Once you find it, you should hold it, don't let it get away . . ."

We close in on Mattie and Waldo and we can see Waldo smile as he look at Mattie's hand on his shoulder.

"You never wrote a song for me before," Mattie says.

"There are lots of things I haven't done that I should have," says Waldo. "Have I told you lately how lovely you are?"

Mattie smiles and drops her eyes shyly.

Jeff and Jodie continue to sing. "Smile a smile, shed a tear, please don't let it disappear. Don't let the magic die, don't let it slip away, don't let it slip away."

The music dies away.

"You're lucky to have such friends," Mattie says. They remain in a dance hold.

"I know," Waldo answers. "I'm also lucky to have you. I'm sorry I've been wrapped up in my work, lately." Then he smiles.

"Now what are you smiling about?"

"I was thinking of those other special, magic words."

Mattie pulls away from him and says, annoyed, "Hocus pocus alamagocus?"

Waldo shakes his head. "I love you."

"Oh, Waldo!" says Mattie, and they embrace.

Sam bursts into noisy tears. "Oh! It's so beautiful!" Jeff and Jodie pat him comfortingly.

"Well, this has been quite a night," says Jodie to us. "But I guess it just helps us to remember how important it is to spend time with each other and - well, to be more understanding when our plans don't work out just the way that we'd hoped." She pauses. "And I had better get back to my studying!"

This time, everyone, Jeff, Sam and Muffy, all offer to help.

"Jodie!" Waldo calls out, "Before you go. Lovely celebration, lovely. Just one small suggestion if I might. The buttons make wonderful mini-plates. Except for the holes!" He lifts one up and we can see what he means. "The spaghetti's apt to slip through!" Sure enough, spaghetti is hanging from the bottom of his plate.

By their big cheery smiles and hearty laughter, it's clear Mattie and Waldo are very happy indeed.


Quizzes:

  • Two parts:
    • Which of these three (animated baby) dinosaurs is the one Muffy wanted to see at the museum? (The brontosaurus)
    • Which of these three necklaces was Mrs. Waldo wearing? (The one in the middle). (The baby brontosaurus picks up the necklace, puts it on, and walks away).
  • Remember that Waldo turned assorted items into a chicken sandwich. Try some magic of your own. What would you do with snow, a carrot and buttons? (Make a snowman). Maybe you thought of something else. (A snow plane with a carrot "nose", buttons for wheels, and a kid inside about to take off.)

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • We never do discover what Mattie's proper title is. Since the episode is "Mrs. Waldo," apparently it wasn't "Mrs. Magnificent." But "Mrs. Waldo" doesn't sound right either. We never did know Waldo's actual last name.
  • When she first enters the children's room, Jodie is carrying an unreal load of 19 books. That's some business course, and some test! Later on, in the stockroom, her pile of books is much more believable.
  • I find it odd that Waldo refers to Mattie's shrinking herself as a "trick," rather than a spell. After all, they don't refer to his turning Jeff into a person as a "trick."
  • It's also odd that Mattie "camps out" on the stockroom shelf wearing a beautiful evening gown, but that way the celebration still looked festive on the shelf.
  • When we close in on the anniversary celebration at the end, the candles on Waldo and Mattie's miniature table are lit. Lit doll candles? Perhaps they were birthday cake candles, or perhaps they didn't think we'd notice.
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