A friend had recently asked me what my most exciting Christmas gift as a child was.
That would have been in 1958. My sister, brother and I saw a large box by the tree. We went to the box, and saw a puppy. We were THRILLED. We had never had a pet before. We took him out of the box, and just played with the puppy - who we named "Chauncy" - all day. Had to go to mass, and were impatient to get back home to play with Chauncy. 3 months later, Chauncy was sick - apparently, he had distemper. My parents had bought him at a pet store in SF. He had to be put down, of course. We were DEVASTATED!
Our next puppy was 6 years later - half chihuahua, half cocker spaniel. My father named her "Lisbeth Tailears." We had Lisbeth for 3 years. We ADORED her!
|My sister Susan holding Lisbeth Tailears.|
But we stupid kids were walking her around Pacific Manor one day, and decided to take her off-leash (there were no leash laws then). We were blabbing away, crossing the overpass - that one that they just re-did in Sharp Park. We suddenly noticed that Lisbeth wasn't with us. We looked around, and saw that she was crossing the freeway, below us. She was afraid of heights, I guess. We looked down, saw her look up, and then saw her being hit by a car! We rushed down to where she lay. She was killed instantly. The driver stopped and apologized - he felt horrible. We reassured him it wasn't his fault, that our dog wasn't supposed to be on the road. My brother Arlo and I were just sobbing, almost hysterical. My sister Laurie picked up Lisbeth's body, and I ran to a pay phone to call our mom. Laurie told Arlo and I to stop crying - that Lisbeth was "just a dog". I remembered Laurie's comment 5 years after that - 1969 - when she was killed in a car accident. More grief.
We had other dogs - Laurie's dog Lucy was hit by a car and killed a month after Laurie died. Lucy was LAURIE'S dog, no other, and she grieved, that dog just mourned for my sister (as we all did).
Around 1970, my brother had a dog named Nina that had puppies. We were excited about the pups. A couple of days after the pups were born, we looked everywhere for the, and couldn't find them. Our mom told us that they had all died. We were freaked out - a litter of 6 pups all died? Years later, my mom confessed (while drunk) that she had drowned them all in the tub. I guess she was feeling overwhelmed. I can't have pets - I'm bad luck for pets - they all die on me.
The second most exciting Christmas gift was the Beatles Rubber Soul album.