a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Velveteen Bulldog

Not sure if it's an old age thing or if it's time simply for me to remember. Memories surface and I share.  That is the only thing I know with any certainty.

Aunt Grace was Dad's mother's sister and very special to Dad.  I loved (Great) Aunt Grace. There was such an innate kindness in her that was only exceeded by her unconditional love.

Her "get" left something wanting.  Her son, Glen, was referred to in hushed tones around me.  He may have liked the bottle and other illegal actions a little too much. He always made me feel uncomfortable. I would never sit in his lap which seemed to be his life's mission and personal challenge.  I had nothing to do with him!

Glen's son was just the worst of Glen with some other s**t mixed in. His name was Louie and was married to "poor" Betty.  Betty was a quiet mouse of a woman that served Louie in whatever way needed serving.They had a string of children I did not count and it seemed Betty was always in the "family way".

I was required only to address Aunt Grace as aunt and the others I avoided.

We were invited or compelled to visit Aunt Grace one evening. The whole gang was there.  I think it may have been the Fourth of July because there were fireworks later but beyond that, as a two-year-old plus I guess I just didn't remember what I deemed unimportant.

Mom, Dad and I arrived (I don't remember if my sisters came, again, not in my memory). Mom, Dad and Aunt Grace huddled in conversation as adults do. I was left on my own in the same (only) room of the house. The children, Stevie and Gracie, gathered around me. They were the only ones not in diapers and the only ones brave enough to try and talk to me.

In my hands, clutched tightly, was my most favorite possession, a velveteen bulldog.  He was brown with a white chest, bright button eyes and wore a red collar.  He was filled with sawdust, had no moving parts and remained in a sitting position.  He had no name that I recall. The only thing I remember was I adored that dog and carried him everywhere.  He was small enough to carry in one hand.

Stevie and Gracie were fascinated with the bulldog.  I allowed them to hold it.  They had no toys that I could see and they brought none to show me.  They politely took turns holding my bulldog gently almost reverently. Their eyes were alight with some emotion I could not name.  I was keeping an eye on my bulldog.  He was precious and I was taking no chances with him becoming lost in the crowd.

Daylight waned and it was time for fireworks.  The children lined up in a row to watch. The fireworks were something of a treat for all of us but the night was soon over.

I whispered a question to Mom as we were getting ready to leave.  She asked, What? in disbelief.  I asked again.  She said, If you really want to...

I handed my much loved bulldog to Stevie and Gracie as I said, Take good care of him. He's yours.
Sherry, Stevie and Gracie

26 comments:

Sandra said...

what a great story and that photo is priceless, a moment in time.. and we shall never know the Rest Of The Story about the bulldog... you were kind when they needed it and who knows what that one act of kindness did for these children.

Debbie said...

what a great picture and a beautiful story!! i like the title - the velveteen bulldog!!!

Farm Girl said...

That is a beautiful story and I love that picture. That just makes me cry, what a story of sacrifice. Thank you for sharing that today Gail.

Ginny Hartzler said...

This for sure embodies the true spirit of Christmas! What a kind child you were, even at that young age!! Young children are usually so selfish, having not learned any different yet. Those poor children; in this picture they look so unhappy. I hope they managed to be happy when they grew up. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are doing well!

Linda Wildenstein said...

Your giving nature came out early and powerfully. This story is a wonderful testament to your capacity to love. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photo and your rememberances. Happy New Year my friend. xoxo Oma Linda

Gorges Smythe said...

Sounds like my wife. She used to give her pennies to the panhandlers, thinking they were actually going to buy food. Different situation, but you both had good little hearts. Sometimes, we let life take that child-like generosity from us. Bless you.

only slightly confused said...

Poor little souls were likely thrilled to bits to receive that little velveteen dog. No doubt the memory stayed with them as well.

McGuffy Ann Morris said...

Even then you placed dogs in the right home. He had a job to do; there was a need. Great story.

Michelle said...

This is a wonderful story and well written in the telling.

LindaG said...

♥ ^__^

Elephant's Child said...

Caring and empathy at its very best. Thank you - for the long ago action and for telling us.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, I love this story and am way impressed with what a neat kid you were. That sacrifice of yours made their year. Kind of explains the you of today.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I love your stories! And that photos is precious. You were a kind soul right from the beginning :)

The Furry Gnome said...

Weren't you a loving two year old! Happy New Year!

Truedessa said...

A gift from the heart...Wishing you a Happy New Year Gail!

Lynne said...

Oh my Gail . . .
A gift you have of telling your stories . . .
This filled me with goose bumps . . .
And the giving of most cherished . . .
Velveteen Bulldog . . .
What a treasure you are . . .
Happy Days In This 2017 New Year . . .
Love ~
Lynne

Empty Nester said...

Heartstrings affected. Goodness, how were you so kind at such a young age?

Sandy said...

Gail,

Amazing story, and picture.

Josie Two Shoes said...

I am loving these stories from your past, I hope they continue! I am not in the least bit surprised that you were compassionate even when so very young. <3

gld said...

What a selfless and sweet thing to do! Your family stories touch my heart. I also had a couple of male relatives that my innocent inner child told me to stay away from. I had some near misses but never forgot them. Isn't it interesting how these tiny things shape us and we never forget.

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Aww, you are indeed a kind soul and have always been one. I hope you and the hubs have a safe and happy holiday weekend- Happy New Year!

Haddock said...

Love that picture of Sherry, Stevie and Gracie :-)

Lowcarb team member said...

A most special story
A most special picture

Thank you for sharing.

Sending my good wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and safe 2017

All the best Jan

Linda said...

What a beautiful story and photo!!! Thank you so much for sharing, and Happy New Year! :)

Karen S. said...

Goodness, that's the sweetest children picture ever, of them way back when. I like your memories because it's like going on an adventure where you lead us. Good story telling! I hope you are having a wonderful new year, and may happiness and goodness follow you everywhere you go! Happy and Merry 2017!

Lee said...

A lovely story...a cherish memory...a wonderful gesture.

We should always be in tune to our gut instincts, too...very rarely are they incorrect.

I love this story, Gail...It made me misty-eyed. :)

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