Category Archives: Photos

A Slice of My life: A Memorial for My Father

MEMORIAL: Paul Kaser 1909-1996

My father,Paul Kaser, died twenty years ago today. A Memorial is supposed to be a solemn affair, bordered in black. But that is not who my father was.
This is who my father was. He told stories. Especially shaggy dog stories. This is my free form version of one of my favorites.

Grass Shack

Grass Shack and Coconut Palm by Forrest and Kim Starr

“There once was an island far away in the South Pacific. The King of the Island lived in a grass shack like all of his subjects. But his grass shack was bigger and grander. His grass shack had three stories, a separate room for sleeping and another for eating, a breezeway, a patio, windows looking out on the surf and a double door made of pieces of driftwood.

“Being a king, of course, he had to have a throne. When he first became king of the island, he had a modest stool which served as a throne, since everyone else sat on the ground. But after a year, he thought he should have a more impressive throne, so he stored the stool in the third floor of his grass shack, and had a wooden chair built from pieces of a shipwreck. The chair seemed quite grand to him until one day he visited another island. That king sat on a chair that had arms and a high back. It was much more impressive than the island king’s plain chair. So when he went home, he commissioned a new chair with arms and a high back and he stored his old chair in the third floor of his grass shack.

“For a year or so, he felt quite grand, but then a tourist happened upon the island with a magazine that showed a throne in a far off country. It was carved ornately and decorated with precious jewels. Of course nothing would do but that the island king have a more ornate throne. He commissioned his finest craftsmen to build a new throne with carving of dolphins and waves. Since there were no precious jewels on the island, he asked them to inlay colorful seashells in the wood. He stored his previous throne (the one with arms and a high back) in the second floor of his grass shack, since the third floor was getting rather crowded.

“Of course by now you can guess what happened in another year. A shipwrecked sailor staggered ashore carrying a wireless set. The king, who by now had learned a bit of English from visitors, listened to the stories on the radio and heard the description of a throne that had a high back, and carved arms, was covered with jewels but also had rare and wonderful fabrics covering the seat and the back. He had to have a throne like that. Buying fabric from a passing ship, his craftsmen built the new throne and stored the old throne that was decorated with seashells in the second floor of the grass shack.

“The King proudly sat down on the soft fabric and leaned back on the carved wood frame. But as the craftsmen left the grass shack palace, a wind came up, the building swayed, and it came crashing down on the king seated on his throne and killed him.

“The moral: People who live in grass shacks should not stow thrones.”

Can’t believe you have been gone for twenty years, Daddy. Because you are still in my heart and my mind. And you still make me laugh.

Pets Are Family Part Two

Read about earlier Family pets here. I resume the story after Ken and I had married and moved into an apartment on King Avenue in Columbus Ohio while he finished school.

Liz the Cocker Spaniel

Liz, the Cocker Spaniel

Liz, the Badertscher Cocker Spaniel , Columbus 1962

In my first post on Pets Are Family, I  mentioned Liz, the Cocker Spaniel Ken and I adopted  at the Humane Society in Columbus Ohio (no AKA papers for us). We were newly weds and she was a loving and obedient dog, who knew she was not supposed to cross the line onto the living room rug, but would lie on the wood floor in our 1920s era apartment and stick her nose into forbidden territory.  When our first child was about one year old, Liz had a litter of pups.  Kenny’s first words were “Puh-puh”.  We found homes for the puppies, but Liz decided she liked freedom and took off one day, not to return.

Bitsy the Terrier Mix

After we moved to Arizona, now with a suburban house and fenced lawn and three little boys, we thought it was time again to have a dog.  This time it was a cuddly little terrier puppy who stayed with us through becoming mother to a litter of puppies, lots of adventures, and a move to a new house.

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
Charles M. Schulz

Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one.

Anonymous

Budweiser the Rabbit

At that new house in Scottsdale, after  Bitsy and before the German Shepherds Mack and Suki, I had a rabbit.  My father named it Budweiser because it was full of hops. (Feel free to groan).  Rabbits are great pets, except that they like to chew on electric cords which is a habit that could burn the house down.  Bud liked to nestle up beside me when I laid out on the small grass patch where I sunbathed. I think he thought he was a cat.

Our boys also had a succession of mice (OOOO the smell!), gerbils and hamsters.

The Friendly Siamese, Chat

Later,after  another move to our fourth Arizona home, a Tucson house with no yard for a dog, we got a cat, named, obviously (if you speak French) “Chat.” (pronounced more like shot than chat.) She was a Siamese, and unlike the general reputation of Siamese cats, she was loving and affectionate. Like other pets, Chat endured a move to another house before she disappeared.

Chat the cat

Chat the Cat in the middle of a family Christmas gathering.

Eric Price and Chat Xmas 1981, Paseo Cimarron, Tucson

Chat making friends with nephew Eric Price at our home in Tucson.

The World’s  Best Dog, Pumpkin

[Apologies, Bogie, but Pumpkin was a smart an loving dog that it will take a lot to beat!] Our third Tucson house, way out in the desert, called for a tough dog and offered in exchange lots of space.  Before we had a chance to go looking, our son Mike spotted a puppy at the Swap Meet that someone was going to give away or dump in the desert if no one took her by the end of the day. She was a pitbull mix, and Mike could not stand the thought of the beautiful little pup being abandoned, so he took it home. She was too much for apartment living, so he asked us to take her “temporarily.” Pumpkin, because she was acquired near Halloween, came to live with us in our desert home and stayed with us for fourteen wonderful years, through a move to our present townhouse.

Pumpkin the dog

Grand daughter Baby Rachael and grown up Pumpkin

She charmed everyone she came in contact with, from the babies and little ones she loved to the elderly grandparents.

Itsy

While we lived out in the desert, we also acquired our first AKC certified dog, a Golden Lab puppy we called Itsy. (That comes from a Greek saying, itsy-kitsy, which is like saying “whatever.”  Itsy grew into a large and rambunctious and when we moved to our townhouse, we realized that two active dogs would be on too many. Fortuitously, we found a couple who had another Lab and wanted to adopt Itsy.

And Back to Bogie, the Poodle Yorkshire mix

When Pumpkin died at fourteen years old, we had an interlude when our son lived with us with his dog, but when he moved out, we went back to the Humane Society to look for our newest family member, Bogie.

Bogie the dog

Bogie as Humphry Bogart

He was named for the irony of his big brown eyes and tiny stature making us think of tough guy Humphrey Bogart, who wowed all the ladies–just as Bogie does.

Bogie greets Aunt Paula

Bogie greets Aunt Paula

I may revisit this topic and this post because there are other pictures that I know exist somewhere, and I want to add them as I find them.

“There are three faithful friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.”
Benjamin Franklin

A fellow genealogy blogger decided to join me in this effort with her SECOND post on pets in her family. You can see her furry family members on her blog, Cow Hampshire

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Read more quotes at http://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/16344-25-famous-quotes-about-dogs#vuLpjS2xMDAL3b7t.99

and at http://goodreads.com/works/quo

Pets Are Family, Too

A Post for the OTHER Family Members

Bogie the dog

I’m a family member, too.

Today he had a suggestion. “Are you writing about your family?” “Yes.” “How come there’s no one with fur or feathers in there?”

Bogie wants to know if there are other dogs in the family history, and so do I.  Has our family always been animal lovers? Most of the pets I have stories about come from recent history.

“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

The History of Animal Loves

The earliest ancestors on my tree were farmers and had a different attitude about animals. Animals worked just like everybody else. The Pilgrims, we know, included dogs on the Mayflower, although I don’t know about the Fortune, on which William Bassett sailed.

Jumping ahead to the 1800s, I know that my great-grandmother Isabella McCabe Anderson loved to ride her horse through the Ohio countryside, but of course although horses could become friends, they were a necessary adjunct to life.  My grandfather Doctor William Stout even had a barn behind his house in the center of Killbuck to keep the horses who pulled his wagon when he had to go on house calls in the countryside.

Speaking of Doc Stout, I have a picture of him and a matching one of his wife that would be absolutely wonderful had they not faded to unrecognizable blobs.  However, I can make out that there is a large dog sitting at the feet of Doc Stout.

And I have written about my mother’s pet Pony, Wrangles.

Vera Anderson’s Peggy, the Spitz

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers

From the time my mother was in college until  I was a baby, grandma owned her favorite dog ,  Peggy. A snow white Spitz, Peggy bridged four generations of humans. She frequently sat for portraits, including one that shows my great-grandmother Hattie Morgan Stout who died before I was born.

When I was in grade school, sometimes living at Grandma Vera’s house she no longer had dogs, but she did keep lovebirds in a cage. I indignantly thought that was cruelty. Birds should fly free. But they were beautiful and kept her from being lonely with their singing.

Mom and Dad in the 1930s with Banky and Wistful Lady

My mother and father adopted dogs before they were married, in anticipation of starting a family, but they apparently did not have much luck with the dogs. In July 1937, my dad adopted a Cocker Spaniel, complete with AKA papers. She was beautiful, and named Wistful Lady. Oddly, I never heard mother and dad talk about her, even when my husband and I later adopted a similar black Cocker Spaniel. We named the beautiful brunette after Elizabeth Taylor.

Cocker Spaniel, Wistful Lady

Paul Kaser’s dog Wistful Lady 1938

Back in 1938, in the letters exchanged during their courtship two months before they married my mother talks about a dog she had picked out, called Banky. I have no pictures, and no idea what breed it was, but it seems to be a sad story.

March 22, 1938
I went home last evening and I think Bankie is some better but still pretty sick. Mother saturated him with medicine then wrapped a towel around him and held him it seemed to help. Bob Cunningham sat and held him for a long time. He thinks it is a bad case of worms. Everybody has a new theory.

March 31, 1938
I really believe Banky is better, he was much stronger this morning and ate for me and ate some for mother today, but he surely does look sad.

April 7, 1938

I don’t think Banky is so good. He wants to eat all the time but gets weaker all the time. I am afraid he never will be a very swell dog. I guess I doomed him by picking him out for my dog.

Rabbits, Ducks and Chickens

My parents married just as World War II was starting, and took the war effort seriously.  In addition to planting a victory garden, they grew rabbits for food.  I vividly remember the raised rabbit cage that my father built in the garage, even though I could not have been more than three years old.  One time when he opened the cage to add feed, the tiny bunnies escaped and scattered around the neighborhood.  I thought it was great fun.  The raising of rabbits did not last long. I don’t know if my parents were too soft-hearted, or they didn’t want to traumatize me by killing what I saw as pets.

When my parents and brother and sister and I lived in Columbus, we did not have a dog, but I vividly remember the two ducklings that first swam around in a plastic dishpan in the back yard. They grew up, and learned to open the gate from the yard and neighbors discovered them waddling down our driveway and exploring the neighborhood.  Those were probably Easter ducklings.  I think they may have been released in a nearby park to live in the pond there.

Back then, around Easter time, you could buy colored chicks (and sometimes ducks) at the grocery store, hardware store, dime store, or just about anywhere. After we had moved to Killbuck, we had a clutch of those colored chicks.  It was not a good practice to sell chicks to people who didn’t know what to do with them, but my mom and dad had it all figured out.  There was a ramshackle chicken coup on our property, which Dad repaired, and the chicks grew to be great producers of eggs.  For a short while, I was the typical farm girl out collecting eggs in the morning.

Rex, Mack and Suki, the German Shepherds

One of the great tragedies of my pre-teens was the short time that we had a lovely German Shepherd puppy that I named Rex.  I had spent a lot of time with Rex and taught him quite a few commands.  When my parents decided that Rex was going to be too large for a town lot and would enjoy life more in the country, they contacted a farmer to come pick him up.  I sat in an upstairs window and commanded Rex, who was hiding under the porch to STAY. And no matter what they used to try to lure him out, he stayed.  Finally my dad came upstairs and marched me into my back bedroom and commanded me to stay quiet. Which I did–except for the tears.

Just as Ken and I followed in the Kaser footsteps by adopting a Cocker Spaniel, we later had two German Shepherds, Mack and Suki for characters in Three Penny Opera. I am amazed to learn we have no photographs of these two wonderful family members who lived in our new Scottsdale house until they both became too ill to continue.

Kitchen the Cat and others

Soon after , Rex was wrenched away, The Kaser family adopted a calico cat that I named Kitchen, because we had just redecorated the kitchen in the colors she sported–yellow, black, brown and white.  Kitchen soon had kittens, a varied lot of four, whom I named Sugar, Spice, Salt and Pepper. (Suppose this was foretelling my early interest in cooking?)

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

VMB 1952 with kittens, Killbuck house

Me in 1952 with some of Kitchen’s kittens at our Killbuck house.

Later, when the Kasers moved to Hilliard Ohio and I was in college, cats started adopting mother and father, and there were always cats around from then on.  When my father went out to start his car on a cold winter morning he always had to check under the hood to see if there were any cats keeping warm.

So Bogie–those are the stories of some early pets in my family including those I grew up with. Now, if you want to know about those who joined our family after Ken and I were married, read on.

——————
A fellow genealogy blogger decided to join me in this effort with her SECOND post on pets in her family. You can see her furry family members on her blog, Cow Hampshire

——-
Read more quotes at http://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/16344-25-famous-quotes-about-dogs#vuLpjS2xMDAL3b7t.99

and at http://goodreads.com/works/quotes/tag/pets/