Monday, November 22, 2010

"She had a dog in the past": Mother news, November 21, 2010

[What follows is today's message from a social worker who visits my mother. An earlier message from this month can be found here.]


Martha was sitting in the living room not doing anything. I came today with a stuffed dog which was quite cuddly. When I offered it to Martha she immediately took it out of my hands and wrapped her arms around it. When I asked her if she had a name she said she did but unfortunately said it so low I couldn't hear it. I stayed for awhile and pet the dog with her. She told me that she had a dog in the past. I hope this gives her some joy.

Martha's weight is stable and she continues to carry on the same.


Yes, she had a dog to whom she had given many names. I wish I could remember them all, and recite them to you with the same delight she once chanted them to me. The sequence of names included a creek in western Pennsylvania (or was it eastern Ohio? as she lived there, too), and ended with "O'Mallary O'Keefe." The portrait of two dogs above is signed with her maiden name, M. Keefe, '38, which would have been the year before she graduated from college. In the dogs' eyes you can see something of her wit.

Just now I googled "creeks in Meadville, Pennsylvania" and then "creeks in "Canton, Ohio," and found nothing so multisyllabic that it could be one of the names she had given to her dog. John Emil Vincent, who studies library science, tells me our very culture has Alzheimer's; no digitized materials last longer than five years, he assures me. Then you have to pour in more money to copy the information, the articles, the books, the archives, into another format. Has google already forgotten the name of the creek, as I have forgotten the dog's name?

I do remember that my mother's mother had her dog put to sleep while my mother was away. The deed was unforgivable. I do not know that it was the same dog, a collie.


[An hour later] I found the creek, by googling "creeks near Meadville." It's the Cussawago. Here's a picture of it in the snow in 1957, the year before I was born.

This image
is from the California Museum of Photography. There's place, and then there's the archived place.

So it was, perhaps, Cussawago O'Mallory O'Keefe, except there was yet another name, a first name. I will have to rely on my own memory to retrieve that one.

No comments: