Anne T. Sawyer Letter: Halloween 1970 and Lost Dog
Next week Sean and I are getting hardwood floors installed on the entire first floor of our house. As part of that effort, we have to move everything off the first floor (And by “we”, I mean those of us who don’t have crutches). I was going through some papers and I found a number of letters from my mother to her parents. From context, I believe it was fall of 1970, but I don’t know for sure because my mother did not date the letters. Tsk…tsk… Just like Ashlawn.
My parents were newly married (they wed July 22, 1970) and were living outside of Savannah, Georgia where my Dad worked in the army. They lived in a trailer park with two dogs — Chico and Susie.
Anyway, I found the letters to be incredibly interesting, so I’m going to share installments:
Letter Dated “Monday” (Early November 1970)
Dear Mom and Dad,
I decided to write a new letter instead of continuing Friday’s.
Another weekend went by very fast. We went to a party Friday night. It was fun and something different, a halloween, ETS and birthday party all in one. ETS means getting out (End of Term of Service as far as I can figure).
Now I love this next part. My entire life, my mother was picking up stray animals. We had quite a zoo in Occoquan (goats, dogs, cats, ducks and a pony). Nowadays, my mom is pretty satisfied with two dogs and three cats. She takes her dogs for long walks regularly and knows all the other dogs and dog owners in town. This next tale just really sounds like my mother. But my father’s reported behavior– doesn’t sound like him at all!
We found a new dog Saturday. It had a leash and collar on and our dogs were playing with it under the trailer. I walked around with it a little and started talking with my neighbor down the road. I have never met her before, and she seemed very nice. Well, Lowell came home from golf and thought it was Chico, then realized it wasn’t and wondered who resembled me so much. We kept it a couple of hours and Lowell gave it a bath, then I suggested we walk around with it and see if someone happened to recognize it.
Hold up. My *DAD* gave the dog a bath?!? That doesn’t sound like him at all! My Dad’s job is to pretend he doesn’t like the dogs and then cook hamburgers for them (my mother got yelled at when she started to throw away meat Dad was planning to prepare for the dogs), slip them food (like Carolyn saw him do for Henry on Christmas) or take them for rides in the surburban. But baths? That’s not in his repertoire.
So we walked around the trailer park for the first time, and it was really a lot of fun. It was the first time we ventured out of our little area. Chico and Susie followed us and we acquired five more dogs along the way.
I wonder how many of these 8 dogs I would recognize as trailer park dogs.
We passed one trailer and this cute little baby chihuahua in a red harness came out barking at us and I went to pick it up and it screamed the way Chico used to. Lowell told me to put it down before someone thought we were dognappers. Finally a little boy came running out of a trailer and our little orphan went running to him.
My mother always refers to Henry as “my mother’s little orphan” because my grandmother died when he was just a puppy (Sean and I inherited him). It appears that Henry wasn’t the original “little orphan.”
I really think Lowell was disappointed. I sure wasn’t. I wouldn’t have minded the chihuahua, though. I just realized I forgot something – the dog was a Pekinese.
Halloween was exciting. We stayed here to answer the door and really got into wild moods. Lowell made snowballs from our undefrosted freezer and went outside and threw them at trailers, we dressed Chico in a towel to look like a ghost and laughed at the kids.
My Dad was throwing snowballs?
I forgot to mention, one time we were sitting here and there was this hug[e] bang on the door. It was two little girls on bicycles who Susie was bothering. So Lowell went outside, asked [their] names, told Susie who they were, and had them pet her. They got carried away, and stood next to Lowell and said he was taller than their fathers. Well, Halloween we had this big bang on the door, and I said it must be Sherry and Michelle. Sure enough. Michelle’s mother was with them and she was as cute as she could be. I would say she’s about my age. Well, Michelle dropped her trick or treat bag, so Lowell got a flashlight. The mother told them not to pick up anything that wasn’t wrapped.
There’s a sign of the times– unwrapped food given away at Halloween.
Then she saw Susie under the trailer, so she handed her a cookie. Chico appeared right then, so she emphatically said, “Share it!” It was really hilarious.
We didn’t do anything yesterday but sleep. We went to the movies last night to see The Landlord. It was an interesting movie.
How are you doing there? I hope the job is going along fine and you find a buyer soon. Write back soon and tell me all the news.