We lived in the Great Stone House, as I’m now dubbing it, on my grandfather’s Twin Meadows Farm from early in 1952 when I turned three to early in 1957 when I turned eight. Probably the best years of my life. It’s certainly my favorite house of any place I’ve ever lived.
And the dogs!
There were always dogs around, and where they came from I never knew. Mostly mutts of some sort, I guess, probably the offspring of mutts from neighboring farms. There are three in particular that I recall from those years, King, Queenie, and Shep.
King was the earliest dog that I recall being around, and I don’t so much remember him as remember being told about how well he and I used to get along. Apparently, he was big enough and kid friendly enough and I was small enough that he pretty much let me do anything, even trying to climb on his back.
Then there was Queenie, who was also pretty kid friendly. My grandmother allowed King and Queenie to enter her house, but my mother forbade them from entering ours. That was all right because I think I spent most of my daytime hours during my pre-school years at my grandparents’ house.
I do have one very specific memory of Queenie. At one point she had a nasty gash on the top of her head; I don’t know if I ever knew what had caused it.
What became of King and Queenie? I don’t know. But most likely they probably ran off the property at some point and were either claimed by a neighboring farm or run over by a passing motorist.
And then there was Shep.
Unlike King and Queenie, Shep was more of a work dog. I don’t think he was ever allowed inside the house. He was some sort of herding dog, I think, as he helped bring the cows in from the pastures. As far as I can recall, I don’t think he and I ever played together, although if that’s him in the top photo, my memory might be wrong. My recollection of him is he always kept his distance from me.
I do know what happened to Shep, however. Victor Gerhart, whose family shared the Great Stone House with us, hit him with his car. Almost certainly Shep’s fault.
There were also cats on the farm, but my only memory is being bitten on the back of the hand by an orange tabby. Probably explains why I’ve never seen Cats.