Lost love


English: Looking north at downtown Prairie du ...

Looking north at downtown Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin on Wisconsin Highway 78. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, I have been thinking about my Mom. No, it isn’t the anniversary of her birth or death, its June. When I was a kid, I thought Mom was named for the month of June.  Turns out, she wasn’t.  She was named for her grandmother Juntje who was born in the Netherlands in the late nineteenth century and migrated to Holland Michigan as a young adult. 

Mom’s family migrated back and forth between Michigan and Wisconsin most of her life, but Mom was born in Prairie du Sac Wisconsin and graduated from the Prairie du Sac high school.  I worked this out this bit of knowledge using her birth and high school graduation certificates. 

No one told me these things.  No one told me very much at all about my Mom.  She is an enigma, a cipher.

The handwriting on the back of the photo (to the left) of Mom and me and taken somewhere in one of those many places we rented in the South when I was a child, and merely says, “She’s too fat for me.”   I assume she means herself, although how she could have been “fat” is beyond me.  At the time, we had a cow and chickens and she had at least two children, and Dad was always traveling, so she took care of everything at home. 

Come to think of it, she might have been pregnant with my brother when this photo was taken.  If so, this would locate the scene in Georgia, although the house looks wrong.  We lived in a cinder block house in Georgia. The siding on the old clapboard farm house in this photo tells me it was in South Carolina and I must have been about five.  Maybe. We lived in two places in South Carolina.  My childhood is a vague memory.  If my Dad had not taken photos, I would remember nothing at all. 

Of one thing I am certain.  The dog in the photo above and to the left is my dog Fiesti.  he was only a pup when we lived in South Carolina.  He was one of my childhood dogs, but the one I remember best because I had him longest.

He moved with us to Aberdeen North Carolina. Then Southern Pines, then High Point. I lost him in High Point.  I came home from school one day when I was in third grade, and he was gone.  

They told me they had “taken him to a farm” because he bit the mailman.  I doubt it.  He was on a chain during the day when I was at school and could not get the mailman.  I think they had him put down.  I don’t know why.  His loss was traumatic for me and probably why I have so many dogs now. But you can’t replace one lost love with another.

Now how did I end up here, starting with Mom and ending with a dog?  I miss them both, and both have been gone for many decades.  

13 thoughts on “Lost love

  1. Think maybe you were caught up in thinking about feelings of loss from your youth — your mother, your dog. I think of my mother often, especially now that I’m alone and wish I could compare notes with her today now that my life is so less busy.

    I truly share the feelings you would have about your dog’s sudden disappearance. I wrote a piece about a painful loss of a dog to which I had to be a party when I was young. I’ll never forget him and surprised even myself with the depth of my emotions when I began to write my blog piece about the experience a few years ago.


  2. Lovely reminiscence, Dianne.

    Have been to Aberdeen, Southern Pines and High Point many a time. We lived in Winston-Salem for 28 years.


  3. It is good to see that your remarkable abilities in academic “detective” work have also helped you put together treasured information about your heritage.


  4. That is such a beautiful photo of you and your mom and with your dog. You were such a pretty young girl. I’m glad you have such lovely memories of your mom. I’m sorry about that pain you’re still carrying for Fiesti.


  5. That “taking to the farm” was a phrase my parents used for unwanted cats. Sadly I later learned they dropped them off “near” a farm. A practice I loathe but was common in the day. Hard way for a child to lose a pet.


  6. I had no idea that you had lived in Aberdeen. That is in the same county (Moore) where I live now. I am in Vass and both of my boys have Aberdeen mailing addresses altho they actually live in Hoke County (just over the line.) Let’s get better acquainted. I’ve been here since 1978.


  7. Aw, how sad! My 96 yr old mother is still alive, but friends told me they gave my 3 yr old dog to a 10 yr old boy back in 1975, when I left NYC for Hawaii. It took me a long time to get over it, because I loved Lani so much. She was the only dog I ever had. Though I am tempted to adopt another one, I probably won’t because of our annual travels. Also, I don’t like to pick up poop.


    • Please check into fostering for a local rescue group. Sometimes it just involves caring for a cat and her litter for a few weeks, keeping a dog while they heal from surgery, helping an abused animal learn to trust again.

      You can do this between trips and still have the animal companionship. But be careful…it is easy to get attached!


  8. My dad was the son of European immigrants, too, and they never talked about their family, their heritage or their history. I wonder if it had something to do with trying to shed the old identity and become American. But that was then … I think people are more in touch with their heritage these days. No?


    • My Mom was very proud of her heritage. She just didn’t like to talk about her own childhood which was apparently very painful and affected by poverty and alcoholism. Also, she died young, before I could really get to know her.


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