One incident which affected her tremendously is particularly disturbing, so I have been hesitant to write about it. As a teenager, someone gave my mother a Boston Terrier. Now, this was an unusual pet in rural West Virginia and so she treasured the little dog. Further, being ninth of eleven children during The Depression, virtually nothing was her own personal property. By all accounts, the dog was a delightful character well loved by everyone in the family.
The terrible occurrence was on Hog Killing Day. A vat or barrel with boiling water was prepared to receive the pieces of pork to scald, skin and remove the hair. For some reason, the Boston Terrier jumped up to be closer to where my mother was working and landed in that boiling water. The horror my mother felt at that time could be seen in her eyes thirty years later as she told the story to a ten
year old Elaine in effort to discourage my desire for a pet. This being such a difficult story, I postponed writing it for several days. That is, until yesterday afternoon while I was at work. It felt right to go forward and create the scene. After it was finished, I had to walk around a while to relieve the
About the time I finished writing that horrific scene, something unknown to me was happening at home. Our three dogs were barking at an unseen intruder sounding urgent enough my husband went to investigate with a shotgun. Seeing nothing, he continued on with what he was doing. An hour or so later, he found our Doberman Pinscher, Magic, dead and laying in a natural sleeping position on the ground. He determined a poisonous snake must have bitten her directly in an artery. Shocked and angry, he broke the news as I arrived home.
In the scene where mom’s dog died, I wrote into the story that she ran some distance away, and her brother approached to lay a hand on her shoulder in sympathy and support. As I knelt beside Magic’s body and touched her one last time, our neighbor appeared and gently placed his hand on my shoulder. I wrote that my grandfather and mom’s younger brother, took her dog to bury it out of her sight. That neighbor took my place in helping to bury Magic so I could go in the house and cry.
The coincidence of this is not lost to me. After a few recent disappointing events, I felt compelled to present my mother’s story of life during The Depression on a farm, her entry into the Women’s Army Air Corps, and the victory of her life. Now, after experiencing this coincidence, I know the manuscript is meant to be emotional and very real. My goal is to finish it before the end of 2013.