Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thank you Evelyn

In a few hours my girls  will wake up and start their first day back to  school.  My youngest,  I am beyond thrilled to report,  will be starting fourth grade  from her own bed.

I remember the wise words of friends and family in response to my questions of co sleeping with kids when they were babies.

"Don't worry about it, it's not like they will still be in your bed  when they are in high school."

Well let me just say this about that. It sure seemed like my youngest was never gettin' out.

Last spring when her beloved guinea pig Pepper died, I made the mistake of burying him outside her bedroom window. We don't have a pet cemetery per say, although Lord knows we have nearly enough bodies out there by now that we could employ a full time ground's keeper. We dig where ever there are not a lot of tree roots. Considering we have a fairly large yard, unless I put animals square smack in the middle of the front lawn, there are not a lot of good spots left. I put Pepper in what I thought was a choice spot, next to the  Day Lilly patch.  They were just  poking through at that time and  I wrongly thought that the huge orange patch of summer flowers would  somehow help make things better.  No one complained when Blazekin  the canary was buried on the other side.

Well the poor kid FREAKED. Wouldn't go near that spot in the yard for months, kept the blinds closed and wouldn't even look out the bedroom window.

Heather  had been in my bed for months to stave off  nightmares, and the end was no where  in sight. My bed casa is su casa. With her came lots of her stuff, by stuff, I mean toys, clothes, and lots and lots of  stuffed animals. I kind of got used to sleeping with the soft stuffed frog between us. It was that or wake up with a kids toes to the nose. I tried for some sort of boundary.

All this co-sleeping  changed due to the loss of a good friend's life. The Maine dog community is still grieving the loss of  Evelyn Stackpole , our matriarch. Nicer woman there wasn't.

Evelyn and her two beloved Dobie's Glory and Paige were a super star team. Evelyn was a member of our freestyle group the Wild Blueberries, and whatever I showed her, she and Glory  could either do right then on the spot, or she came back the next week and she and Glory had it down.  At 78 years young, she was an inspiration to watch.

The contents of Evelyn's Saco home, was sold in a giant 2 day yard sale hosted by her friends and family two week ends ago. The dog stuff was sold to benefit various dog clubs and organizations that she supported, and I was there bright and early with my two girls. My youngest asked me endlessly in the car on the way over,  "do you think Evelyn had any dobie stuffed animals?" I was pretty certain that she did, and told Heather, sure, Evelyn would want you to have and appreciate them.

When we turned into her driveway we were  greeted by the sight of her blue mini van with a for sale sign on. The van was  seen at all and every dog event. It was sadly  missing her Dobie magnets.  The girls and I  cried.
 So sad. Such a loss.

As we trekked  first to the agility yard, and then through all her knick knacks, it was sad sad sad, and, even as I type this, I still have a lump in my throat, and  I hadn't t even known Evelyn that long. Most of the people there were her life long friends. That says something about a person. Evelyn and her husband raised their family in that house.

One of the first sites to greet us at the yard sale were three very large Doberman stuffed animals. At only $2. a piece I said yes to two of them and no to the third. They were bigger than Stella! and would take up too much room I told her. We went back and forth for a while until as a last ditch pitch from my daughter, I heard the following words;

"If I get all three dogs, they will help me sleep in my bed. I promise if you buy them for me, I will sleep in my own bed."


Two of the dogs still had tags, as did quite a lot of the stuff at the sale. We suspect that Evelyn loved to shop and often picked up things to later donate and gift.

While she was giving the big spiel on why she deserved all 3 dogs, Rebeccah who was running the sale, looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and suggested she sell the dogs with a contract like a real puppy or rescue dog. In the event Heather does not care for the dogs properly by sleeping in her own bed, the dogs go back to the estate.


That night we cleaned up her room a bit, and found places for the 3 large dogs to sleep. Glory and Paige, named after Evelyn's beloved dogs, sleep with her next to my favorite frog in the bed, and the male on the floor watches over her.

Evelyn would have loved this.


KathyF said...

Our youngest slept with us until about third grade, though we'd often move her after she fell asleep. (She was fairly slight, fortunately.) Then she moved to her sister's bed, and finally to hers when we moved to a new house.

Just as they say about kids who walk or talk early or late, you'd never know it now. She's a very well adjusted kid now, a senior at a college in Massachusetts, where I'm pretty sure she sleeps by herself.

dognut said...

You're so right...Evelyn would love this story! Thanks for the good tears of remembrance for both Evelyn and my own toy dog laden childhood bed. Wait a minnite: my bed is still laden with toy dogs, the animate kind! LOL.

Penny Cary said...

Nancy--Evelyn would be so happy that your daughter chose Dobermans for her bed buddies. Tell her that while Dobes can't keep her from ever experiencing grief, they will keep her from harm. She has nothing to fear with "Paige" and "Glory" by her side and "Auntie Evelyn" to keep watch from above.

Debbie Jacobs said...

Bet the spirit of dobies and Evelyn will be watching over her.

gooddogz said...

@KathyF - Are you sure she is sleeping alone?
@dognut - The bed is still pretty crowded without my little H and her inanimate entourage. :)
@Penny - We bought a lot of other great stuff that day, much of which I didn't realize I would be using for a new pup the following week!
@Debbie - agreed
Thanks for reading--

Karen Thurston Chavez said...

That's a really sweet story. Wonder if I could bribe my first-grader similarly!

melF said...

That was a beautiful story Nancy. Obviously Evelyn was an amazing person. Based on what you wrote, I wouldn't doubt that she had a hand in this somehow. What a loving tribute.