Sepia Saturday: Lola – When she was Zsa Zsa the Poodle


Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. (I usually stop here when I copy the description…)

Historical photographs of any age or kind (they don’t have to be sepia) become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. (… but this week, I’m taking that “don’t have to be sepia” and “any age” to heart.)

I’ve been wanting/needing to write about our recently departed pet. After all, she was a part of our family and deserves to have her story told too. So I’ll take advantage of today’s prompt photo and see where it leads. (Non-spoiler alert: I succeeded in not going to the sad place today, so it’s safe to read on.)

Our family’s first dog was a sweet sheltie named Ginger. She died on the night of my son’s high school graduation while he was at the senior lock-in and I was a volunteer mom helping out. In the picture below, you might recognize my mom from last week. The boy holding Ginger is the future graduate.

After Ginger died, we were all so very sad and my husband wasn’t convinced that we should get another dog. Our youngest daughter had already been nagging us for a puppy before Ginger died, so she kept up her online search of rescue puppies. My son said if we were going to get another dog, to please do it before he started college so that he and the dog would have time to know each other. I got onboard, but I kept looking for shelties to rescue because Ginger was such a sweetheart.

My daughter found a young poodle online that looked like a good candidate, so I called the rescue group about him. The rescue group had a “meet the pups” event scheduled, so we went to meet him. Unfortunately, we just didn’t “click” with Freeway. We sat there on the floor with a room full of dogs and people hoping to make a match. Our match was not there.

A volunteer came over and sat with us. She had questions:
Had we had a dog before?
Did I work outside the home resulting in long periods of time with no one at home?
Did we have other pets?
Were there younger children at home?
Yes. No. No. No.

She called to another volunteer to join us and told us that there was another dog that they had not yet made public because she was so young. They were looking for the right family for her. Would we be interested in meeting her?

Why yes, since you think we are the perfect family!

She told us that she was fostering the little puppy in her home. A sixteen-year-old girl bought the puppy for $200 out of the back of a pick up. When she got the puppy home, it wouldn’t eat. The girl and her father took the puppy to a vet who told them that the puppy was too young to have been separated from her mother and needed to be bottle fed. The dad convinced his daughter to relinquish her and that’s how the puppy ended up with the rescue group.

We arranged a time for the foster mom to bring the puppy (a poodle) to our house so we could meet her. We fell in love with her tiny cuteness. The foster mom bragged about how smart she was. She was so young, but had already learned how to use the doggy stairs to get up on their couch! Her husband worked at home, so he spent hours holding the puppy and was really attached to her. They had given her the name Zsa Zsa.

Zsa Zsa sounded like she might already be a wee bit spoiled.

By now, Zsa Zsa could eat solid food so we arranged a two-week trial adoption. My daughter and I drove to the nearby shopping mall where we had agreed to meet the foster mom in the parking lot by Sears.

Zsa Zsa seemed excited to see us, and the foster mom was sad to see her go because she had become so attached to her. She left us with a pink fleece blanket and said maybe it would be a special blanket to her. I vaguely remember meeting up with the foster mom at an emergency vet not long after – I don’t remember the circumstance – and her former mom brought a toy for her.

Zsa Zsa was so tiny (1.6 pounds if I remember correctly), that I went all around the house and yard blocking spaces that she might slip into or out through and get into trouble. The space between the refrigerator and the wall. The space between the gate and the fence. The spaces in the wrought iron gate. The space between the piano and the wall. We kept a close eye on her outside because she could have slipped between the spaces in the chain link fence and I could imagine a big predatory bird flying off with her.

The foster mom told us that Zsa Zsa slept in a crate at night with no problem. I think she lied. Zsa Zsa sure put up a ruckus when we put her in her crate that night, carrying on and on and on. My daughter wanted the puppy to sleep in her room, but when she got no sleep, we put her in our room the second night. My husband couldn’t take it, so he took her out of the crate and put her in bed with us. I was not pleased. We did sleep, though.

The name Zsa Zsa didn’t really fit her personality. Too frou frou, we thought. We tossed around names for a couple of days and finally settled on Lola.

Lola was never reserved or shy. She believed everyone should know and love her. It was her life’s purpose to make it so. She loudly proclaimed her desire to love and be loved every time someone new entered her space.

Lola was so young when we got her that she had not been vaccinated. The first time I took her to the vet there were quite a few people and pets in the waiting room. I did not want her down and exploring since she hadn’t had her shots, so I kept her on my lap. Lola made a lot of noise. It was embarrassing. When we were finally called back, the vet tech said, “She sounds like she is in pain. I should get the vet to check her out.” “No,” I assured her, “She just wanted to get to all of the people in the room. She’ll be fine now.” Lola had stopped wailing and focussed her attention on the vet tech, confirming my diagnosis.

As Lola grew, she began to get shaggy and needed grooming.

I took her to the groomer we had used for Ginger. When I picked her up, the groomer suggested that we be very regular with her grooming so Lola would get accustomed to it. The second time I took her, the groomer called me to come for her before she was even finished. I knew she wanted Lola out the door as soon as possible. Obviously, the groomer was not a fan of Lola’s loud protests at being crated and wanting attention. Also, I said something about Lola being a poodle. “This is no poodle!” she said with disdain in her voice. “I breed poodles and this is no poodle. This is a bichon.”

We never went back to that groomer.

Zsa Zsa the poodle was now Lola the bichon.

And the man who thought we shouldn’t get another dog was smitten.

Just like Zsa Zsa’s foster father before him, my husband spent a lot of time holding Lola and became very attached to her.

We signed the adoption contract on October 28, 2007.

We were a match.

Dog tales, I’m guessing, at Sepia Saturday this week. Walk on over and meet a few more of man’s best friends.

Sepia Saturday – Thinking of Mom

Today would have been my mom’s birthday.

Mom was born during the Great Depression into a coal miner’s family. She knew what it meant not to have much in the way of material things and to rely on government assistance during hard times.

Against the norms of the day, she made a difficult decision when I was two because she believed it would mean a better life for the two of us.

Mom and me

Mom valued family and devoted herself to our well being. She would have done whatever she believed necessary to protect her children.

I never remember a time when Mom wasn’t involved in the lives of children – as a Sunday school teacher, a Girl Scout leader, a second mom to her kid’s friends. Her actions and love of children taught me that there are no other people’s children.

I can’t give her a present today, so in honor of her example, I’ll be gifting Austin Region Justice For Our Neighbors – a United Methodist immigration ministry (mom grew up Methodist).

If you are so inclined, I hope you will consider giving to this organization or another of your choosing that serves immigrants, migrants, asylum seekers, or separated families in need of compassion and assistance.

This is my offering for Sepia Saturday. Please visit other participants, sit at the table, and enjoy the stories they have to tell.

Sepia Saturday Theme Images – 426 7th July 2018

Sepia Saturday – Musical Notes from Luray, Kansas

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. 

Last week I spent hours searching “webber” in old newspapers in and around Luray, Kansas. I was looking for information about my 2nd great-grandfather Norman Webber, prompted by last week’s farming theme for Sepia Saturday. It was fun learning little bits and pieces about my gggrandfather Webber and I was able to flesh out a bit of his life as a farmer.

Not every hit of the name Webber was a tidbit about my Norman, of course, and the vast majority of results in the 1880s were advertisements in the Luray newspaper for Tate and Webber, a dry goods store. I had heard or read family information stating that Norman owned a store and Tate is the surname of Norman’s mother, Elizabeth Isabelle Tate. I assumed a family connection to the Tate who was co-owner of the business and that the Webber in the name was Norman.

But then I found a notice stating that James Webber, not Norman, was in business with Tate.

Luray Headlight, 18 Oct 1888

So I learned that Norman’s brother James also lived in Luray – and that James was co-owner of Tate and Webber grocery and dry goods store.

Before I realized that James also lived in Luray, I assumed that the mention below was about my gggrandfather Norman.

Luray Headlight, 20 Oct 1887

At a later date, a first name is attached to a Webber with a violin.

Luray Headlight, 7 Mar 1889

So I decided the first mention of Webber with a violin was probably the same as the second mention of a Webber with a fiddle – and that was James. Of course, Norman may have also played fiddle, but I never found mention of it in the newspapers I read.

Jim must have enjoyed singing too, as he sang in the church choir.

Luray Headlight, 28 Feb 1889

That sounds like a pretty small choir. Maybe the editor didn’t attend the church program and just didn’t make much of an effort to find out who else participated.

As more and more returns for advertisements for the store came up in my search results – several in every weekly edition, it made sense that Jim probably made weekly visits to the newspaper office. More, if he just liked to drop in and shoot the breeze. And the occasional and sometimes silly references to J.T. (Jim) Webber in the paper makes that seem entirely plausible. I may dedicate a post one day just to the amusing bits about Jim that appeared in the paper.

Perhaps Jim fancied himself a music critic and a comedian.

Luray Headlight, 7 Mar 1889

The Luray Cornet Band did not go to the inauguration of Benjamin Harrison, but at least two bands with Kansas connections did: Marshall’s Band of Topeka and the Dodge City Cowboy Band.

Marshall’s Band, Topeka, KS 1895-1915

1913 Dodge City Cowboy Band

The Luray Band may have been overlooked for this honor, but Jim Webber had high praise for the men… If rattling the shingles and making a box of cigars leap for joy is high praise.

Unfortunately, I could not find a photo of the Luray Cornet Band, but I found several references to them in the newspaper. The citizens of Luray must have been very supportive of the band.

Luray Headlight, 3 May 1888

Luray Headlight, 30 May 1889

Sometimes the band members received other perks.

Luray Headlight, 21 June 1888

And they were always appreciative.

Luray Headlight, 13 Sep 1888

The newspaper often gave a little boost to the band by stating how rapidly they were improving and how the town could rightly be proud of them: “harmony prevails among the boys to its fullest extent, and each one is trying to do his part well. The town has reason to be proud of its band.” 

The Luray Cornet Band played at all of the patriotic celebrations.

Luray Headlight, 28 Jun 1888

Callithumpian is a new word for me! The Oxford online dictionary defines callithumpian as: US informal and regional (originally north-east.). Designating a group of people making cacophonous music or noise using a variety of instruments, utensils, etc., as a demonstration of a general feeling of celebration, dissatisfaction, etc.; of or relating to such a band or its music. Frequently in “callithumpian band”, “callithumpian serenade”. Now historical.

So I guess it was really noisy!

Luray Headlight, 27 May, 1910

As active participants in civic and social life in their community, I imagine my ancestors fully participating in these events. Maybe my gggrandmother was one of the “ladies of Luray” who helped prepare and serve food for the band fundraisers. Surely Norman’s and Jim’s families attended the July 4th and Memorial Day celebrations.

No one in my family has ever seen a photo of James Webber. And no one remembers hearing Norman’s son talk about the musical interests of his father or uncle. I just heard from a cousin that there is a photo of Norman’s son, Myron David Webber playing the fiddle. Perhaps he learned from his Uncle Jim – or maybe Norman also played. (When I get a copy of that photo, I’ll add it here.)

I’ll leave you this bit of wisdom:

Luray Headlight, 9 Aug 1888

Now it is time to march on over to Sepia Saturday and see what music others have created with today’s prompt.