A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brownie, we hardly knew you

My family was never big on pets. Their early days were spent in the middle of Chicago during the Depression so there were no nice back yards, places to take dogs for walks, etc. - everything was mostly brick, steel, or concrete. Also, the women in my family are absolute house-cleaning fanatics (which slowed down at my generation almost skidded to a stop with my kids)! Everything had to be spotless, shining, squeaky clean. They loved to say "you could eat off the floors." Not that we ever actually had our food served on the floor, but for some reason that was a badge of honor.

And pets, of course, are messy.

So, when my Mom decided to let me have one, I was ecstatic. Of course, there were limits as far as size and mobility. But, there I was, in the pet store, about to purchase my brand new turtle!! What a find - tiny little hard shell, cute little head that occassionally came out, four little lizardy looking feet. His name was Brownie (okay, not very creative, but as long as he answered to it, I was fine). We knew it was a male because he had a deep voice (!!)

I also bought a little red turtle dish for him - shiny plastic, little plastic hill for him to walk up, little plastic palm tree. Put some water in the bottom so he could watch his hands, cool off, surf - whatever turtles do. Had special food for him, supplemented with lettuce. He lived in my room and I would occassionally take him outside for some fresh air.

Then one day we went to visit my grandmother and I brought Brownie with me. Put his little red dish on the side table and fed him. Then went out in my grandmother's front yard. About 30 minutes later I heard this scream and someone yelling, "Sandi, get in here!" I went inside only to find my little red dish empty! Brownie had escaped! In my never-had-a-pet grandmother's house! I was doomed. We looked high and low (mostly low) for Brownie but couldn't find him. My grandmother was almost hysterical worrying that he would crawl on her bed at night or that she would step on him with her bare feet. My mother had visions of him dying in a corner and smelling the place up. I was worried that he would go outside and get hit by a car (I said I was a kid!!).

Well, we never found him and I'm not sure my grandmother every forgave me. I brought my little empty red plastic dish home and that was pretty much the last pet I was allowed to have for a long time.

Be safe, Brownie!!


Jenni said...

Poor Brownie. I'm really surprised Gram let you have a turtle. She seemed more like a goldfish kind of person. They're not too smelly, not too messy and can't run away.

The Kept Woman said...

Awwwww...I'm guessing Brownie made it to safety or your grandmother would have eventually found him from the smell...for sure.

I mean, I'm just saying...