Pets may not sound like a big deal when it comes to writing a good family history, but just try asking about an animal in a photo and see where the path unfurls!
Ponies, chickens, hound dogs, cats, and even prized hogs and rabid coons have all been a part of many of my stories. Sometimes just hearing the animal’s name and then asking where the inspiration came from opens a stream of new conversation. I recall Ellie, Mr Pooch, the triplets Red, White and Blue, Purp, Mable, Bunny, Chopper and Johnny to name a few. My Great Grandpa loved to talk about his best milk cow, Soupy, who he named after comedian Soupy Sales.
Take a look at the photo below, not exactly of a family pet, but viewing it and asking about it’s origin actually turned into a long chat about the whole family going to the Cincinnati Zoo one weekend. This then led into the stories told about the building of I-74 which you may now take to get to the zoo from Indianapolis!
Sometimes an expression you have heard a million times will only make since once you can finally connect the dots.
My dad has always referred to the movie “Fatal Attraction” as the “Kill Chickens” movie.
Now, I thought he was just using some weird code to indicate that it was time to change the channel if the grand kids were around and it happened to come on TV. But one day, I was listening to him tell a story about his grandfather during the war years when food and everyday items were under rationing restrictions.
Just keep “Fatal Attraction” = “Kill Chickens Movie” in mind
My dad had a pet Rooster (a chicken to city folks) named Elmer. He won him on a little traveling midway fair and square and had raised Elmer from chick-hood. One day when Little-Kid-Dad came home from school, Elmer was no where to be found. He found it odd that Elmer was not pecking around in his pen. That night, with his own Grandfather visiting from out of town as an honored guest, chicken and noodles were served for dinner!
Oh Dear Lord!
So ask around, if you dare, about the animals you see in the background of photos. Or learn a little something about how GG Grandpa raised his prize winning Blue Tick Hounds (cover your ears for the “runts” fate). Was there a famous comic cow in your family barn? We had a crawdad the size of a small lobster named Alfred…but he really smelled up my brother’s room. Somehow he escaped from his tank and was never seen again. Hmmm…
Maybe someone should write that down…