This appears to be a longer version of one of the stories Mom wrote out longhand last year titled here "Is That Your Puppy?" She wrote this version when she was 49, in 1993.
The photo is of Mom and four of her sisters. Mom, seated in the center rear, appears to be a little older than she is in this story.
As we walked up from the grove of trees, where we played "farm" all day, my sister Karon and I noticed a strange car in our yard.
"Who is that man standing there talking to Mom?" I asked Karon, who is older and walking with me. He is tall, bearded and unkempt. To us he looks like our picture of a bum, standing by an old car packed full of what looked like his entire worldly possessions.
"I don't know, It looks like he wants something," Karon is staying, continuing to stare at him.
"He probably wants a hand-out," I said. Mom was always helping people who stopped in. This Depression hurt so many people so they tried to travel to greener pastures somewhere else. Anywhere but where they came from. Mom and Dad told many stories over the dinner table about people stopping by for a meal. Mom always gave it to them. I always figured it was out of fear, more than anything else. She was afraid of what they might do to us. Yet, I believe my mother couldn't turn away anyone who needed help, especially if there were children in the car. She made these huge meals just to feed her large family, she figured she could always feed one or two more.
"Looks like she is hollering at Terry to help him," Karon said. "Maybe he just wants gas. Lets go up and see what is going on.
We walked up to the main yard, just as Mom motioned us to go into the house and help get the table set for supper.
"Terry, after you fill his car, see if he wants to eat. Supper is ready. Karon, run out to the barn and see how long Dad and the boys will be."
"Okay Mom," and Karon ran off.
In the house I helped get the evening meal on the table, setting an extra plate. Mom, a heavy-set woman in her early fifties, waddled around the kitchen. She was a good cook with old-fashioned dishes. Today we were having meatloaf and it looked and smelled great.
When they all came in to eat, the man, who introduced himself as Jake, brought with him a little bundle.
"M'am, I'm so grateful for your hospitality. This meal looks and smells wonderful. Do you have a box to put this fellow into?" he said, kneeling down and slowly uncovering his bundle. Inside I could hear a whimper and see a wiggle. Curled up in the blanket was a fur ball about the size of a large fist.
Mom had gotten a box from the pantry. We were all sitting on the floor anxious to see the prize inside. I am in front because I am the shortest.
"Oh, she is so cute," I screamed. The little fur ball was a blonde and white terrier puppy about six weeks old. She nervously whimpered and shivered even in the blanket.
"Can I pet her?"
"Sure you can hold her, if you are careful." He picked up her fragile little body and handed her to me.
She was so warm, her rough tongue licked my fingers. "Mom! Isn't she cute!"
"Jake does she drink yet? She is so tiny," Mom inquired. "Karon, get a bowl of milk. Maybe some warm milk the boys just brought in."
"Look, you have been so kind to me and I have no money to pay you; I brought this puppy from home, but I can't take care of her. I lost my job in Ohio so I'm traveling west to look for something different. Could you take her? Then I won't worry about her."
"Oh Mom! Can we?" I screamed as only a 10-year-old can scream.
"Alright, we can take her. You sure you want to give her up? She seems like a loving little pup. What kind is it?"
"It is just a small rat terrier mutt. She shouldn't get much bigger than a foot long."
We put the box next to my chair. She drank some milk and stopped shivering. She was my puppy -- my Suzie.
Connie, March 30, 1993