Tuesday, July 20, 2010


December 1982

Dear MaryJanes,

We have moved to another rental and once again, we are out in the country. The house we are renting is a charming old farmhouse and I feel it is a better living conditions. I have witnessed a few things that our previous neighbors had done and I know these images and memories will never leave me. I struggle not to replay the events in my mind and find it hard to block them out. There was a couple that rented another duplex on the same driveway that we had lived on and their life style was bizarre to say the least. This family consisted of a man and a woman about my age and her 2 year old son. This man also owned a pet mountain lion and kept it in a cage up on a flat roof top. This is Wisconsin, and owning a mountain lion is not the norm. The young woman ran to our rental every now and then to escape the man's temper flare ups. I have seen the bruises that she has received on her legs and I don't know how she can bare the pain. I have tried to convince her to leave him, but she never does. I feel frustrated and bewildered that she chooses to stay. I suppose my family draws the same conclusion about me. At our previous place on a nice autumn day, I had let the two dogs outside. I later heard gun shots, which is not all that uncommon while living in the country, among acres of woods. After an extended period of time, I called for the dogs to return. Being extremely obedient I was surprised when Kari did not return with Dagmar. The neighbors in the opposite direction of the driveway have a yellow lab which is standing outside in our yard, this was unlike him. I approached him and found a bullet hole on his side. He has been shot......where is Kari? I yell and scream for her with no response. Your father is at work which is at least a 30 minute drive. I never ask him for anything but I call and tell him what is happening at home and ask him to please come come, and drive fast.
We searched the woods and though I was 7 months pregnant with you, I walked those woods, searching for hours. I am heart broken. A few weeks later we move to our new place without the presents of my best companion.

Image by Bonnie Jones

I have convinced myself that you will be a boy. Your father finds this insight to his liking as much as he can fathom the whole concept of fatherhood. You are being referred to as The Little Racer.
I have come to my own medical conclusion that the more stress you have when you are pregnant, the more apt you are to have 24 hour nausea. I am sick from one morning to the next.

I do my best to make your nursery cute. I use vintage items that I have collected through out the years. I don't have much to put inside your dresser and no stock pile of diapers to use. I have the very bare minimum from what I received from your baby shower. If anyone appreciated a baby shower, it was me! Now I wait. I begin to get anxious about your arrival. I am excited to welcome you into my life. I dream about what you might be like. Who will you look like?

I like the yard in this new place. I spend allot of time just sitting on the porch watching Dagmar run around and play. She has taken a liking to the beagle a crossed the road. She listens well and has a funny sense of humor. I think she realizes that she humors me. It helps to have her around, especially since the loss of Kari is so recent.
On a warm autumn day I was enjoying being outside and watched as Dagmar darted over to the beagle's yard, something I try to discourage. I called her back and I saw her stop quickly in her tracks. She was returning to me, right into the path of a truck with a trailer. I called her to her own death.
I think I might curl up and die myself. This life is just too hard, and I don't know what more I can take. With this series of events I start to worry that something might be wrong with you. Has God got it in for me? Am I being tested to see just how much I can withstand? Are you ok? Is all this stress effecting you? I start to talk to you, I now am aware that all of this turmoil must be unsettling for you. I am so sorry that this has not been a peaceful journey for you. I promise I will comfort you when you arrive.
Now Hush Little Baby.



  1. Oh, this was way to sad, i do hope things get better, sometimes I find myself more sympathetic towards animals than people!


  2. Carol,
    Thank you for your comment. Things do get better in very short order! These letters are true, and about real lives, and some times life isn't always pleasant. I hope you will continue to read.

  3. Awwwww...this is truly devastating. I really don’t know what I would’ve done in this situation. I’m so sorry to hear about Kari and Dagmar!

  4. Jennifer,
    It is so interesting to me, that even after all of these years, your empathy really touched me. I don't know that anyone ever knew just how much that sweet dog meant to me. Kari was one of those dogs that no other dog has measured up to. I still think about her often. And the guilt of Dagmar continues to stay present in my mind. If you ever want a gentile,loyal dog you might consider Kari's breed, a Belgian Tervuren.
    Thank you for your comment!