1921 – Jack the Dog

One evening Dad came home with a little black ball of short fur, with a long leash. This pup could fit in one of Dadís hands. He was as black as a licorice stick. He had a small white vest, a few white hairs in the end of his tail and a little white on a couple of toes.. Big floppy ears and a long tail. Dad had gotten him from a soldier down on the docks, and all that he found out about the dog was that he was a fairly new breed, but was a ìsportî as to color. The white marks disqualified him for show and breeding.

This dog was my constant companion, We played together in the back yard and on the street. He grew to be about fifty pounds. He would be playing in one part of the yard and I would be in another, Mom would call me in for dinner, and ìJackî, for such was his name, would come rushing over to me and knock me down and would not let me up. He would mouth my wrists and neck until they were raw, but never really hurt me when he had played this way long enough, he would let me up and come into the house.

Jack was not allowed in the dining room while we were having dinner. He would lie down near the door into the dining room, but would keep an eye on us. As the meal progressed, he would raise up a little and hunch himself toward and over the threshold. Until finally, he was all the way into the dining room. By this time, dinner was almost over. Usually, Dad waited until after dessert before smoking a cigarette, and when he struck a match, Jack was all over the place running around the table. In those days dogs were fed table scraps, and Jack loved them.

Most of our neighbors were, what we would call ìforeignersî. Italians, Poles, and others. The parents of the children would frequently give them food to eat on the street, One day Mom had to replace three peaches that Jack had lifted from the kids. He would come up from behind and reach over their shoulder to take the food out of their hand.

When we took Jack out for a walk, we would put a muzzel and leash on him. This equipment was hung on a nail right by the door, and should he need to go out, he would put his front feet up on the chair we kept there and point with his nose to the muzzel, until we put it on and took him out.

The house had an ìEnglishî basement, with barred windows. . The street lamp on the corner could just about light half way to the window. In warm weather the window would be open. I slept on the second floor above that window. Occasionally, an amourous couple would station themselves at that point. That is, until the rumble in Jackís throat started his growl. It seemed to shake the house and I could hear him up in my room. The couple would be gone in a flash. On another occasion, a ìbumî with a ìpin trunkî over his shoulder came along on our side of the street. We had a fence, but there was a terrace Inside that put the ground level at about the shoulder height of an adult on the sidewalk. The ìbumî crossed the street and continued on by the house.

We burned coal to heat the house, and, of course, we had a ìcoal binî, where the coal would be ìchutedî into the house. Jack was kept in the basement, and of course, he had to releive himself sometimes. Mom would scoop it up with a shovel and put it into the furnace. She would also shovel coal into the furnace. The day came when she could not find Jackís stools. Then she discovered that he was going into the ìcoal binî. He was a smart and loving dog. We later learned that he was a ìDoberman Pinscherî.


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