I saw this meme come across my social network feed and it instantly brought me back to the days I lived in a tiny village called Pleasanton in Nebraska somewhere in the early 80’s. I was a child, somewhere around 9-10 or so years old, and part of a family that lived in many towns, cities, and states across the US.
I remember in this small town (population is less than 400 today so much less way back then!) my twin sister and I would try hard to find a quarter once a week so we could walk down to the hardware store and buy a jaw breaker. In another little shop was a pac man video game and once in a while we got to play that. That would be one of the great days!
Our school wasn’t too far from home and we’d always walk back and forth. I remember one time after we’d gotten to school and a snow storm started, and I had to tell my teacher that I’d forgotten to bring in my library book that was due. She insisted I leave right then to go home and get it. Alone. Without my big brother and my sister with me, and in the blinding snow. Of course, being the rule follower I am, I went. But by the time I got home, I was so scared and cold that I called my mom at work. She was beyond furious. She told me to stay there, and then she got ahold of the school. The next day Mrs. Wiejus was unusually nice to me.
I also think fondly of a grandmotherly woman who lived near our house there. Sometimes on the weekend, she’d let my sister and I come in and ‘pretend’ play her piano or fiddle with her sewing machine. She gave us cookies and juice, and was a nice fill in from the grandmothers we lived so far away from. Just one day she saw us out walking and from then on, during our short couple of years we were there, she was our friend.
Besides the wicked winters in Nebraska, I remember other ugly weather days from our midwest homes and I grew up with a very strong fear of tornadoes. A big one hit Pleasanton one year, but thankfully not when we were there. However, another year when I was a pre-teen, I was supposed to go to Grand Island to a sock hop with my best friend. Something came up and my dad said I couldn’t go. That weekend a tornado hit that roller rink and leveled it! As I grew older, my tornado night terrors continued, but I finally outgrew them. (hopefully. knock on wood!)
You know, I used to not like the many small towns I’ve lived in but as I grow older, I realize that though I may have only been in certain places for small amounts of time, each one has shaped who I am today. And I find them very interesting now!
Last year my Ben and I took my dad on a road trip from our home where I finally settled here in the south, back to the midwest to see his father’s grave. We took an RV and were able to visit some of the places we’d lived when I was a kid. It’s so curious how it all felt different from the eyes of an adult, and not the child I was. For many years I thought I only carried bad memories from my childhood. But seeing the places in person, and feeling the feelings I left behind, I was able to remember good things. I think our psyche and memory is the strongest when it comes to the hard stuff, but if you dig a little deeper, you may be surprised at the good nuggets hidden beneath. I talk about that road trip in my memoir, All (my) Dogs Go to Heaven. I’ll warn you, though. There’s a lot of feelings involved.
And now, how about this… comment below with a memory of your childhood that we can all enjoy.
Keeping it kindly,
This beautiful book is unlike anything I have ever read before. The author opens her heart and life to her readers, to explain the meaning behind the book’s title. By telling her painful history, she shares how she has grown to believe – to know – that her dogs go to Heaven. As she lays bare some deeply personal and scarring years of her past, the author shows how she received unconditional love from her dogs at an early age. At times, they were the only safe haven for her heart. Anyone, this reader included, who has shared a life with a special dog, will understand completely. Ms. Bratt’s life took far more joyous turns and she generously allows her readers along the journey. The book includes segments from other dog parents who also believe their dogs are in Heaven. Included as well are a collection of Biblical passages that reference this belief, too.
Kay Bratt is an exceptional author and an incredible woman. She has become involved in a Yorkie rescue, filling her home and her precious dogs’ hearts with love. She is a survivor, a wife and mother, and a woman who clearly loves deeply and unconditionally, just as her dogs do, here and in Heaven.