Chihully sculpture, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville, Tennessee, August 2010
My mother lived sixteen years with her aunt and uncle, S. George and Valeria Cochron–and Valeria’s pampered pooch Bobo–in Nashville, Tennessee. One of mother’s assigned duties was giving Bobo his weekly bath. She hated that job!
After hearing Mother’s stories about the much spoiled Bobo, I was throughly entertained when I came across this series of photos among Valeria’s things. They were taken in the house at 2110 15th Avenue South, probably in the early 1930s.
In the first image, Bobo is intent on joining the photo.
Valeria poses Bobo to look his best.
Bobo can’t resist giving his favorite lady a big smooch! The guests are entertained. Mother and Uncle George are not.
This morning I experienced one of those odd little events that whisk me back to a particular moment in time. I was tossing breadcrumbs for finches, sparrows, and a pair of turtledoves that winter in our backyard. Then, in an instant, I felt myself standing on the front porch of the sprawling red brick Old Woman’s Home on West End Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee.
It was the summer of 1965. I was seventeen years old. My father had a sales meeting in Nashville and I went along to visit my great aunt Valeria Wheeler Cochron – “Nona” to me. She insisted I come for lunch. I would have preferred a hamburger and fries but I joined the table of white haired ladies and made polite conversation. After lunch, the women retired in little groups to sofas in the lobby or cushioned chairs on the porch. Nona remained behind, gathering all the uneaten dinner rolls and crumbling them into a paper napkin.
Nona led me through the lobby and pushed open the screen door. When her foot hit the porch I heard a clattering and chattering cacophony. A squadron of squirrels scrambled down a tree trunk, leaped onto the stone porch and lined up at attention. Talking to them like children, Nona doled out portions of bread.
“She seems to have a way with animals,” a dainty little woman whispered as I watched the spectacle.
Nona gave up her dog and cat for lifetime care at “the Home”, but she did not give up being a friend to animals.