Sepia Saturday – March 2017 – Beauty is the Arms of the Holder

The prompt picture I’ve chosen from Sepia Saturday for March is one of a two people with a dog. It is their number 357 which is out of sync with my ending 2016 numbering. I could have picked that dangerous looking railing to focus on or the porch or the lady’s outfit or the child’s sailor suit but I went with two people and a dog as a theme.

My first family photo that goes with this theme is one of my mom Martha and her sister Lena when they were young girls. It’s a winter photo:

Lena, Beauty and Martha Westra

My mom was the one sitting on the sled holding their dog named Beauty. Beauty was a Fox Terrier that was white with some brown patches on her. I’m going to call Beauty a her even though, while I was interviewing her about the dog, Mom consistently called the dog “him.” She couldn’t remember if the dog was a boy or a girl. With a name like Beauty, I’m going with girl. The picture also has all sorts of other details: a large snowbank, the buttons running along the leg of Mom’s snow suit, the pointed, crocheted white hat Lena was wearing, the hand-made head covering Martha was wearing, the type of sled, the buildings in the background.

Lena holding Beauty

Beauty really belonged to Lena and Martha’s older brother Ewald but she became the family pet. One day Ewald went down to Memory Park to play baseball with friends and Beauty followed him there. Something happened, either the dog ran off chasing something or someone picked her up. She went missing for a few weeks. The Westra family was upset and wondered what happened to Beauty. But she eventually found her way home and the family was thrilled when she showed up on their porch one morning. Beauty was with the Westra for quite a while.

Martha holding Beauty by the side porch at 3 Townsend Street, Newton, NJ

I have a photo of John and Ewald Westra with a dog but I’m quite sure this is not Beauty because this dog has too much black around its ear and eye. This photo was used in another Sepia Saturday post for 2016.

John and Ewald Westra

Later in her life, when I’d ask Grandma Westra why she didn’t have any pets, I’d get a stern “Ach, I don’t like animals in the house.” Ach is an Old High German expression of grievance or displeasure which my grandmother used frequently. So I was surprised when Mom said they had other animals besides Beauty in the house at 3 Townsend Street when they were growing up. Lena had a ginger tabby cat named Pete. He was an indoor/outdoor kitty. The Westra family also had a Pomeranian-type dog that was very anxious, jittery and hairy. It would hide behind the couch all day and had to be coaxed out. Given Etta’s neat streak, I’m sure the hair alone was probably enough to drive Grandma nuts. That dog didn’t last long; it was soon given away.

Another short-timer was a dog that Mom says Russell Van Entning found and for some reason Grandma brought home with her. The story goes that Etta had the dog leashed to a door knob on the front porch when other neighborhood dogs came visiting. They were amorous visitors. Shortly after, the Westras found out their dog was pregnant. Etta didn’t want a litter of puppies and the dog was given away.

So, with this post, I found out that there were animals at 3 Townsend Street. But only when the kids were there. And I’m sure that a younger Etta was a little more tolerant of the things both animals and kids would drag into the house.


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