Below is another episode from Vera Lundburg’s manuscript. You may recall Eric and Vera Lundburg had moved to Andover from New York in the early 1930s. In this episode Eric had gone to Springfield, Mass. to examine a rare book leaving Vera home alone. After reading this episode you will better understand why Vera chose, “The Perils of Pawleen” for a title of her story. Little Sammy was the family dog.
“During the evening I kept all three fires going. The kitchen stove is a sensible good-natured little thing with no tricks or wiles. The fireplace I manage very well except that the logs are awfully heavy to haul around and set just right without being dragged right in the blaze along with them. But that blooming chunk stove gave me more trouble and by midnight of the first night, all I asked was that it should just die out quietly and completely, and I wouldn’t mind the cold at all.
“There was quite a wind blowing and a strong pull up the chimney so I was afraid to let it draw too hard. If I toned it down, it puffed big gusts of smoke that scared me pink. If I opened it to put wood in, it flared up and put me in a panic. It got so I didn’t have a minute’s peace worrying about what to do next, and I knew it would give me no rest during the night. I could just see myself stuffing it full for the night, folding my hands and waiting for it to explode or burn the house down. And so to Hell – I let it die. Then the temperature went down to five below zero. My geraniums got nipped again and getting up the next morning was a somewhat chilly affair. But I made a good job of banking the fireplace fire and had a good start with coals there. I closeted myself in the kitchen with the little oil stove and got the other stove going and it was comfortable very soon. That day it took plenty of tending to keep a good hearth fire burning steadily but I was glad the other stove was off my mind, so that was a pleasure. Eric got home that night about 1:50 AM with his own tale of horrors.
“He left his car at Heinie’s in Chester and most if not all, the anti-freeze leaked out and it was congealing when he started for home. He thought he could thaw it out but the water kept boiling away and all the way from Chester here he kept jumping out and running down to the brook with a little tin can (at 10 below) and filling the radiator, 7 trips in all to the brook. He took off his overcoat and put that on the head and finally got sufficiently thawed. He was plenty worried that he’d get stuck and have to abandon it. SO WERE VERY GLAD TO SEE EACH OTHER! All it lacked to make it complete was another earthquake and the possibility was always lurking in the back of my mind.
“My little Sammy just got sick and died. I don’t know what was the cause of it. He was bright and chipper as usual then he was sick for two days and we found him dead the next morning. I’m glad I was good to him but I’m sorry I didn’t know of something to do for him to help him get better. We both miss him around a lot. He was awfully funny when I used the carpet sweeper, I guess it was a big monster to him! He’d watch it travelling across the floor very cautiously from behind one of the big chairs. Sometimes I’d run it near him unexpectedly and he’d dash to the protection of another big chair and stealthily peer around to watch THE THING go by. It was quite amusing. And whenever we put on our big boots, he’d come running at the sound of the laces whipping back and forth. He liked to chew on them while they were in action. (He often made me think of Judy Meyer and the chopping bowl) He’d hear these laces snapping if he were two rooms away. So with these fond reminiscences, we will say goodbye to LITTLE SAMMY.”
This week’s old saying. “Welcome to Vermont, where we have nine months of hard winter and three months of poor skiing.”