When I was five, we lived in Gary, Indiana in a small 2-bedroom frame house across the street from the new Village Shopping Center on 36th and Grant Street. Nestled within the Village was Kresges’, a 5 and 10 cent type store which had a super toy department, which I visited several times a month with my mother, especially on my dads’ biweekly Inland Steel payday, on which day I was allowed to pick out a little trinket or two. Another section of the store boasted turtles, goldfish, chameleons, hamsters, and parakeets! I fell in love with the little birds and hoped someday to bring home a little feathered friend. My mother said, “We’ll see.”
Hoping against hope, life went on and I began Kindergarten at Daniel Webster Elementary School. One day I was walked home from my morning session at Webster (Mrs. Pauers’ class, in the classroom on the left side of the entry hallway of Webster), and saw something on the kitchen table when we got home. It was covered with a towel. My mother removed the covering and voila! A green and yellow parakeet in a cute roomy cage with food and water dishes, a dish filled with greens, a little mirror and some other small toys. She had gone all out and I will never forget that moment as long as I live Never had an acquisition before nor since, except for the birth of my four children, given me more joy!
Now, we all know all good things must end, but that ended all too soon, but I never knew my mother had so much imagination, nor did I realize till I was in eighth grade and recounting the incident to a friend of mine, that there was a kink in my storyline.
According to my mother, while I was in school one day that fall of my Kindergarten year, she felt that the colors of the bird didn’t match her kitchen. She needed to remedy the situation, and had to apparently do it quickly, as I was to be picked up at school before noon and it was a five block walk to the school for my mother.
When I checked on my little green buddy that afternoon, I noticed a significant difference. Where my birds’ face had been sunny yellow, it was now snow white. Hmmm. The green in my bird had magically been changed to sky blue. Yeah. Pretty, but not “Pretty Boy”. I might add, I have an older sister who was married and on her own back then. She had a blue and white parakeet, and that is part of why I had a cultivated interest in birds at such a young age. It entered my mind that my mom and my sis had traded. Heck no.
My mom told me a little white lie, (the green bird had died) but she got me hook, line and sinker and continued to have me till I was 13 and in that eighth grade conversation and that is when it hit me like a ton of bricks.
She said that green and yellow did not go well in the kitchen so she got some RIT DYE and dyed him blue in the sink. Oh, OK. I don’t think I put up too much fuss, as I had a bird anyway.
Due tell, that bird ended up living 9 long years and said everything in the book! He was christened “Augie” as he was hatched in August!
Now I have 2 Quakers, an African Grey, a Yellow Nape Amazon, and a male German Roller canary who sings. No parakeet. Next extra money comes in I’m getting me a parakeet!
24 Dec 1955, Los Angeles, California, USA — Merry Christmas and a Happy New Yell- That might be the greeting on Yule cards sent by the family of little Colleen Watson, of Los Angeles. She was posing for a picture to be used on the family Christmas card and the parakeet was being held up to make Colleen “look at the birdie”. Everything was fine until the parakeet flew over to get in the picture (above). The camera caught Colleen’s reaction, and the photo is likely to make one of the most eye-catching cards in the mails.
Image by Â© Bettmann/CORBIS: http://www.corbisimages.com/Search#rdr=1&mrc=41,398
Cheers and happy domestic birding…. see my Kathys’ Best Exotic Bird Resources site here:
(in the process of updating links etc, and redoing backgrounds and such, so bear with)