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Wednesday, August 31, 2011



I loved him at first sight
He turned my life upside
Down when all was wrought
And oh how I treasured him
Or so I thought.
He wrote poetry for me
Cards came and flowers
And away went many hours.
For the first time in my life
I was happy and free
And he let me be me.
Several years of complete bliss
And then into nothingness it sank
While I was left with just things.
Things like treasures and rings.
Not what I wanted at all you see
I wanted his love he had for me.
But that love turned to a game
I knew not how to play
And he was a master in
Every way.
The games went on and
Turned to tragedy
For he left me alone
Just me.
But I learned so much
That I should have known
And shouldn’t have gotten
Sucked up in the life he owned.
But I did and suffered the
Result of it all
It was horrific and heartbreaking
For me and that fall.
While he
Went on with no conscience
You see.
He’s been out of my life
For over ten years now
And I was lucky to survive strife.
But there isn’t a time
That I don’t think about
What was for I loved him
You see.
But it wasn’t the same
For him with me.
Despite the horribleness
Of it all
There are so many times
When I want to say
And I loved him
And that’s all.

Sherry Hill

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Was thinking that when I was little like 5 or 6 and not yet quite either, someone would
ask how old I was and I'd say 5 and 1/2 or 6 and 1/2. That 1/2 must have gone on 
till I was about sixteen. By then, I didn't say 16 and a 1/2. Sounded dumb.
Thinking back, I couldn't wait to get to a specific age; no one else could either. And
so we'd rush it. Just couldn't wait. Well that went out the window--I never said that I 
was 30 and 1/2. Did you? Don't think so! Wouldn't mind to have those 1/2s back but
not sure if I'd like to do it all over again. Or would I?

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



If you’ve ever seen the movie “Elmer Gantry” starring Burt Lancaster, you know that he was an evangelist but also a womanizer man as well. Kind of the type you read about in today’s news—the ones who pretend to be holier than others but aren’t.

Elmer Gantry really didn’t live next door to my grandmother but a man just like him did. I must have been seven or eight and would see him dressed up and leaving with a bible in his hands. Thought nothing of it until one day I saw a woman moving in with him. Not that it was wrong but the next day she was standing out in the yard wearing a blue satin bathing suit, pearls and high heels. I thought she was a movie star and couldn’t help but stare. My grandmother quickly jerked me inside and told me not to look at her or at that house. Not sure what my staid grandfather thought—if he did, he certainly never said. But I do remember a policeman stopping to talk to her as well as other men and clueless me, thought nothing of it.

Think she lived there with him for a couple of months and then just disappeared only to be replaced by some other woman. And all the while he would leave with his bible going somewhere. Where I never knew. About this time, his daughter showed up on the scene: She was older than me but not much. Invited me in for breakfast one morning and I was just in shock for all of the floors were linoleum [everyone I knew had carpet or rugs] and when I sat down to eat bacon and eggs cooked by the minister, I couldn’t believe that he didn’t toast the bread. It was just served out of the package. And I wouldn’t eat it.

Not saying that there was anything wrong with linoleum floors or untoasted bread; it was just unnerving to me for I had never seen it. But what was about to happen later that week, left me unnerved for the rest of my life.

I was out on that minister’s front porch with his daughter and we were playing some game when he showed up with a huge live turkey. Wasn’t Thanksgiving but more like September and warm. The porch had walls around it—sort of one third of the way up and an opening for the front steps. Had never seen a live turkey before in my life and trust me, it was huge. Had no idea why he was holding it until he started wringing it’s neck—that turkey went round and round until its head came off!

Blood was everywhere and worse was that I was trapped on that porch with his daughter but the worst was that the headless turkey started running around the entire porch and got near me! I was hysterical. Had no idea that turkeys did that [or chickens] for guess the body didn’t know its head was gone. Didn’t last long but long enough to scare the wits out of me. The turkey body fell down in a heap and I ran off those steps like lightning and over to my grandparents’ house.

Trust me I never went near that house again for a long time. The minister moved away packing his bible and another girlfriend. Have no idea whatever happened to his daughter nor did I really want to find out. Come Thanksgiving that year, when my grandmother served a huge turkey and my parents and family were there, I wouldn’t eat one bite of it.

That was so long ago and yet every time the movie “Elmer Gantry” comes on television, I can’t watch it.  And oddly enough, that house is still there right beside where my grandparent’s house used to be. When I drive by it, you know darned well what I am thinking about and I can’t look at it for not only did an Elmer Gantry man live there but also that headless turkey!

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, August 16, 2011



Bullies suck. Plain and simple that’s what they are and a bully can be a kid or an adult. There is no age gap in being a bully. There is no way in separating them by looks. There is no gender gap either but all of us know one when we see one. We’ve come in contact with them all of our lives and guess what? They seem to be multiplying at an amazing rate.

When I wrote the title, my first thought was of “Farkus” the guy with the coonskin cap and the yellow teeth in the movie “A Christmas Story.” He bullied all the boys but oh how he loved to pick on “Ralphie,” the main character in the movie. Course “Farkus” got his just due when Ralphie went balistic and got in a fist throwing mania at him.

There are all kinds of forms of bullying: There are the rumor spreaders, the liars, the jealous ones, the ones who leave another out, the threateners, the pickers and the ones who want attention from their peers. As a kid, I ran into all of those forms and the first time I got bullied was in the second grade. My parents and I moved and I had to go to a different school: It was hard for me to adjust at first for I was six years old. That very first day of my being there, the teacher decided to take us to a big room for an afternoon play period. She announced that we were going to play “The Farmer in the Dell.” Had no idea what was going on till she said that she’d let other kids choose who would be the farmer, the wife and the animals. Well that happened and I was the only one not chosen. I was crushed. Had to listen to the song being played on the record player and watch everyone else and the teacher did nothing about me.

That was so long ago and yet I never forgot it as you can tell. I had been left out and had no idea that was being bullied but it was.

Spent another year at that school and fit in but again my parents moved and I was in another school not knowing a soul. But this time I decided that I wasn’t going to be left out [how I don’t know in retrospect] and I wasn’t; actually spent three years with the same group of kids and felt oh so secure. Then came junior high school: I was eleven in the seventh grade and no I wasn’t bullied but I sure saw other kids being bullied by what they had on or how they looked. And it shocked me. Was anything done to the bullies? Yes the teachers did report incidents to the bullies’ parents but who knows if anything happened? One thing I did know and that is that the kids affected were hurt and became withdrawn. Shouldn’t have happened. Was inexcusable and yet it happened.

In the middle of the eighth grade, my parents decided to move again [actually it was my mom who wanted to move and not my dad or me] and I found myself in another city and in another junior high. Twelve years old and the year before I had lost one important man in my life—my grandfather and in a matter of months, I lost my dad due to the fact that my parents got divorced. I was shattered. And I didn’t fit in for I came from a jr. high school that was more laid back and found myself in a school of cliques of girls and boys. I had nice clothes but wasn’t among the rich or the popular: The latter changed and I was so grateful.

Yet I saw bullying all the time and it was girls as well as boys: They picked on poorer kids, ones who were overweight or those who were different—even by the way their hair looked or other mudane reasons. I took it all in and stored it in my mind and felt scared and ashamed that they did that to others. The teachers seemed to ignore what went on in class; remember one boy who took his pencil and stabbed girls in the rear end. Can you imagine doing that now? Well, it happened. A girl in my homeroom stole our gym clothes and some were never found. Why she took them is still a mystery to this day for it made no sense.

After a year and a half, I was in high school and fourteen years old. But now I was mixed in with kids from my former jr. high as well as another jr. high and the bullying went on till I was a senior. Luckily, I wasn’t a victim but so many were—picked on for their clothes, their hair, how they looked, their size, their lack of excelling in sports or rumors were started and many found themselves ostracized for no reason at all—except the rumors. I would say hi to them or smile and others did too; whether it helped or not, it did make a difference in some later on.

Next came college and yes bullying was alive and well for it was in the form of chosing who would belong to a sorority or fraternity, who was chosen for sports, homecoming queens or whatever. I was chosen by many sororities and also for queens of many groups but others weren’t for they were the “nerd” type [hello Bill Gates in today’s world who might night have been picked on but became a giant in industry!] or poor or any excuse by the bullies. I had a good friend who had a rumor started about her and those of us who knew her, knew it wasn’t true but it devastated her to the point that she quit school and was never the same the rest of her life. The rumor started destroyed her whole being. I never forgot it; how could I?

When I graduated and became a teacher, I made a point to be a watcher for bullies. Wouldn’t let it happen in my classroom ever and if it did, they had to suffer the consequences by a phone call to parents, meeting the principal in his or her office and isolated in the classroom. Of course I ran into adult bullies in the form of teachers as all teachers can attest to—the ones who loved to start rumors or run to the principal with superficial reasons.

What does a bully want? Attention. Plain and simple. Well, I might add a want for feeling superior when in fact he or she is actually inferior. And they are everywhere—in neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, high forms of government, entertainment and industries. Just pick a place and the bully is there. So what can you do to help someone who is being bullied? Offer a smile or say hello and let them know that they matter. They do.

The other day I read on facebook [when a bullying statement was passed around] a reply from someone and it was this: “You should never bully anyone and besides that kid might wind up to be your boss some day!” What words of wisdom. And as for bullies, they just suck!

Sherry Hill



Everyone has to go grocery shopping and everyone normally has a list of knows what he or she will purchase. Sometimes I take a list [which I can never find upon entering the store] and sometimes I remember what I needed to buy. But in the last ten years or so it is getting really hard to find what I need; an example would be finding a can of baked beans. Oh I can find them all right but when I do there are a thousand varieties of them: There are baked beans with onions, homestyle, original, spicy, grillin’ kind and on and on and on.

When I was little and sent to the store to get a can of baked beans there weren’t any. All there was available was “pork and beans” in a can. That’s all. As I got older, that was still all that was available and if you wanted baked beans you had to use pork and beans in a can, add ketchup, mustard, onions and brown sugar and then put it in a baking pan and bake the concoction. Some people used white beans and used the same ingredients I mentioned above to get baked beans. Well not now in today’s world!

Whether it’s beans of any kind or tomatoes, you will find a thousand variations in cans and rest assured you will always come home with the wrong can—always unless you are very careful to look at the label.

Canned tomatoes come in forms of whole, chopped, diced or in a sauce or paste form. But now to add to our confusion [or lack of] you will find tomatoes with onions, spiced, Mexican style, with cheese added, stewed, spicy stewed and tons more variations on the same theme—tomatoes.

The producers of these products just keep adding more and more choices and it gets really confusing while shopping. Maybe that is their intent: To confuse us all and make us buy what we didn’t intend to in the first place. I’m not sure I like it at all for I never fail to come home with the wrong canned version of either beans or tomatoes. And of course during the unpacking of these canned items and other foods, I have lost my receipt leaving me stuck with something I don’t like and won’t eat. Glad I have a dog who loves any kind of beans or tomatoes for she will eat what I won’t.

Don’t you just love a thousand variations of the same products? It’s not really good for us [it is in that I don’t want to fix baked beans the old-fashioned way anymore] because I see more variations in the future and more confusion on our parts. Can you just imagine that? Heaven help us all!   

*Not going into the tons of varieties of green beans--there are just too many.

Sherry Hill



Everyone gets frustrated—frustrated at one thing or another, frustrated at a person or a situation. I know that I do and get myself into such a dither that I get haywire.  And my frustration is usually about something that I can’t figure out how to fix but then that is the definition of the word frustration.

There is no way I can fix electrical things and that really upsets me. But I never learned how to do it and didn’t want to in the first place. Sometimes I get so mad that I want to take a hammer to an electrical object and just smash it;have you ever felt that way? Have I ever done it? No. I did contain myself for I knew that if I smashed it, I’d either get electrocuted or have to buy a new object or both. Neither of those things is on my top ten list of things I want.

When it comes to people, now there is a real point of frustration if ever! Yes, some situations can be worked out by talking or by doing—it might take a lot of both but usually it can be solved. But then there are those people with whom you can’t work out a frustration with and you are left perplexed for a long time. Has happened to me and right now it is again: I can’t solve it no matter what I  have tried. And the more I think about it, the more frustrated I become. Solution? Quit stewing about it for there is no control over some people who cause frustration.

I am sure you have wasted a lot of time worrying about a situation or a person and have come to the realization that it’s a moot point. I have.  Not only has time been wasted but blood pressure goes up and the worrying can make you physically sick. You can’t change other people. You can attempt to not get frustrated but it’s a human trait. And as for things making you upset, well sometimes it’s just better to remove yourself from them and let time take care of it or someone who knows how to fix them.

If I have learned anything concerning frustration is to attempt to try to fix whatever and if that doesn’t work, I remove myself from it or the person who is upsetting me. The realization is that it does no good to deal with frustration for if you do, it will get the best of you. Deal with it? Remove yourself from it. If it’s meant to get fixed, it will happen.

Sherry Hill

Monday, August 15, 2011



Funny when you are talking to someone and bring up something you did and then realize that the person never knew it! I was telling a friend of mine that while teaching school, I had to also teach science. Taught second grade for a long time and in grade school, teachers have to teach every subject. Loved all of them but especially science for to me a lot of it was learning hands on and so I took my belief and transferred it to my teaching. And I told her that I got a heart every year--a real one but one from a hog.

Every year while studying science, my students read from their books but I took them farther by having some students lie down on a big piece of bulletin board paper; others were assigned to draw around their body shapes with a marker. And then groups of students would draw the body organs [while looking  at their textbooks] and color them. Not only did they learn this way but had fun too.

So when it came time to teach about the human heart, I got a brainstorm and went to a local “sausage” company here in town and asked if I could have a hog heart. I had never seen one in my life prior to this first trip. Saw it all right and was amazed at how similar it was to the human heart—so similar that I had to sign papers that I would not use it for a transplant nor give it away. Shocked me at first that I had to sign those papers but in retropsect, I can see the legality of having to do that.

Off I went with a hog heart packed in ice in a container sitting beside me as I drove back home and the feeling was kind of weird to have that thing beside me. Had to tell my sons at that time not to touch it. When I took it to school, I kept the container closed until it was time for science in the afternoon.

Told my students what I had and put on rubber gloves and took out the hog heart and held it up for all to see. Some students gagged while others were sitting there in utter amazement or shock! Using my hands, I showed them the auricles and ventricles—the very same four chambers that we have in our hearts. Took a while but eventualy a lot of the wanted to touch it and I let them; others wanted to put their fingers in the auricles and ventricles and they were allowed.

The biggest shock to all of them was that the hog heart was not shaped like a valentine heart. Nope!  Some similarity but definitely not what they thought.

I sent one student up to a fifth grade teacher and had him ask her if she’d like to have the heart to discect and yes she did want it. And so the next day [the heart was packed in ice,] the fifth graders got the hog heart to discect and learn from their teacher. Of course someone in the fifth grade would bring down the discected heart to show my students and they either liked seeing it or turned their heads.

This process continued for many years with my going to get a hog heart and then doing the above with students for many years. To me and hopefully to them, it was a real learning experience and one that many never forgot. I sure didn’t.  Should you be a teacher and are reading this, have a heart! You’ll be surprised at what is learned from the real thing by your students. But be prepared for gags and wonderment and buy lots of those disposable plastic gloves!

Sherry Hill

Sunday, August 14, 2011



3-4 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
1 [14 ounce] can of chicken broth –divided
1 8oz. carton of sour cream
3 tablespoons of fresh chives, minced
2 teaspoons of fresh dill, minced [save a dill sprig]

*In blender, combine cucumbers, 1 cup of chicken broth and a dash of salt and cover and process till smooth.[ *I prefer to have some pieces of cucumbers so I don't pulverize mine.]
*Transfer cucumber mixture to medium bowl and stir in remaining chicken broth.
*Whisk in sour cream, chives and dill. Cover and chill before serving.
*Garnish with a dill sprig.


Sherry Hill


Many apologies for so few posts! After the episodes of no water and then no electricity that one week, my computer's modem had to be replaced. And guess what? It was replaced again and  worked on last week for over three hours by a technician who works for my dsl provider because I kept losing my internet connection all the time!

I feel like this guy over here who is being grabbed by his throat. Stories have been written and saved but I am just now getting them to you. Thank you for bearing with me. Sometimes there is no control over things and this has definitely been one of them!

Sherry Hill



A long time ago in another life time, my childhood, I got to move with my parents to our first owned house. It was way up on a high hill and the neighborhood was full of kids my age or older. It was heaven to live on that street for also it ended at the top. There was a paved circle in the cul de sac and past that were woods that I would come to know and love. I was nine and in the fifth grade.

That circle was the gathering place for tons of kids. Some were on their bikes while others were goofing off, showing off or playing games. I was always there after school or on the weekends if I weren’t at a friend’s house on that long street. Not only did I like the kids but one in particular—my next door neighbor: He took my breath away and he knew it. I’m not sure if he was there the day that I became a VICTIM or not. Can’t remember.

It was a summer Saturday and a bunch of us were at that place as usual. A couple of boys approached me with a big paper bag and told me to go to the woods and stay there with that bag open and a snipe would come running into the bag. Did I question it? No. I was gullible and went into the woods with that bag and stood there for what seemed like an eternity and saw nothing! If there were a snipe around, it didn’t come to me. Frustrated with just standing there, I walked back to the circle only to be laughed at by those boys.

“Did you get the snipe?” said one boy. “What snipe?” I said. And then it dawned on me that I had been taken in by a big joke. Felt like an idiot.

Some of my girlfriends came rushing over to soothe me with words like “It happened to me!” “They did that to me too!” And despite their help, I was embarrassed and went home.

All was soon forgotten and I wasn’t scarred at all. It was just a joke that had been played on lots of kids. But I wonder if kids today even know that joke or if anyone tries to do that anymore? Doubtful, for if they did, all the soon- to -be victim would have to do would be to google it or use their IPhone and immediately know that there is no such thing as a snipe. Wish that technology had been around when I was a kid. All we had was sets of World Books to look in for information. The computer had not been invented [well it was but it was as big as a room] and neither had a cell phone.

But it was the best of times to be a kid in a world not yet marred by things such as today. Snipes? Such a simple fun thing at that time—if you weren’t holding the empty bag!

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, August 9, 2011



When it all goes away
What will you do?
What will you say?
What happened to yesterday?
It was there and lived through
But the time oh how it flew.
Seems you were small and then tall
And what you wanted was all.
And all came and all went
Oh those years of time so spent.
Memories are stored
And so is ever spoken word
And you wish you could just go
Back to time seemed oh so slow.
Time moves swiftly like a train
Leaving  us with a last refrain.
When it all goes away
What will you do?
What will you say?
What happened to yesterday?

Sherry Hill

Monday, August 8, 2011



Perspective is a way of looking at things and generally, we all see what we see from our point of view. But should we? In some cases yes but in others a definite no. If you  were to look at a vase of flowers and I was looking at it too both of us would say that we both saw it. But if someone asked you or me to describe it, we might have different answers. You might say that it's a vase with pretty flowers.  But I might say it's a vase with some very beautiful red flowers. Someone else might say that it is a vase and I don't like those flowers at all.

As a former teacher, I have seen so much perspective from my students regarding so many things. The main point I was trying to get across in many cases was to focus on one specific part of what I was teaching--as do all teachers! But all students are individuals and all saw things differently. I did when I was a kid always and yet got to the same conclusion but in a roundabout way.

I will never forget meeting a very famous math expert: He traveled all over the United States talking with groups of teachers. Here I was with a huge mass of teachers and listening to him speak about teaching math and the most important thing he said was "It doesn't matter how you get the answer as long as it's the right answer." Profound words that I never forgot and remembered to tell my students.

That statement could apply to anything we perceive for if you are asked for an answer and it's set in stone, your way of thinking would be right --if the answer were right. As stated above, it you were looking at that vase of flowers and asked what you saw, you'd have to answer "a vase of flowers." But your description or mine would be so different and why? Because we use what we have stored in our minds to perceive things.
We associate what we know in terms of looking at something and judge it by that--why? Because we are human beings. And there really is no right answer about those flowers at all.

You and I might be talking about mushrooms and I might hear you talk about how much you loved them and so on. But I can tell you right now that the first thought in my mind would be that I hate them and then I would proceed to tell you that. Right here is the most important thing about perspective: If I really said that I might hurt your feelings right then and there. Even though I think that I might not say it and that is why perspective is so important and has so many layers. Many.

Takes a lot of patience on your part and mine sometimes to keep our perspectives to ourselves when asked about something. Another case in point is that there is a person [whom I know] who reads what I write and yet will not converse with me at all in written form even though the opportunity is always there. From my perspective, I find that not only strange but odd. That is just my take on it.  But maybe from that person's perspective maybe it's a compliment for me to know that it is being read--just that and nothing more. Not dwelling upon it but just wanted to point out another form of dealing with perspective--it's all in what is perceived. But watch out for those many layers; I certainly do. There is a fine line between being right and being nice--a very fine line. And should you cross it, you might wind up being mistaken with no going back.

To me perspective is judgement. Don't you think so?

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I received this photo in an email from a friend and wanted to share it with you for it is truly beautiful. I love the look of it--sort of old-fashioned and yet dazzling at the same time. Definitely planned and not just random plantings.

Thinking seriously of painting this scene for love to paint flowers. Mentioned it to the friend who sent this for she also paints and is fabulous at watercolors. As of now, neither of us have tackled painting it but rest assured one of us will.

If you were to look at this as if it were a painting, what would be the focal point? Where do your eyes go first? Hope you chose the reddish-orange flowers for that is the focal point. Put your hand over them and then look at the photo. Looks blah without them doesn't it? Course I happen to love that color as well---does that help any?

Special thanks to Cathy for this wonderful photo. Told her I was amazed when I first saw it and still am. It's a lovely garden!!

Sherry Hill


Received this in an email and just had to share with you!

Sherry Hill


At the top is a juvie and you can see it is really big! Juvie is a name for a bald eagle that is not full grown and/or hasn't had its head turn white or its beak turn yellow--that happens at age 4 to 5.
Second photo shows two juvies on a limb [Thank you UStream!] as well as whomever took this photo and posted it for all of us to see.
Third photo shows a juvie in flight! Notice the wingspan--almost 6 feet.
Fourth photo shows the parents. Can you guess which one is the mom and which is the dad?

Again these photos were taken by either watchers of the live web cam or professionals who took photos as well. These eagles reside in Decorah, Iowa; the parents will stay there. But the juvies will have to leave soon.

Sherry Hill


These are real photos taken by people I have met online while watching the Decorah Eagle UStream live web cam. They graciously posted these for all of us. Enjoy these photos of bald eagles up close and personal.

Sherry Hill



If you believe in miracles, then welcome to my club for I have seen them over and over. So many people are too “blind” to see them or ignore them. I could make a huge list but won’t—just want to relate one experience that happened ten years ago.

My mom died on May 10, 2001 and as an only child, it was a terrific blow to me. Would be a terrific blow to anyone who has lost their mother and one that is never expected but happens. My mom’s favorite colors were yellow and black:  She had those colors all over her gorgeous apartment accented with hot pink. The day of her burial when I got home, I walked out to the end of my street:  From there I could look down at the city and just let my emotions go wild. It was about four in the afternoon and as I turned around to walk back, I felt something on my face.

Didn’t touch it but could see it—it was a yellow and black BUTTERFLY! Dusted it off of me and really didn’t think much about that incident till the next day for it happened again to me at the end of the street. But this time the butterfly landed on my arm and I looked at it and saw those colors and a chill went over me. Day after day even when I had my dog with me, I would go out to end of the street and have a butterfly on me. Went on till late fall and then started all over again in the spring.

By this time, I just felt that it was somehow a spirit of my mom for not only was the butterfly always yellow and black but my mom loved butterflies and had a lot of butterfly things in her apartment. This experience went on for three straight years—of a butterfly landing somewhere on me every day [except in the winter] and then one day, I never had it happen again ever.

Whether others think it not, I think it was a miracle and think that somehow her spirit was linked to that butterfly. How could it not be? She was watching over me or it made me feel that way. When I got up the gumption to tell others, they too had experienced butterflies either on them or around them after the death of a loved one. Maybe you have had it happen to you or maybe you just didn’t notice:  Either is a miracle.

Sherry Hill


I have always loved cats--always! Got my first cat when I was eight years old--a black and brown tabby. Thought he belonged to some people who had a lot of cats but found out he didn't. Also found out that he was a he:  My parents and I thought she was a she. Wrong! Named him Wholesapple after the people who had those cats; he was called "Wholzy" forever. He survived three moves and lived to be 18. Was so spoiled by my grandmother [he would go to her house when  I was at school and sleep on her best bed of course!] that she even made a Christmas coat for him and he wore it! When he died [he got run over by a truck as I was living in the city and neighbors found him--devastated me.] I was already married and "catless" until a friend took me to a city far away where someone had kittens to give away and that's when I got Simba.

Simba was an orange tabby, smart and had to be the meanest cat I ever had. She was huge and would stand on the staircase and crack a spit at me. Ever heard a cat do that? Not a sound  you'd want to hear at all! She was huge and the neatest thing she would do was to lick "Coffemate creamer" out of my hand--sometimes! When she was about eight months old, I decided to put her on a leash: She walked with me like a dog would and did people stare or what? I had a huge backyard and lots of clotheslines so one day, I decided to put her long leash on a line. She loved it and would run the length and then back again. One day a big bulls eye tabby [brown black and white] appeared in my yard:  He had huge feet and gorgeous markings. And of course he found his way into the house. Named him Tiger--really Goethe Tiger.. Simba ruled of course as she had been there first and was huge compared to him for he was about six months old or so. But as time went by, I would find both of them sleeping together or fighting or staring at me after some priceless object got broken [cats never fess up to breaking things ever!] They were quite the pair is all I can say. Tragedy struck six years later when my mother told me that it was cruel to keep Simba on a leash and that I should let her run loose. Personally, her walking on a leash or being on one on the clothesline was unique to her. Unfortunately, I took my mom's advice only to find Simba missing. Everyone searched and my then-father in law found her at the base of a tree. A pack of dogs had gotten to her; she lived only minutes after I held her.

She was buried in the backyard and Tiger sat on her grave for three straight days. He was mourning. 

A move to this house I am in now was good for Tiger:  I kept him inside due to what had happened to my other two cats. He had the sweetest disposition--much like "Wholzy" and I entered him in the West Virginia cat show [thinking he might stand a chance] and he won three years in a row as the best cat. Trophies and ribbons didn't impress him one bit! But I was impressed by him for he was the most beautiful bulls eye tabby ever. Tiger shared the house with a huge collie and didn't mind one bit. He lived to be fourteen as an illness took him; the night before though, he came up the steps from the recroom only to see all of us and then retreat back downstairs. When he died, he was buried in the backyard. His trophies and ribbons are tucked away in a big drawer still.

Waited a year for I had to due to the fact that his illness would have been contagious to another cat. And that's when I went to a friend's apartment to see some kittens she had. Partial to black and brown tabbies and there he was--jumping up on the wall! High! Brought him home and named him Jesse James [distantly related to that outlaw and boy did the name fit this cat!] I would put him on my shoulder and go down the hall with him biting me all the way; my arms were covered in scratches forever. Not only did he do that to me but attacked a kid who came to my house--following this kid across the street and was hanging onto him by all fours! I had to pry him off of the kid and pray that he was all right. He was but shook up and never came back into my yard even as a teenager! Jesse bit my best friend whom I had known since I was three; she had been here many times but one time when here, he circled around her legs and bit through her sweat pants! She screamed, I saw blood and we both ran into my bathroom shutting the door on Jesse who sat on the other side for an eternity. Many other people received the wrath of Jesse and I honestly didn't know what to do. The only  thing that calmed him down was to speak FRENCH to him and although I do know that language, it became a big problem!  And it sounded nuts to anyone who was here. Jesse shared this house with two big dogs and anytime he got a chance, he would smack them with his paws. An illness took him too and once again, he was buried in the backyard along with Tiger. And  I swore I'd never get another cat--my heart couldn't take losing one again.

Catless for a year till my then-husband and I went looking for a cat in the spring. Found nothing that I liked until we went into a pet shop and there he was--a black and brown tabby and all of eight weeks old. Love at first sight, bought him and brought him here. Wanted to name him Spencer after a tv show "Spencer For Hire" but my dog Prince went haywire upon seeing this kitten. I kept saying "It's a baby Jesse!" over and over again. And so this cat was named Chessie Spencer: He really did look like the C&O cat "Chessie." My other big dog, Goldie, seemed oblivious to Chessie at first but they became good friends; Prince was still stand-offish. Chessie was no doubt the smartest cat I ever owned: He understood what you said to him as most cats do but he was so loving and so huge! [When he was little, I had him declawed--just his front claws; he came  out of the vet's office being carried by a worker and he had lime green casts on both front feet! But he healed fine and thought he still had those front claws.] At one point, he weighed over 22 pounds. This cat actually let me put hats on him and he loved to pose; he was always camera ready. Always! He slept with me and talked  in the cat language. Chessie lived to be fifteen and I knew almost a year and a half ago that he was dying: Cats always retreat and give up. I hand fed him but to no avail at all. Heartbroken not only for him but also for me. Both Goldie and Prince had died and now I only had him as well as my dog I have now, Shiloh. Kept putting off the inevitable but the day did come that I mustered up my courage and set him in a box to go to the vet for the last time. He didn't seem to realize where he was as I drove but I kept looking at him and the tears wouldn't stop. I sat there with him not wanting to have him put to sleep and yet there was no choice--he was dying. The vet was so gentle with him and it was the first time I ever stayed with a cat to be put to sleep. Numbness set in and I had to make a decision:  I decided to have him cremated. Picked up his ashes in a small white cylindrical container and he "sits" in his usual place on the kitchen table. Morbid? Not to me. That container has a C&O playing card glued onto it--of Chessie.

I didn't mention this but about six months or so before Chessie died, I had been outside and was getting in my car when I heard cats howling and a dog barking. Couldn't see anything and had to leave for an appointment. Upon arrival back here, I found a calico cat in my yard with her kitten. The cat was sort of tame but the kitten was wild. After talking to a neighbor, I found out that some lowlife had thrown this cat, kitten and a dog over the hill out of his truck! Made me sick. But no way was I bringing in a cat and a kitten with Chessie in here. And so I fed both the mom and kitten for a long time till winter set in. No one would take either one of them.

One day the mom cat took off and was gone for four days--no wonder as my yard was full of male cats hanging around! The baby was in hysterics and feral; all I could do was to put cat food out and hope it ate it.
Four days later, the mom returned and I named her "Maysie" after the Dr. Seuss character in the book "Horton Hatches An Egg."  That character was a big bird who wanted to go to the beach and coerced Horton into sitting on the egg for months! Seemed fitting for this cat. Named the baby "Winky:" Have no idea why--just came to me. Maysie was smart enough to get under a chair that had a blanket placed over it by me; the baby was under a small table but freezing. Had to take a stick and place a blanket over the table or else that baby would run! A miracle happened as my newspaper carrier felt sorry for the kitten and took it! I realized that Winky was gone; saw him early the next morning and he told he that he had grabbed her and put her in a cat carrier! One problem solved.

Got colder and I got gutsy. Went out and grabbed Maysie and brought her inside knowing that Chessie would probably have a cow--but he didn't. Maysie did! She ran for the storm door and threw herself onto it like a cartoon character! Several more attempts were made and I actually got Maysie inside and calmed down.. She sat in a little wagon I had put out for Christmas and actually liked being in it and covered up. But she was an outside cat [or so she thought!] and every night I let her out. One day when I brought her in bundled up in my arms, I took her over to Chessie:  He was piled up on a big cushion and not feeling well by then but he did lick Maysie on the head as if to say "It's all right with me."

And so after Chessie's death, I became the owner of a calico female cat. Never had a calico in my life; had her fixed and the vet said, "Is this cat wild?" "Course she is" I replied. "That's why we put disposable stitches in her" he stated and off we went--me grateful and Maysie in a stupor. Found out then that she was about two. Had no idea. Maysie has now been with me a year and a half and she is the most grateful cat ever. 
She has no desire to go outside period. Loving yet somewhat stand-offish but always ready to eat or be petted.  Knows she has it made for cats are not dumb and knows how to smack my dog when the dog has done nothing but get into her territory! And yes, Maysie has a middle name: Apple. Heck if Gwyneth Paltrow could name her child that I could certainly use it for a cat's middle name and I did. Maysie is the only cat I have had that was abused and traumatized. I am just so thankful that she wandered into my yard that day and should the person who threw her away [along with her kitten and a dog] be reading this, shame on you! But I beat you at your game for I got rewarded with a wonderful cat--Maysie Apple.

Sherry Hill

There were two other cats in my life: Paddington, a Himalayan that my then-husband and I got at an animal rescue place at the beach. Gray, beautiful and petrified of Chessie. He didn't live long at all. And there was also Babette Noel--a black cat I got at the animal shelter; she and Chessie loved each other but Babette got out of control and gratefully a friend took her.

Monday, August 1, 2011



Twenty five years ago about this time of year—August and hot, I was driving up to the house with my younger son who was 13 at that time. Had picked him up from some event and as we were approaching our house [halfway up the steep hill!,] he shouted: “There’s Bob!” All I saw was a humongous dog that was lumbering up past us. “Stop and let him in!” he said.

I stopped. And my son who was in the back of my Honda Accord reached up front and opened the passenger door and the huge dog jumped in right beside me. He looked like “Kujo” for I had just seen that movie several weeks prior and although I was never afraid of big dogs [we already had a huge collie], I was definitely leary of this one. Worse was that my son told me he had to get out right there and then as he forgot something at the bottom of the hill—and he got out as I sat there with that huge dog sitting beside me. It looked part St. Bernard and part husky and it not only was huge but had those big eyes like cows do.

When I pulled into the driveway, I got out real fast and let the dog out! It was panting and seemed worn out and so I let it rest in the yard and then it went lumbering down the hill. Thought that was the end of that but it was the beginning for I found out that the dog’s name was “Prince” and belonged to Sid and Jo Greenleaf. Sid used to have a restaurant across from the high school I attended—it was just called “Sid’s” and I had never been in there nor did I know him. But oh I would learn to know him as well as his wife, for Prince would come up to my house and then I would have to take him back down the hill to Sid.

Prince was smart for every day when I drove off the hill to go to my school where I taught, there he was waiting for me on the corner. I’d open the passenger door and he would jump in and ride a half a block to my parking place and then get out! After school, if I had to go somewhere, I would see Prince running after my car and I’d have to stop in mid-traffic and let him in and then bring him back to Sid’s house.  He even figured out that he could wait in my school parking place and that took a lot of manuevring to get him to move. One day he jumped in the car with the principal at that time and about scared her out of her wits! “Is that your dog?” she said in a terrified voice. And I had to reply “Sort of and sort of not!”

 This went on till winter set in:  One morning I saw Prince across the street and he had icicles hanging off of his fur. It broke my heart and I let him in where both of my sons became quickly enamored with him as did the collie.

The time had come to ask Sid if we could keep Prince; it wasn’t right on our part but Sid wouldn’t let Prince in the house. And so I did the obvious and both Sid and his wife agreed that we could  have Prince. A big dog leash was put outside tied to one of those twisty metal pieces to hold it tight. Did Prince stay on that leash? No! He must have dragged the entire thing out so many times that I lost count. And where was he?  At Sid’s house of course—tons of times I would drive round and round the block only to come back to see Prince standing outside waiting to get back into my car which he did. But before he got in, he had been given an ice cream cone by Jo, Sid’s wife and all was well.

I did learn that Prince was part St. Bernarnd and part husky;he weighed 130 pounds and was gigantic. Our collie, Rusty, weighed 125 pounds; the two of them together got along well but it sure was crowded in this house! Whatever was done for Prince, he showed such gratefulness. He was truly a gentle giant of a dog. One day in the following summer he took off as usual and I couldn’t find him anywhere—not at Sid’s or anywhere. My sons scoured the neighborhood as did their father. And I got hysterical. A week passed and no Prince. My friend, Peg, called me and wanted to go antiquing; told her that would be great and that I would pick her up. I did and had to go to the board of education to get my summer check. Got the check, back in the car and Peg and I were headed towards downtown when all of a sudden I saw a dog on the sidewalk that looked just like Prince!

Swerved over to the corner, got out and hollered “Prince!” The dog looked at me and came running towards my car; Peg got out and let the dog get in the backseat and I looked at her. She was bent over in the front seat petrified. “I’m afraid of big dogs!” Looked back at the dog and thought it was Prince—just looked ragged is all. How I ever made it back to near my house with Peg in the floor [with her pocketbook over her head] and the dog in the back is something I will never understand to this day—but I did.

I pulled up right across from Sid’s house. Peg jumped out and so did the dog and what would come running towards me but Prince! Prince had a double that hung around for weeks and everyone thought it was him—but it wasn’t! Later that dog disappeared but I did hear that some woman was downtown near the court house,  thought it was Prince [she knew him too] and got a rope from someone and brought that poor dog back over here again! My then- husband told me to take it back downtown but there was no way I was going to be charged by the police with dropping off a dog. Thankfully, the imposter left the area a week later never to be seen again!

When I first had Prince in my car, I found out he was about two years old; we had him here at this house till he was fifteen. He was so loved and so gracious—and the most gentle dog ever next to the collie who had died two years before him. Prince was getting old and we found ourselves hand feeding him and helping him walk while on his leash. He had slept with both of my sons as well as with me for he was just that kind of dog. But by this point, he was waking us up with noises and those noises were his falling down in the hallway. And then the time came when he couldn’t stand up at all and looked up at me with those big pitiful brown eyes and I knew—knew it was time but didn’t want to face it and yet I had to. He had given us unconditional love and we owed it to him to be out of his misery for he had lost weight and the desire to live.

Taking him to the vet involved my then- husband and me [maybe…it’s sort of a blur] and by this time my sons were grown and gone; it was so hard to see him with the vet. And harder to let him go but I owed it to him. He was buried in a pet cemetery in a county near me and yes, he had a headstone that said “Beloved Pet Prince.” I am so glad that my younger son made me stop that hot August day and let him in the car with us for Prince made our lives richer and trust me, he was loved and gave back that love tenfold. To this day I still miss him.

Sherry Hill
*This was published in the WVGazette when Don Marsh was the editor. And it was cut down due to size –I always write too much. The title of this story was then titled “Powerful.”