Oona brings me memories of Bitsie, 1942
A few years back my granddaughter, Alicia, was between living quarters and needed a temporary place for her pet parakeet, Oona. I agreed that my house was the obvious answer to her problem and she brought the bird over later in the week.
Having a bird in the house was no great bother, but it did tweak my memory. I was no longer a 73 year old widower living in North Carolina. I was 8 years old, living in Plainfield, New Jersey and training my own little bird, a canary named Bitsie. She was the first pet that was mine alone and I loved her accordingly.
In 1942 my Dad had a change in jobs and we moved from New Jersey to Massachusetts. We made the journey by train and it must have been amusing to see. I was the youngest of 5 girls ranging from age 9 to 17 and we each carried our most precious possession. Mine, as you could guess, was Bitsie. She made that long trip in a small metal cage that I carried on my lap.
I don’t remember how long Bitsie lived after that move but I do remember her funeral. My mother had received a brush & comb set in a box that closely resembled a small coffin. It was about 3x10” and the sides and top were made of transparent plastic.
We lined it with satin and placed Bitsie’s little body inside. Then we gathered in the back yard for the service and the burial. I shed many tears but, thanks to the wisdom of my mother, I learned to face death with sadness but also with dignity and love.
Alicia visited Oona often while she stayed with me and it was fun to watch them play together. One of the bird’s favorite “outings” was when we would turn on the kitchen faucet...just a trickle…and she would play to her hearts content under the water. She would show off for us, flapping her wings and tossing her head from side to side.
My house is back to “normal” now but I still remember Oona’s visit and how it brought back memories of Bitsie.