Friday, November 5, 2010

Laddie Come Home*

The popularity of certain breeds of dogs changes just as the favor of clothing, furniture and building designs come and go. During our growing up years, Collies were "in".
Eric Knight's "Lassie Come-Home" book was published in 1938. It was made into a movie in 1943 and "Son of Lassie" came out in 1945. Albert Payson Terhune's "Lad" books in the 1920's and 30's also contributed to the popularity of Collies.
Lassie, the TV series, began the same year my family got its first television - 1954. We wouldn't dream of missing an episode with Tommy Retigg as Jeff Miller and Jan Clayton as his mother, Ellen Miller. Each week some member of the Miller family would get into trouble. Each week Lassie would save them.
When the Martins replaced the Millers as Lassie's family, I didn't think I would like the change. But I came to like Jon Provost as Timmy Martin and June Lockhart and Hugh Reilly as Ruth and Paul Martin, Timmy's parents, as much as I had liked Lassie's earlier owners.

I remember learning that Lassie was really played by a "Laddie" and wondering why they just didn't call the show "Laddie" instead of "Lassie". Especially since we had had our own "Laddie" dog.
This picture of me, Betty, Ron and Laddie was probably taken about the time we first got our Collie - 1947 or '48.
Laddie was a sable and white Rough Collie. Rough Collies have long hair except on their faces. Their coat forms a mane around the neck and chest.
Collies are typically good with children and Laddie was no exception. We could do just about anything with him - ride him, dress him up, etc. He never seemed to mind.

As you can see in this picture, Betty was sitting on Laddie holding her doll. I think that is a straw hat in the doll buggy. We had probably had it on our dog making him play dolls with us just before the picture was taken.
This was in the spring of 1950. Note the earth-moving equipment in the background. They were grading the mile of road from our farm to the school. No more mud roads to traipse to school on anymore. It was gravel from then on.
The following year when Betty started to school, Laddie left home. He missed having someone to play with so much that he trotted over to the neighbor's a mile east of us. The Smejdir's little girl, Leota, hadn't started to school yet; Laddie had someone to play with.
We went over and brought our dog home many times, but the next day he would leave again. *Laddie, come home!
I know my sister really missed Laddie.

Which is understandable since he was the dog she had grown up with. Dad got into this picture with us and Laddie almost got out of it.
Laddie was meant to be Ron's dog - a replacement for his dog Buster which had been run over. Someone just forgot to tell Betty and Laddie that.
I always liked cats better than dogs even though my kids had dogs I was fond of - Mimi, Nadette and Toffee.
I think both my brothers are more "dog" people.

And I believe Betty was more of a dog person, though I'm not sure. I know they had a dog until shortly before she died.
I have no idea which dog this was. It might have been one of Grandpa & Grandma Ridnour's even though the picture was taken outside our back door. I think Betty had just gotten up when this photo was snapped. I know she was still in her pajamas.

(*Watching a program on TV about how dogs and cats find their way home over long distances gave me this idea for a blog. One of the dogs was a Collie which reminded me of Laddie.)

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