Welcome to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children's Room!

Ms. Clara Webber was the first children's librarian of Pomona Public Library. A long time correspondent with Mrs. Laura Ingalls Wilder, she was instrumental in having the Children's Room named in honor of Mrs. Wilder on May 25, 1950. Today, we house the original hand written manuscript for the novel Little Town on the Prairie. Every February, we host the Laura Ingalls Wilder Sociable in honor of Mrs. Wilder's February 7th birthday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Last Installment of My Trip To Spencer, Iowa

There are a lot of ways I could end my summery of my trip to Iowa. There were more fun things that happened on the trip. There were more pictures to share. But bottom line was: what stirred me up and sent me to Spencer, Iowa? Being young, I think you probably already know the answer to that. Love. Unconditional love. You all know the picture of Dewey. That beautiful orange kitty that reached the hearts of many people. The other kitty pictured here is Phebe B. Huntington. She reached my heart for almost 21 years.

Phebe was a present to myself for graduating from Graduate School. I went to the pet store to pick out a nice black and white kitty and came home with Phebe. I didn't have a choice: she chose me. Since it was her and I against the world, we became fast friends.

In the book "Dewey" by Vicki Myron, she was able to put a voice to the relationship between cat and human. Phebe and I communicated much like Dewey and Vicki. And yes, I have been lectured by a cat that was right. I came home after midnight one night and she met me at the door. "Where have you been? You didn't call! Valarie had to feed me. I was so worried..."

There were also striking similarities between Dewey and Phebe. Dewey had problems with his colon and his stomach. Phebe had it ten times worse. She had to have her colon and part of her intestines removed when she was only six years old. I always thought that Phebe wouldn't live as long as other cats because of this. She really proved me wrong!

She started signs of aging at eighteen. I bought her steps so she could walk up to the bed rather than jump. After her twentieth birthday the vet found a tumor in her stomach. This also happened to Dewey. Stomach cancers grow fast. Even though the vet didn't think she would live more than two weeks, she lived another two and a half months. She passed away two and a half months shy of her 21st birthday.

So, was this book special to me? Yes. Was it an easy read for me? No. Most of the time reading it I missed Phebe so much I could hardly breathe. And yet at the same time it validated and put words to something deep and vital.

When I met Vicki I told her she put words to the relationship between animal and pet. Her response was, "That was the hard part." I understand that now.

Thank you to Dewey and Vicki for giving the rest of us voices!


Gislaine said...

Very beautiful story, yours and Vicki's.
I always had outdoor cats, who never lived too long (6 years).
Now I live in an apartment, with a 3 years old cat.
I hope she can live as much as your Phebe, it's so good to have pets around us!

Ms. Lois said...


It is so good to have pets around us. I don't know how I would get through the day.

Good luck to you and your cat.