Gosh, another artifact bringing up lots of memories, and this time the memories spring from vastly different sources - life, love, and advertisements. My friend Shelley brought me the most amazing gift. As you can see, it is a statue of Nipper, the RCA Victor dog, listening to “his master’s voice.”
When I staggered into the kitchen on the morning of my eighth birthday, the floor was covered with newspapers. What could this possibly mean? I impatiently wolfed down my Rice Crispies, because my mother said I would not find out till after breakfast! There was a knock on the door, and my mom’s friend Dorothy arrived with a basket full of furry love. My own little Nipper! This was the best birthday present ever. Can you believe that they actually expected me to go to school that day? I am sure it was one of the longest school days I ever endured. Mutti said that I should call him Nipper, because that’s who he obviously was, given his good looks. What a wonderful dog. He walked me to the school bus every day (but not till he was older, of course,) and was there waiting at the bus stop when I came home in the afternoon. Unlike most of our dogs, he had no bad habits. (Could I think this because I was only eight and had a skewed idea of a bad habit?) I could only find one awful picture of him. I know there are others, but my mother’s photographs are organized similarly to mine – in other words, not at all. However, you can still see what a sweet fellow he was, nuzzling my baby brother as we all squint into the sun. And you can see how he resembles the original Nipper.
When I was in college, every day I passed the Valley Music Store, owned by Shelley’s mother, and I shopped there frequently for all my music needs. Records, sheet music, new guitar strings – whatever you needed in the music way, the Valley Music shop had it. It also had a statue of Nipper, listening, one supposes, to his master’s voice. This was the sort of store that remembered its customers and their needs. Once, I was walking down the street, and went into the bookstore next door. Rose, one of the sales persons, came panting in after me. “Joanna, Joanna,” she gasped. “Your record has finally come.” I had ordered a recording of Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting Brandenburg Concertos months before, and apparently it was difficult to get in those days. One just does not get that sort of service these days. You are lucky to even get a phone call.
I googled Shelley once, and found this picture of Nipper in Shelley's living room. I mentioned the blog to Shelley, and he was astonished. “Do you want Nipper?” he asked. Wow! No question. I love Nipper. Shelley had inherited Nipper from his mom, and now he and his wife Susan, have passed Nipper on to me. What another wonderful present!
Pictured above are Shelley, Margaret, and Nipper. Margaret was offended when Shelley said, "Now you will have one dog that is really house trained." Speaking bad dog habits - Margaret tries to have only good habits, but occasionally things are just too much for her.