By Joselyn Watkins
KELLY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
IT’S FLEECE WERE WHITE AS SNOW
AND EVERYWHERE THAT KELLY WENT THE LAMB WAS SURE TO GO.
SHE FOLLOWED HER TO CLASS ONE DAY
IT WAS NOT AGAINST THE RULE
AT ALFRED UNIVERSITY
THE CURRICULUM WAS NEVER MEAN OR CRUEL.
My first name coined by my room mates at Alfred University and for four years following was Kelly as I am Irish as patty’s pig.
And so just 65 years ago I met a tall sandy, curly headed Chuck Watkins from Bath, New York at a fraternity party. Although, he seemed interested in the Snow Queen at that party, wonders of wonders he called me for a date. I was elated and responded in the affirmative. The date turned out to be the pre-cursor of asking me to the inter-fraternity annual ball. From then on we dated each other exclusively.
I soon learned that he was a farm boy from Bath, York and that his father held down a full time job as post master while managing a 350 acre farm with horses, pigs and sheep.
Being a city girl I had never had a large pet except dogs and cats so I asked if they ever had any spare sheep and if so I would love to raise one. Well, I was half kidding, but it was not a kidding matter as the very next week after being home for the weekend, Chuck showed up at my sorority house with a lamp in tow.
“Whew”, I thought. What was I going to do with a lamb at school and a university no less? The answer came soon enough as my sorority sisters fell in love with the lamb who we named Peggy O’Shaunessey. This gift came with Chuck’s invitation to attend the St. Patrick Day Ball given by the Ceramic Engineers at Alfred. What fun! Of course I accepted the darling ewe and ultimately the Ball invitation. Now, the question was,” where to house the lamb.”
There was an old stable behind the sorority house given that the house was built in the 1800’s and so I asked the house mother if we could use that as housing for Peggy. Things fell into place and I obtained the proper meal for her to eat but I had to hand feed her milk by bottle with a large nipple. Purchasing milk for her could have been a problem, but the sorority sisters each saved a little of their milk at each meal for Peggy. What wonderful friends!
Each day when I went to class Peggy came with me. Students tried to call to her when they found out her name, but she would only follow me. It really tugged at my heart as I had never had one so completely at my mercy.
The first day that I took her to Spanish class was amazing. She curled up by my desk and went sound asleep. But the most astonishing thing happened when a student who belonged to Lambda Chi brought their mascot Pledge to class. Pledge was a large German Shepherd. Pledge walked into the class, saw Peggy slumbering away and laid down next to the Lambda Chi student also dropping into a deep sleep. It baffled all the onlookers. Very little Spanish was learned that day.
One day Chuck and I went to the Student Union for coffee and Peggy dutifully followed, but she was not house broken and so she decorated the floor with some unwelcome fluid. The Union manager noted said fluid and started to yell at Peggy, where upon she ran directly into the kitchen of the Union and was indiscriminate dietarily. We avoided the Student Union the rest of the time that we had Peggy on campus.
Did I mention that the sorority sisters and I painted AKO (Alpha Kappa Omicron) on her white fleece with green paint? She belonged to Chuck and me first and foremost, but she had many aunts (the sorority sisters). They thought that Peggy had a distinct odor not compatible with the aroma of 30 sorority girls. Their solution was to give Peggy a bath and to then spray her with perfume. Many a nose was turned up when Peggy entered the scene as the odor of wool and perfume is indescribable.
At the end of the school year, Chuck drove an old farm car from his home to campus and we put Peggy in it and took her to a welcoming farmer selling her for $25 dollars. I cried my eye lashes off, but I knew as a large ewe she probably had lots of little ewes to look forward to mothering. Besides, I reasoned, she would be a happy lamb being with her sheep family.
Interestingly enough, I must have passed the test as the next year Chuck Watkins and I were pinned, engaged and ultimately married. He told me that ”there will never be another ewe”. It’s been that way for sixty three years as of August 14th 2017.