Sixth grade. 

I found the pattern in Mom’s woman’s magazine.

I don’t now where I got the fabric; it wasn’t really calico, but definitely not gingham. 

So, though the poem talks of a gingham dog and calico cat, I made a calico dog.

Rebellious start to finish!  The pattern was drafted from the magazine diagram, directions followed, and the dog was sewn by hand.  Heaven forbid I touch the sewing machine.  No problem.


I did not get all of my homework done that night.

Instructed to bring my creation to school, I was then confusingly praised for my ability and condemned for not doing what I was supposed to be doing.


This was the 60’s.

Sometimes the hardest part about being a creator is that people love you and they are afraid you will fail.  They do not want you to get hurt.  They do not know how to “succeed” as an artist, so cannot guide you.  They don’t even know what success really looks like.

Who does?

So, I forgive my Mom and I forgive Mrs. Mayhall.

They got a lot of other stuff right.

It doesn’t help me to remain angry. 

We all do the best we can.

Let’s not be like the gingham dog and calico cat!

Here is the poem that inspired the magazine article:

The Duel

Eugene Field – 1850-1895

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink!
      The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
      Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
            (I was n’t there; I simply state
            What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
      While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
      Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
            (Now mind: I’m only telling you
            What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
      Employing every tooth and claw
      In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
            (Don’t fancy I exaggerate—
            I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
      But the truth about the cat and pup
      Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
            (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
            And that is how I came to know.)

This poem is in the public domain

Eugene Field was born in St. Louis, Missouri on September 2, 1850.

Known for his humorous newspaper columns, he also wrote light verse for children. 

Again and always …

Thank you for being. 

Thank you for purchasing my art and/or giving me venues.

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