Excerpt from Follow the Dog Home Book as told by Bob Walsh:
“She (Dee Dee) was a bum,” Boots says, “and she would go from
house to house where people would feed her. Sometimes
she was gone for a couple of days at a time. We never
really worried about it. She always came back and was
Dee Dee, 1941
If we decided to search for her, though, it didn’t take
much more than walking down our street and calling out
her name. “Dee Dee, Dee Dee,” was often followed by the
sound of a front door opening and a voice calling out,
“She’s over here.”
To understand how much Dee Dee meant to me, you
have to have an understanding of what life was like in
my family and America at the time. Life was good. The
nation was just about over the Great Depression, and my
dad had a good job in the fast growing telephone industry.
We moved from New Jersey to Wellesley, MA in 1940. It was
practically a homecoming for Dad who was born and
raised in the nearby Forest Hills section of Boston’s
I look back at old photos and see an age of innocence,
when we did simple things like take a bath in a tin washtub
in the backyard with my dog Dee Dee ever watchful. What
fun we didn’t find in the backyard we found at Morses
Pond near Wellesley College.
My brother and me in the backyard, 1941.
Dee Dee keeping watch, top right.
Baseball was in its Golden Age, too. Up and down
Atwood Street and across America, you could hear radios
crackling with the call. The Red Sox were king in New
England and Ted Williams was God. But God got robbed
in 1941. Despite hitting .406, Ted Williams lost the MVP
to Joe DiMaggio and his fifty-six-game hitting streak.
Even with grumblings about Williams’s lost award
during neighborhood stickball games, there was a healthy
respect for Joe DiMaggio on Atwood Street.
There were plenty of New York transplants around us who rooted
for the Yankees, or the Brooklyn Dodgers. Plus, Joe’s
younger brother, Dominic, a seven-time All-Star, played
center field for the Red Sox. Before Sunday afternoon
games at Fenway Park, you could catch “Dom” DiMaggio
at morning Mass at St. Paul’s in Wellesley. The Yankees
won the World Series in 1941, and the Red Sox finished
second in the American League. Still, it was a very good
year—until December. Everything changed on December 7, 1941.
*In our next excerpt, how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor altered the course of American life, and ultimately led Dee Dee to her death.