Mary Lou lost her dad when she was only 12. Her older brother Bill went to school and studied to become a veterinarian, taking over their dad's practice. While Bill was in school, their mother (known to everyone as Bess) kept the hospital going as an animal boarding facility.
This meant that Mary Lou had access to dogs and cats and kittens and puppies while growing up. She loved visiting the hospital every day to see the activity and play with the animals. Sometimes, she would end up with a dog or a cat when an owner would leave them and not ever return to pick them up.
Mom and her favorite dog, Brownie.
Because she was considerably younger than her siblings, she watched her brothers and sister leave home and start their careers and their families. Bill and his wife Phyllis built their house next to the Animal Hospital, directly across from the original Kernick family home.
As the story was told, I'm not sure what came first--the nickname for mom that then morphed to Uncle Bill's reference to cute animals, or the other way around--but mom says that her brother Bill called her and cute cats and dogs "Squeedunk". Given that mom was blond haired and blue eyed, she indeed was a squeedunk.
Mary Lou married Joe, had two cats, then two daughters, and over time 6 more cats. She referred to all the kitties as Squeedunk, a term of endearment, at one time or another. I'm sure she even called Julie (my younger sister) or me Squeedunk, but I don't have any memory of that as a nickname.
When Coco came to live with me, so tiny that I had to feed her from a bottle, it was only natural that I called her Squeedunk. And then Valentina. And so on. I call someone Squeedunk every day. So you see sometimes, saying the things our mom's used to say isn't a bad thing. It becomes the title of your blog.
So here we are: Squeedunk, Whiskers & Warehouses. Pittsburgh, to Ellicott City, to Jersey City...5 cats and one girl and her cat-rescuing friend strong.