Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Story of Bob the Parrot – November 23, 1923

Well, it’s November already. Before I get down to business with some planned updates of past posts, let’s have a filler or two to buy me some time.

First up is a cute story from the front page of the Lorain Journal of November 23, 1923. It’s about Bob, a unique parrot owned by the well-known Doane family of Lorain.


Lorain Parrot Calls For Dog That Died Long Ago
Remembers Friend He Talked To When In Sandusky-co

Every day for the last two years Bob has called in vain for Brownie, his playmate who died long ago.

Bob is a parrot who had reached the age of 33 years and is the treasured pet of Mrs. C.E. Doane, 539 Washington-av.

Brownie was a little dog who was Bob’s playmate when the two were pets in the home of Mrs. Doane’s sister, Mrs. Minerva Miller, Jackson-twp, Sandusky-co., who has passed away.

When but a year old bird in a California home, Bob was shipped to Mrs. Meade McIntyre, another sister of Mrs. Doane, at Lansing, Mich., as a present to her daughter. He remained at that home five years and then went to other homes of the Dundore family of which Mrs. Doane is a member.

A.W. Dundore, Burgoon, O., a brother of Mrs. Doane, was owner of the bird more than seven years. From there he entered the Doane household two years ago.

Sings “After the Ball”
Bob has many accomplishments. He sings and whistles the chorus of that old-time song, “After the Ball,” written by Charles K. Harris, Milwaukee, when most of the men and women of today were children. In addition, he whistles “I Wish I Was in Dixie.”

In the warm spring months Bob’s cage is placed on the front page of the Doane home which is passed by hundreds of school children on their way to and fro from school. It is then that the bird is in his glory, for he takes much pleasure in mimicking conversation.

Bob is a joker as well as a mimic. One of his favorite stunts is to turn dogs that are on the trail of their way to and from school by a shrill whistle they mistake for that of their masters.

No Chance for Burglars
The Doane home need never fear from burglars’ visits, for no matter at what time of the night members of the household enter they are greeted by Bob with a loud “hello” and a piercing whistle that awaken those who are slumbering.

When friends call at the home Bob insists on interrupting the conversation and assumes a hostile mood which vanishes when they depart. Despite Bob’s two-year residence in Lorain, the home of sailors, the bird has never learned to swear. Yet he repeats again and again, “Bob is a bad, bad boy.”

In the matter of food Bob is partial to that of his native state and clamors for fruit. Old age is taking its toll from Bob’s friendly nature. Years ago he greeted strangers in a pleasant way. Now he meets them with feathers rustled and many squawks.

When visitors depart Bob mounts his perch, smooths his feathers, emits ha ha’s and winds up whistling something that sounds like “Good-bye forever.”

I found this article back in 2013 and forwarded it to local historian and author Al Doane. He thanked me for sending it. “I had heard talk about a bird in the house, but never had the entire story told to me at that time, as I was the younger brother that was always getting in their way,” wrote Al. “And now there is no one living who knew of and had seen the parrot.”

So how does “After the Ball” go? Well, let’s hear (and watch) it sung by the man who wrote it: Charles K. Harris.

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