Chewsville. I always called it "Cheesville," but nobody thought it was funny except me. It's a town so small it doesn't show up on my road atlas. Jessie, Becky, and Skippy moved there during a snowy and sloppy late November, when the roads were mean and slushy and the countryside was setting up for Christmas.

The sheltie and ShadowThe "new" house was a tidy and cozy post-World War I cottage, with ice on the windows, snow in the yard, and boots by the front door. Jessie moved in with a couple of dogs. One was an aged sheltie mama dog that Becky rescued from a breeder. The other was Shadow, who stayed with the family for several years.

Cows lived over the back fence in a feedlot that was far enough away to keep the odor down, but close enough to attract the sights, sounds, and flies of cattle--and more of them than the delightful little herd in Wolfsville. This was a feedlot, not a pasture.

The house was plagued by old plumbing that proved to be a source of irritation not only for Becky, but also for the landlady, who blamed the frequent back-ups on everything except the age of the pipes and grumbled whenever she had to deal with the problem.

Jessie becomes Jessica

Jessie moved from elementary to middle school while she lived in Chewsville and played flute in the school band. That was really cool, I thought, because Becky's and my half-sister, Susan, was also a flute player and there were several things about Jessie's physique and gestures that reminded me of Susan, especially as Jessie began to evolve into Jessica

She was still a little girl when she moved into the house, but she was turning into a young woman by the time they moved out when the grumpy landlady put the house on the market, apparently fed up with the cranky plumbing.

Jessie's next destination was a big brick rambler in Braddock Heights, the town where she got her start.