Before I was born, my mother had a dachshund named Wimpy. Brown with short hair, Wimpy had the exuberant, good nature of all wiener dogs. I have been told that the sight of him running along happily could cheer up the most depressive person. My mother loved him. When my mother was nine months pregnant with me, she went outside looking for Wimpy and found him run over in the middle of the road. It was pouring rain.
My mother found a shovel in the garage and dug a hole in the muddy yard, the rain coming down hard. It took a full hour to dig the hole deep enough and by the time she put her beloved Wimpy in the ground and covered him, she was soaking wet and streaked with mud. Her grief and the effort of burying Wimpy sent her into labor. The next morning I was born.
My mother told my older sister Margaret and me this story often. Margaret and I -- always close friends–often fought with the savagery unique to siblings. In 1984, when I was eight years old and my sister was 11, Hefty trash bags came out with an ad comparing their trash bags (Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!) with the competitor's inferior trash bags (Wimpy! Wimpy! Wimpy!). While watching the ad, my sister decided in a blinding flash of evil genius, that I was the wiener dog Wimpy reincarnated. From then on, when we fought she would pin me down and call me, "Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy!"