My Grandma Lena had a St. Bernard named, you guessed it, Bernadette. Kinda like naming a wiener dog Heidi. Or Oscar. Grandma and her sister, Aunt Mary, had previously owned two standard poodles: Percy and Pierre. Maybe that's why her bathroom door had a tiny black poodle door knocker on it. Go figure.
I remember riding Bernadette like a pony, but she was only one of the many fantastic attractions at Grandma's house, an old frame two story that had been converted from a broom factory sometime in the '20s. The basement had a dirt floor, there were fabric accordion screens instead of doors in the rooms upstairs, and her pantry had in indescribable smell and a near magical quality.
Gram had a fridge with the freezer drawer on the bottom where we'd pull out delights such as orange sherbet push ups or ice cream sundae cups we'd eat with flat wooden spoons that came wrapped in paper. Gram had lots of tricks. She used to fill a 2 litre bottle half way up with tap water -- not just any tap water, Chicago City Water, the absolutely coldest, most delicious water in the world -- and lay it on its side in the freezer. Once it froze, she'd fill it the rest of the way up and put it in the fridge along side her carton of Salems with it's half frozen side slowly melting, ensuring a brain freeze for the drinker. We all drank straight out of that bottle and felt like we were doing something forbidden that our parents would never allow at home.
One particularly scorching summer when the tar in the street was molten and we were all too wilted to move, some boys opened up a fire hydrant across Roosevelt Road. They held a piece of 2x4 in front of the spout, diverting the gush into a wide arc . Kids came from several blocks away to run through that gloriously cool spray of Chicago city water until the CFD showed up and stopped our fun.
(I know, this tangent doesn't have much to do with the dog theme, but there was a fire hydrant reference.)