|Suddenly Irene laughed mischieviously, "Besides being the mother of four, I am also the bona fide mother of a deer: A couple of years ago, I found a new-born fawn, still wet, in our yard. A German||
Shepherd was shaking the daylights out of
the poor little thing. I rescued it and made it a bed, after we
found its mother's carcass. The doe had been chewed to
pieces by a pack of dogs running loose. Tiger, our male cat,,
took over the fawn right away, cleaning and cuddling it. I fed
it baby formula out of a bottle, and somehow managed to
save the little thing's life. "
Stormy, as he was called, became a regular member of the household, and followed his adopted mother everywhere. Irene could walk him in the hills near their home on a leash, he was so tame. Since he had to be fed frequently, she had to take Stormy with her in the car to the police station, when she went to apply for permission to take care of the creature until it could fend for itself. An IJ reporter photographed her while she was feeding Stormy at the station. The print photo resulted in a rash of crank calls and nasty letters that still puzzle and mystify Irene. it was never her intention to keep Stormy as a pet, for she knew full well it was illegal to take and keep a wild animal in this state. But she still cannot understand those who told her she should have minded her own business and let the dogs kill it. "It's all right for supposedly tame dogs to tear deer to shreads, but illegal to save a fawn's life," she shakes her head sadly.
At any rate, to help however they could, the Boyd Museum officials issued Irene Cowan a certificate declaring her to be the genuine temporary mother of a deer, empowered to care for it until it reached three months of age. When people would stop her or accost her over the whole mess, she would triumphantly produce her certificate and proudly answer, "I'm his mother:"
Your busdriver couldn't help but comment on a six foot
walnut Grandfather's clock in the living room. I thought it
was antique, but Irene proudly explained, "My son Jim made
that for me when he ,was a junior at Drake. That is his own
original design, and he was responsible for the whole thing
from blueprint to finished product. At Open House, someone
of fered him $750 for the frame alone. it took eight of his boy-
friends to bring that clock up the hill and into the house. " On
the TV-stereo console were still other beautiful lathe-turned
candlesticks and display bases made by both Jim and Mike.
Mike is currently making two new shelves to house the
latest trophies his Dad keeps amassing with his bowling
prowess. Irene characterizes her husband as a very tolerant
man "who has learned to live with purple:" Don Cowan is
Traffic Manager for Yellow Cab Company in San Francisco,,
and was recently awarded a gold watch for fifteen years of
Sounding a more serious note, Irene told me, "So many people have been such kind and good friends to me over the years. I am very grateful for all the things my friends have done for me. I remember one dear lady, a Mrs. Herman from Sausalito, who was a student of mine when I taught millinery at Drake in. their adult education section. She brought me a rare and treasured gift: the head and tail feathers of a genuine Bird of Paradise. of course, she gave me the original sales slip showing that it had been purchased in Canada years before the sale of their feathers was outlawed in the States. I even have the police Chief's permission to wear them in special events.
She also showed me several letters from friends and business associates vouching for her when she applied for her State Milliner's License. Notable among them were the letters from attorney Robert Formichi and his wife, and from Mary joy (Mrs. Vance Barnett. Mrs. Barnett, who is a graduate building design student of Frank Lloyd Wright's, was previously a dress designer under Edith Head. These letters attest to the respect and admiration people have for Irene as a woman as well as a creative person.
Irene wanted me to be sure and mention the Patrick Brothers, John and Paul. These two gentlemen have given her encouragement arid inspiration over the years, and taken a genuine interest in this fellow -artisan.
* Back *
Rev 2b: 3 Dec 1999 : rdk
Copyright 1999, Yoakum Archives
'Standing on the shoulders of giants' ...the yoakum pages.