Ruby Irene - Pg. 3
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  Powell Valley Executive Order
Ruby Irene
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.

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Ruby Irene - Pg. 2
Ruby Irene - Pg. 3
Ruby Irene - Pg. 4

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 safe driving.

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.

The Ascenders, at their banquet in December, awarded Irene a certificate verifying that she is their official Den Mother. This was presented with a dozen red roses, which should give you some idea of how fond these boys are of her. About the young, Irene philosophizes, "People should think a little more about the young people of today. After all, they are going to be the leaders some day. We're not going to be here forever: And I do think a person simply has to have faith, don't you think so?"

When The Ascenders gave Irene a copy of their official brochure, she nearly fainted. There, amid candid shots of the boys during all phases of mountaineering, was a photo of herself. "We know you love to travel, Mrs. Cowan, " one of the boys said, "So, when we send out these six thousand copies, you'll be travelling coast to coast. "

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Rev 2b: 3 Dec 1999 : rdk
Copyright 1999, Yoakum Archives

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