Lately I’ve been seeing the word “dogcatcher” on social media. Not embedded in the pejorative, “You couldn’t be elected dogcatcher!” but along the lines of encouraging people, mostly Democrats, to run for any office of any size, even dogcatcher.
It grabbed my attention. Because when I was a little girl, the idea of dogcatcher as an elected office was going around my family, due to an incident involving my mother.
Early in their marriage, my father, a Trotskyist, brought my mom to a meeting of like-minded Commies in the hotbed of radicalism, Greenwich Village.
My parents lived in the Bronx, in a Art Deco walk-up apartment complex with three bedrooms at a very low rent. I’m sure the bohemian Commies would have considered the Bronx place bourgeois. The Village apartment, on the other hand, was one very small room, at a fairly exorbitant rent, jammed with leftists. My mom sat on a shabby couch. At some point during the meeting, she noticed the couch was crawling with roaches.
That’s why she didn’t join the Trotskyists.
Her close friend Claire Baron and Claire’s husband Murray were Socialists. One day, my mom was visiting Claire at the Baron’s apartment, when Claire received a postcard saying, “Comrade, There will be a meeting held at your apartment on December 4 at 8 pm. Refreshments will be served.”
Splat. The end of any chance the Socialists had of winning my mother’s support.
After my parents had three children, they left the Bronx apartment and took us all to a house in New Rochelle. My father was no longer a Trotskyist; he now aligned himself with New York’s Liberal Party, a specifically anti-communist progressive group founded in 1944. He went to a couple of meetings of the Westchester branch of the party. So, possibly, did my mother.
Then she learned, as she put it, “The Liberal Party put me on the ballot for dogcatcher without asking me or telling me.”
Bye-bye Liberal Party.
Now, I don’t know and never have known whether “dogcatcher” is or was indeed an elected office. So I decided to research it. Which took me one hit on Google.
In Vermont. Where else?