We moved from Buffalo, NY to Connecticut in 1975. We moved from a city into a very old house in the middle of nowhere. My mother made friends with a lady up the road who lived on a farm. I'm not sure if they were friends before or after my sisters started dating the lady's sons, but that doesn't really matter to the story. I was only about four years old at the time of the move.
The farm up the road had a chicken coop with a hen house, and it was being raided on a regular basis. I don't know if just the eggs were being taken, or if it was worse than that. I do know that they were a blended family with about 7 children to feed. It was not a loss that they could afford.
One night, the man of the farm heard a ruckus outside and went out with his shotgun. A huge raccoon was raiding their hen house and he shot her. As she was dying, she gave birth to a bunch of little helpless baby raccoons.
The man of the house was not a bad man, he was protecting the food that they needed to survive. He asked around to find people who were willing and able to take on the baby raccoons, instead of letting them also die. My mother has always been a sap for babies and taking in strays, and we took two of them.
We bottle fed the baby raccoons. We were never able to domesticate them, they remained wild animals. One of them died, despite our efforts. The other one could not get along with our cats and dog. We gave him away to one of my oldest sister's hippie friends. I'll never know what really happened to that little guy. The story I was told is that the hippie friends had him in a car with the windows rolled down, and he freed himself while they were shopping.
He doesn't look as if he likes being held by me very much in this particular picture (although he seems to like me in the picture below):
When he was still a baby, I had a kindergarten Pet Day. My father and one of his friends brought him to my school and I won "Most Unusual Pet". I also got my picture in the local paper. Thank god it was a very rural town - read "Very White Town" - or I think my family may have had some trouble afterward.
I honestly did not know any better, I was five years old at the time. When the man that was taking my picture asked me my pet's name, I told him straight out, "his name is Tyrone, Tyrone the Coon."
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for ensuring that the only time I've ever been in the paper in my life is when I am uttering a racial slur.