There were many Latvians living in the apartment building at 267 Ovington Ave in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. All of them were immigrants and all of them were interesting individuals with stories to tell. Here is one of what I call the neighbor stories.
Next to my mom’s apartment which was 5B at 5C lived two elderly ladies Melanija and Lilita Lences. They were former prima ballerinas from Riga, Latvia who fled their homeland when they were already retired from dancing. Melanija had become a nice but plump woman but Lilita kept up her form and would practice ballet type exercises every morning.
One day Melanija went to the stores and on the street, she found a small, black dog. It was the size of a Chihuahua. Some sort on an unknown mix and he was sure mean. She named him Purcel. I don’t even know why but he absolutely adored her. Whenever she returned from walking him he would bark and howl in the hallway and this would echo so you could hear him in every apartment.
His affection was given only to her and he detested her sister. Lilita would not go anywhere near him and luckily the feeling was mutual on the part of Purcel. Whenever we happened to encounter Melanija and Purcel in the hallway he would bare his teeth and growl loudly. His eyes had this strange light in them and then he would begin yapping so loud you’d get scared every time. I really began to think he was a devil dog. Hollywood would have paid big money to put this mean, black doggy on the screen in a horror film. He might have even become more popular than The Hound of the Baskervilles.
The photo is a Pinterest photo of a dog that looked similar to old Purcel who is of course now long gone.