March 4th, 2013
Poky Little Puppy Finds a Thin Place
In the 1940’s, my great aunt, Ella, working for Emmanuel Episcopal Guild, made a layette for Church World Service, which they shipped to war impoverished people of Europe. My grandmother, Kate, also enclosed a stuffed Poky Little Puppy. She pinned a note on Poky.
“Dear Unknown Mother: It has been such a pleasure to prepare these clothes – they were sewed by a lady 82 years old. The toy is not new but belonged to my grandson, who left it here while on a visit. He is two years and four months old. He loved this little dog and named after a puppy in his storybook. Our church is only a small one, but we work hard and love to help others less fortunate than ourselves. We would like to hear how you received this package.” – Mrs. Dan Eggen,Rushford,Minnesota.
The Rev. Paul Bock, Church World Service reporter on the World Council of Churches staff, discovered Poky while touring Czechoslovakian areas. In Trhovsite, he found several mothers with babies dressed in American outfits.
One mother, Mrs. Michel Tomas, told him that her little girl, Suzy, not only received a complete outfit but a toy dog as well. However, she said there had been a letter attached to the package, which she had been unable to read since she knew no English. She gave him the letter, which she had carefully tucked away. They translated for her.
Bock took pictures of the mother and Suzy clutching Poky Little Puppy in her arms. In America, the picture gained so much attention that Church World Service used it for their annual Thanksgiving poster.
Two small faraway places meet in a thin place, a place where God meets us. It just took a little stuffed dog and a little gospel.