ALTA, Iowa — A former Heyworth resident has turned the saga of a family pet into a book.
Nancy Beveridge, 87, of Alta, Iowa, wrote the story of “Chippie,” the parakeet, published through Covenant Books.
Beveridge said her daughter wanted “a pet she could hold.” Beveridge’s aunt had once purchased a parakeet for her cousin. But, Heyworth didn’t have a pet store, so she traveled to Bloomington, where the local Woolworth store in Eastland Mall sold birds and pet supplies for birds.
“My daughter assumed the responsibility of caring for Chippie and teaching him to talk,” Beveridge wrote. “If birds have a personality, he had a good one, and everyone in the family made him a part of their lives.”
Beveridge said they bought just one bird because they were aware Chippie would then be more likely to talk. Parakeets are less likely to talk if they are with other birds or even if they are able to see their own reflections.
“Chippie was always ready to climb onto your finger when you touched his chest,” Beveridge wrote. “He actually seemed to enjoy being stroked over his head and down his back. I was amazed at the length of the sentences he learned when he said, ‘Chippie come over here so I can get you’.”
She said her husband was clever in the things he would say to Chippie.
Beveridge attended a country grade school and graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Illinois State Normal University (ISNU), Normal, in 1955. She taught home economics at Reed Custer High School, Braidwood, Ill. and later became a hospital dietician.
Beveridge later returned to school to become an elementary school teacher and taught for 23 years, 18 years teaching 5th grade students. She lived in Heyworth for more than 60 years.
She now lives in an assisted living facility in Alta, Iowa, located near her daughter. She suffers from macular degeneration, a disease of the eyes, so she said she won’t be able to write any more books.
But you can read her story about Chippie.
A Great Family Pet is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.