If you spend any time with me, you know that I like to raise and observe tropical fish. We have five active aquariums in our home. One is in my home office, one in the family room and three are in my basement workshop. The total capacity of the five is 245 gallons, so I have more than a passing interest. You also would know that I got started in this hobby as a boy, due to a generous gift from my favorite aunt.

While I didn’t have many aunts and uncles, I know that even if I had I would have still picked Aunt Vera as my favorite. She is a joyful, generous and giving Christian lady. Her laugh is like dazzling, sun-infused ripples on a big blue Wisconsin lake. She also owned one of a little boy’s favorite places to visit: a pet shop. It really was The Pet Shop before the big-box stores. Big boxes sell lots of cat and dog stuff and have very little devoted to fish and birds. The Pet Shop was different and was located at 1914-16 Grand Avenue in Waukegan IL.

Aunt Vera D. Meyer in The Pet Shop. Notice the clowns!

Recently I asked Aunt Vera if she would send me some pictures of the business she owned from 1952 to 1979. She generously sent me a nice box full of pictures. Those pictures triggered many memories. In the box was a note with a request. Here is what she asked: “Would you please pray about becoming The Pet Shop historian?” When I called her this morning before church she was clearly overjoyed in my response. My plan is that this will be the first of many pictures and memories I will share with my aunt’s help. While this is certainly for the benefit of family, it may help others in ways I cannot imagine.

The Pet Shop on Grand Avenue.

In any event, this is in honor of Vera D. Meyer, my wonderful, loving aunt. Your nephew, Wayne

The Pet Shop, 1914-16 Grand Avenue, Waukegan, IL
“Waukegan’s Department Store for Pets”