Aunt Vera’s Pet Shop Memory

The Pet Shop – Dagmar the Woolly Monkey with Dave in 1957
The orginal The Pet Shop location 1922 Grand Ave Waukegan IL

One story Aunt Vera loves to tell is the story of the day the monkey named Buster did something very surprising. Every time she tells the story she laughs. During our visit in June this year, she told the story again, and laughed. I asked her to tell it again, and she did. With a twinkle in her eye, she told the story and then, as expected she laughed. Cindie and I laughed as well.

Because the audio on the video is hard to hear (see the link below for the same video link) here is a rough transcription of what she said. I start by saying, “Tell me about Buster the monkey.” Aunt Vera then says, “OK. On Sunday morning I opened his cage to feed him and I lifted up the door. He came out and very gently and very tame, and he lifted up my skirt and then looked under it like this!” You have to watch the video to see the delight and hear her laugh!

Cousin Kathy’s Memories of that Event

My cousin Kathy, when asked for a Pet Shop memory, promptly told the Buster story as well. She was there when it happened. Here is her account of that memorable Sunday…

“Monkey stories? Oh yeah!!

It was after church on a Sunday. We would go to The Pet Shop after the service, to take care of the Menagerie of animals in the store. One of our favorite monkeys was a Capuchin monkey by the name of Buster. The Capuchin monkey was also known  as the Organ-Grinder’s Monkey. Buster was a very tame Capuchin monkey, and had a very nice-sized Circus Wagon Cage, which had been built by our Grandpa Berger Winquist, in the early ’60s. In Buster’s Circus Wagon was a large tree branch where he would climb and play.

On this particular Sunday, Mom made up the various types of food for the assorted animals as usual. Since we had just come from church, Mom had worn that day a lovely navy and white dress  that had a pleated white skirt with a red border on the edge.

Mom took Buster’s food to his Circus Wagon, opened the door, and while she was almost kneeling,  Buster ever so gently, very carefully, lifted Mom’s skirt a little and took a peek underneath it. I had been standing right by Buster’s wagon as Mom placed his food inside, and, as he took a peek under her skirt… I will remember that precious scene for always.”

Pictures of Monkeys in The Pet Shop

Sadly, I have been unable to find a picture of Buster. He can be seen faintly in this image.

Buster’s Circus Wagon Cage at The Pet Shop – if you look you can see him.
Sammy the Macaque monkey looking out the side door. The Pet Shop

VIDEO LINK: Aunt Vera recounting the Buster episode