I’m not sure exactly how old I was when I prayed for Mrs. Wewell, but I must have been at least 10. The story is this:
Mrs. Wewell was a kindly and elderly neighbor who lived in the house next door. She loved when neighborhood children would visit, and we’d find reasons to stop by her house because she offered a stick of gum when we did. I remember picking violets and making small bouquets of violets and giving them to her (for a stick of gum). She had a friendly black and white Mexican chihuahua named Pepper who she walked each afternoon. She loved that dog.
One day when I was visiting Mrs. Wewell the subject of prayer came up. I mentioned I prayed for the soldiers in Vietnam and she suggested I pray for her since the soldiers were all people I didn’t know and she was someone I did.
I must have thought this a good idea, because that night I prayed for Mrs. Wewell. I don’t remember what I said to God about Mrs. Wewell — but I’m sure I prayed that she be kept safe.
The next day as I sat on the front porch I saw Mrs. Wewell walk by with another neighbor, Mrs. Wolf. Something was wrong — Mrs. Wewell was not walking Pepper, but carrying Pepper who was draped limply over her arm. Blood was dripping out of Pepper’s mouth.
Later we learned that Mrs. Wewell was walking Pepper, as usual. Pepper pulled to the end of his leash while they were walking along Lawrence Avenue and a car ran him over. This may have been before sidewalks were laid along Lawrence or else they were walking close to the street.
Of course I thought about my prayer and Mrs. Wewell’s misfortune. I told no one that I’d prayed for Mrs. Wewell before Pepper’s demise.
Sometime later I tried again — to prove to myself that my prayer for Mrs. Wewell was not the cause of Pepper getting hit by a car. I, again, prayed for Mrs. Wewell.
Soon thereafter Mrs. Wewell’s grandaughter pounded on our door. Her grandmother was injured. She’d been washing clothes with her ringer-washer and her arm was caught in the ringer part up to just below the elbow. Her arm was never the same.
It is possible I’ve transposed these memories. The wringer-washer memory may have been before the Pepper incident. But either way, I prayed for Mrs. Wewell and both times something horrible happened to her.
I decided after the second incident that I would not pray for anyone ever again.