Rebecca the Raccoon Saves the White House
"A raccoon has no place in the White House."
Okay, I’ll admit it, this might be a strange place to put a children’s story. That said, a shout out, with love, to Rocky, a darling raccoon baby we fostered for a month who inspired the addition of a raccoon to G581: Mars and this story as well, which earns a short reference in Mars, the second book of the Gliese 581 series.
When my husband’s trip to Lowe’s in early 2021 turned into a raccoon rescue mission, I think it was mere seconds before I fell in love. Wrapped in his jacket were two raccoon babies, about the size of five-week-old kittens. I wanted to name them Rocky and Road, because their road to us had already been rough and I have this weird obsession with naming our pets after food or household objects. My family objected to naming the second one Road, so she ended up being named Roe.
We bought kitten formula, these itty bitty bottles, and did our best. Within two days, we dropped off Roe at the wildlife sanctuary. She was wild as could be and a real screamer. Rocky, however, was quiet, affectionate even, and we ended up keeping her for over a month. I cried when I had to take her to the wildlife sanctuary, even though I knew it was for the best. It had taken her a while to show her wild side, but when she did, we knew we were ill-equipped to give her the best home.
I still miss the feel of her burrowed in my shirt, or her tiny hands gently working their way through my curls. I would write, and she would sleep, content to curl against my warmth. Wherever she is, I hope she is happy.
Dear Rocky, this story is for you.
Rebecca the Raccoon was a very real raccoon. And yes, she lived in the White House!
The story of how she got to the White House is not mine to tell, however, the following story, while fictitious, could have happened, you never really know.
Rebecca the Raccoon loved living in the White House. She was the first official White House raccoon and she took her duties there very seriously. From participating in the Annual Egg Roll, which she found confusing, but fun nonetheless, to meeting dignitaries, Rebecca enjoyed her life alongside Calvin Coolidge and the First Lady, Grace Coolidge.
She especially loved roaming the halls of the White House in those quiet moments when everyone was sleeping. For that matter, she loved roaming, and could often be found scampering down the streets that surrounded the White House. Truth be told, it drove the guards a little crazy to see Rebecca bolt down the front path at night. They grumbled to themselves, “A raccoon has no place in the White House.”
Rebecca, however, was rather special. Raccoons are smart, but Rebecca? She was smarter even than the average raccoon. So smart, that Grace would often talk to her and Rebecca would make special a special “Churr” sound in return.
“It’s as if she knows what I’m saying and is answering me!” Grace often said.
Calvin would nod, half-listening at best (being the President of the United States is quite a task) and nod, “Yes, dear.”
Rebecca also liked to play dress-up. However, she did not like dresses. Not at all. Instead, she would churr and run her hands over Calvin’s suits until one day when Grace relented and, with help from her assistant, had an older suit of Calvin’s cut down and tailored to fit Rebecca.
Oh, how Rebecca loved that suit!
She especially loved stepping out into the halls and walking on her hind legs. If she did it just right, she would shock and surprise the guards!
The guards were not as pleased. They didn’t like surprises. Not at all.
“A raccoon has no place in the White House.” Said one of them.
Occasionally, usually in the middle of the night, Rebecca would slip out of her special house set up near the Presidential suite. She would creep down the corridors, empty except for the occasional guard walking through and she would find her way out of the White House and into the city streets of Washington D.C. She loved exploring the city and finding new places to play and hide.
One day, as Rebecca was returning from a stroll through the city, she heard a commotion coming from the White House. She quickly climbed up a nearby tree and peered over the fence to see what was happening.
To her surprise, she saw a group of sneaky thieves trying to break into the White House! Rebecca knew that she had to do something to stop them.
She quickly scurried down the tree and ran as fast as she could to the White House. When she got there, she saw that the thieves had already broken through the front door and were making their way inside.
Rebecca didn’t hesitate. She bravely ran into the White House, darting between the thieves’ legs and knocking over their bags of stolen goods.
The thieves were so surprised by Rebecca’s bravery that they dropped everything and ran away. Rebecca had saved the day!
President Coolidge and his wife Grace learned about Rebecca’s heroic deed and thanked her personally. From then on, Rebecca was known as the bravest raccoon in all of Washington D.C. and the protector of the White House. And the guard who had thought a raccoon didn’t belong in the White House had to admit it then.
“Sometimes, a raccoon does have a place in the White House!”