It wasn’t President John F. Kennedy or Stan Musial who grabbed the most attention in this photo — it was the boys sitting with JFK during the 1962 All-Star Game in the District. A writer sought readers’ help to find them. (Photo by Cecil Stoughton/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)
Columnist

Before 2011 slips away completely, I thought I’d revisit some of the people I wrote about this year and see what had happened to them since we met.

Searching for Sassafras

I wrote about Sassafras, the lost beagle , in May. Since then, the gargantuan effort that’s gone into finding her has prompted stories on nearly all of the local TV stations, Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN, the “Today” show’s Web site — and the front page of The Post.

But still, no Sassafras.

Owner Jeff Abramson said he knows that at some point he, wife Beth Edinger and their legion of volunteers will have to stop looking, but that’s hard to do when Sassafras continues to be sighted, including once when she apparently walked in the front door and out the back door of a woman’s home.

As recently as Dec. 11, a dog trained to recognize Sassafras’s scent had a positive “track” near Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase. Jeff and Beth are trying to find someone near the club who will allow them to put a humane trap out.

CoCoa was among the monkeys and other animals caught in a zoning fight in Howard County. (Courtesy of Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary, Inc.)

In other developments: The dog walker who was walking Sassafras when she slipped her lead was let go. (The doggy day care decided to no longer offer dog-walking services, Jeff said.) And the couple bought a color printer. They had been copying their lost-dog signs at Kinko’s, but because they’ve put up close to 6,000, it made sense to get their own.

“We keep getting poignant reminders of what it was like to have Sass in our life,” Jeff said. “If it had been eight months and there was no sighting or track, we would have stopped by now.”

Plus, pets lost even longer continue to be found, such as Petunia, the pit bull from Spotsylvania who showed up on the West Coast eight years after going missing.

Too much monkey business?

My other big animal story was about Frisky’s, the Howard County animal rehabilitation operation that was generating complaints among some neighbors. They said it was dangerous to have a menagerie that included 22 monkeys in a suburban neighborhood.

Of course, it wasn’t a suburban neighborhood when Colleen Layton-Robbins started Frisky’s 20 years ago. The battle had become the longest in the history of the county’s zoning board.

On Oct. 19, the board voted to allow Frisky’s to remain in operation as a sanctuary. The monkeys “can spend the rest of their days, which is good,” Colleen said. “Some have been here most of their lives.”

The board did stipulate that any new monkeys could stay only for seven days while new homes are found for them.

Where has Sassafras gone? (Courtesy of Jeff Abramson)

Frisky’s attorney Fred Lauer said the zoning board hasn’t issued its final written ruling. Once it does, opponents can appeal it.

Finding Frank

Harvey Sawler is a Canadian author who became obsessed with a photograph he saw of President John F. Kennedy at the 1962 All-Star Game in Washington. It wasn’t the president or Cardinal great Stan Musial who caught Harvey’s eye. It was two boys — one white, one black and both members of the Metropolitan Police Boys Club — who had been invited to sit with JFK.

Who were those boys? What did that day mean to them? What sort of men did they become? Harvey vowed to find them.

The “boys” are Dennis Marcel and Frank Brown. Dennis was easy to find — that last name isn’t too common — but Frank presented more of a challenge. Harvey appealed to my readers for help.

You came through. There were a few red herrings, but Don “Rocky” Payne said he had grown up with Frank Brown. With his clues, and the dogged work of Harvey’s researcher, Marilyn Arnold of Find Your Family, Frank was located in York, Pa. Harvey will be interviewing him for a book on the iconic photo and the lives of the two boys pictured in it.

“Sometimes you’re compelled to do something, and this is one of those times,” Harvey said.

Helping Children’s

I hope you’re compelled to do something, namely help Children’s National Medical Center. Please make a tax-deductible gift to Children’s National Medical Center’s uncompensated-care fund. Any amount will help, and all donations go to pay the medical bills of poor children.

Simply go to washingtonpost.com/
childrenshospital
, or send a check or money order (payable to Children’s Hospital) to Washington Post Campaign, P.O. Box 17390, Baltimore, Md. 21297-1390.

Donors who give $250 or more will receive a $20 gift certificate to the Chef Geoff family of restaurants.