Pets — October Memoir Challenge
Last year’s version of the October Memoir and Backstory Challenge was organized by year — one post per year through age 25. That teased out some memories that I would never have managed with a different structure. But it made it difficult to cover topics that were lived through multiple years, although I did manage a couple of retrospective posts on houses and schools:
- Places. All the family houses (five before I turned 7).
- Schools. All the schools I went to in Louisiana, Missouri, with photos from October 2012.
This year, we’re covering “Childhood” as the first week’s posts of the October Memoir Challenge. I decided to choose a theme for each of these posts that is something that was a big feature of my childhood and, for whatever reason, doesn’t show up much in my adult life. Today’s topic is pets.
When people ask if I have pets, I say “No. I have allergies.” I grew up with cats, anyway, because everyone in the family liked having them. I didn’t realize until I went away to college how sick the cats were making me. A few days of dorm living and, for the first time in my life, I didn’t wake up sneezing.
Fortunately, it takes a couple of days of exposure to pets to awaken the symptoms (especially if I wash my hands a lot), so I can enjoy other people’s pets.
Check out Jane Ann McLachlan’s blog for more October memoir posts: October Memoir Challenge.
Did you have pets as a child? Do you now?
I don’t know how I’ll prove it but I think Plato was a big black cat and I think that’s him. I remember Jupiter in family lore but not in the flesh. He may have also been black and maybe that is him. Playfur was a tiger kitty, and I think that’s him in the other pic. He walked with a limp after an encounter with a car. The other tiger, grey and orange both, was Wolfgang several years later, overlapping Lamo and that didn’t work out so well.
I know the black cat in the photo is Jupiter — but only because it says so on the back in Mother’s handwriting. I have very limited memory of him. You may be right that we had two black cats in a row and the second was Plato.
I’d forgotten about Wolfgang!
I also remember Smokey who you and I rescued from a gas station my senior year. But I don’t have any photos of him.
I love those saddle shoes!
We always had dogs and cats, and once I was old enough to get a job, I had a horse. The earliest pet I remember is a Manx cat. My mom rescued a pregnant flying squirrel that year. I remember it gliding from the top of the drapery rod to the fireplace mantel. Later came the river otter. And the raccoon. There was a goat named Fred, too.
While I was raising kids, we had birds, cats, dogs, and horses, but we live on land that houses wild otters, beaver, bobcats, and coyote. (They’re not pets.)
My twin sons now insist they’re allergic to cats. One of them often had a habit of clearing his throat at one stage in his childhood and I thought it was a habit. Probably was the allergies.
That was wonderful. I’m jealous that you have pictures! I remember a dog named Pepper. I think there were two before the one I remember. I tied several half aprons on each of our heads, we were very cute but I don’t know where the photo went 🙁
I had several cats. Piti (Pitiful) and her son, Shush, Hook and now Sneakers and Frisky.
Also Rabbits. Too many to remember names. I think I actually have pictures of the bunnies. Plus the rabbits we had after we got married. Spot, Snowy, Missy, Mr Squeakers.
And the interesting stories that go along with them.
I love these posts, and love that you have so many photos from your childhood. All my photos, including the kids when they were small, got ruined. I’m sure someone in my family has some and I need to ask for some copies.
I love those shoes in the first photo. I had a pair of suede two tone brown ones when I was in school and loved them!
When I was a child, my family always had dogs, but did have a cat once too.
As an adult, I’ve always had dogs, but since having kids, we’ve also had cats, birds, hamsters, fish, chickens, a flying squirrel and an iguana.
Right now I have a dog and my son has a cat.
This post brought back memories for me, Joy! I was allergic to cats as a child, also. But I was so crazy about kittens I kept bringing every one I saw home and my poor mom had to find out whose it was and return it, until she finally let me get my own, allergic or not. All my early stories and poems were about animals, and I read only animal stories as a child – they were such a huge part of my life.
These photos are precious! Thanks for sharing them. Except for a brief and miserable 6 month period or so of my life when I was petless, I have always lived with cats and, off and on, dogs. Currently, my husband and I have 6 cats and a dog who wishes she were a cat. (She’s a pit bull–so she’s very far from being a cat.) My cats bring me so much joy and happiness every day. I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have them draped over every surface and doing silly things all day.
Love your pictures 🙂 Especially the saddle shoes which I always wanted but never got until I was a teen!!
If I had been allergic to pets, I would have been sooo sad, I just love animals. The first pet I remember was a huge gray and white tom named Picklepuss. He was a great cat, loved to be petted!!
Another one was a smaller black cat. My mother called him Sweet Daddy Grace but the rest of us called him Blackie.
Then we had a couple of dogs, the first one was a hyper, jumping skittish black mix that we named Paladin (after the tv show Have Gun Will Travel)
But when I was twelve I got the first pet that wholly mine. A little chihuahua named Cocoa. I loved her so much and I still have her little red sweater!!
Over the years I’ve had a cockapoo, a terrier/hound mix (extremely smart), a lab/cocker mix (sweet but very shy), a chow – a rescue dog who had some issues but was wonderfully loyal and loving, and now I have a terrier mix named Dixie that I just dote on 🙂 Yep, I spoil her!!!
I’d be sad if I couldn’t have my dogs!
Thanks for your post Joy. Love the photo of Lamo on the prowl!
I grew up with cats. My first pet was Tommy, the cat. He was a ginger coloured boy who roamed a lot. One day, he was just gone and I was inconsolable. My aunt used to visit around this time with their dogs–always springer spaniels. The first one was a brown and white dog named Prince. I loved all animals and still do. They have much more going on than we will ever understand.
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Joy, this is too funny. That same post that’s going up today mentions pets as well. Seriously, it’s like we planned to write about similar things but in completely different ways. I love it!
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Ah, the saddle shoe generation! My grandmother, who lived with us, always had a cat. The two I remember best are Snowy, a white Persian, and Minnie, a mis-named gray tabby who should have been named Mickey instead. She also had a mean Siamese that wanted nothing to do with the rest of us–strictly a one-person cat. Now I have one who’s temperament is similar. He rules the house, especially me. Loved this post; you brought back memories for me, too.