One little girl’s dream coming full circle.
When I was a little girl, I lived in Brooklyn in a brick apartment building on the fifth floor. I lived there until I was nine. I loved my life.
I loved living in the big strong building with so many neighbors and friends. Lisa Conrad and Scott Fay were my best friends in the building. Scott lived on my floor, he was the youngest of three. We’d play marbles in the hall. I think he was a change of life baby for his parents since his siblings were much older. Often, on the weekends, his parents would send him over to my apartment. For breakfast. It must have been early. Kids are like that.
I have so many wonderful memories from those times. Lots of dreams were born and schemes hatched in those days. Dreams and schemes like this one:
I loved animals of every sort so much that I wanted to become a veterinarian. I’d imagine that many children have this same desire. A rundown of the pets I managed to procure while living in this Brooklyn apartment begins with two parakeets: Peppy, who was green and very sweet, and Robin, who was blue, sort of mean and eventually took his leave of us by flying out a window. I don’t think I was overly perturbed about this at the time. I think I thought it was best for us all. He didn’t seem to be happy in our apartment, and we weren’t happy with his lack of enthusiasm. All in in, I wished him great success in the bigger blue.
We had a good sized fish tank, which my dad tended and my mom horrified. Especially one day when she forgot to replace the cover after feeding and then we went out. When we came home, there were my dad’s beautiful tropical fish wriggling on my mother’s royal blue carpeting. Right color, wrong substance. It was very sad. However, it’s funny how children think, because I can remember surmising that the fish might have thought they were going to be jumping into a larger body of water because of the color. Back then, I thought that animals had thoughts too. Maybe I still do.
Then there were the turtles, which my brother and I used to race; and the Easter bunny that didn’t make it for very long; one frog we brought back from summer vacation in the country who promptly escaped his makeshift jar-of-a-home upon our arrival when he jumped into the elevator shaft; and finally, a collie named Sabrina.
The one noticeable vacancy – and the subject of this piece – is my love for and strong desire for a sweet, furry, adorable, wide-eyed kitten. So, let’s go back to that apartment, to my bedroom and the large picture window that looked out over backyards, and rear entrances, and the top of the garage, three stories below. Out there, lived a thriving community of alley cats including one who captured my attention when she gave birth to a litter of little wriggling furries. Especially enthralling to me was one pure white kitten I named “Mayonaise.”
I spent many hours dreaming and scheming about Mayonaise, trying to figure out how I could make her mine. The plan that seemed most doable was to tie a rope to a basket loaded with toys and goodies, lower it down, wait until Mayonaise climbed into the basket, then bring it back up. Slowly, of course. Obviously, this never happened. I didn’t have that long a rope and I didn’t know how to balance the basket so that it wouldn’t topple and possibly hurt the kitten. But that didn’t stop me from dreaming about it, nor did it stop me from remembering it and Mayonaise to this day.
I was reminded of this story with the surprise appearance of Mishka, our new kitten. He’s a stray and somehow, he feels like he completes this very old dream for a little girl grown.