Home > Uncategorized > Happy Birthday, Mom! 9/17/1925

Happy Birthday, Mom! 9/17/1925

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Doris Gallanter, my mother, would be 91 today if she was still with us.

Compassion and intelligence were the readily observable qualities that struck all who met my mother.

Mom’s sense of humor was perhaps less obvious only because it was less public.  Indeed, Mom’s calculated witticisms were rarely aired in public.

But…

In the fall of 1970 my brother Peter brought home, “It followed me from the parking lot of Raimo’s, honest,” a skinny gray tabby cat with an asymmetrical white stripe that ran from her eyes to nostrils.  Although this cat had a certain untameable spirit it certainly loved Peter.

My Dad’s mild dander allergy didn’t prevent Peter from lobbying vigorously for his new BFF and so the newly christened Lovey became one of the Gallanters.

In 1971 Lovey gave birth to 3 kittens who took a short-term residence in a cardboard box in the linen closet on top of a frayed beach towel. 

(Your humble author saw fit to name the domicile THE KITTEN KABOODLE.  Even 44 years ago I had unlimited potential).

The kittens were named Tiger, who was  Mom’s favorite, a gray tabby with a whining meow; Sneakers, a black cat with paws that bore a resemblance to Adidas.  Sneakers was theoretically my Dad’s but he had little interest in hairballs so Sneakers was adopted by Mom.  Finally there was Morris, who resembled not the behemoth of 9 Lives cat food commercials, but a pinto pony.  Morris also was incapable of meowing but would squeak like a squeeze toy to express herself especially when she slept in the crook of my knee.

 (That’s right, Morris was a girl as I had inadvertently reversed the gender indications in the cat book.  Looking at Lovey for a point of reference was beyond my 12 year-old mind. I AM CAIT would have to wait more than 40 ears but Morris had “gender issues”.  Let’s just move on).

Several weeks after having given birth to her brood Lovey was spayed so as to prevent 42 North Bayles Ave. from becoming a feline fiefdom.  However, Lovey had gotten in trouble in the interim and lactated following her being “fixed”.

Having to relieve the pressure Lovey was forced to nurse the now 5 week-old kittens who were nearly as big as their scrawny, streetwise mother.  Tiger, Sneakers and Morris gladly attached themselves to Lovey’s nipples while Lovey growled and occasionally swatted her “family”.  As one might imagine this created what a psychologist might call “dissonance” within the familial unit.

As a practical matter this meant Lovey enforced on the now-adult kittens a form of justice that would do Clint Eastwood in DIRTY HARRY proud.

Lovey slept in Peter’s bed while Morris curled herself into the crook of my knees.

Tiger and Sneakers slept with Mom on either side of her legs.

Observing this feline phenomena I asked Mom if she was afraid of rolling over and…well, crushing the cats.

“Well, there is more than 1 way to skin a cat.  I can always line a jacket with the fur!”

LOL!

In fact LOL! hadn’t even been invented, Textlish:

https://stevegallanter.wordpress.com

would have to wait 40 years, but laughing out loud is what Mom and I did.

(I am glad to report that none of the cats perished as a result of their sleep habits.  Indeed all 4 lived at least 17 years and remain among my fondest memories).

Memory is edited in the light of hindsight.  In Mom’s instance her intellect and sentiment are rightly revered.

However, there was a certain gleeful edge to her wit that wasn’t always public…until today!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

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