To the cat, the experimenter is problematic.
- quote found at kessels.com
When my sister and I were children we made a pact that we would never marry when we grew up. Instead, we would live together all our lives in a house full of cats. It was my idea but she fully agreed.
Some years after this photo was taken at my grandmother's house, our family seriously and devotedly attended a small Baptist church in Reno for a period of maybe two years. I was around nine years old and my sister around seven when, one warm sunny Sunday (car windows all open) as our stepfather was slowly driving in the neighborhood nearby the church, I saw the most wondrous structure in the side yard of one of the houses. It was a little two-story house about ten feet tall, with lots of extra flourishes, and brightly painted, with windows and a wide open door space. At that moment, a man walking on the sidewalk approached the vicinity of the same side yard. He smiled at my parents, then they all three broke into laughter, at my loud and excited exclamation. What I squealed to my sister in the backseat was, "Look! A cathouse!"
My mother corrected me, calling it a dog house, but she would not tell me what was so funny about what I said. I don't remember now how or when I learned the meaning of the word cathouse, there in Nevada where prostitution is legal. I do remember, though, in ninth grade when one of the popular boys was the first to utilize the services of one just outside of Reno.
When school buses and parents dropped students off at the circular driveway in front of the school, and as others walked from home, we all gathered in the lunchroom that had a bank of windows looking out onto the driveway in front. The school day began with a cacophony of tribal yelling and laughter as we broke into cliques and groups in the large multipurpose room. One Monday morning our groups were quickly roped together by the rapidly-spreading rumor of one classmate's sexual initiation over the weekend just passed. He was expected to be dropped off by his older brother. We rushed for the windows, crowding and poking one another for a best glimpse while the two teachers appointed as monitors demanded order in vain.....futilely demanded to know what this was all about.
The moment an old pick-up truck approached the school the boys in the crowd began whooping, but, by the time the truck was ideling in the driveway and while our classmate and about eight close friends spilled out from the back of the truck, there was a hush in the lunchroom. We held our breath as we held onto some last moments of innocence, until the door opened and the boys burst through like a bunch of young cattle and all the boys in the room hollered and cheered and rushed for the man of the hour to heap upon him awed congratulations and we girls stood there trying to be cool, smiling goofily and shyly.......wondering if this would change things.
photo: Lydia right, grandmother Nellie's cat center, sister Nel left