Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dedicated to My Two Furry Rascals And All My Past Furry Mates!

Life would not be the same without my two best mates. They're never far from my side. All through my life I've either had one cat or two. My first cat, named "Socksie" was adorable. Here is the story of my first love.

My earliest recollections of my childhood extend back to an era when, even if briefly, life was simple, uncomplicated and happy. The way life is supposed to be for a young child. Sheltered from turmoils and hardships, I was allowed to run free within the safety of the boundaries set.

My mother, grandmother, older brother and I lived in premises attached to a little grocery store, in a seaside area east of Mackay. My mother had remarried. Our stepfather was also part of the equation. I felt no warmth towards him. Rarely did I encourage his attention nor did I venture to reach out to him. He was a violent man who harboured darkness in his soul. Truthfully, in reflection, I don't believe I was fearful of him. With the candour of a small child, I simply did not like him.

The store, situated close to the beach, catered to locals and regular day-trippers who came to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside. Laughter and eager chatter filled the air as folk, in brightly coloured clothes, sat under the pergola at tables adorned in crisp red and white gingham tablecloths. Bougainvillea decoratively draped itself over weather-beaten lattice. The aroma of sandwiches freshly prepared from warm bread filled the air. Each morning, I stood on tiptoes straining my small body to see above the edge of the table, as my mother prepared snacks for the hungry patrons. In eager anticipation, I watched as she cut the crusts from the bread. The crunchy tidbits bore remnants of the tasty filling of the sandwiches. These mouth-watering morsels became my special treat day after day. In my childish mind, I thought I was helping in my own small way as I hovered around my mother.

I was an extremely quiet, shy little girl. No other children lived close by with whom I could play. My timid observations of the comings and going of our daily visitors filled my days. I conducted my spying from afar. Always anxiously alert, fearful someone would see or speak to me. If such an unfortunate occurrence did eventuate, I rarely answered before I scampered back to the safety of the kitchen. However, I did have one friend. I rarely spoke to him, either. Nearby, in a run-down house, lived an elderly gentleman, his skin tanned and as tough as leather from years spent in the sun. Private and reclusive, he lived alone. An air of mystery surrounded him or so it appeared to me in my innocence. Strangely, I didn't fear him. Going against character, I felt kindly towards him. Cheerfully but meekly, I would visit him every other day, delivering his bread, milk and other minor provisions. Gingerly, I would approach him with my arms wrapped tightly around his supplies. Always he greeted me with a smile and a gentle word. My visits were brief. I wasted little time in handing him his goods before turning to scurry back home. My friend’s name was Mr Meagher. Each day he would swim in the sea. He would float, bent over with his face below the water for minutes at a time. He reminded me of a huge brown turtle.

Although I had no friends of my own age, I wasn’t lonely. With the ocean nearby, I spent many hours in the cool, calm waters or played along the beach, collecting shells and chasing the hordes of Soldier Crabs. Fortunately, I learned to swim at an early age. Because of this, I wasn't a worry to my mother or to my grandmother. My brother spent little time with me, as he was almost three years older than I. Being a girl, I compounded the problem. Often he became impatient with me, storming off in boyish disgust. He had already commenced school. He had his own group of friends, which, of course, excluded girls. Alone, in my own world, I dwelt, playing with my dolls. They were the only company I needed, I thought, until one wondrous day.

Excitement overcame me the day I was given my first pet. He was fluffy, furry and bright of eye. A beautiful grey and white tabby kitten was to become my new friend. I was smitten immediately. He was beautiful. He was mine. His four paws were snow white. To me, it appeared he wore socks. I named him “Socksie”. Socksie and I bonded instantly. Constantly, we were together. Every day new games were invented. I talked to him, petted and cuddled him constantly. We had tea parties wherein I discussed with him the day’s events. Socksie knew I would never, could never hurt him. How could I? I absolutely adored him. My small world was complete. I required nothing nor did I need anybody else to fill my heart with the love I felt for him. I was so proud. My doll family was ignored as I lavished my devoted attention on my kitten. I dressed him in their clothes, taking him for walks in my doll’s pram on sightseeing tours of my small oasis. He understood my words or so I believed. Calmly, he would lie watching my every move. Socksie had infinite patience to indulge a little girl her fantasies.

Each night I prepared a bed for him in my doll’s cot, plumping up the pillow, turning down the sheets and covers as I had watched my mother do for me. Tenderly I would place him in his bed, crooning a bedtime lullaby whilst patting him to sleep. Contented, I would go to my own bed with the knowledge that my dear friend was secure for the evening. Dreams of the adventures we would share the following days filled my nights. Unknown to me, as soon as I was tucked safely in my bed and fast asleep, he would stretch himself and spring out of his cosy cot to go adventuring on his own under the cloak of darkness. In his infinite cat wisdom, he understood the simple desires of his little mistress. Always he waited until I was asleep.

Great changes came. The shop was sold. We were moving to another town far away. The days became busy with the packing of cases, the moving of furniture. The air was alive with excitement and the thrill of adventure. A long train journey was ahead. Distance meant little to me, but I knew by the frenzied activity around me that the coming days held mystery and wonderment. My dolls were packed away in cartons. I had lengthy discussions with Socksie, informing him of what was to come. He, too, was in awe by the energy around him. A special box was in readiness for his train journey. The long-awaited day dawned. Late one night, we bundled into a taxi to be driven to the rail station. Arriving at the busy station, crowds of people milled, chatting excitedly as they waited to embark. I watched as Socksie was lifted from the taxi by my stepfather, who I decided there and then, knew nothing about cats by the way he roughly handled the cat box that was to be Socksie’s home for the duration of the train trip. Gathering my beloved friend under his arm, he headed towards the station platform. Poor Socksie was crying loudly, unaccustomed and frightened as I was from the foreign noises and strange people around us. I understood his fear. The herding people, the weird odours that permeated that odd place caused him panic. My heart cried out to him. How I wished I could hold him just for a short while to let him know I was there by his side.

The time had arrived to board the train. I looked down the platform to where my stepfather stood. Suddenly, to my amazed horror, I saw him purposely open the box. Within a split second, Socksie fled. I stood transfixed. My mouth was open but I couldn't utter a sound. Silently, I stared, as tears streamed down my face. Nothing around me appeared real. Time froze. I stood paralysed on the station platform. Totally powerless, I was unable to save my beloved pet. Finally, finding my voice, I screamed out to Socksie but he was gone. What could a small child do? I was bewildered, shattered and nobody could help me. I turned. Looking towards where my stepfather stood, I noticed a sneer on his face. I hated him for his heartlessness and cruelty. That night I experienced my first heartbreak...the loss of my first love, Socksie. And I've never forgotten him, nor that horrible night.

Fun acrylic "Feeling Groovy" and graphite drawing "Curiosity Didn't Kill The Cat" painted and drawn by me.


  1. The cruelty of adults to small children is unbelievable. I was in tears at the end of that story, Lee. You have the wonderful gift of painting with words. I could hear the sounds, smell the aromas and feel the horror of the little child.

    Find yourself a literary agent, girl!

  2. Anonymous8:10 PM

    I too was standing beside you when this awful moment happened. Lee, I am so sorry that you are left with this awful memory, and that it has obviously scarred your thoughts, and tainted your trust.

    I too agree with Robyn that you should find yourself a publisher.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. xox Nicole.

  3. I'm so sorry, Lee. What a horrible evil man, your step father. May he rot for what he did.

  4. Hey there Robyn, Nicole and Corn Dog,

    There still are many adults who don't realise how fragile a child's mind is, unfortunately. Their continual ignorance never ceases to amaze me. I think he did rot, eventually, Corn Dog! If any of my thoughts had anything to do with it, anyway! ;)

    Thank you all for you positive comments. Thanks for visiting, Nicole...don't be a stranger. :)

  5. Anonymous12:21 AM

    Good story. Your stepfather sounded like a real bastard. Sorry about that. Great artwork.

  6. That he was, in spades, Steve.
    Thanks regards the painting and drawing. :)

  7. Loved the drawing... Hated the Step Father.

  8. Same here, Peter!

  9. Oh, Lee, I'm so sorry. I can understand how that must haunt you all these years later. But I'm sure Socksie knew you loved him - right up to the end. Lol
    PS: yes, get an agent!

  10. One good thing, Welsh, is I still have a photograph of Socksie and me.

  11. BTW Lee, the artwork is beautiful. You are one talented lady - you can write your book and illustrate it, then cook up a storm for a party when it!

  12. Hahahahahahaha! Robyn! You twit! ;)

  13. A such touching story with such a bitter end ! I think I would have killed this man at least try it. I have never been shy and I remember when a farmer beat his horse I took the whip and slapped it in his face, I were 6 years old. I hope you don't talk to this monster anymore !
    Thanks for the comments on my painting blog ! If you love cats so much as I do, why don't you join the group "CATS ON TUEDAY" ? infos are on my blog.

  14. With all that emotion, I forgot to tell you that I love your drawings ! Try pastels, it's a wonderful feeling.

  15. I was not quite four years of age at the time, Gattina...there's little a child of that age can do! Fortunately, he left our lives when I was around 7 or 8 and died when I was 16. I wasn't upset to hear the news of his death.

    I'm glad you like my drawing and painting, Gattina...the acrylic is just a fun one...I mostly do landscapes with acrylics. I'm flat out finding time to do any painting at the moment or drawing...when I get some time, I will try pastels but I've got a fairly large painting to complete before I even begin to think of that! ;)

  16. Thank you very much for this address ! I just had a look, but it seems to me as if it's more to have informations about materials, color mixing etc. And this fortunately I don't need anymore. I went for 9 years to Art school (evenings) and since then I am member of a painting group with a teacher. But it's always useful to have such an address.
    But you should put this logo in your sidebar you can see that on my painting blog. It's very nice, it's just to show your paintings to everybody and they can find you !
    Why don't you make just a blog for your paintings as I did ? It's quickly done and everything is together and not spread over your writing blog. You don't have to put 100 paintings in there, I started with four and then from time to time add others from which I have pictures. Some of them I don't have anymore, or they are sold or they got lost ... I am not very careful. Some only were just on paper as an essay, but still look good on a photo. There are all lesure painters I guess. Anyway, never listen to critics, everybody has another taste, you paint what you want and what you like, finally you paint for yourself ! A lot of people don't like my cats because they are not "true" but I just don't care, I love to see them like this. Of course I could also paint cats "normal" and sometimes do it when I am asked for. But then it's not for me.

  17. Gattina, I think you need to explore WetCanvas's not only about materials and colour mixing. It's a very comprehensive site and well worth detailed reading. Have a look into the different will see the work of the artists.

    Each to their own, I guess...I prefer just placing a drawing or painting every now and then on my blog to go with whatever topic I'm writing about at the time. I don't mind that they are spread throughout my blog is enough for me to handle at the moment. :)

    I paint and draw just for my own pleasure, although friends of mine do have three of my paintings framed on their walls. I listen to constructive criticism. I guess art, like poetry, writing and beauty is in the eye of the beholder...and similar to the above, it comes one's heart.

  18. That is such a dreadful story! What a horrid man!

    But I mean it was a lovely story before that happened. What a special cat Socksie must have been to stay in the cot until you were asleep. So many cats are so independent and uncaring.

    And the pictures are wonderful too. And you cook! What a talented lady!

  19. By the way, the unwanted gifts were a set of 3 large cut-glass candlesticks and a chafing dish - which would come in handy but is so big to store.

  20. Now my curiosity is sated. Thanks Liz! Store the chafing dish on top of a wardrobe or under a bed (if it will fit, that is), or in the garage as, no doubt, it will come in handy. If you sell it or give it know there will come a time that you wished you hadn't. As for the candlesticks, no suggestions come to mind other than what you've already done with them...perhaps you will grow to like them eventually if they're out in view. Maybe don't place them together but place them in separate areas of the house. That way you can kind of 'sneak' up on them!

  21. A beautifully written story which captivated my attention, along with the sad ending. It reminded me, when of a similiar age my cat called Smokey bounded along beside me in Kyogle.

    I think Smokey thought he was a dog as he ran along beside me wherever I went, other dogs included, much to everyone’s amazement.

    I think its good you’re able to tell that sorry to day, your period alone as a youngster when you relied on your imagination interwoven with your interactions with those who came in contact with the shop. What an awful event for you to witness, I know it would have left an indelible mark on me; for my favourite pet to suffer a similar fate. But it’s helpful to write about it.

    Best wishes

  22. Yes,'s something I've never's clearly embedded in my mind.

  23. lee, Not the usual ending to one of your posts. Didn't see that ending coming.

    Your write so well, the sense of loss is all too real.

    What a little, little man.

    The graphite drawing captures the subject in perfect cattitude, btw.

  24. Hey there, GTO...thanks. He definitely wasn't worth the air he breathed...he was wasted space.

  25. Hi Lee ~~ What a cruel man to do that to a little child. So sorry you were hurt by that awful experience.
    I agree witht the other folks about
    you doing some serious writing, short stories from life, or a book of your experiences. I am sure you could do it and would enjoy it and maybe make your fortune !! Do think about it.
    We still need more rain, it was good to get the bit we did and it always seems to miss the catchmnet areas. Take care, Love, Merle.

  26. I might just take your advice, Merle, if I ever get my act together! ;)

    Same up this Merle...the dams are all in the wrong areas, it would appear.