I think my love for science fiction and horror movies came from Saturday afternoon movies. These are movies that my brother went to the drive-in to see, but I saw them on my family’s black and white TV set. When I grew up we had three TV stations and one TV. During the day was soap operas, game shows and old dramas. That was what my mother watched. In the evening were hourly dramas, situation comedies, westerns and cop shows. That was what my father watched. Although not so much on the westerns. On Sunday was religious shows. That nobody watched. Saturday was kid’s day. That was my day. Cartoons in the morning and old sci-fi and horror movies in the afternoon. This is when I first fell in love with “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms”, “Them”, and “The Thing from Another World”. These movies and many others are my first loves and the ones that have stayed with me to this day.
There are many things I love. And they are mostly things I grew up with. My mother wasn’t fond of cats. But we always had cats because I love cats, and my mother loved me. My first cat was Midnight. I was 3 or 4. I would walk with his head in the crook of my arm and his butt basically dragging on the ground. He was very patient with me until I loosened my grip. Then he was very fast. I’ve had a few cats growing up. There was Smokey who followed my mother around the yard. She always insisted on having her kittens in the linen closet. They would disappear one at a time from her bed in the basement and reappear in the linen closet. She was magic. Sir Charles was pure white. Eventually he was dubbed Charlie. It had something to do with his inclination to scrap with every other male in the neighborhood. He must have won a few of them since there were an unusual number of pure white kittens in town. Gollum was a delicate lady who didn’t mind her name as long as she was with me.
My tastes lean toward mature shelter cats. When I lived alone it was something to talk to. Another heartbeat in the house. Through the years there have been many spirits that have graced my home. Most of them older with their last years somewhere safe. Jasmine was black with eyes like emeralds. She caught her first mole when she was 10. On her best day I had seven of them laid before me. She loved being held and would jump from the floor to my arms. She would put her paws on each side of my head and tuck her head under my chin. I had her 16 years. Chance was a Siamese point Ragdoll. He was the most mellow cat I have ever seen in my life. All he required was a lap. I had him 8 years. Sampson was a Maine Coon. After living on the streets for years he ended up with a bite out of one ear and two teeth. One on top and one on the bottom. Both fangs, but no where near each other. What he lacked in teeth and ears he more than made up for in paws. His favorite position was on my lap looking upside down at me. I had him 10 years.
There are currently two cats in my world. Pharaoh is a Bob-tail Tabby. And quite the outdoorsman. He is handsome and regal, and he knows it. He is actually my boyfriend’s cat. Around the house, wherever Charlie goes so does Pharaoh. A natural hunter, he is generous with the spoils of his hunt. Many a gift was laid before me when I stepped out of the house and almost on whatever it may have been at one time. He taught Gabriel to hunt. Gabriel is my cat. He is the alpha and the old man. He is a buff colored Ragamuffin with a big ruff. He has secrets, but if you have a lap he is more than willing to allow you to pet him. Of course you must be instructed on the proper way. Apparently I’m still learning.
Another thing I love is my home. After 30 years with the same company I retired early to take care of my elderly parents. It’s what you do. They took care of you, you take care of them. I was more than fine with that. When they passed away I needed to sell the big house and find something smaller, cheaper. It was time to let go of the stress. Time to embrace me and what was next. Now I live on a dirt road in the woods in a tiny town in Vermont. Across the road on the other side of the meadow is a mountain. Behind me up the hill is a ridge. In between are wildflowers. Evenings are spent on the screened-in porch with a glass of wine, listening to the peepers or listening to the quiet, either one is fine. In the meadow are deer, turkey, perhaps a fox. The deer cross the road in the evening and walk along the ridge. They are still a wonder to see. In the winter there are fires in the fireplace. Perhaps some candles. A few plants in the greenhouse to brighten up the short days. Some popcorn and a good old movie.
And last but definitely not least is Charlie. My rock, my friend, the sanity of my life. A renaissance man at a time when they no longer exist. The greenhouse, he built it. The screened-in porch, he built that too. (He doesn’t like mosquitoes.) The website you are on, yeah he built that too. As for Charlie, I haven’t found anything yet that he can not do. He is calm when I’m frazzled. A safe place in the storm of life. If it’s broken he fixes it. If it’s wrong he makes it right. If I’m sad he comforts me. If I want to do it, he encourages me. He is on my side. He is what I never had before, and he was worth the wait.
Who am I? I am the daughter of my parents. A friend to my lover. A sister to my brothers. A servant to my cats. A lover of the little things that make my life happy. An addict of science fiction and horror of a bygone era. And above all, true to myself. Many years ago during a difficult time I wrote a poem that has stayed with me all these years.
When I was a child.
With hair down in stringy waves.
I was me.