Vintage Photo: Autumn 1974

Jennifer gives Bootsie a kiss while I hold Bootsie in place; she looks less than thrilled.
Baby Jennifer gives Bootsie a kiss.

So this is not my photo, and I’m not sure whose shadow that is at the bottom but I’d bet it’s that baby’s mother. She’s my niece Jennifer, and this was autumn 1974. That shadow would be my sister, Cynthia, who took most of the photos I have from that time. I found it among my mother’s things as I went through boxes of stuff from her house.

I took a little time out from raking the elm tree leaves, as you see the rake in the middle ground, to play with my cat and my niece, who was visiting. You can see Jennifer, too, loved animals from a young age. Bootsie was over it and telling us about it, but no one got hurt.

I am barefoot, as usual, since I never put shoes on until I had to, and my hair is bleached very light on the ends because I was outdoors all the time in the summer; our local municipal pool had just recently opened and I swam outdoors every day the pool was open. For anyone else who grew up in that era you’ll recognize the characteristic deep horizontal waves made by wearing your hair in braids. I wore my hair in two braids from the very first time I read Little House in the Big Woods, and as I ran through the old cow pasture across the street I was alternately Laura Ingalls and Pocahontas, and wished I could find a pony running past so I could jump on its back and ride bareback. But the braids also kept my hair from poofing out into its characteristic fuzz, an characteristic I still deal with today. Big hair wasn’t a 70s thing, but at least it was in for a while in the 80s.

Below is how Bootsie preferred to interact with my niece—from a distance, where Jennifer couldn’t see or touch her—in our classic 70s living room complete with paneling, pumpkin colored sculpted carpet and rabbit ears on the TV.

cat on TV looking at child
Bootsie scrutinizes the alien being from a safe vantage atop the TV.

. . . . . . .

What other photos did have I shared around this date?


Wordless Wednesday: Danger Lurks, a Drama in Two Parts, 2013
black cat looking upward
Mewsette, black as night, lurks behind a convenient divider on the window.
squirrel on window
Fatso the Squirrel plots his attach on the bird feeder form atop the casement.

. . . . . . .

Bird on the Rocker, 2013
three cat silhouettes
There’s a bird on the rocker.

That was the big story this morning as I worked on a project, did some laundry, and rode my exercise bicycle in the basement and we all enjoyed a lovely sunny morning. Birds are migrating, and all the wildflowers in the garden were full of sparrows stopping for a break, swinging back and forth on tall stems of many-flowered asters not yet blooming, picking around in poufs of goldenrod, gossiping perched on the tops of tomato stakes and investigating all plants and objects for food and water. Several birds came near the door, and one landed on the edge of the old rocker outside and looked fearlessly in at the row of black cats eyeing him through the screen. Mewsette, Giuseppe and Sunshine certainly got their adrenaline workout this morning.

black cat in garden
Mimi watches me from the patio
black cat in grass
Mimi happily runs to me.

Later, after hanging out the laundry and checking on the garden, Mimi eyes me from the patio because I’m sitting in the grass, trying to get the best angle on my row of eggplants, ripening as they still produce blossoms. What is that crazy human doing? She tried to act disinterested, but Mimi can only pull that off for a short moment and turned and ran to me, excited that her human was on her level and we could both have a great time in the grass.

Mimi loves to run, and she runs all over the back yard. when we first go outside, she hangs on the deck until she’s sure I’m coming down to the yard, then she leaps down the stairs and across the grass to the picnic table, up on the bench, and has a good scratch. I am to meet her there and we spend some time with love and kisses, and remember other kitties (see Cookie, below, from 2011), and possibly even Mimi’s own time out there before she came in from the cold, or heat, as it was late July. I don’t use her harness and leash at the moment, after enough of that I think we have an understanding that I love it so much when she stays in the yard with me. She does wear her bell collar, and the happy little jingle seems to complement her happy leaps and sprints.

Alas, we are never out long enough for either of us, 15 minutes at the most on any day, but it’s enough for memories. She is the next in a long line of garden cats.

. . . . . . .

The Pizza Box, 2012
two black cats on pizza box
Mom got the pizza. We got the box.

“Mom got a pizza, and all we got was this box.”

But boxes make great cat beds, especially a nice, still-warm, smashed up pizza box.

Even better when shared with a brother.

two black cats sleeping on pizza box
Later, they are still there.

Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine made the most of it.

. . . . . . .

Toes, 2012
cat toes
Giuseppe shows me his toes.

Giuseppe shows me his manicure. Apparently I haven’t done a very good job trimming him down. Perhaps I should feel a little threatened by this gesture? Is he just having a little stretch, or is he showing me his true power? I think Giuseppe is just showing off and having a good stretch.

. . . . . . .

I Am Still Queen of the Picnic Table, 2011
tortie cat on picnic table
The Queen Upon Her Throne

Here I am on my picnic table observing my realm, and I won’t come in yet no matter what my mom threatens me with.

Mom keeps stuffing things in my mouth, and even though I like the eyedropper stuff that tastes kind of funny I really hate the needle in my shoulders thing! And the other day when I was on my mom’s lap I suddenly felt this change in my body that didn’t come from my mom or anything else, and afterward I was really tired and felt even more sick, but the next day I felt so good I ran out the back door with my mom! Who else is going to keep an eye on her! No one’s been watching her since I haven’t felt well! I’ve felt pretty good since that day, even though I’m not all the way back to the way I felt before.

But one thing hasn’t changed—I love my mom, and she loves me. I’m not unaware of what’s happening to me, I’ve seen it plenty of times before now, but I know my mom will need me for some time to come, and I told her I’d be here for her. Besides that, I want a 100th Birthday Party just like Peaches.

I know a lot of people sent good wishes and healing thoughts—I got them, and I thank every one of you, people, kitties, doggies, and all other species.

tortoiseshell cat on picnic table
Cookie acknowledges her subjects.

[We freely admit, Cookie’s throne is rather humble, but like her mom she is a child of nature. Let me translate Cookie’s interpretation of her care: she had an increase in her thyroid medication, I gave her two droppers a day of her high potency liquid vitamins, and between 75cc and 150cc of subcutaneous fluids each day. On Thursday she had a long-distance reiki treatment with Ingrid King when Cookie had stalled in her healing and was exhibiting symptoms of a possible URI with a runny nose and a little head shake; Cookie was lethargic overnight and a little feverish, but the next morning got up before me and was in the kitchen waiting for breakfast—and Cookie is not a morning tortie! She has been gaining energy and feeling sassy once again. Thanks for all your well-wishes because they were an important part of her healing for both of us!]

This was first posted about a week after “Cookie Love” was initially posted last year, and is a follow-up to that. This year I re-posted “Cookie Love” a little later, only two days ago, so the time passing may seem confusing.

. . . . . . .

How Do You Make This Thing Work? 2011
black cat with pen on desk
Mr. Sunshine, the engineer cat, tries to figure out how the pen works.

Mr. Sunshine, my engineer cat, picks up my pen and handles it, but can’t figure out how to make it work. I won’t discourage him by telling him it may take opposable thumbs. Mr. Sunshine gets into the messes he does because he’s trying to figure things out and I’m not about to discourage that. And if he figures out how to make the pen work I couldn’t be happier about it!

. . . . . . .

You’re Ugly and Your Mother Dresses You Funny, 2010
two black cats slapping each other
Mewsette and Giuseppe have a slight disagreement on something.

The joke being that they have the same mother and look nearly alike.

Mewsette actually started it, though here it looks as if Giuseppe is the aggressor. He has the bigger ego, though, and seems to be easily set off by signals that I can’t see. I presume Mewsette insulted him.

I also liked the shadows on the floor; it looks more like he’s blessing her from that perspective. There are, after all, two sides to every issue.

It took me nearly an hour to scoop the basement litterboxes this morning because they were all being so photogenic.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens—browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!

cats and kittens
Gallery view of Pittsburgh CAT cats for adoption.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

© 2014 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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