Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Vintage Photo: Torbie Stare from the Rocker, 1993

photo of cat on arm of rocker
Torbie star from Fawn.

Fawn is giving me a very familiar expression enhanced by her torbie catitude, “Will you get that big black box off your face and pet me?” At that time it was my Pentax K1000 film camera.

Fawn had a certain meow that I’m sure was intended to induce guilt in humans. She had been the youngest, but just after we moved in here, Sophie joined us unexpectedly, which made her unhappy. Then Sophie was adopted by my mother, which made Fawn happy again. Then Cookie had joined us just the previous December and Fawn was unhappy again. Then Sophie came back when my mother had back surgery, and stayed stayed when both my mother’s gait and ability to bend made care difficult. Fawn was no longer the baby at all, and totally unhappy and let me know every time she saw me. She’s just about to top off the stare with a meow, I’m sure. “Look, I’m so convenient, balancing on the arm of this rocker for when you walk past, since you never pay attention to me anymore.”

Film photos are not as easy to touch up as digital photos, but I managed to get this scene with Fawn on the rocker in my 1993 kitchen about as clear and sharp as I could. Fawn the torbie was a unique little spirit and I loved her purrsonal physical details which are kind of lost in the slight blur and lots of film speckles, but I think the scene is quite fun. She’s balanced on the arm of the rocker, quite a feat on a rocker that tended to rock at the slightest provocation. It is sweet to see her, her torbie spots, green eyes, orange tip on black tabby tail that was in constant movement as it is here, and posture. She was a smaller cat, slender and agile, just approaching eight pounds and I often found her in interesting places, balancing on the top edge of a door, or an open transom as she did in the house we’d moved from.

And in addition to Fawn, this room, the kitchen, is so spare here! Here’s a little trip down memory lane in this space that is so rich in feline memories. We had just moved in in October 1990. The arrowhead plant next to Fawn and the rocker is the one that Sally is sleeping behind in “Find the Kitty in this Painting,” which I painted when I still lived in the house I rented before I bought this house. It lived with me from 1985 to somewhere around 2018 when it was finally old enough to let go on its own. The vertical rectangle of white next to the refrigerator in the lower right is the “half-wall” I’ve mentioned a few time; at one time the kitchen and dining room were two separate rooms with a wall and a doorway, and at some point before I bought the house the walls were cut down to about three feet high and capped off. They were a major place for kitties to show off, line up, and eat despite my desire to use it to set things down as I was cooking. I had those half walls removed some time in the mid-90s so we’d have one continuous room.

Below, there’s the whole scene, and more…

photo of cat on arm of rocker
Torbie star from Fawn and that section of the kitchen in 1993, two years after I moved in.

There’s the floor when it was new, which was tattered and scratched when it was replaced last summer. I still have the rocker she’s on but it’s in my shed right now, though I hope to bring it back out. The bright blue bookshelf on the left has moved all over the house and is currently back in the kitchen, the cooking and gardening books are in the kitchen still and have strangely multiplied over the years. Above that on the wall the hot plates that were replaced by my artwork which I now use as actual hot plates. In the corner, I grew flowers for drying, and the first bunch of straw flowers and statice, I think, are drying in what is still a good corner for that. Then the arched doorway, still here! And then my painting, “Suncatcher,”, which I’d recently framed and at that time purrfectly matched my kitchen. And then right in front of that the hanging scale that’s now in front of my window. And finally, the edge of my refrigerator with magnets I am still using!

Some things change, and some things stay the same. There was another photo on this roll that’s kind of awkward and cut off but I’ve decided I’m going to use it next Sunday because it’s still making me laugh.

 

Vintage Photos From Other Years

A Collection of Cats, 2003

cat collection
Sophie amid the cat collection.

First of all, you are right, this photo is very dark and grainy. I have no idea why it came out that way because the room was bright enough. I’m sure if I could scan the negative I could do better with retouching, but this was as far as I could go and still have it clear enough to see many of the little kitties.

It was a disappointment because I loved Sophie’s posture in it, I liked the composition, and I know I was considering using it as a reference for a painting. In the background is a section of my cat collection, and couldn’t you just see a painting of Sophie snoozing in the midst of all those kitties? As soon as I saw her there I visualized it as a watercolor, and it would have to be pretty realistic for all the little kitties on the shelves and such. Couldn’t you picture all those little kitties?

But I’m happy to share the photo and Sophie, nonetheless. I took the photo in mid to late May in 2003, judging by other photos on the same roll.

Vintage Photos From Other Years

Moses A Little Wild, 2002

Moses in the woodland garden.
Moses in the woodland garden.

Moses takes a little tour of the woodland garden, having a little bit of a wild time…for Moses.

I’ve often called Moses my “little garden sprite” because she loved to be out in the sun and the vegetable garden with its brick paths and courtyard has always been the sunniest area of the yard. But mostly, she’s having a good nap or a rollabout on warm bricks. A nearly starved feral kitten we discovered later that her hind legs were hobbled by incomplete joints in her knees and hips. When she was young she played when no one was looking and moved around the house to sleep with me at night and find sunny spots during the day. As she aged she moved less and more slowly, but always in pursuit of the next good sunny spot, or next to me on the bed at night.

Tail in the air, she is happy!
Tail in the air, she is happy!

She liked her natural sunshine best, so a daily trip to the outdoors, even just onto the deck, was mandatory, even if only for 10 minutes or so to warm her hips and back. A nap on sunwarmed bricks was best, though. She could really toast herself that way.

Walking among the plants.
Walking among the plants.

But now and then she wanted to go exploring around the yard. On this day in 2002 I had my film camera with me and followed her around the woodland garden, the spring plants finished and the summer plants not yet begun blooming. It was not surprising that she chose the woodland garden. At this time of the year it’s more developed than the vegetable garden with evergreen groundcovers and other plants that stand all year round. Moses always felt safest when something “had her back”, like a big rhododendron or some tall phlox stems getting ready to bloom.

Around the rhododendron.
Around the rhododendron.

I’ve moved a large portion of my photo prints on film to a place that’s more accessible than before, and recently I took some time to sit and look through a portion of the envelopes of prints to refresh my memory of that’s there. I found these, and had no idea I had taken them. I knew I’d taken some photos of Moses outdoors, but had no memory of this little sojourn of hers at age 15, wandering among the woodland plants where Mimi does today, and Cookie and Namir and Kublai and Sally, and even a few others once or twice.

Hiding behind the bluebells.
Hiding behind the bluebells.

At the time I rescued her, and even at the time I took these photos, I knew little of feral cats compared to today, even though I’d rescued several in addition to her. I remember her quiet nature, never a meow, and gentle personality no matter how frightened she was, and this moment of trust when she followed an unfamiliar path in the yard without fear and came to me with love in her eyes and confidence in her step. For all the times socialized cats slather affection all over me and I love it, these moments of quiet trust with a former feral kitten give me just the same reaction.

Moses looks at me.
Moses looks at me.

You can read Moses’ rescue story in “My First Feral, and My Enlightenment”.


Photos From the Archives and Vintage Photos

Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.


Gifts Featuring Cats You Know!

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Originals and Prints from Portraits of Animals!

Waiting for Mom Vintage Cigar Box Keepsake
Waiting for Mom Vintage Cigar Box Keepsake

This painting of Fawn “Waiting for Mom” was my first cat portrait! And my first detailed realistic painting ever. It changed my life, and I’m so glad I captured that memory of Fawn as a kitten. You’ll find her on this keepsake as well as lots of other gift items. Read more about the keepsake box and purchase.



Copyright

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals 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.


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Bernadette

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.

4 thoughts on “Vintage Photo: Torbie Stare from the Rocker, 1993

    • She was my first torbie and when she was born I thought something was wrong with her. Well, she WAS different, but that’s not wrong, right?

      Reply
  • They can stare and tell us what they want. Beautiful cats. So precious.

    Thank you for joining the Awww Mondays Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Awww Monday and week. ♥

    Reply
    • You bet, Sandee, and we always do it too, right? Thanks for visiting, and for hosting the hop!

      Reply

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