As I had few friends at school, or should I say none, as my fellow students were all girls, no one included me into their little tight knit groups and the older girls spoilt me at the breaks by buying me sweets and treats but none off them wanted me to be included when they spoke about the things that were important in their lives. I became a loner, but never lonely, I was quite happy to entertain myself or read.
My love for reading I surmise stems from that year of spending a lot of time in the library during breaks alone with my nose in some Enid Blyton mystery. By the time I had finished standard one I had completed ‘The famous Five’, ‘The Secret Seven’ series and had started on ‘The Hardy Boys’.
I was never invited to spend afternoons at fellow students’ homes, nor was I invited to any birthday parties that year. So with Karen out visiting friends and only Kirsten at home, I found other ways to keep myself busy. I had discovered the back alley. Parkview was a fairly modern and well planned suburb, and to prevent litter and overflowing dustbins ruining the streets of the neighbourhood, the back of every property faced onto a service road that the dustbin trucks could pass down and collect the waste from the homes without messing up the streets.
I discovered that another form of life inhabited the back alleys, as they were called, cats, which was rather a fortunate thing as the cats were probably the reason that the suburb was not infested with rats, as you can imagine all these households generated an enormous amount of waste and a fair amount would have been discarded food and vegetable peels, The perfect breeding ground for vermin of all sorts. So it was not surprising that they were also overrun with cats, as the garbage would have attracted their natural prey.
I was not aware of these dynamics as a child, but I was aware that a lot of the kittens were killed by the neighbourhood dogs. It became my mission in life to save these kittens from certain death.
Two Teeth had completed the back wall by this time and was busy with the construction of the double garage at the top of the driveway with the rear wall of the garage being a part of that completed wall. So Tina and I would sneak under the hedge of our next door neighbour and under his hedge that separated his back yard from the alley. Then we would start searching behind the numerous bins to find the kittens.
Tina never threatened the kittens; if anything he was the one to discover them. Once found they would be smuggled two by two into my bedroom wardrobe where they would be fed little saucers of milk and scraps from the table.
That was until I was caught doing it and all the kittens were handed over to the SPCA, but I was never able to stop, so once a week the SPCA would collect all the kittens that I had rescued from the alley. I was only allowed to keep one, Smoky, a cantankerous tom who did not tolerate anyone touching him except me. Smoky scratched Kirsten about the time I went to boarding school and when I returned he was gone, I was told that he had run away, I suspect he was another collection by the SPCA.
Lots of Hugs and more,