a mother's day story

Circa 1975

My middle bro, you know the type, the one who has all the fun, found a lab mouse in a salad bowl at HS and brought it home. It lived in bro's nightstand for a full week before its introduction to Mom.

We all knew, of course, the rest of us.

He introduced it to her by setting it on her shoulder at dinnertime. I was giggling in the doorway of our harvest gold kitchen (with shutter saloon doors, our house was the height of fashion).

After the shrieking died down, Chirpy (thx, great name, ain't it? congratulate my 8 yr old self) made a verticle move to the garage and spent his days nibbling lettuce in a handmade cage (i lived in a family of pragmatic creatives. you never buy what you can make).  On weekends he rode around in a remote control car, AKA Stuart Little, gutted and re-equipped with a  hamster wheel.

I shit you not, Chirpy followed my bro around the yard in that car.

Because Chirpy's cage was homemade (with love and ingenuity and spare scraps of wood) he was forever escaping. It had a little lift-hatch, which takes a mouse with more than a minuscule brain to figure out. Clearly Chirpy was well above the par, though I don't recall him having a big head for a mouse.

Anyway, we were supposed to shut the garage door down all the way because Chirpy escaped and yet seemed to know how to get out of the way of the cars and the sailboats and I'm pretty sure in the end it was reckoned I didn't.  Shut the garage door, that is.

So Chirpy escaped and


got hit

excuse me, just a minute

by a


a-a car

And the obnoxious spoiled kids across the street, one had freckles and divorced parents and the other had Every Doll Ever Made the bitch, announced Chirpy's death with Great Mean Kid Rejoicing.  (i still see this behavior today, even on my own block. kids SO have their parents snowed)

So my bro built a brick tomb and we buried Chirpy and I'm pretty sure we both moped around our rooms the rest of the day.  Cuz it sucked.

That was my first go at parenting.


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