Friday, September 16, 2011


I called one of my sisters today and asked her if I really did buy her a hampster for her 20th birthday when I was ten, or did I just imagine it.

She said that yes, I did.

Good god. Why did I do this??!

She said, "Because you wanted one."

I don't know how I payed for it -- and my mom would have had to drive me to the store, so it wasn't something I could have done on the sly. Why did my mom let me do this? Crazy!

Then the hampster -- I don't remember what my sister named it -- had babies and ate them.

When I was telling another sister this story tonight over a martini and tater tots in Georgetown, she brought up the gerbils that yet another sister had for pets. The cat (Alex) used to sit on top of the cage, which was atop a dresser. And the dog (Sarah) would bounce up and down repeatedly to get a look at the gerbils when the cat was harassing them from above. I can hear that exercise wheel turning like it did in the middle of the night, spinning to nowhere. And I believe there was also another incident of rodent infanticide.

Once my brother and his friends brought a garter snake into the house to scare my mother, and it got loose and wound itself around one of the legs of our piano -- unbudgable -- while Mom shrieked a high pitched elongated EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

The sole rodent that my children kept was a summer-loan of a white rat from their elementary school. I remember thinking, why am I feeding this rat diced carrots while I'm baiting the rats in the basement with poison?


  1. For a 10 year old, an hamster must have seemed like an exceptional present. I once bought my mother a small packet of blue dye for her birthday.... but I was younger than 10.

  2. Such sweet and funny memories. My kids had a hamster once that we all hated. He was little and would bit if you touched him. I still feel guilty about him as a pet.

  3. Cro, it was an exceptional present! I was crushed to discover that my sister didn't actually want a hamster.

    And blue dye! So sweet.

  4. Elizabeth, how tender that you feel guilty still about a hamster. But then, you are a very tender person, and it doesn't surprise me in the least.