I was shocked! Even forty-seven years later, I'm still surprised that mom accepted them. I guess she saw the excited looks on our faces, the price was right and she didn't see any harm. Our new pets were easy to tell apart, one was black, another white and the other brown. During the drive home, dad said he'd buy a cage the next day as my sister dubbed them, Moe, Larry and Curly.
Dad parked in our driveway. While we were getting out of the car, the brown cutie, (Curly), escaped in the darkness. Oh well, so we had two pets.
It was an especially hot night and our house wasn't air conditioned. So twenty minutes later, it was easy to hear our Tugboat Annie-like neighbor from four doors down, cursing and screaming bloody murder. We all assumed that her house was getting vandalized and ran outside. There was a small crowd in front of her house as we saw her husband laughing as he held our Curly by the tail and taunted his wife.
On the walk home, after our third mouseketeer was restored to us, I imagined that if our lady neighbor was as tough as I thought, she would have eaten him. From that night on, I never feared her again.
|NYUK, NYUK, NYUK, JEROME "CURLY" HOWARD (1903-1952)...THE ULTIMATE VICTIM OF SOIKUMSTANCE...WAS THE FIRST OF THE THREE STOOGES TO DIE. MY CURLY THE BROWN MOUSE, SURVIVED OUR TUGBOAT ANNIE-ESQUE NEIGHBOR AND WOULD OUTLIVE HIS TWO BUDDIES.|
Moe and Larry soon died. But Curly was vital and was going strong months later. My four-year old cousin Cal came to visit and I brought the cage into my room. Then I took Curly out and we played with him on the floor. Before long, Curly darted between us and scurried behind the open door. Cal tried to "head" him off and closed the door. Curly's head was crushed between the door and the door jamb. He writhed in agony for a few seconds and died. To this day, his vibrating body is still a clear and haunting image.
Other than that experience, (and those mice were pets), I have never seen a mouse, in any place that I lived. In fact, I was twenty-two, the first time, I saw one in someone else's house. My friend MBF got married in 1977 and rented a basement apartment, near the Kings Plaza Mall, in Brooklyn.
If you've never experienced this type of invasion, it's quite disconcerting. Usually you see a sudden movement out of the corner of your eye. It happens so fast that you figure it's nothing. The next time this impulse gets your attention, you realize you must investigate.
Mouse catching is not for the squeamish, so MBF and I half-heartedly tried but failed miserably. However, the next day MBF solicited the aid of his father-in-law. Within a week, I got a call saying that his wife's dad used Sicilian ingenuity and some household items to capture the bugger. Lured by the scent of a spoonful of peanut butter placed in a steep-walled soup tureen...greased with butter, the rascal crept up a ramp made from a broken Venetian blind slat. At the top, the hungry pest fell into the bowl. The combination of the high walls and slippery slope assured that the little bastard couldn't escape. I wasn't exactly heartbroken that I missed the profanity-laced ceremony when MBF's father-in-law dumped his quarry in the toilet. At least with one flush, the varmint had a proper burial, at sea.
It's at this point that many of you empathize for the fallen critter. It's easy to forget that these filthy, gnawing, disruptive devils, foster disease and are the scourge of society. After all, since we were children, cartoon, Lilliputian-like mice are associated as cuddly, heroic or as underdogs.
|BEFORE THE AGE OF TALKING MOVIES, WALT DISNEY DEVELOPED HIS ENTIRE EMPIRE AROUND MICKEY, (AND MINNIE). AND TODAY IT'S GLOBAL POPULARITY IS STRONGER THAN EVER.|
Think about it, cartoon mice are always sympathetic characters. They are at the bottom of the animated food chain and are hunted by boring farmers, mean old ladies and of course, hungry cats. Certainly we Baby-Boomers know Jerry's struggles to survive Tom. The generation before that knew the travails of Ignatz as he avoided the certain death of Krazy Kat's romantic advances.
|THE CRIME SOLVING DUO OF, "SNOOPPER AND BLABBER" AIRED 45 EPISODES FROM 1959-1961. IN MOST ADVENTURES BLABBER, COMPLETE WITH SPEECH IMPEDIMENT, WAS THE SUBORDINATE MOUSE TO A CAT, SUPER SNOOPER.|
Other cat and mouse cartoon rivalries featured, "PIXIE AND DIXIE," against Mr. Jinks, "HERMAN AND KATNIP" and let's not forget the cartoon inside the, "SIMPSON'S" cartoon, "THE ITCHY AND SCRATCHY SHOW."
Other cartoon mice that were highly esteemed were, "MIGHTY MOUSE," "SPEEDY GONZALEZ," Minute Mouse from, "COURAGEOUS CAT," and a favorite of my early youth, "SNIFFLES."
|"SNIFFLES," WAS PRODUCED AS A THEATRICAL CARTOON STARTING IN 1939. THE TWELVE SHORT SUBJECTS PLAYED OFF HIS CHILDISH SWEETNESS WHILE STRUGGLING WITH THE PERILS OF A DANGEROUS WORLD.|
On the other side of the Atlantic, the English had heroic, "DANGER MOUSE." I checked this program out but perhaps something was lost in the translation.
|"DANGER MOUSE" AND HIS SIDEKICK PENFOLD WERE HUMOROUS SPIES. THIS SUCCESSFUL SHOW AIRED 161 EPISODES FROM 1981-1992. WHEN I WATCHED THE RERUNS WITH MY SON IN THE LATE 90's, WE BOTH AGREED THAT IT, "WASN'T OUR CUP OF TEA."|
I stood still, stared into the clutter and waited. In a short time my suspicions were validated. While trying to decide how to proceed against the mouse, I took a closer inspection of the area. I found tell-tale signs of a rodent infestation like; organized bits of straw, tiny turds and of course gnawed through cereal boxes as well as spillage from a hole at the bottom of our dog's forty-pound food bag.
The defense of the inside of my house became paramount! Instead of an old world remedy, I went straight to the hardware store and invested in ten, 29c traps. That night, I discussed my situation at one of my poker games and KURUDAVE, (thirty minutes away), confessed to having the same problem. We entered into a friendly competition and called it, "THE MOUSE TRAP GAME." In a short time, I netted four mice to his three.
|MGTP TAKES THE HIGH ROAD. BEHOLD THE OLD MOUSE TRAP BOARD GAME. THE GREAT BWANA IS SUPPOSED TO DISPLAY HIS GREASY, BROKEN BACK MOUSE TROPHIES HERE...BUT I SAY, "NO!"|
The next day, she made me remove every item from the garage. It was then I saw the impossible! In cartoons, you know the little mouse holes in the baseboards?
|I HATE TO SIDE WITH CATS BUT I GUESS THEY CAN SERVE A PRACTICAL PURPOSE.|
I bought some patch mortar and sealed the holes. Then we bolstered how our food items are stored. Luckily, we never had another rodent raid. Unfortunately, Kurudave can't say the same thing. The little intruders always return to his garage in the cold months. Even worse, in a matter unrelated to pestilence, he recently decided to move out of state.
The day before he left, whatever was left of the poker buddies went over to his place to have a few beers, reminisce and say good-bye.
Just off his kitchen, we were at his bar telling stories when someone noticed, (ten feet away), a brazen mouse on the stove, sniffing a skillet of macaroni and cheese. That's when Kurudave shook-up an aerosol bug spray and squeezed the trigger.
|MR. JINKS TAKES AIM AGAINST POOR LITTLE PIXIE AND DIXIE AS HE EMULATES CAPTAIN BLASTOFF.|
Kuru used some newspaper to scoop up his fallen victim. Then ala Abe Reles, he threw the annoyance out the window and yelled, "I hate meeces to pieces!"
Yuck! I'm sure glad I sealed my garage.