george and marshmallow

ours was not a pet-centric family. no parade of cats, dogs, mice, parakeets for us – it was just two parents and two kids inhabiting our suburban bungalow, back in the 70s. except for one brief interlude! the era of george and marshmallow:

i think my very body language speaks volumes, here - not exactly at ease around furry creatures! (thanks, mom, for noting the date in my photo album!).

[how completely appropriate that i can reminisce about bunny rabbits on easter weekend!]

as you can see, george and marshmallow became a part of our family when the brother and i were about ages four and seven, respectively. thinking back, i don’t recall clamouring for a pet, or begging my parents to get us a cute and cuddly something that we could name, play with and pet (after all, why else have an animal in the house when you are little? it was certainly not for the desire to spill out their food, clean up their poop, or discipline them).

since my memories of george and marshmallow are more impressionistic rather than detailed, i emailed mom and asked her how/why george and marshmallow ended up in our family. i’ll share mom’s account:

You and your brother asked for/campaigned for a pet, some kind of pet, and one that you could pet, so no fish aquarium  again. Since this mama was not about to include a dog or cat in the household, we tried to think of an alternative.  It was actually [some family friends] who mentioned the possibility of a rabbit.  Mrs B’s brother, I forget his name, had a Bunny Business.  So we drove to their mini farm, just outside of Waterloo, and you and your brother chose your bunnies from the stock available.  George was named after the George and Martha books, and you named yours Marshmallow because it was all white.  I did not see the necessity of you having pets, to be honest.  I thought that you could get that desire fulfilled second-hand at either [family friends] the M’s or the C’s.  But I caved and George and Marshmallow took up residence in the – I can’t believe this – garage.  Dad built little hutches, and you and your brother fed them faithfully.  I remember adding extra lettuce and carrots to our grocery order.  I do not remember who cleaned the cages, but it was not me.  Must have been Dad.

whatever became of george and marshmallow, you ask? again, let’s let mom tell the story…

After they seemed to run their course/wear out their welcome, we took them to the C’s farm where they resided for a very short span of time before a wily Mr. Fox found them.  Mr C did not know how to share this info because he thought that you would be very sad and upset.  But, as I remember it, you and your brother took the news quite well [we did – i do not remember being heartbroken – sorry!].  And that was the end of the can-we-have-a-pet era.  I remember that my favourite line was, “If a dog (or cat) moves in, I move out,”  and fortunately you thought it was better to have a live-in mommy than a live in animal.

it’s funny what sticks in your head – the biggest memory i have of george and marshmallow is of the smell! to this day, i can clearly recall the stench distinct odour of the rabbits’ cage. i swear our garage retained the scent of rabbit poop for many, many years.

pets: feel free to share the who/what/where/when/why/how of your childhood! our other caring-for-a-pet exposure was for my favourite dog, ever!

darling gretel! note the increased level of comfort level i am exhibiting!

we would take care of dad’s boss’ miniature schnauzer from time to time – long weekends, summer vacations, winter get-away weeks. gretel is the only dog i have never feared, even a tiny bit.

temporary dog-sitting - it was the perfect scenario for our family

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  • Stephanie  On April 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Rabbits really do smell strange. We used to live next door to a magician (no! Really!) and he had rabbits and doves and a de-scented skunk. The smell was very very strong and odd. Not bad, exactly, just…weird.

    OK, so we still have THREE WEEKS of this a-z challenge. Honestly, I’m kind of regretting signing up. Oh well.

    • 1970kikiproject  On April 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Ok, that is way funny that you lived next to a magician – could he make garbage cans disappear?!
      You can finish the challenge, stephanie! Although I think a couple of your posts must have taken hours. Can you scale it back to one clay figures photo and two sentences per entry? It IS taking some organizing, no doubt about it!

  • Zo  On April 8, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Poor bunnies. We had a series of goldfish before getting two guinea pigs when my brother and I were probably 8 and 9. After they died, we ended up getting two cats when I was 11…they both lived until I was in my late 20s. I got my own cat when I was 25 and moved into an apartment (where I wasn’t supposed to have her). She died about 10 years later and about nine months after that I got sc kitty, who will be 4 soon!

    • 1970kikiproject  On April 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

      wow, that is so neat how you have had at least one kittie as a pet for so many years! and i find it funny that you had a cat when you weren’t supposed to…hiding a dog would never work, but i can see how you could keep a cat on the sly! happy easter, zo!

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count  On April 8, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Great story, Cathy. Your Mom is pretty funny too! We were a cat family and I remained a cat person. My last two kitties are in kitty heaven now. I keep saying I’d like two more (for me they need to be in pairs) but Ralph keeps giving me the look. Oh, well. Happy Easter!

    • 1970kikiproject  On April 8, 2012 at 6:21 am

      thanks, fran! i think it’s about time to have mom write a guest post, again! she has a gift with words! haha, that is awesome that you subscribe to the “noah’s ark” theory for kitties – hey, they need a friend, right?! i bet you can sway ralph… 🙂

  • Lisa  On April 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    We were not pet people either. Not at all. My dad grew up with tons of animals (one of his sisters even had a pig for a while) so he was over it, and my mom never had any.
    I begged for fish when I was about 12, and got them…and after a year or so, let them go in the lake. They were no fun, and one tiger fish kept chewing on the others. It freaked me out and I had to confine him to a fish bowl by himself.

    When a junior in college, one of my roommates wanted a hamster—I was so freaked out by it, I talked her into a dwarf rabbit, which was cute when it was a baby. Somehow it ended up half mine. I took it home for the summer, where it lived on the sun porch and chewed the bottoms of all the wicker furniture… back at school, it had chewed all the wall molding (which we sanded before we moved out so we would get our security deposit back). When I graduated, my sister’s friend adopted Meiko Meiko Buzz Buzz Buzz …and a year or so later he died of a stroke. The end!

    I also adopted a dog for my ex boyfriend—sully bones jones. He was nice. I tolerated him. But I have no affection for pets. They smell and stuff. ha.

    I loved reading your rabbit story! I feel like our families are so much alike!
    Happy Easter!!!

    • 1970kikiproject  On April 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      oh, i love these pet stories, lisa! thank you for admitting that you are not a pet person, either – i feel so not alone! the names of your various pets are pretty funny! you’ve got experience with quite the range of animals! happy easter to you, too!

  • Johanna G.  On April 7, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Everything that dad, sis and I could get away with and, God bless mum, that was a considerable variety! 🙂
    PS – Funny that I don’t remember the bunnies OR Gretel at all!

    • 1970kikiproject  On April 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

      yes! i do remember a cat, guinea pigs, and of course, the birds at your house!! am i missing anyone?! i think our families were opposites in terms of how we viewed pets…but that didn’t hinder our friendships one bit!

      • Johanna G.  On April 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

        I think we actually had flying squirrels at one point when we lived there too! Of course once we moved the menagerie included multiple horses and dogs too. 🙂 Happily, you’re right, the opposite pet views were not an issue at all!

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