AMOS.MAPC.(OXON).A cat’s ta(i)le
I wrote this story some years ago.I recently used it as a memory aid for my dear late wife by reading it to her and reminding us of our days at Oxford.(This is one of four chapters.)
My name is Amos.I am a cat.I am not of any special breed,just an ordinary common cat.You no doubt wonder what all those letters behind my name mean.Well, I let you guess until the end of this little story.
You see I was born in a place called Oxford,which is a city in England,where a lot of people are hoping to be educated.Now, in this city, not far from St.Giles,a monument of fame,are two well known roads,Banbury Road and Woodstock Road.I was born in one of these, but I can’t remember which one. All I know is that I saw the light of day in a strangely shaped box.They were making these boxes there. I discovered that the purpose of them was to accommodate people on their way to heaven.
My mother was a tabby cat who had two other kittens apart from me.I was the only one that was black with a little white mark on my throat.My mother looked after us really well.There was also a little girl that visited us very often who picked us up and cuddled us.
One day this little girl brought another girl of the same age with her.I couldn’t guess the purpose of her visit,but I soon discovered that she was to choose a kitten for herself.She looked at the three of us and said:”I would like that little black one and I shall call it Amos.”The other little girl replied:”Allright ,Elizabeth,take him, because my father said that we have to get rid of the kittens.”
So there I was to begin a new part of my life. My new owner said:” I shall collect you tomorrow Amos;I need to get a box to carry you in,I can’t wait to have you in our home.”That night I kept waking up thinking;what will it be like there? What will my mother do without me? Will she miss me? I shall miss her and my two little sisters.These thoughts kept going round and round in my head.
Morning soon came to wake me up to a long day.I could hardly wait for evening to come. At last Elizabeth arrived with a basket specially constructed to carry cats.It didn’t look very big , but then I was only a small kitten.I was wondering what would happen next? Where was she taking me to? This was the beginning of my first adventure.I was safely tucked up in the basket and our journey began.
The little girl,whom I had known for the early days of my life,cuddled me and said her farewells,and told me that she would miss me.Off we went.The basket was not all that roomy,but there was a little hole I could peep through.
I was really amazed to see so many old buildings and so many people rushing about.I became a little frightened and started calling out.My new friend told me not to be scared and to calm down.We arrived at a large square which she told me was Gloucester Green.It didn’t mean a thing to me,but she knew what she was doing, no doubt.Here we boarded a large machine which was no doubt taking us somewhere.It mad a sort of purring noise as we went along the road.
We soon left town and stopped at another place which she said was called Cowley where they build a lot of motor cars.I had no idea what she was talking about.As we moved on I started meowing as I got scared again.I heard a man saying:”What have you in your basket,is it a Pussy?”
“That’s right,” said Elizabeth ,”It is Amos my new cat Joyce.” I thought what a funny name for a man.Actually I found out later from peoples conversations that he was a well known bus- conductor at Oxford. Why they called him Joyce I never found out.Never mind it doesn’t matter.At last,the machine as I called it in my mind, stopped. we got off and Elizabeth said :”Here you are Amos, your new home is Littlemore,wait till you see our house.”I
We walked a few hundred yards and she opened a door.A voice called:”Is that you Elizabeth, have you got Amos?”How did she know my name? “I have and I am sure he must be hungry,” replied Elizabeth.She opened the basket and i was looking at a very long, light corridor.A friendly lady picked me up and cuddled me,welcoming me to my new home.They showed me a small grey dish which contained some food.I smelled and walked around the dish,and once i thought it was safe to eat I started taking a bite or two.It was delicious, it was chicken.I had it before at the other place.
Once I had my fill I felt a bit uncomfortable and I tried to find a place to relieve myself.I was looking around for a suitable place to have a pee, when I spotted a box at the end of the landing.It was filled with some gritty stuff which I thought was good enough for my purpose.No sooner had I started when I heard Elizabeth shout:”Mum,Amos has used the litter tray”.So that was the name of the box, well that was useful to know.Now for some kip.It had been a long busy day for me.
I was just dozing when i heard the door bang and a new voice.It was much deeper then the women’s voices.”I’m home,” said the voice,whom I presumed to be the man of the house.”What a day it has been sitting in boring meetings all afternoon.Oh, what is this?What a lovely pussy,what’s your name?” “It is Amos,Dad,I named him after Amos Burke on the telly”.”Hello Amos”,said the man, picking me up and cuddling me.He was ever so gentle.I was beginning to like my new family.
I soon dropped off to sleep, and when it got dark I woke up and started whimpering and wanted my mother.I was very frightened.I heard someone getting up and coming onto the landing where I had my little bed.It was Elizabeth.She picked me up and cuddled me,and took me into her room.She laid me on her bed which felt warm and safe.What an exciting twenty four hours.
Morning soon came.The family rose,had their breakfast and after feeding me went their various ways.Elizabeth went to school, the man went to work, and Mum,as I thought of her ,started her work in the house.I did get under her feet a few times,craving for attention,but she never got cross like the grumpy old man at Oxford.
Half way through the morning she picked me up saying”Well Amos,let’s take you outside and show you the garden.”It wasn’t so much of a garden, but a beautiful jungle for cats to play in.She put me down and I had a tentative walk around. All at once I spotted something light and colourful fluttering above me.I instinctively jumped into the air trying to catch whatever it was.”Silly,” said Mum,”Its a beautiful butterfly enjoying its freedom,you don’t catch them,they are lovely.”I thought ,well they may be, but I shall try to catch it to see what it looks like.I jumped up and down wearing myself out.The harder I tried the more difficult it seemed to become.I soon got tired of the little game and I started feeling hungry.
While we were in the garden we met another lady.Her name was Daphne, and Mum and her soon stated chatting about things that didn’t interest me.So I settled down in the grass and had a little contented purr.Oh, it was lovely here at Littlemore in the sun.When they had finished nattering Mum picked me up and back to the house we went.Mum started preparing a meal for the man.He came home at one o’clock for an hour I was to learn.It appears that he was a nurse at the hospital across the road.
He put his arms around Mum as he came in and he kissed her.”Whats for dinner Darling?””You favourite ,Peter,Macaroni cheese.” ” Has Amos been behaving himself?”he asked.”Yes, he has been out in the garden and he met Daphne.She didn’t take much notice of him not being a cat person.I listened to their talk and I learned a little bit about their life.He was a nursing officer at the hospital, and she used to go on night duty three nights a week.I found it most interesting.
Elizabeth came home about 5.00 o’clock,and made a fuss of me as soon as she got in.She also took me out into the garden,and I found this to be a very useful place to do my business. Better then the litter box. She left me alone for a while while she talked to two little boys.They were most interested in me,and showed me their rabbits,which were in a hutch in the garden.They fed them with grass ans some lettuce leaves which they seemed to enjoy I looked at the rabbits and they looked at me.I had never seen a rabbit before.They had long ears,were grey with a short White tail,and they hopped about.I wondered if they were ever allowed to play in the garden?