Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our Cat


I know I haven't exactly been telling you guys what I've been up to. I mean what's up with all the cats drawings. Truth is I'm working on a little idea I had. The seeds were planted last year when after a conversation with me mom, I wanted to confirm what she had said because I was pretty sure she had gotten the timeline wrong. It was a small, inconsequential detail so I won't tell you what it was but what really bothered me was I could not recall the timeline in my memory. It was as if I never lived it. I've always had amazing memory - maybe I don't retain facts the way hubs and son do and they're like walking encyclopedias - but I could remember timeline, conversations, what someone wore, the weather, pretty much detailed stuff. I know that not everyone remembers stuff the same way. For me, I've always loved how my brain stores memories. Because I could always go through the different moments of my life. That's a little bit how I amuse myself - just going thru' my memories.

So it frightened me that I was losing bits of my memories. Sometimes huge chunks at one go. I had known for some time that as I age, I forget stuff. It's part of the aging process and there's nothing I can do about it.

Or is there?

One day it occurred to me I could write down little pieces of my childhood. I choose my childhood specifically because these are the memories that are fast disappearing from my brain. Since I started blogging I have written a little bit of my life when I was little but it was more incidental.

Thinking it was a great idea I tried putting into words little floating images and conversations of my life between the ages of 4 and 12. And yes, I assure you I'm totally sane and I do not really see floating images and conversations. They're just floating inside my head. But however much I tried, the words did not come. It was early this year and yes I know it's only 16th Jan today, but one day it came to me. In order to make it work, I need to relate those memories to what I do now - something creative with some sewing and I believe when I do that the words will come. And that's the reason behind the drawings.

So I started with my cat.

Meet our cat.

It had no name. We weren't the kind of family who gave cats names.

We referred to the cat as Our Cat or simply Cat. In my Chinese dialect, we called it NGEOW. Unless you're Chinese, I don't know if I can teach you how to pronounce NGEOW. But let me give it a shot.

Say YOW like the sound you make when in pain. But say it THROUGH YOUR NOSE. Like NGEOW. That's it. You got it.

It was a house cat. It wasn't a pet. That much was made clear to us as our cat gave us no affection. None of that purring or nuzzling. Occasionally it would brush past our legs as if to tease us with what could have been.

It or rather she lived in my house every day when I lived in a village. Not the hobbits kind of village. More like the no paved road, no plumbing kind of village. I don't remember when we first had the cat. I just know that as long as I could remember, I had a cat until I was 12 when we moved to a flat far away.

I think our cat was light brown-orangey. It had stripes all over. When I think of the cat, I always see a tiger. She was fierce. She walked around the house like a boss. She also constantly fought with our dog. But let's save the dog for another day. I haven't drawn him yet.

Our cat also constantly got herself pregnant. If you're wondering why we didn't get her fixed, well, we were ignorant and mostly we were poor. So we simply put up with her getting preggy. I often wondered where the male cats came from as in my village, most families had dogs, not cats.

Of course we couldn't afford to keep the kittens. It was my third brother's job to "take care of the kittens". Our cat would care for the kittens until they became independent. That was when they mysteriously disappeared. I often wondered what happened to the kittens. One day my brother invited me to accompany him and I realized that he would take the kittens and release them in another village. The people living in that village seemed wealthier and maybe he was thinking they would have the resources to support the kittens. I have no idea. Anyway, it was a long time ago. A different world. A different time.

I think I got along pretty well with our cat. I stayed out of her way and she growled at me from a distance. Then one day something happened. I estimate I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. Our cat had just given birth and she was moving the kittens from place to place. Maybe she felt paranoid and wanted to hide the kittens from us. She would do it by using her teeth to catch the kittens by the neck. I was clumsy and got in her way.

What happened next is forever imprinted in my memory I'm very sure I'll never forget it. I accidentally stepped on our cat's tail. She immediately dropped her kitten and sank her claws into my shin. I screamed and jumped in the air and landed ONE MORE TIME on her tail. Of course the cat sank her claws deeper into my shin. It was my mother who came to my rescue. She chased the cat away and possibly scolded me for being careless. The wound was deep and I don't know how long I howled in pain. My mother never even took me to see the doctor. Yes, in those days, unless you are on the verge of death or broke a bone, you don't get to see the doctor.

My wound healed. I did not die. I still have the scar now. But I'm deathly scared of cats today. This morning I was avoiding the pervert at the exercise area and had to walk past two cats and it was absolutely terrifying.

I had no further incidents with our cat but I was very careful to stay out of her way.

I was going to make the drawing of my cat real mean but I stopped myself. I mean, really? Do I want a picture of a mean ol' cat? I think it's okay to take some liberties here and make some false memories. So I decided to make my cat bipolar. Sometimes she's mean. Sometimes she's cute as can be. The cute cat is my fantasy cat.

Last night I made an applique of our cat. I sewed on 250gsm card stock. I used my old sewing needles. I used straight stitch and interfacing for the fabric. Sewing on paper is very unforgiving. You can't make any mistakes.

What do you think? Does the fabric used for the stool look familiar?

The back of the card looks horrible.

So there you have it. What I am doing now and my motivations. Please indulge me while I record my memories for when I'm old and forgotten everything.


Gingini said...

Well, I love the cat you made. :) Don't need to see te backside.

pennydog said...

I love the drawing! And I am also scared of cats too because of their claws. My friend's cat likes to walk on my lap and it freaks me out!

On the memories front, I think your idea is very interesting- I only remember "the bad things that happened" before I left school, and even then not all of them. And I'm not even 30 yet so my memory really should be better. I might try and keep a little journal or private blog, you never know I might need it for writing my autobiography one day.

jane p said...

I keep good and bad memories but the bad ones tend to stay longer!

Corinna said...

After I read your blog today I was thinking that you're definitely not a vat person..but seeing your cute little kitten I'm wondering may be you are?! it's lovely and I like the fabrics as well. keep on going with this cat and may be next time the dog :-), can't wait to read about him/her

Corinna said...

Cat not vat lol

Chris H said...

It seems strange to have a cat in the house and it's NOT a pet? If it's not a pet, what was it there for?
I don't like cats much either, though I can't say I've ever had one sink it's teeth into me... I just find their howling for food drives me nuts.
And I don't need anything else to add to my crazy house full.
I sew fabric onto card lots... I make cards after all... I use a Brother sewing machine for that. NOT my very expensive Husquvarna!

*Tea said...

oh, i am relileved to hear your brother just left the kittens at another place... kind brother you have ^_^
funny story, the cat actually looks like a very happy one :D

Anonymous said...

Well the cat bit you because you hurt it! That doesn't make it mean does it? Also cats need affection to give affection. People who don't love their cats don't get loved and they really miss out and think cats only want food. They don't.

Projects By Jane said...

Dear Sara, thank you for your comment. Yes of course the cat bit me because I stepped on its tail. You could say I deserved it. But you do understand I did not intentionally stepped on its tail. It was an accident. I was a clumsy kid. I called the cat mean from the point of view of a 8 year old kid who got bitten bad. We were a very poor family living in a village a long, long time ago. We had barely enough to eat. But yes, we still fed the cat and the dog. Do I wish I had a better relationship with the cat? Certainly. But you can't change history. The dog and I got on really well though. He was my bodyguard. Oh, recently my neighbour got a cat. He/she purred at me very nicely and never once tried to scratch me. So there's hope for me yet.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Bag Pattern Shop

My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns