Inspired by kittens. Looking back at the nose of a clown.

May 31, 2009

The cats stole the nose from my childhood clown.

Well, not both cats. But Brisket – the grey cat – discovered the pom-pom nose that had been on a clown in a box of stuff in our storage room. I traipsed around with that clown as a toddler and all that’s left is the dirty little pom-pom.

When I saw it in Brisket’s mouth I worried about losing my childhood.

Seems a bit odd, but I’m the man-child who kept a six-inch scrap of fabric around for 30 years in my underwear drawer.

That scrap was the number 12 from my Bob Griese, Miami Dolphins jersey. The first one I ever had. Why I kept it is between me and my psychologist.

But let’s focus on clown noses.

In world compressed down to 930 square feet, we’ve suddenly doubled the population. Two adults and two cats now roam the rooms.

That means stored memories are now part of the kittens’ landscape and I’ve had to adjust my focus on things.

What happens if they chew through a pair of headphone cables? Other than a swift kick across the room, the cats don’t really feel the consequences.

While I bemoan the loss of an $80 headset, they’re searching for the next chewable heirloom.

Am I wrong to be annoyed a little at the little chewing machines?

Should I kitten-proof the place a little better until they’ve grown out of their curious stage?

Or should I take the stance that my history isn’t the things around me, but the memories in my head?

Do I need John Denver record albums to remember his influence on me as a kid? What about signed baseballs from Ken Griffey Jr. and memorabilia from the 1975 Red Sox? And what about scraps of articles I wrote for various publications back in 1988?

My father just took 1000 photos from 1949 to about 1972 and had them scanned into digital files. The photos evoke amazing memories for him and provide a link to the past. His childhood and Bar Mitzvah. His long-dead parents and their siblings and friends. Even my family – shots of us as tiny kids on the beach in Quincy.

Is that where the value lies? In creating a spark that then blossoms into full-blown memories?

Maybe all we need is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nudging our reminiscences. The tip of an iceberg perhaps, or the fuzzy, dirty round pom pom that once served as the nose of a clown.

More to come…