Earlier this week, I advised you to stay tuned (I kill me) for a post that was somehow related to that overly cute kitten playing an invisible piano in his sleep. This is that post. Be prepared for some serious rambling ahead… both serious in nature, and seriously rambling. After all, you know I love Memory Lane like I grew up there.
Do you ever get the feeling that the universe is conspiring to make you slow down and indulge your nostalgic side? Recently, I found myself commenting on two different blog posts that reminded me of a very special show from my childhood. Does anyone else remember Garfield’s Nine Lives? (If you do, you may be my pop culture soul mate.)
If you haven’t heard of it, Garfield’s Nine Lives began as a 1984 book containing a group of short stories illustrating the various “lives” of Garfield the cat. (I own this book. Fun fact about me: as a child, I was obsessed with Garfield and began collecting Garfield books – including the daily strips, the Sunday Treasuries, and the specials. I couldn’t get enough. I’ll always have a soft spot for that cat.)
The book was adapted into a TV special in 1988. My mom taped it for me when it aired. (Ah, the days of VHS.) I watched that special countless times – I could probably still quote most of it on request (such is the case with many Garfield specials, actually, but this one was by far my favorite). The book is a bit darker than the TV special, and some of the lives differ between the two formats.
Anyway, you may be wondering what this has to do with… anything. While reading this post from Brian’s Home, I made a comment about Cave Cats (you know, a distant relative of the elusive Cave Dog). This reminded me of Garfield’s first life, in which he was… a Cave Cat. In addition, while reading this post from The Chronicles of Cardigan I was reminded of another life from the TV special – my favorite one, in fact. It’s called Diana’s Piano.
Garfield describes this life as the one where he fell in love with music and when he “fell in love with a girl who played the piano just for me.” As a child who took years of piano lessons and had a white cat (like Diana, the feline incarnation of Garfield in Life No. 6), this cartoon was catnip.
It’s a touching story. I just watched it again before writing this post, and needed several tissues. Several. Gets me every time. I highly recommend it, but if you don’t find yourself sobbing or at least getting a little weepy… well, I just don’t know what to think about you.
My cat Buttercup wasn’t as much of a music fan as Diana (she was downright antisocial at times), but I loved her dearly. She was my first pet, joining our family when I was only three years old. In my young mind, this cartoon was us. (In fact, when Diana decides to scratch a visitor and has a look of smug satisfaction on her face, it was like they’d based the character on Buttercup. Seriously.)
When I watched Diana’s Piano again as an adult, I realized that it also touched upon my relationship with another significant animal in my life – my dog Scotti. She entered my life when I was ten years old
Scotti used to hang out by the piano while I’d play (she was much more of a music fan than Buttercup). We were inseparable… and just like the woman in the cartoon, one day I had to leave for college. (As she narrates: “That was a sad day.”) When I called home, I’d ask to talk to Scotti on the phone, and I would ask my mom if Scotti seemed to recognize my voice. I was always elated when my mom said yes. I missed Scotti terribly, and I couldn’t wait to see her again.
Time passed. I graduated and finally moved into an apartment off campus. (One that allowed pets, of course. That was an essential requirement.) However, by the time I graduated college, Scotti was twelve years old – really too old to leave the comfort of my parents’ house. It just wouldn’t have been fair to her to uproot her, move her to an apartment hundreds of miles away, and expect her to adjust to my hectic schedule. I felt guilty that we wouldn’t be together, but I think it was the right decision. Luckily, she didn’t hold it against me – every time I saw her it was like we had never been apart. (She did – slightly – hold it against me when I adopted Bella and would bring her home with me for visits. Although they only met a few times, I am sure Scotti was wondering who this interloper was and why I kept bringing her home.)
Scotti is gone now. It’s been several years since I lost her, but I find myself thinking of her often. She was truly my dog in a way that I’d never imagined could happen. We had other pets when I was a kid, but the two of us were like peas and carrots. A true team. I can’t imagine my childhood without her by my side – she features prominently in the majority of my memories.
I realize that I’ve come to define the different phases of my life based on the cats and/or dogs that were with me during each time. (Does anyone else do that?) Each “era” is different, but they’re all special. Just like the wonderful creatures I’ve been lucky to know – to paraphrase the song that inspired this blog title, I always got by with a little help from my (furry) friends.
Thanks for indulging my sentimental side… it’s funny what will inspire a trip down Memory Lane, isn’t it?