When you, when you were describing your outdoor interests before and how active you were when you came down here, and swimming and so on, had you been interested in animals and…
Well, tell me something…
Well, nothing very much. Kittens and cats and all that sort of thing, and birds and all that. I’ve always loved small mammals, even mice. As a child, I liked mice. I don’t think I ever had any live mice, they were mostly dead ones. I was sorry about that. But, um…
How did that happen?
Well, because you had a trap for mice, you know, and my grandmother had a live trap. She didn’t want to kill them, she’d put them in a big mason jar and take them, send me to release them several blocks away on the railroad tracks. (laughs) I guess she’d hoped they’d be run over and she wouldn’t be responsible for killing them, because she didn’t want to kill them herself. So we had live mice, you know, in a mason jar with paper on the top so they could breathe, and I always thought they were a lot of fun. I would have liked to have kept them, but grandmother wouldn’t stand for that, but I could always have kittens.
And you did have cats?
Oh heavens yes, I’ve always had cats. Everybody in New England likes cats. You see, they came over on the first ships with the first settlers. A cat is very important on a ship, it keeps down the rats. So all New England people, I would make that as one of those stupid generalities that are not necessary true, but all New England people like cats. There are certain, there are all kinds of different cats in New England. The Maine cat is a lovely kind of cat and so on and all that. We had squirrels and other people had rabbits; we never had rabbits, but I never liked rabbits as much as cats, they’re not so comfortable. You can’t make the kinds of pets out of them that you can with a cat. They’re not so cozy.
Well, you were telling us about…
Well, I wasn’t so awfully athletic, actually. I was mostly well, canoeing and sailing a boat and things like that, and swimming and dancing. Swimming and dancing were my two things, otherwise I couldn’t possibly play tennis and I was no kind of a golfer and anything like that. I was no good at that sort of thing. It was just mostly boat and canoes and stuff.