Sunday, June 03, 2007
I find the Town Mouse and Country Mouse reference amusing because Friday I was sorting through some old books and was trying to decide if I could bear to part with a couple of Town Mouse and Country Mouse stories I enjoyed reading to them. I have always been fond of rodents, so I have a lot of mouse story books. This comes of having had rats as pets when I was a kid. I know most people shudder when I say this, but rats are charming animals. I agree the tail is a little unaesthetic but they have lovely personalities. Really, they do!
I am having trouble parting with the toys, books and clothing of their babyhood and toddlerhood as if I would be throwing out the memories as well as giving away the evidence. I am slowly releasing items bit by bit but still find it hard.
If I have a child in particular to pass them on to it becomes a bit easier. For example, recently I met my cousin’s twin daughters and had the pleasure of passing on to them some baby clothes my grandmother (and his) had given to my first born.
My grandmother would have liked that. She made her living working in the wholesale children’s clothing business. When I was a child, she would send me boxes of clothing samples for my birthday. On my birthday we would open my box and I would be required to model my new clothes for the family. I remember going to the “mart” with my grandmother once and being allowed to pick out a dress for myself. It was hard to find my size and something I liked among the rows of plastic covered clothing.
This has nothing to do with town and country except for the original association. In reality, I am definitely a town mouse. When I think of the cities I have lived in, they are all big or moderate sized cities. I don’t count suburbs as separate in this accounting. My “homes” were in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago. Then there were 6 months in a suburb of Paris during college. College itself was at Stanford. I guess that is a bit small town but college is different anyway.
My Tuscan vacation was the closest I’ve been to true rural living and it was vacation, not real life. Growing up, the “country” was something we drove through on the way to the wilderness. Farms and fields were the man-made scenery one had to endure before arriving at the mountains, forests or ocean of our destination. A few years ago, we stayed at a B & B on a working dairy farm. I had to explain to my kids that yes, cows are smelly and we would just have to live with it. I guess I’m raising “town mice” of my own. But at least my kids know that milk comes from an animal and not a grocery store.