We are Siameeiz if you pleeiz,
we are Siameeiz if you don't please.
We are former residents of Siam,
there are no finer cats than we am.*
When I was a child, our family used to visit my father's cousin in the San Fernando Valley in southern California. Although he shared my father's New England blue collar background, Buddy (his family nickname) had started out writing for radio, hitchhiked to Hollywood as a young man, and worked his way up to being a screenwriter for some of the Alfred Hitchcock movies.** When Buddy was still at the starving artist stage my father treated him to many a meal, and he never forgot the favor when later his star rose and my dad remained a tow truck driver.
Well! I have to tell you that visiting with Buddy was just about the most glamorous thing that us kids had ever done. He lived in a house that had once been owned by one of the Beach Boys (scream!), and it was just down the road from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ranch! His house had a swimming pool, a guest house, and I'm pretty sure there was a cleaning lady somewhere. Heady stuff, indeed!
Buddy might have known plenty of big names in Hollywood, but for us little kids, it was his ownership of the Siamese cats, Ting and Ling, that gave him a place in our hearts. Those cats, fairly rare at the time, were just plain weird with their crooked tails and crossed eyes and their strange caterwauling. They would terrorize us by appearing in places where we didn't expect them, like up on top of the fridge, where they would rise up shrieking like manic babies. We adored them and I vowed to have a pair of Siamese of my own when I grew up.
And I did. Sometimes I have even had more than two.
*The Siamese Cat Song from the Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp. Written by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke.
**Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much