Track Home Jungle

Like any proper family in the city, we gave up a small 2-bedroom apartment for the burbs. We moved to Riverside, CA on this new housing development. This houses screamed architectural conformity, since they all looked the same. These architectural gems were two stories with large front/backyards & the ultimate in suburban luxury, a two-car garage.

Our newly built house sat on the foothills of the mountain. In the summer, they were brown & rugged. In the winter, it looked like Scotland, rolling with greenery & grey skies. One of the advantages of growing up in a track home was space. I had a vivid imagination & loved animals. Any chance, I received was the basis for persuading my parents to buy me a pet.

I nagged my parents till I got my way. They bought me a large fish tank & it was decorated a vivid colorful parade of fish. Unfortunately, for my parents I developed an interest in more furry animals. Thanks to all those Peter Rabbit books, I asked for a bunny. My dad bought me two beautiful bunnies. They were always pooping & mom had to hold herself from not screaming.

Our house was turning into a modest zoo. I loved every moment. My dad brought home two kittens. I would sneak the cats into the house, scaring my great grandma. One day, both cats ran away & came back looking portly. My mom figured they were pregnant. Soon, we had rabbits, baby kittens & a family of fish.

My mom asked one day “Sure you don’t want to send the rabbits back to the wild?” I pondered the question; I did have my hands full the kittens. I agreed to send them into the wilderness, thanks to this special animal service my mom called.

The rabbits were soon replaced by a lizard & turtle, which my dad picked up for me at the pet store. My pets ate well. I tended to them, but my family was feeling overwhelmed with coming home to a zoo. One day, when I came home from school, I noticed all the kittens were gone. There was one white kitten meowing back at me. I screamed & ran indoors.

My mom & grandma had given the kittens away at the local supermarket. Grandma even made special bows, so they would appear extra cute. I eventually gave the two big cats to our neighbors. The lizard died & the turtle was also sent to (you guessed it) the wild.

After an era of pets, I gave up track home living for cramped New York apartment living. Therefore, the thought of starting my own zoo in a bedroom the size of a walk in closet didn’t sound tempting. However, I give my parents props for nurturing my eccentricities.

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