Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mr Philip & Miz Husslebud

Still reeling from the Memorial Day crowds around my stretch of beach, Tuesday was a stay at home lay around kind of day, a time for me to do a little more toward putting the unordered piles of old photographs into a shape a little less random and scattered. Really don’t like to do too much of that because a personal preference nags me to leave some of the randomness to those old pictures, an order that is closer to life and to my eyes at least, more interesting. So, at the end of the day my shuffling and juggling was like a good new haircut—not too noticeable.

A long time ago I had two cats. Though at separate times, both joined the household in New York, followed me to California some years later, and after long well-spent lives went to sleep under neighboring fruit trees in the backyard—Philip under an orange tree, Husselbud under blooming apricots. No question it’s a sad experience to say goodbye to longtime pets, but in both cases the end came easy and not many could call it premature. After that I never had another cat. I moved to Japan soon afterward and…well, the thought just never occurred to me to acquire another pet.

The best moments of my picture jumble yesterday came with the nineteen different cat photos that came to the surface in different stacks. In each of those photos were so many details apart from the cats and their personalities, and for a while there I enjoyed recalling rooms, objects, window frames, verandas and the small hints of home revealed in each one. So, let me try and not bore you too much with a montage of Mr Philip and Miz Husselbud at home in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

This is a shot of the two cuddled in a winter coat on the sofa, circa 1975, in the Charles Street apartment, Greenwich Village. Husselbud, the red point Siamese is on the left, and big ‘brother’ Philip, a solid white tomcat is on the right. This shows another case of Husselbud over-grooming Philip and ultimately driving him away. There is another shot taken a minute later that shows Philip leaping away and Husselbud reaching out to hold him back.

Squeezed in between bottle and glass, Husslebud seems focused on the ice cubes but more likely it’s something Philip is doing across the room. Another of those late nights in New York when sirens from the Sixth Precinct wailed and people sat on fire escapes watching the street action below.

Handsome Philip posed on the bedroom carpet just off the edge of the bed. Not quite as approachable as Husslebud, he never did shy away from cameras.

This is my favorite of the bunch, a shot of the two sitting in the dining room window at Beachwood Drive, Los Angeles, looking out onto the veranda, 2,500 miles away from their New York apartment. These were the days the two discovered the outdoors and liked to spend most of the time outside exploring. Philip was good about coming home, but the Siamese was always brought home by neighbors.

Husselbud half dozing on a kitchen shelf in Hollywood. Like most cats, she liked high perches to sit and survey her surroundings. Philip was probably outside in the garden dozing in a patch of sun.

By this time long used to his new surroundings and the occasional movie star drive-by, Philip is on his way down the veranda stairs and for some reason collarless. But like I said, he always came home at a reasonable hour.


  1. Beautiful animals, those. Had my share of dogs but there's something about the sometimes standoffishness of cats that is appealing. And cliche, yes, there is some mystery associated with them--especially with those long often thoughtful looking stares. Been said before but to spend one of several reincarnated lives as a cat wouldn't be such a bad thing.

  2. Love your cats and was delighted to remember Mr. Philip and Miz Husslebud. Gosh....that seemed ages ago and it was! This was a lovely nostalgic post and very good pictures. Makes one want to reach out and stroke the cats.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America