Memories of Scratchy

by TeLeni Koochin

I knew I always wanted to be a mom. Growing up in a family with seven children, I never saw life complete any other way. Even being a parent this long, I can still feel sometimes like I’m just playing  house— especially when I hear the clothes dryer going, the lawn mover humming outside, or the smell of mop water as I’m cleaning floors.

I’ve learned parenthood is just an endless experience of reflection on your own growing up years. What a powerful learning board that becomes. We watch and listen to our kids, and see all the parallels we once experienced ourselves as a child. Pets, for example. How I desperately,  desperately I wanted a pet as a kid. Who knows how many times I cried over that one. And here I am now watching one of my sons go through those same emotions.

I was lucky though. I lived on a farm and now and then could find a stray animal that I could pretend was mine. There were a couple of cats that my sister and I found just that way. One we appropriately named Scratchy, most likely because it never was completely tame and would scratch us when we’d try to pick it up. One evening we found Scratchy very badly hurt and brought him into the house. My Dad very carefully told us that the cat was bleeding inside and that it wasn’t going to get better. Our tears came down and we cried like little girls do over our little friend. Dad helped us understand that it wasn’t fair to let him suffer, so we watched him carry it outside.

My dad was a wonderful father and hard-working farmer. I remember being invited to walk on his back after his many long hours sitting on a tractor or combine. There was this very tender side to him that I always admired and linked us together.

When he came back into the house after carrying Scratchy out, his eyes were as red as ours and the tears were coming down his face. He didn’t have to say anything. He just held us and we just all cried together. As the years have gone by, I’ve come to understand that moment better. My father’s tears were not because he loved the cat, they were because he loved us.

So, my son may not have his puppy yet, but for now…I’ll enjoy sharing his life with him while he’s still a boy…being his friend, being his Mom.

Family Life

There are many true stories to be shared in this FEET UP CHRONICLES series for B! adult readers about family life. Please return for more! If you have a true story of your own, please send it to!