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Jumper and Jason

Life Story Club Contributor

Subway station, New York; 1966

I always wanted pets but my parents never let me have any. Finally I got my first cat [many years later] and his name was Jason. He came from Brooklyn Heights, already named. That first day, when I went to pick him up, I didn’t have a carrier and he was scared to death. I had to take him on the subway from Brooklyn Heights all the way to Inwood.

Jason was so loving. I didn’t have any children then but when I had my daughter, I heard you shouldn’t have animals together with your babies. When I was home, I would put my daughter on a blanket on the carpet, and he would sit in one of the corners like he was babysitting or guarding her.

I got a second cat when my daughter saw one up for adoption at a fruit stand. I told my daughter, “I don’t know if we can keep it because your father might object.” She didn’t come with a name, so we named her Jumper. Turns out, I named her very aptly.

I thought at first that Jumper and Jason were going to kill each other. I was working at the time, so I kept Jumper locked up in the bathroom during the day because she was little. But then they became like siblings and used to chase each other around. Jason was like her parent and would groom her. Both cats liked to hide, but I discovered one day when I was singing this song, Jumper would come running out. And I subsequently discovered that whenever I would sing, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” or, “We are marching to Pretoria,” she would come running out from wherever she was. I wouldn’t know where she was but if I would sing, she would come running. 

Jason and Jumper would hide whenever my ex-husband would come home around 3:30 in the afternoon. When they would hear him in the hall, they would go hiding under the furniture. And they were very accurate because he was abusive. Later on, my ex-husband threw Jumper out of the window, and thank goodness she survived and was alive. We lived on the fourth floor, and you can imagine how happy I was that she lived. 

Cats like fish and meat, but Jumper also loved spices. One day I had a box of falafel mix in my pantry and it fell out onto the floor. And she was rolling around in it like she was in seventh heaven.

One more thing about Jason that I will always remember. My father was not really a loving person, but when I got Jason, my father was the only one home and used to feed Jason. After my father died, Jason did not eat for three days.

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