A childhood ditty by Betty Hertenstein, professional editor and sister to J.R. Hardin:

Mother was always a very social being. She took part in many women’s organizations, and occasionally hosted them, though this was rare because she had four rather lively children. You will understand more of her reluctance to hostess activities at our house as I relate this story.

On one of the times that Mom held a luncheon for her garden club, my younger brother Gene and I were at home. However, Mom had told us that we were to stay out of the living and dining area where the ladies were. Not only were we not to be seen; we were also not to be heard. We were not at all pleased with this situation and felt we should somehow protest – but how?

Resigned, we decided to find a way to occupy our time. Not only did Mom have four unruly kids, her kids had a dozen or more cats. The cats mostly stayed outdoors under our house, but we often brought would bring a few in at times to play with them. So, Gene and I brought a couple of kittens into my bedroom to quietly occupy our time during the luncheon.

Now, I’m not quite sure at what point in the afternoon the idea occurred to me, but when it did, I knew it was the thing to do. You see, my bedroom door was made of glass panes with sheers to give me more privacy. It opened into the living room. As luck or misfortune, depending on your perspective, would have it, one of the glass panes had been broken and not yet repaired.

As the unsuspecting ladies began to enjoy the lovely luncheon Mom had prepared, they noticed a kitten walking around the living room. Then another one appeared. When Mom finally saw them, she promptly put them out. But, as she went about her hostessing duties, more and more cats and kittens kept showing up.

Well, it took her awhile, but she finally realized that Gene and I were shoving the little pets through the open pane of my bedroom door. As we ran out of felines, we hurried to the backyard and gathered up more to keep the procession going—until, of course, Mom put a stop to it all. I’ve obviously blotted the memory of our punishment from my mind, because I don’t remember what happened after that. Knowing Mom, it was not pretty.

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