Belinski #14

I was organizing some boxes of old photos earlier this week, and came across so many pictures of a trio of truly remarkable puddy cats who’ve lived with me over the years. My first cat (as a bona fide grown up) was the horrid, penis-hating Brandy (see Blog #5, The Suicide Note), but the less said about that the better. Her slicing and dicing of all earth men got her a one-way plane ticket to my parent’s ranch in 1977; hundreds of acres to roam seemed to improve her personality enormously. Despite her evil ways, I found myself yearning for another puddy cat, so, for my 25th birthday, I gave myself permission to begin the search for a rescue cat. All I required was that he or she be an adult with a fairly mellow personality. After weeks of looking I still hadn’t found the “right” one; sounds somewhat like dating, yes? Late one night I got a call from the superintendent of a neighboring building. “Miss, I gotta cat here you might wanna take a look at, big guy from the sounds coming from the box. Somebody moved out and left him in a box in the basement; it’s yours if you want it.” I raced over with high hopes and cat carrier in hand, just in case.

My Polish Prince

There he was, all backed into the corner of a huge moving box, trying to make his 20ish pounds look considerably smaller. I thought it was decent of his previous owners to at least write his name on the box so that I’d know what to call him. In big, bold, black letters was the name BELINSKI. What do you know? I was suddenly the proud owner of a Polish cat. Visually he was unremarkable, your garden variety grey tabby with white chest and feet. When I got him back to my apartment he took off under my bed and I didn’t set eyes on him again for three weeks. He must have slunk out to eat, pray, and poop while I was asleep. Well, apparently I passed the background check he had run on me, because he soon emerged and became the most loving lap dog ever.

 He went everywhere with me and was one cool customer. That cat accompanied me for drinks at the Oak Bar in The Plaza, vacationed with me in the Hamptons and Shelter Island, and adored being on a train. Nothing ever spooked him. He had three very odd quirks, however. That cat loved peach ice cream and white wine, not necessarily at the same time. You had to watch him like a hawk at dinner parties because he’d swoop down on guests’ wine glasses and start lapping away. Did I mention he only had one tooth when I met him? He also loved stuffed green olives and would spend a whole day chasing them around the apartment, and when his fun was over, he’d eat that sucker, all covered with lint and dust balls. Yum!

It occurred to me some time after adopting him that the name on the box had probably been the surname of his previous owners and not his name after all. But he was cool with it, and never voiced an objection. He passed away peacefully at a very advanced old age. I walked around NYC for months with a huge gaping hole in my heart; I never thought I’d stop crying for my buddy, but then one day who should wander into my life but a gentleman named Criggly. More about that fellow next time.

You may notice you haven’t heard any bitching and moaning about my epic struggles with technology lately. I do believe I am coming out on top of this situation. The next big test is to attempt a complete overhaul of this blog’s header. If you see a big change soon, you’ll know it went well.  Conversely, if you hear a deep primal scream….

Back to March 1975. Somehow (the details elude me), I got into the studio of a very famous photographer and he agreed to do test shots for me. I don’t know how I pulled that miracle off, and really couldn’t believe my good fortune. So what does this genius yours truly do on this day? I Afro’d my hair! I think the Mother Ship must have landed on my roof the night before and force fed me Stupid Juice. Please see the disastrous result below.

Lil ol nappy headed me

Goodness knows, I can’t blame the photographer for this poor result; he shot the majority of Harper’s Bazaar covers at that time and did fabulous work. No, the only arse I had to kick for this wasted day would be my own, yet strangely, this shoot with this well-known photographer would be one of the three events that interlaced to launch my career to a whole new level. Stay tuned.

One thought on “Belinski #14

  1. Belinski reminds me of my cat named Tiger, also a rescue – from the Humane Society. Not sure if he ended up there as the result of his owner leaving him behind in a box. (Who does that?!) I’d love to hold Tiger as you are in your photos with Belinski, but I would risk having my eyes scratched out. And I wish he’d be a lap dog, too. Instead, he prefers to sit on the arm of my chair having his chin scratched forEVER. Cramps my blogging style, as it’s tough for me to type with one hand!

    Anyhoo, this is turning into a long comment, and your post reminded me of a novelette of a post I did about my cats. You might enjoy reading it, especially since it references the Algonquin cat – I’m wondering if, with your NYC “roots” (I think the ‘fro looks great, and mistook you for Twiggy!), you’d ever heard of Matilda?…inny-chin-chin/

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