When I in 4th grade, my brothers, my mother, and I moved into the YWCA in St. Joseph, Missouri. The house that we had been living in was infested with snakes. I do not know what kind that they were, only that they were venomous. I only know that, because they killed most of our cats. Actually, most of them were kittens. And, it was very painful to watch them die.
The first victim was my kitten, Mimi. She liked to meow a lot, so I called her, “Screamin’ Mimi”, which was the name of a popular toy at the time, just spelled differently. Mimi had become a victim when she attacked a snake that was under the table that my mother was sitting at. I don’t know if the snake would have bit my mother, because it never got the chance. Mimi killed the snake and survived. But, during the fight, something happened to Mimi’s eye.
Over the next few days, Mimi’s eye started to get larger. We were very poor and had little money as it was, but given the situation and her heroic act, we took her to the vet. The vet said that he had to remove her eye or she would die. So, we had them do it. Given what was about to happen to her litter-mates, it was a small price to pay.
About a week later, my older brother, Curtis, found Cory Kitten on the floor in the kitchen, crying and not able to move. He was orange and white, and was the one who ran around the most. We named him after this kid at school, who was a red-head and could not sit still. We did not know what happened, but thought it may be that he was just sick. So, Curtis swaddled him into a towel and had him sleep with him that night. By morning, Cory Kitten was dead.
Within a few days of Cory Kitten’s death, we found two more kittens, in the house, in the same shape as Cory Kitten, unable to move. Like Cory Kitten, they both died by the next morning. We knew something was wrong, but did not know what. Over the next few days, with the exception on Mimi, the remaining kittens either died or went missing. Finally, we found the kitten’s mother behind the couch, dead. The only cat alive was Mimi.
It was not normal for our mom to pick us up from school. So, when she showed up, we did not know what to think, especially since she had Mimi in the car with her. I don’t remember exactly how it happened or what she exactly said, but she let us know that our house was infested and that we could not go home. All we had was what was the clothes we wore to school that day.
Due to the circumstances, the YWCA let us keep Mimi. We missed about a week of school while we got settled in. Members of the Frazier Church helped get some of our clothes and belongings from the house. We had to wait outside while they would pick-up items with pitch forks, shake them out, then drop them outside, on the lawn.
I can’t remember how long we stayed at the YWCA, but I know that I was still in 5th grade when we left and ended up moving from Missouri. All of our belongings were packed into a U-Haul carrier on the top of the car. We never got the chance to ever step foot in that house again.
To this day, if I see a snake in the wild, I will kill it. Living in Washington state, we don’t get many snakes, so I have not had the opportunity. I’ve only been able to kill one of the three that I found. There’s not a lot of things in this world that I can say that I hate with a passion, but snakes are one of those things.