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Monologue by Miriam Funderburk

Funderburk, Miriam
Funderburk, Sarah
Date of Interview: 
Childhood adventures; Stories and storytellers
Miriam Funderburk talks about her children and their cats and the night one cat was killed by pit bulls and relating that to Christ.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Sarah Funderburk interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
MF (Miriam Funderburk): Hello. This is Mimi Funderburk. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina and I'm 54 years old. My father is a Baptist Minister and we moved here when I was about two, I believe, and I've been in North Carolina ever since. I thought I would tell you a story today about an instance that happened in our first home. We had two small children, Matthew and Sarah, and I think Matthew was probably about two and a half and Sarah was well, she was a newborn but I think this incident happened when she was about one and Matthew was probably three, but we had decided the children wanted to have some pets and so we went out looking one day and decided we wanted to get one cat or one kitten. But as we went looking of course, one turned into two because we found two that just had to stay together so we decided to get both of them. So the home that we were living in at that time had a screened inside porch so it was just, it was perfect for kittens. And so that's where they stayed in the, uh, especially when the weather was nice and when it wasn't we'd let them into the house. But the children just loved the kittens and of course, we didn't realize when we bought them that one was a male and one was a female. So of course they mated. Well, the children Matthew and Sarah were delighted that Whiskers and Maggie were going to have kittens. So this was the process that we followed all, the whole time that, uh, was going on as Maggie was pregnant with these kittens. But then finally came the day that she had them and of course both the children were there and watching her give birth to these kittens and I think, if I remember correctly, I think she had about nine. So it was a real exciting time and she had them right there on the screened inside porch. And so it was, it was a lot of fun watching her with these kittens. And so then the time came that we had to get rid of most of them but I, we did decide, Sam and I decided we would let the children keep one of them. So they had a hard time deciding which one they wanted to keep but they did make the decision and then we gave the rest of them away. Well the story that I'm going to talk about is one night, uh, after this little kitten had grown a little bit and Maggie and Whiskers were the Mom and Pop on the side porch with the kitten. We were all in bed one night. Sarah was in here bed in her room and Matt in his and Sam and I were just about to drift off and all of a sudden we heard this horrible racket and we didn't know what had happened. We didn't know if someone was breaking into the house or just what was going on because it sounded like the, it sounded like part of the house was falling off. It was just really strange. So, of course Sam bounded out of bed and I was right behind him. He didn't have a flashlight but I grabbed a flashlight and he was running down the hall running into everything. So we got into the living room and trying to decide if it was somebody breaking in or what was going on but as he got into the living room, he realized that it was something happening on the side porch, the screened in porch. So he, he couldn't see to get the key to open to unlock the door so I shined the light for him and finally got out there and he realized that there was something after the cats. So he comes running back into the house and he says, "It's, it's pit bulls. They've, they've cut a hole in the screen and they're, they've got Whiskers in their mouth." So Sam grabs a piece of wood because we had a fireplace at that time and he grabs a piece of wood and he goes out the screen door. Well by now the dogs see him and they're fearing for their life but one of them had Whiskers, the male cat in his mouth and he ran back out the screen hole that he had dug. And so Sam comes flying through the house and says, "He's got him. He's got him," and he goes out the front door with this piece of wood chasing this dog, this big pit bull dog that had Whiskers in his mouth. Well, he's screaming and remember it's the middle of the night, so he's screaming and so finally the pit bull drops Whiskers on the ground and Sam runs over and of course Whiskers is dead his neck had been broken. Well, Sam was just livid and he still didn't know what had happened to Maggie and the little kitten. So he runs back out to the screen porch and finds Maggie and the little kitten had climbed all the way to the top around the ceiling and they are still holding on to the screen for dear life. Well, by now with all this commotion the children were awake. Matthew and Sarah were up and they were running up and down the halls with their eyes just wide open, "What's going on Mom? What's going on?" Well, I didn't know what was going on because I saw my husband heading for the rifle. So I'm trying to comfort the children and find out from my husband what he is doing and what he's going to do. Well by now, you don't know my husband but he was just, he was angry and of course we were all upset but he was mad because this dog had broken into our screened in porch and had frightened the cats and now had killed one. So off he goes and he says, "I'm going to get him." So he goes out the front door jumps in his truck and off he goes. Well there I stand in the middle of the night with two crying children looking up at me with their big eyes and not knowing what in the world was going on. So at that time Matthew, our oldest child and I say oldest but he was just three, he had a couch in his bedroom. He had a pretty good sized bedroom in this old house that we lived in. And he had one of our older couches in there because he liked to kind of sit on it and pretend that it was his little apartment. So I said, "OK, children. Let's go in here and sit in Matt's room until Daddy comes home and we will, I will talk to you about this." And I didn't really know how to tell them that Whiskers was gone. Although Maggie and the kitten were safe, Whiskers was gone and he was the daddy and they were looking to me for an answer as to why this had happened and what we were going to do about it and they really didn't know that Whiskers was gone yet. So, I went in there and sat them down and here are these two little kids sitting there looking at me like Mama has all the answers and I just, I didn't know what to do but I knew that I had to tell them something. And I didn't want to lie to them I wanted to tell them the truth. So all of us attend church and we're all Christians and so I decided to relate it to what Christ did in our lives, that Christ came to earth and was crucified for our salvation. So I explained to them that, I knew that this, that this way they could understand it because they knew all about Christ and what he had done for us at Calvary. So I sat there and I told them that these two pit bulls had come in the screen door and they had attacked Maggie and Whiskers, and Whiskers being the daddy he had gone after them like the hero of the story and he had saved Maggie and the little kitten but in doing that he had given his life and so that now he was gone. Well, as children would they accepted it but of course they cried but they accepted it as what it was and I remember that, Matt looking at me and, with tears in his eyes and he said, "Mom, Whiskers is a hero isn't he?" And I said, "Yes he is Matt." I said, "He gave his life for his family." And he said, "Well that was what he was supposed to do." And I said, "Yeah, that was what he was supposed to do." So that was just, um, uh, gratefully Sam did not find him that night because I don't know if I would have had to gotten him out of jail but he did come home and we did hear about later that that week we heard those same pit bulls had broken into a home and had, had really, uh, hurt another cat that had to have major surgery. But finally we were able, with some legal help and what not, to get the pit bulls out of the neighborhood because that was a very bad experience for us. Um, but that's just an experience that we had in our home on Chestnut Avenue here in Charlotte North Carolina. Thanks for listening.