Last weekend, mothers across the country received flowers, dinner and maybe even a little time to themselves. Begun in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation that officially established the first national Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May is a treasured tradition.
The mothering spirit is not limited to humans, however.
CVW reader Pat Kerr recently shared a story of a mother who she thought needed to be recognized. The story was first introduced to Montrose residents years ago when it was placed in the window of Peet Stationers, a store that a one time graced Honolulu Avenue. It was story she had read in the New York Daily News on April 7, 1996 but, being a cat loving person, Pat thought it would be a perfect Mother’s Day reminder of what “mom” means.
In New York in 1996, a stray shorthaired nameless cat with five kittens was in a garage that had become engulfed in flames. NY City Fire Department Company 175 responded and soon had the blaze under control. David Giannelli, one of the firefighters, heard the cries of the kittens. He found them outside the building. Each kitten’s burns were progressively worse. It was clear to Giannelli that the kittens had been taken out of the flames, one-by-one, by their mother. She keeled over in pain in a nearby vacant lot, her eyelids swollen shut from the smoke, the pads of her feet badly burned and her face scorched. North Shore Animal League arrived and administered medical assistance.
The mama cat was named Scarlett because the burns on her skin were scarlet in color.
As the story of Scarlett began to spread, more then 6,000 people from as far away as Japan, the Netherlands and South Africa called to inquire of the cat’s condition. About 1,500 people offered to give her and her kittens a home.
The story of a mother who would walk through fire to save her children touched the hearts of people around the world and reminded all of how powerful a mother’s love can be.