The newest page in my ABC’s of Alice journal is called “I is for Ignuts.”
As you can probably imagine, the letter I isn’t exactly the easiest letter for an ABC book. However, I’m quite fortunate that my grandmother happened to own not one, but three cats with the name Ignuts! And so this page is all about them!
Actually, it was Grandpa Mike who came up with this rather unusual name. His ancestors had emigrated to the United States from East Prussia, which was located in present-day Poland. During his childhood, he heard relatives speaking Polish to each other and learned the language from them. My father and aunt have both reported that a large number of Polish words and idioms were part of Mike’s vocabulary, and evidently the name Ignuts was a take on the masculine Polish name Ignatz, which was likely a shortened form of Ignacy. The way Dad explains it, the rest of the family wasn’t crazy about the Polish spelling of the name, so they chose to spell it phonetically.
The three cats, who lived at the home at different times, were known as Ignuts I, Ignuts II, and Ignuts III. They were all long-haired male Persians with black and white coloring, and each of them were treated like royalty. In the vintage photo on this page, my aunt is holding one of the cats; it was taken in spring 1962 on the occasion of my dad’s high school graduation.
The three Ignutses were mostly indoor cats, but they also took advantage of every opportunity to spend time outdoors. One of them enjoyed sneaking out the back door to find dead birds and mice, and bringing them into the house as “gifts” for Grandma Alice, Grandpa Mike, and the kids. Another Ignuts frequently escaped the house and yard for days so that he could “socialize” with female cats all over the neighborhood (the neighbors were none too pleased about this!). At one point, an entire litter of this casanova’s progeny turned up on my grandparents’ doorstep. According to family lore, this same individual once left the neighborhood altogether and had to be retrieved from the back lot of a bar on Broadway in downtown Sheboygan Falls, where he’d been shacking up with his lady friend and their kittens.
My mom got the chance to get acquainted with Ignuts III when she first started dating my dad. She’d grown up with dogs and cats, but wasn’t a huge fan of felines. They apparently made her very nervous. When this Ignuts became fascinated by her long hair and attempted to smell it, she really freaked out and never allowed him near her again. Needless to say, cats were not allowed in our house when I was a kid. (We ended up with guinea pigs, which were a sort of compromise between my parents. Dad loves them because they purr just like kittens when they’re happy! 😉 )
This page was created on a background of black gesso and stamped white gesso, and contains patterned paper, ephemera, Washi tape, stamps, pigment ink, a heart stencil, a paper doily, a die-cut tag, a piece of canvas trim, rub-ons, stickers, a date stamp, and a vintage photo.
Hope you are all having a wonderful week! We’ll see you soon!