The Miracle of Life

August 1, 1975
I took the Blackford girls home on Monday. When we were leaving Davis for Palo Alto, I commented on how the rat, Snowy, would probably have her babies any time now. So Jeri decided to bring he rats with us and what with the rats, Tavie and Dana's hamster, four suitcases and all the sleeping bags, there was hardly any room in the car for five kids! However, it proved to be a good idea that we brought Snowy because when we got back from our picnic, she was in the middle of giving birth. She had two babies when we first checked her and the girls watched her through giving birth to the other eleven. Jeri couldn't take it and left, but curiosity finally drove her back and she, I think, found it interesting. I watched the birth of #12. Poor Snowy was having a hard time getting him out and was wandering around the cage with this squirming baby half in and half out. At one point she just collapsed in a corner and lay there looking exhausted. The kids and I (and the 15 rats) drove home Tuesday night.
August 12, 1975
Jeri found one of the baby rats dead this afternoon. They had taken them all out and put them on her bed and this one must have become separated from the rest and did not get put back. He had to have been there for about 3 hours and I guess the length of separation was too much for him. Jeri was upset and they lovingly made a coffin for him out of the top of a flash card box. Jeri wrapped the baby in toilet paper and they tied a top, which Ned made, onto the box. Jeri wrote in big letters "Cuddles R.I.P" on the box and Colleen added the date. Jeri gave him several kisses before closing the top to the box. Paul suggested just feeding him to the cat, but they decided it would be better to bury him.

After the burial, Jeri went and collected a bouquet of flowers. Then she told me that she knew that she had to cry, so she had let her tears fall onto the box. Now they are making a stone marker for the grave.

 


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