There were once two rather naughty girls.
When my friend Bella and I were around eleven years old, we were into secrets in a big way. We both decided that we wanted a secret pet even though we both already had a cat each and my family already had a spaniel dog. However, we wanted to keep a pet that no one else knew about. We decided on a couple of mice!
We planned our venture down to the last detail. I had a cardboard box and I made some air holes in it. I smuggled a piece of my brother's railway line out of his room and tied it into the box to make a little staircase for the mice to exercise on. We then put in a small dish of water and some seed for them to eat.
We collected our pocket money and went quite a long way to a pet shop taking a jam jar with us. It must have been a Saturday.
The man in the pet shop told us that there were two mice left. There was a white one, which I really wanted, and a brown one. Bella bagged the white one and I disappointedly accepted the brown one.
The pet shop man told us they were a shilling each! (five pence in todays money). He didn't ask us if we knew anything about keeping mice or if our parents had agreed. Nor did he say what sex the mice were.
He put the mice in the jam jar and off we set to Bella's home where the box was already in place in the spare bedroom.
We popped the new pets into their cardboard box and I left for home as Bella had to go down for tea.
The following Monday, my friend informed me that her mother was furious with me and was going to ring my mother that morning. Her cat had suddenly decided to frantically want to go into the spare bedroom and Bella's mother couldn't understand why and went to investigate.
The cat unfortunately killed my brown mouse and the white one had got into a chest of drawers and had peed on the clean bed linen and had started to chew things up. My friend's mother was really annoyed because they were expecting guests from America and they had got the room clean and now everything had to be washed from out of the chest of drawers.
I knew my mother would go over the top with punishing me. She always did, so I went home in great fear. I had thought of running away.
When I got home I was pounced on and my mother didn't let up from ranting and raving for hours.
All Bella got was a short lecture and she had to pay for a wooden mouse house with a glass front, from pocket money for the white mouse, which cost 12/6d. (About 61p) which was a lot of money to find in those days, for a child.
I felt sorry for myself for days afterwards because I hadn't wanted the brown mouse in the first place and now the cat had eaten it and it had cost me a shilling. On top of this, Bella's mother told my Mum that I was a bad influence and I got into far more trouble than she did.
Bella eventually married an American man and has been living in USA for years. We still keep in touch though and occasionally laugh about the antics that we got up to as children.