Missy the Kitten, Stuck in the Tree

I have often lamented the fact that the Passaic (New Jersey) Herald News is so inaccessible. My family lived there from 1892 until 1963 and I know there were numerous mentions of social events in the newspaper. The problem is that, although the newspaper has been microfilmed, it is only available at the Passaic Public Library and the Clifton Public Library. Neither will send the film out on inter-library loan.

That means for those who want to browse the issues, like me, that hiring a researcher is not only cost-prohibitive, they wouldn’t know what they were looking for since I would be looking for many familiar names.

I remember way, way back in the summer of 1962, my cat, Missy, climbed a tree in front of our house and she couldn’t get back down. I also remembered that a childhood friend, Howard Matson, called the Herald News and they printed the story in the paper. At one point in my life, I had saved the story clipping, but it is long gone after many moves.

Recently, Howard and I reconnected on social media. His mother, Rita, and my mom, Doris (or Dee, as she liked to be called) were best friends for many years. Both are now gone, but their friendship and the fact that they lived across the street from each other for years meant that Howard and his sister, Lenore, and I spent many days playing together.

Guess what! Howard still has the news clipping about Missy and he shared it with me. Unfortunately, I have no photos of Missy to share with you.

MissyStuckintheTreePassaicAbt1962
Cat Stuck in Tree!

Boy Retrieves Cat
As Others Refuse

PASSAIC – Howard Matson, 11, is a hero to Linda Sabo, 9, today.
Matson, of 38 Summer St., found Linda, of 49 Summer St., in distress yesterday.
Linda’s 3-month-old yellow kitten was high in an elm tree in front of her home. The fire department was not interested. The SPCA was not interested, Howard said.
Howard and a neighbor, using the neighbor’s ladder, went up. The kitten went up. Howard went up. The kitten went up.
The elm was tall.
Howard finally collared the climbing cat, descended, and delivered the pet to the owner.

I distinctly remember we had a good laugh over this article and the errors in it. I was 10, not 9. Missy wasn’t yellow, she was white with black spotting and I’m not sure she was only 3 months old. The tree wasn’t an elm, it was a maple.

Plus, reading this as an adult, I love the sophisticated writing style: “The kitten went up. Howard went up. The kitten went up.” It sounds like the reporter learned to read with Dick and Jane.

In spite of all that, I am so happy that Howard still had this great news story. Even if I had access to those microfilms, I would have spent a long time reading page by page looking for this story.

So, Howard, thank you for sharing and thank you for saving Missy all those years ago.

3 thoughts on “Missy the Kitten, Stuck in the Tree”

  1. What a great story and wonderful you were able to retrieve a copy from an old family friend.

    There’s always a way to stand on a crate and climb that tree!

  2. Aww, how awesome that Howard still had that article. What a fun memory – plus, it goes to show that even “back in the day,” journalists didn’t always get the details right! 🙂

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