Moggies, then and now
I’ve spent the last six and a half months taking the same drive to work almost every day. It’s picturesque – a winding back road, past creeks, over rivers, and through landscape that ranges from stark cedars on bare rock to lush pastures with contentedly grazing cows. Every day, I’ve passed the same red brick cottage, and every day, I’ve smiled at the sign they have on their side lawn.
“Moggie”, it says – white letters on a green background. In the spring, they have flowers attached to the base of the sign. I’ve been touched to picture the type of cat loving ex pats who’d have to gone to such lengths to display their devotion to their pets. ‘Moggie’, for anyone in Great Britain, is affectionate slang for ‘cat’ – non pedigreed cats, in particular.
From About.Com –
Definition: Noun.Term used in Great Britain to describe a domestic non-pedigreed cat. Also used as an affectionate term for “stray” cats.
Also Known As: stray, alley cat
My favorite “breed” of cats is the Moggie.
It took me until last week before I realized that their sign had absolutely nothing to do with cats – a fact I realized only when I finally noticed this tiny cemetary, tucked away at the side of the road a few hundred yards from the Moggie sign I’d been admiring.
Turns out Moggie was another one of Ontario’s lost villages – early settlements that had just slowly vanished, absorbed into larger towns, or simply disappearing when the small schools and churches had ceased to exist. Moggie is marked now by three things only – a small cemetery, home to three gravestones, each dating from the mid 1850’s, a green road sign, and this small commemorative sign, almost buried in the brush near the roadside entrance to the cemetery.
I’ve since learned that the village of Moggie has a very interesting story behind it, but I’ll leave that for another blog I’m currently working on. Suffice to say, it has nothing to do with house cats.
Speaking of cats, there is a lost village like your little Moggie, a ocean faring village just outside Gloucester, MA, where the blueberries grow wild and thick on the foundations of long abandoned houses. When I was 15, I stayed for a brief summer visit with my late father, the poet Robert Creeley, in his summer home in Annisquam, and you could reach that village through a narrow dark path that wound up the hill behind his house through huge old trees that dated back to the Pilgrims. The path opened up suddenly into a large sunfilled plateau, with blueberries and old foundation stones stretching as far as eye could see. It was magical. It was called Dogtown.