Stephenson Tales

White Mice

Soon after our family of four moved from the house on Walnut to 552 Third Street, Dad built a "hut" in the far bottom corner of the lot that we owned next to our house. It was a 6' by 8' structure with a door and two windows - one next to the door on the short end facing the lot and the other on the long side facing the garage, which was just below the back of the house (also built by Dad right after moving there). This garage was connected to the kitchen end of the house and back door by a walk-through grape arbor.

After a few years as a playhouse, Orlando outgrew that phase of his development. He went into the business of breeding white mice for the psychology (and some other) department at the university. I still remember carrying day (or two day or three day) old Cream of Wheat out to them and dumping it in through a slot in the door. The windows now had glass in them so the mice could not get out. There were anywhere from a dozen to 3 or 4 dozen at any one time. Orlando sold them to the U of M for 25 cents each during the school year.

It did not register with me until after he had quit the business after one summer's lay-off (to go to Gull Lake) that these mice were to be used for all kinds of scientific experiments and were doomed once they left their home in the hut. We never discussed it.

Composed 23 October 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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