Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rats!

When I found this birthday card, I bought all the copies on the shelf and then scanned it so I would have it forever! I connected for two reasons: I own both an articulated rat skeleton and a mummified rat! The skeleton was from then housemate Katina, who owned a used bookstore on Wisconsin Ave. in D.C. (and liked to cook, by the way). I came home from work to an odd odor and exclaimed, "What kind of soup is that?!" As it turned out, she was boiling the hair off a desiccated rat she found in the basement of the bookstore. Katina reassembled the skeleton based on an illustration from the library and including teeth and toenails! My other housemate Jan built a display case for it, and the two of them presented it to me for my birthday! I paid for the mummified rat after winning it in a silent auction held in conjunction with the opening of a room in the Mütter Museum in honor of its long-time director, Gretchen Worden (1947-2004). Gretchen introduced me to her rat collection when I was in her office researching conjoined twins. Among the items was roadkill--"Rattus flattus," she called it! My rat mummy is not flat, but it did come from Gretchen's collection. So both rats in the Museum have sentimental value! By the way, isn't this a great book cover?

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