Aby-a-Day – January 27: The Cat From Davis Square

It turns out there have been Abyssinians on the T a lot longer than anyone realised.

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In a few T stations, there are ceramic tiles made by local schoolkids. Broadway Station is one of them. and Davis Square Station in Somerville is another. I always enjoy looking at them, especially one little group of cat tiles (and one skunk) in the middle of the Davis Square collection.

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I was looking at them again the other day and it suddenly dawned on me what one was depicting…

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It’s meant to be Jake, the Cat From Outer Space! I’m not sure how I didn’t see it before! I mean, I’ve always thought it looked like an Aby because of the colour, but…

No! I’m serious! It really is supposed to be Jake! Check it out: The Davis Square Tiles Project took place during the 1978-79 school year, and the child who made this tile, Estelle Passamonte, was an 11-year-old girl. I was 13, and my sister was 8, and during the second half of 1978 we were obsessed with Abyssinians, Jake, and talking intergalactic felines in general…so it’s not too huge a leap to conclude that little Stella was a fan, too.

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(I also suspect this one is meant to be Zunar-J5/9-Doric-47, too, but since he’s got a sun and not a space helmet it’s not quite the logical slam-dunk that Estelle’s tile is. But look at those ears!)

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And this one…those eyes seem like Aby eyes. And again with the big pointy ears, too.

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I think that movie made quite an impact on girls aged 8-13…

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It’s something I think about every time I ride the train with Jacoby.

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There’s a long history of Abys and the red line! Who knew?