Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

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Posted on November, 10, 2004
Page: 3

 


Incredible journey: Bonner family has special Halloween

KERRI FIVECOAT-CAMPBELL

Black cats have been long shunned by the superstitious as harbingers of bad luck. For one black cat and a little girl in Bonner Springs, however, luck has been nothing but good.

The story begins on a dark and stormy night ... well, not a stormy night, more like a dark and misty night. But it was Oct. 31 - otherwise known as Halloween, and on this particularly gloomy evening, the perfect setting for a scary tale.

While visiting her grandmother in Oak Grove, Mo., nine-year-old Addison Tolliver called her parents in Bonner Springs to beg them to allow her to bring home a kitten from a litter some people were trying to give away at the local Wal-Mart there.

Vallerie said she deferred the decision to her husband, Morgan, who gave in to his daughter's pleas.

"We had to have our seven-year-old cat put down just a couple of months ago," said Vallerie Tolliver. Their daughter, she said, "had been cutting out pictures of cats and drawing pictures of cats ever since."

Vallerie was somewhat frustrated that the kitten was coming home at the same time she was trying to prepare the Halloween meal for extended family who would be visiting that night. Nonetheless, she said that as soon as the all black kitten arrived home, everyone fell in love with it.

Like many children, Addison left home that evening to trick or treat with a close friend. Later that night, Addison decided that she wanted to take her new kitty to the neighbor's house to meet seven-year-old twins Jay Ross and Jordan Sanders. She loaded the eight-week-old kitten in a baby doll carrier, but they didn't make it.

"Her friend tripped and the kitten fell out and ran around and then just disappeared," said Tolliver. "The girls were just screaming and crying."

The mother of the twins, Sandi Sanders, who lives in the neighborhood and also works in the information management department at The Kansas City Star, joined others in helping look for the kitten - to no avail.

Meanwhile, Sanders' sister, Vickie Crump, was loading up her family for their drive back to Blue Springs, at the opposite end of the metropolitan area. Sanders said it occurred to her that the kitten might be under the van and she and her nephew looked, but saw nothing.

"My husband did say on the way home he hoped it hadn't crawled under the hood, but we dismissed that because the car wasn't even warm anymore when we left," said Crump.

Back at the Tolliver residence, Vallerie put Addison to bed and her bedtime prayer, of course, included one for her lost kitten.

About 12:30 a.m., Crump was awakened by what she thought was a bawling cat.

"I just thought it was a cat outside and went back to sleep," said Crump. By 4:30, the bawling had awakened everyone in the house.

What they found in the garage was better than any scary Halloween story: The missing kitten had apparently hidden somewhere under the vehicle for the 40-mile journey at speeds up to 70 mph to Blue Springs, and was unharmed.

Crump waited to call her sister until she arrived at work Monday morning. Thinking that she had given the family time to awaken, Sanders didn't call the Tollivers until 7:15.

"We were still asleep because Addison didn't have school that day and my husband was on vacation," said Vallerie Tolliver. "We went in right away and woke Addison, who normally wouldn't care about anything that early in the morning - but she just got up and danced around" at the news.

Crump, who is allergic to cats, had her son put the kitten in a box with breathing holes, dropping it off with Sanders at work. She then delivered the kitten back to Addison.

"My husband said the cat should be named Houdini because it kept escaping from the box on the way to drop him off," said Crump.

The kitty's life with the Tollivers might have started out very scary on the spookiest night of the year, but now Addison and the kitten she dubbed "Halloween" are inseparable.

Halloween, who is very friendly, also seeks affection from the rest of the family and they are happy to give it - and the Tollivers don't think there's anything unlucky or scary about that.

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