Continuing Education

In 1952, a stray cat wandered into Elysian Heights Elementary School in Echo Park, Calif. He seemed to be about 7 years old, skinny but healthy, and he was apparently determined to live at the school. The students quickly adopted him, feeding him from their sandwiches, and he made a home in classroom 8, disappearing each night but turning up again in the morning.

The sandwiches must have been pretty good, because “Room 8” stayed at the school for 15 years, reappearing mysteriously at the end of each summer vacation. Thanks to widespread media coverage, including features in Time and Look, he’s said to have received 10,000 letters in that time, which the children dutifully answered. And every year his picture was taken with the graduating class of sixth graders.

Wherever he came from, it seems he’d found what he wanted. He died in August 1968, and his pawprints grace the sidewalk in front of the school.