At the ripe age of eighteen, Pokey Goodman (nee Damler) has passed away. Born in La Jara, New Mexico, Pokey was adopted as a kitten by the guitar playing sea captain and harmonica expert, Fritz Damler. First dubbed “Slowpoke,” she spent her youth engaged in mousing duty on the ranch.
When Fritz’s craving for adventure lured him from ranch life, Pokey moved to an elegant condo in Santa Fe, where she grew fat and comfortable lounging on the heated brick floors in the company of art lover, Connie Dempsey. It is perhaps here in Santa Fe, that Pokey developed her fondness for the word marvelous and her smoker’s meow.
It was during her stint as museum cat at Tinkertown Museum, that Pokey met Tanya Goodman (nee Ward) and a partnership would be formed that would prove to be lifelong. Tanya and Pokey moved back to Los Angeles together and into an apartment in the hills of Echo Park. Tanya’s fiancée, David Goodman, former cat hater, was soon won over by Pokey’s loving nature.
David was not the only one whose heart was melted by this small cat. Handsome Italian actor Allesandro Mastrobuono proved a passionate soul match for Pokey. Until she was found out, she crept from the Goodman bedroom each night, squeezing herself through a loose air-conditioner vent, leaping from a balcony rail to a narrow window sill and into Sandro’s humble yet romantic cottage.
As Pokey moved with the Goodman family from Echo Park to Silver Lake to Los Feliz, she did not waste time by slinking around under the sofa or shivering in the closet. She welcomed each new experience with a loud meow and a healthy curiosity, consistently endearing herself to realtors, contractors and moving men.
When the Goodman family expanded, Pokey was delighted. She was patient enough to withstand the rough, yet loving attentions of a baby and a toddler. She attended tea parties, wore numerous doll dresses without complaint and was only too happy to share a large cardboard box with Sadie Goodman. Sadie and Pokey formed a tight bond. Sadie designed many hats, collars and necklaces for the cat and consistently celebrated her with cards, drawings and parties. “Pokey might have been the best thing in my life,” Sadie said, after hearing of Pokey’s passing.
Pokey never met a person she didn’t like. She was just a cat, yes, but she had an open, kind heart and a kind of knowing gaze that made her a friend. She will be missed.