Cats write lousy letters. That’s why many of the students who attended Elysian Heights Elementary during the 1960s were drafted to serve as “secretaries” to the school’s famous feline mascot, a cat called Room 8. Room 8 cat (who was named after a favored classroom) is said to have received thousands of letters from fans during his long reign at the school, and it was the job of fifth and sixth graders to respond to those kitty letters, which were signed with a stamp of Room 8’s paw print, said former Elysian Heights student Roger Vargo.
But there were some kids who were not thrilled as serving as a ghost writer for an old cat. A story in Echo Park Patch about artist and former Elysian Heights student Jacinto Guevara recounts how he flunked as a cat secretary:
I didn’t write very many because I refused to write in the ridiculous first-person as they kept demanding. Kids at schools around the country would write to Room 8 and ask crap like ‘do “you” like cat nip and chase mice?’ I‘d write back, “No, I don’t like cat nip and chasing mice, but I’m sure Room 8 likes cat nip, but he couldn’t chase a mouse if his depended on it because he’s so old and his stomach touches the ground when he walks.