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I can’t claim any credit for this wonderful piece of writing which came to me as an email. I don’t normally post forwarded emails into my blogs, but this one is exceptionally suited for the theme of this blog.

The History of  ‘APRONS’
(Author unknown)

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is.  

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for  removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. 

After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the menfolks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.  

Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma’s aprons.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.  Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.  

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

 I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron. 

Note: I wish I knew how to locate the true author and give her credit for this delightful article. A Google search only located numerous other blogs and web pages that had also copied it.

I have a hard time writing about Christmas memories. I believe my first Christmases were probably the most lucrative though I don’t remember what I was given. The problem was with my expectations from that point on. The first Christmas I remember was after my father left his career as a pastor, and my family moved into the farmhouse where my father was born and lived until he went to college. With three brothers and a sister, and my parents suddenly dependent on farm income while Dad took college courses to become a teacher, we were suddenly dirt poor. Our church brought us each a gift that first year on the farm. They gave my sister and I a doll. I should have been more appreciative, but I thought they were ugly. They were huge and their heads were really hard (not ceramic – before long they peeled).

In the years that followed, we were generally given one gift apiece. I had the dubious advantage of having a birthday close enough to December that sometimes I got a nicer present than the others, if so it was for both birthday and Christmas.

One year Dad took us all to a toy store to see what toys we liked. Then when we weren’t looking, he signaled the clerk to check it out for him. My youngest brother, who still believed in Santa Claus, didn’t know the whole story. He found a cowboy hat he really liked and tearfully begged Dad to buy it for him. Later he saw the clerk pick up the hat and carry it to the back of the store. “My hat!” he cried. “She took my hat!” Later when he opened his Christmas gift, he was excited to have a hat like the one in the store.

We were only on the farm for three years before we moved to another town where my father started teaching. My brother Keith, who was three years older than me, soon got a part-time job while he was in junior high school. That year he surprised each of us with a small Christmas present. He gave me a baton. The next few years each of us kids purchased little gifts using the allowance money Dad was now able to give us. That added a lot to making our Christmas times brighter. But I still dreaded for any of my friends to ask me what I had been given for Christmas, because it seemed like nothing in comparison to what others were given.

We moved again when my father became a college instructor. The first year finances were so tight that we were all given something for the house. Dad wrapped up a trash can, a broom, and other similar items so we could each unwrap something. I believe my youngest brother probably got a real present, but the rest of us were considered old enough to understand. We continued to buy each other little gifts so there were a few things to keep.

It was the Christmas dinners, which were changed to Christmas Eve dinners while we still lived on the farm, that the family especially enjoyed for many years. The Christmas of 1966 was painful because my brother Keith had been killed in an airplane accident three months earlier. It was a year after our last move. I later moved 500 miles away for employment and later marriage, and I was unable to come home every year for the Christmas dinner.

When I married, my new husband considered Christmas presents to be something you gave your children. So my gifts continued to be meager. One year I was given two pair of socks.

I eventually divorced my first husband and remarried, but finances continue to keep our Christmases meager, and I still dread for anyone to ask me what I was given for Christmas.

But in God’s economy, noting is wasted. If I have learned my lessons well, I can see that when my eyes are on the material gifts I have received, I have chosen to be the loser. But when I take my eyes off my material gifts and blessings, and put them on the greatest gift of all, when God himself stepped down from heaven to live inside a tiny baby who would grow up to show us the way to eternal life, and then to die on a cross to pay the price for our sins so we could enjoy an eternity with him… I am overwhelmed with joy of the purest kind. God knows what he is doing. I might have missed this altogether if I’d been given all the gifts I thought I wanted growing up.

I’m thankful for those who kept reading to this point. I didn’t expect this to be so long when I started writing it. I invite you to enjoy the Christmas card I created for all my friends at www.janicedgreen.com/Merry_Christmas

(Note: This was originally written ten years ago. My mother is now 91 and still living in her own home. My father passed away at age 90 about three years ago. I am thankful to still have Mom.)

      Last Sunday I was moved by the words of the anthem the choir sang. Being one of the choir members, the words had more time to sink in for me than for most who only heard the song once. The name of the anthem was “His Hands,” and it was so touching as it described the multitude of ways Jesus showed us his love through his hands–beginning with His healing and other miracles He performed including feeding the multitudes, and ending with his crucifixion and resurrection. By Sunday afternoon I was reflecting on the song and thinking about other people who have shown love to me through their hands, and it was my mother who first came to my mind.

Mama was the best back scratcher anyone could ask for. Her nails were smooth and even and she worked from top to bottom making sure not to miss any spots. How many times she scratched my back as a child, I will never know, but neither will I forget.

      My earliest memories of Mama’s hands were of her sewing. When we lived in Gary she sewed dresses for me, in the post World War II era, out of shirt scraps from a nearby shirt factory. I had some of the nicest dresses that could be worn during those years. Joan, cousin Marcia, a neighbor girl and I all benefited from those shirt scraps and Mama’s creativity.  

     With so many brothers and sisters, money stretched only so far. Consequently, not all of Mama’s sewing was for pretty dresses. I remember a time when she even sewed panties (or maybe they were bloomers–my understanding was somewhat limited as you will see). I also remember hearing her say something one day to the effect that she wasn’t wearing any underwear. So I took it in my young head that when women were grown they stopped wearing them. I decided that I wanted to be grown like Mama and went outside in my dress–without any panties. It wasn’t long before Mama saw me out the window and became aware of the missing garment. She quickly called me in to ask why I wasn’t wearing them, and then she explained to me that women didn’t stop wearing panties when they grew up, but that she just didn’t have any left that were wearable. I suspect it wasn’t long after that before she bought or made some for herself. I wonder if those were the panties I remember seeing her make. 

     Another early memory of Mama’s hands were of curling my hair. After Saturday night baths, Mama would towel dry my hair and use bobby pins to set the curls. I was so proud of my curly hair on Sunday mornings. 

     Not all my memories of Mama’s hands were as pleasant, though I recall them with appreciation, as I now understand that they were there for the purpose of developing my character and self discipline. I’ll never forget the time I ran when she called me because I had done something wrong, and I knew she was going to spank me. Instead of getting one spanking, I got two. I have long since forgotten what the first spanking was for, but I never ran from Mama again. 

     Mama kept most of her spankings within the family, but there were two occasions I recall where she caught off guard an unsuspecting misbehaving youngster that was not her own. My cousin Marcia was one of the recipients. I think the incident had something to do with the right way and the wrong way to get a shampoo. The other recipient was a neighbor boy in Rochester who wouldn’t listen when she told him to stop doing something that was dangerous to others around him. 

     Something else that Mama did with her hands was to hold the story books she read to us. I remember a Bible story book that she must have read to me quite often. Once I recall being praised in Sunday School for being a good listener. I just smiled, but I really knew I didn’t deserve the praise since I hadn’t been listening at all, I just knew the answer from the stories Mama had read to me. As we all grew older, I remember other books Mama read to us. I’ll never forget her voice ringing out, “Tom…, Tom…,  come home Tom!” as she read the book Tom Sawyer to us, more than once. 

     Mama’s hands were hard working hands that never quit. When we lived on the farm she worked hard and did whatever jobs there were that needed to be done. They planted, drove a tractor, pulled weeds, picked the harvest, sold vegetables to customers who came to our house, and kept up with meals and laundry for 5 youngsters the whole time. Meal time didn’t come easily either. Before we remodeled the house, she cooked on a wood stove in the old kitchen, stoking up a fire burning wood and corncobs for fuel. About ten years later, when we camped out for two summers on Center Hill Lake in Tennessee, she took it all in stride once again. Using only a Coleman camp stove, keeping the small tank on the side filled with white gasoline, and keeping the pressure pumped up, she kept us well fed. 

     Mama’s hands made beautiful music. We have had a piano almost everywhere we have lived. I have enjoyed many wonderful moments around the piano singing with family members and relatives. Songs like “Today is Mine,” “Back of the Clouds,” and “Jesus is All the World to Me” were some favorites from the hymnals. If Mama didn’t have the music she just played what she could from memory, and she played a little by ear as well. Eventually she bought an organ and has thoroughly enjoyed it. She had other less known musical talents as well. When I was about seven or eight I was given a ukulele for Christmas. Mama tuned it up, played and sang. One favorite started out, “I took my gal to the ball one night, It was a fancy hop…” Paul Wayne learned the chorus to that song and sang it for us often. 

     Mama’s hands have always been creative. On the farm there was little time for creativity, but as soon as we moved to Lapel they came back to life. She was soon making beautiful candles and floral arrangements and dried weed arrangements. She even operated her own store in the living room of the upstairs apartment in our house where she sold her lovely arrangements. 

     She became the expert on decorating for church events. At the end of my senior year in high school she made the decorations for a banquet to honor the graduates. The take home favors were hand blown painted eggs. Inside each egg was a diorama scene that included a tiny graduation cap and a rolled and tied “diploma,” all hand made, of course. I am sure that many of my classmates treasured their eggs for years. After having decorated for banquets for several years, Mama put together a small book called “Pauline’s Pretty Party Plans” that showed her different party ideas and how to make them. Daddy helped her to print the copies using the old duplicator he still had from the time he was a church pastor. The books were advertised in a craft magazine and sold for $1.00 each.

     In Murfreesboro, Mama found other craft projects that she enjoyed. These included cross-stitch, hand decorated stationary, plaster of Paris figures, and many others including a gorgeous type of embroidery, called Brazilian embroidery. But her greatest pride and joy has become her painting. She has practiced and blossomed until her work has become well known in Murfreesboro. Her paintings have often been displayed in the city library as well as at the Art League. More recently she illustrated an alphabet book I wrote called Backyard ABC’s.

     Mama has always loved flowers. I don’t ever recall a time when we didn’t have flowers growing somewhere around the house in the summertime. Our house in Murfreesboro has been a haven for Mama’s flowers, as her hands have set out little flower beds here and big ones there all over the back yard and on down to the lake. Mama and Daddy have both worked many untold hours making the back yard into a showcase. The yard has even been featured in the Murfreesboro newspaper. 

     Mama has always loved to fish. When we moved to Murfreesboro she was in fisherman’s heaven, as she only had to go out the back door to throw out a line. The crappies would nest under the shrubs in the corner of the yard, so that quickly became her favorite place to fish (or “feed the babies” depending on the size of her catch). I especially enjoyed fishing for catfish with Mama in the middle of the night. We poled out into the middle of the lake on the detachable pier and dropped anchor. Then we fished to our hearts content in the moonlight and caught quite a few catfish.

     Mama, God bless you and your precious tender hands. And God bless Daddy, too, for encouraging you and giving you the room to grow and to bloom where you were planted.  

© 1999, 2009 by Janice Green 

Back in the days when we didn’t have to be afraid of our neighbors if we didn’t know their names, I was befriended in a way I will never forget.

My family lived in Gary, Indiana, which is located off the tip of Lake Michigan. Like Chicago, it can be a very windy place at times.

Even though I was only in the first grade, I walked to school every morning. It was only a block away from my home, and diagonally across the street at the corner. On this particular morning the wind was blowing so hard when I got to the end of the street that I was unable to walk across the corner. Every time I tried, the wind blew me to the right of where I needed to go. I stepped back on the curb and with tears flowing, I started to walk home next to the bushes that lined the yard on the corner.

The lady who lived in the house with the bushes came to the door and invited me in. She probably knew who I was because my father was the pastor of the church on the next corner, but I didn’t know who she was. But she warmed me up with a cup of hot chocolate and cookies and waited for me to stop crying. Then she held my hand and walked me to the school office where she explained to them why I was late. I was soon in class and all was right again.

I still don’t know the lady’s name, but God knows. He saw her act of kindness, and I’m sure he put an extra gem in her crown on that day.

© 2009 by Janice D. Green

My educational career began in kindergarten at Riley School, in Glen Park, one of the suburbs of Gary, Indiana.  Keith was three years older than me, and we rode a city bus to school.  This was not a school bus, so we had to put a few pennies (I think it was three) in the change and ticket box beside the bus driver every morning.  This box had glass sides so you could see what had been dropped into it.  It also had a two-piece bottom that opened to empty the contents into a container below.

My memories of kindergarten are few, but I do remember how it seemed strange to have a sliding board inside the classroom.  I also remember my favorite time around the piano.  Miss Boone taught us to click our fingers when we sang “Up on the Housetop Reindeer Pause.”  Only I thought it was reindeer paws until my older and wiser brother explained it to me.  Reindeer had hooves, not paws.  But he never explained why we still sang about reindeer paws.  The word “pause” had no meaning to me until years later.

I went to the brand new Pitman Square Elementary School in the first grade.  It had been built at the end of my block and diagonally across the street.  Because it was so close to home, Keith and I walked to and from school, and we even walked home for lunch every day.

I liked school and usually did well, though I had a grade of “N” (for needs improvement) on the first page of my first reading workbook.  If I had listened more carefully, I would have gotten it right, but…  We were to color Dick, Jane and Sally out of a drawing of several children.  I was probably daydreaming and hadn’t heard the names “Dick, Jane and Sally,” but I did hear Miss Carter remind us that we should color one boy and two girls, which I did.  But I colored the wrong boy and girls, and had to look at that “N” on the first page every time I opened the workbook. 

One day close to Halloween the teacher handed out our workbooks but for some unknown reason I didn’t get mine.  She then began the lesson so I put my head down and cried.  I told her I wanted to go home and make paper bats like my mama had taught me to make.  I guess somehow she figured out that the real problem was that I didn’t have my workbook, so when she handed it to me all was well with the world again.

It was apparently an election year, as one day school was closed for “boating at the poles.”  At least that is what I thought they were saying.  I thought they were going to flood the schools so people could ride boats from one pole to another.  I’m not sure how long it was before I understood what “voting at the polls” meant.

I also remember a day when the teacher told us that there was a “tomato warning” and I imagined a huge tomato coming through the sky to splatter all over everything.  I eventually was able to grasp the concept of a tornado, but as with the “boating,” it didn’t come to me all at once.

One day we did finger painting.  Miss Carter encouraged us to use more than our fingertips.  We were to use our whole hand and even our arms if we wanted.  Daddy had recently taught me how to make a fish by making two curved lines that crossed close to the tail end of the fish and then making the mouth, eyes, gill and closing in the tail.  So I took the plan and used my arms to make the top and bottom curved lines.  Then I used my fingers and hands to finish it off.  My teacher loved my fish and hung it on the classroom door until the end of the school year.

Pitman Square School is where students, with parents’ permission, were given vaccinations for polio and smallpox.  It was also where I was given my one and only tattoo.  Students were given blood tests to determine their blood type, and then the blood type was tattooed onto their left sides.  My blood type is O positive.  Keith was type A if I remember correctly.  It hurt.  I still have my blood type card in my pocketbook, though in this day and time, I’m sure it would never be looked for or needed.  And when a doctor sees the strange blue marking on my side he usually becomes concerned about skin cancer until I tell him about my tattoo.

We moved to Rochester, Indiana in the summer before I started second grade.  A year or two later, we went back to Gary for a visit. I went to school with my former neighbor and friend Linda Mummery for a day.  She took me to see Miss Carter, but I couldn’t remember what she looked like.  When I saw her I felt really bewildered because she didn’t look anything like I expected.

© 2002, 2009 by Janice D. Green

As told to me by my 91-year-old mother:

I ran traps every day except during bad weather.  I caught animals for their furs. I caught mostly muskrats, but I also caught one raccoon and one skunk. One day,  a raccoon got caught in a trap by just one of  its toes.  I sic’ed  Pup on the raccoon but its toe broke loose and it bristled to fight.  The fight lasted a long time and Pup got tired.  It was dangerous to let Pup stop so I said, “sic ‘em” again.  After about half an hour the dog finally beat and killed the raccoon.  Our cousin, Curt Crick, who was an annual raccoon hunter said, “It takes a mighty good dog to whip a coon.”  

Once I had a skunk in the trap. Fortunately it was in the dead of winter and the skunk had frozen to death. Skunks don’t put up much of a fight once they are captured. But I was still concerned that I would pick up too much of the skunk’s scent by carrying it home.  I found a heavy forked limb I thought would be strong enough to hold the skunk. I hoisted the heavy limb over my shoulder with the skunk hanging behind me.  Before I made it back to the house I wearied of the heavy load and put the limb down. I then put both gloves on the same hand and held the skunk away from me as I carried it the rest of the way home. I managed to escape picking up the scent, except on my clothing. Why go to such trouble?  Skunks brought in a good price for their furs.

One time I caught a live muskrat in the trap. Preferring not to shoot it, I clubbed it over the head to kill it. Then I carried it home and put it in the brooder house where Mom raised baby chicks. It was wintertime so the brooder house was empty. My brother Richard offered to take the muskrat to Colfax to the man who purchased and skinned the animals, so I went out to get it for him. When I opened the brooder house door the muskrat was sitting up looking at me so I had to kill him all over again.

Excerpt from Twins! Paul & Pauline, their first 90 years © 2008 by Janice Green

What does it take to make a clubhouse? Some kids and a little imagination. Sometimes parents help too.

The first clubhouses I remember were the hoghouses. My grandparents had raised hogs many years ago, but now they were just small wooden structures with roofs on them. They had dirt floors and I vaguely remember something boxy enough to sit on. There really wasn’t much to a hoghouse, but it was ours.

My older brother Keith and the neighbor boy Ronnie claimed the biggest one as theirs. Not to be outdone, I got my younger brothers and sister to join me in claiming the smaller one. This was the scene for my famous Backwards Party that I wrote about in an earlier post. We cleaned out all the spider webs and bugs and climbed in through the door in the roof that opened and closed.

My memory of the hoghouses seems fleeting. I believe my father may have removed them shortly after we moved onto the farm. Whatever the reason, we were soon looking at other clubhouse options.

There was an old apple orchard my grandfather had planted beside our house. The apple trees were very large compared to the ones seen in apple orchards today, and we didn’t go to the expense of spraying them to get a harvest. We simply ate and canned what we wanted from them. Keith and Ronnie built (or perhaps my older cousins built it years earlier before we moved onto the farm) a treehouse high up in one of the apple trees. I was afraid to try to climb up the tree trunk even with those boards nailed on like a ladder, so it wasn’t hard for them to keep us out. But we fussed that we wanted a tree house too. So Dad built a platform on a low branch on a smaller apple tree for the rest of us. It had a ladder that you could climb up to one corner. Our treehouse made a pretty good clubhouse until “big boy” (son of one of the farm hands) fell off the ladder and broke his arm.

I think the most unique clubhouses were the ones in the wheat fields. Again, Keith and Ronnie set the pace with the first one. They discovered a large patch of weeds growing in a low spot in the wheat field and made it into a clubhouse by tramping down the weeds in the center of the patch while leaving the outside weeds standing for the walls. When they turned me away from their clubhouse, I looked for my own patch of weeds and recruited my younger sibblings to help make a clubhouse of our own.

I’m not sure what the point of having a clubhouse was. Maybe there is a sense of power that comes from having a spot to call your own. That’s one of the nice things about living on a farm. You can find your get-away spots if you call them clubhouses or not, like climbing up in the haymow all by myself and playing with the kittens, or sitting on my favorite tree limb in the tree at the far edge of the orchard and just thinking about things and spying on the world of birds and stick-worm caterpillars and wheat blowing in the breeze across the field.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice D. Green

Among my earliest memories of writing my own thoughts and ideas I find myself playing with secret codes when I was in about the second grade.  My older brother, Keith, had been using secret codes to share messages with Ronnie who lived up the road, and I thought it looked like fun.

The easiest code they were writing called for two sheets of paper and a piece of carbon paper.  The trick was getting the papers in the right position before starting to write–an original copy on top, a second sheet under that which would carry the encoded message, and beneath it all was a sheet of carbon paper with the carbon side up.  Then when you wrote the message correctly on the top sheet of paper, it would appear backwards on the backside of the second sheet of paper.  It was a great trick!

I discovered two problems with my newfound trick.  The first was figuring out whom to write a message to since my older brother preferred writing to the neighbor boy, and my younger brothers and sister couldn’t read yet.  Then the second problem was figuring out what to say in my secret message if I did figure out whom to send it to.  This was probably my first encounter with writer’s block.

That’s when the idea of writing an invitation to a party came to me.  Since the writing was all backwards, it seemed perfect for an invitation to a backwards party.  There had been a backwards Sunday School party at church recently where everyone dressed with their clothes on backwards or wrong side out, and with their shoes on the wrong feet.  My family had recently moved to the farm in Rochester, Indiana, that had been in my father’s family for generations.  There was also a new family who had moved into the farmhouse across the road and they had four young children.  We could invite them to join us for a backwards party in our clubhouse.  With Mama’s permission, I wrote the invitation, in code of course, and took it to Mrs. Deloris Ogle across the road.  She didn’t understand it, so I showed her how to hold it up to a mirror to read it.  And what joy!  She said they would come to my party!

When the day arrived for the party, the girls, Carol and Doris, came in dresses, though I don’t recall what her son, Donnie, wore.  They didn’t wear anything wrong side out or backwards.  I panicked!  I guess in all the excitement I had forgotten to explain to her about the clubhouse. Our clubhouse was nothing more than the old 5 X 7 foot abandoned hog-house behind the barn.  To fix it up for the party we had brushed out the spider webs and used some crepe paper to attempt to make it more festive.  I had also planned an activity or two to play in it.  But I would NEVER wear one of my dresses to play in the clubhouse!  We even had to climb in through the door in the roof!

If it bothered Mrs. Ogle, she never let on.  She let the children take their clothes off and put them back on wrong side out and backwards.  And the party began!  I was quite proud to have pulled off the party, but I also learned something about the importance of including all the important details in an invitation that day.

© 2002, 2009 by Janice Green

Keith w sharkMom and Dad had only left us on the beach alone for a short time.  How could they have ever guessed what adventures we would find to get into?

            My family went on a camping trip to Florida in the summer of 1960.  One afternoon Mom and Dad left us on the beach alone for a short time while they walked farther ahead looking for seashells.  We were to stay on the beach or only wade in the shallow water, which sounded safe and simple enough.  They just hadn’t counted on the shark coming along.

            Keith, who was the oldest, spotted it first.  It was small as sharks go, and Keith decided he could catch it if we all helped to scare it up into the shallow water.  All five of us Indiana kids joined in the adventure as we ran and splashed chasing the baby shark.  “I’ve got it! “  Keith’s voice was exuberant, but he didn’t hang on to the shark’s tail very long as it began twisting back and snapping at him. 

            “That shark has a mouth full of teeth,” he gasped, revealing his sixteen years of wisdom.  “It could bite my fingers off!”  But Keith still didn’t give up easily; instead he came up with another plan.  The chase was on again, and this time my 11-year old brother, Gary, caught the shark by the tail.  Keith was quickly along side of him with a swim fin holding the shark’s head down to try and prevent it from biting anyone.   They dragged the shark a few steps closer to the beach when Gary’s fear and adrenalin kicked in and he hurled it with all his might up onto the sand. 

We decided to try to keep the shark alive by digging a hole deep enough that it would fill up with water.  Still we had to keep enough sand between the hole and the ocean to keep the shark from swimming away.  We found that, no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn’t dig the hole big enough or keep enough water on our baby shark.  We continually scooped out sand, but more took its place as the water seeped in.  We tried pouring water over the shark, though it became more and more obvious that we probably would not be able to keep our baby shark alive. 

When Mom and Dad returned, they were dumbstruck over what we had done.  Mama shuddered to think that where there was a baby shark, there might also be a mama shark.  We hadn’t considered that. 

But what was done was done, and now all there was to do was to decide what to do with the dying shark.  We took a picture of Keith holding it to keep as evidence of our shark adventure.  Gary never forgave Dad for not including him in the picture, after all he was the one who had caught it the last time, and that was the time that counted. 

Dad, a high school science teacher, looked up sharks in the books he had brought along on our trip and determined that we had caught a blue shark.  Not having anything available to measure with, we estimated the shark to be about 25 inches long. 

Dad had been collecting a number of specimens of sea life and pickling them in formaldehyde to take back to his science class in Indiana.  He wished that he could find a way to preserve the shark, but concluded it would not be possible to find a large enough container. 

Joan, who was nine at the time, remembers that we were still hoping to find a way to pickle the shark until a raccoon found it and ate half of it.  So there was nothing to do but to dispose of our treasure in a trash container at the campground where we were staying. 

© 2002, 2009 by Janice Green

Janice D. Green