Turtles: A Shell of a Story

Turtle shells 09-23-2015These guys must have come out of the bowels of the attic or they might have been set aside for making rattles. All I know is that there was usually a turtle or two around through most of my childhood.

When I started school, Dad and Mother sold the trailer we used to follow Dad from job site to job site and rented a house at 2531 Bloomfield Road. (It’s not there anymore). The house was surrounded by fields and had a swing-up garage door that never closed too tightly, hence the house frequently hosted mice and bugs. Traps kept the former at bay, and we let a couple of turtles roam the basement for the latter.

When we moved in, there was a washing machine in the basement. Not too much later, the landlord confiscated the washer and left behind an old fashioned ringer washer for Mother. “I cried so much that your dad went out and bought me a new washing machine,” she said a few months back.

The water from a shower Dad rigged up and the wash water drained into a floor drain, something that worked adequately until one day when it started backing up. Finally, the landlord had to call a plumber. He wasn’t happy to find out that the clog was caused by an errant turtle who had fallen into the uncovered hole. After that, a No Turtle Rule was instituted.

Then, there was Sam and Ella

Pet turtleNo pet store or county fair would have been complete without a chance to buy or win one of these small turtles. We didn’t think about the dangers of salmonella back then.

I even had a painted turtle that came from either our Florida trip or the fair.

Bring on the wild art

Turtle and Dog 1966I always hated it when an editor would say, “Bring me back some wild art.” That meant is was a slow news day and they needed a feature photo that could run CLO (Cutlines Only). I was lousy at shooting those kinds of pictures.

If I had to, though, I’d throw good taste, scruples and pride aside and bring back a cringe-worthy photo like this.