Wednesday, May 27, 2009


© photograph Grace Albaugh 2009

This is actually the wash basin I used. Mother still had it in the garage.

I have a beautiful perennial garden in my back yard. Nestled in amongst the Lamium - sitting on a low pedestal - is my bird bath. It is a shallow dish about 15" across that is glazed in muted tones of brown, gold, and green. There is a little iron frog that lives in it and keeps vigil while the birds come and go. Whenever I'm out in the garden and see this frog it reminds me of the turtles Lisa (my neighbor friend) and I had when we were girls.
There was a time when you could buy little tiny turtles at the pet store. They've since been outlawed because of a condition called soft shell disease that could be passed on to humans. But when we were girls we had several turtles. Our turtles were the luckiest alive. We spent hours creating wonderful living quarters for these guys. I had an old 10 gal. fish tank my brother wasn't using at the moment and turned it into turtle heaven. I loaded it with rocks of all sizes and put enough water in the bottom so there was swimming pools and sunning rocks. Morticia (my turtle) and Mable (Lisa's turtle) had a wonderful time in there. I bought a plastic palm tree that was the perfect size to create a tropical feeling. It was class. These turtles were living the life.

As if the tank weren't enough we decided to create a recreation spot for them too. Mother had an old metal wash basin. The kind with two handles on it fixed on each side. It was fairly low, only about 8 inches deep and about 15 inches across. We found a piece of driftwood down by the lake that was the perfect size and shape for a diving board and affixed it to one of the handles with some twine. After filling the basin about half way full we placed the girls, one at a time, on the "board" and off they went. Running toward the water and off the end of the driftwood. Plop into the water they went. We thought it was great and they must have too because each time we placed them on the board they took off running. It was great fun! We were easily entertained. That's what I love the most about my childhood. We truly were easy to entertain. We found everything amazing and a gift.
Hours of fun with turtles. They did come down with soft shell disease eventually and died. Of course we had a funeral and marked their little graves. They died about a week apart. WE were sad but knew that one would be lonely without the other. Even at our young ages we were compassionate beings. We knew that animals had feelings too.
Here's to you Morticia and Mable. Hope you are having as much fun in turtle heaven!

© 2009


Angela said...

We had turtles too and fed them with black currants which they loved. But when we took them out of their enclosed place to enjoy the grass, they both immediately turned into different directions and fled head over heels. Who knows what turtles think? I`m sure yours had it good!

Cheffie-Mom said...

What wonderful memories! I'm sure the little guys are smiling down from turtle heaven!