Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Turtles and Stuff
When I was 4 years old, we had a box turtle who lived in a turkey roasting pan. He was our only pet, and he became quite used to us. Our mom taught us to be very gentle with the turtle. I remember he liked to have his head petted. Pet turtles aren't so common these days for a number of reasons. I remember Mom made us wash our hands after we held the turtle.
Back then though, no one batted an eye and turtles were common in pet stores. One day my older brother decided it might be fun to play with matches while we were playing on my bed. The turtle was on my bed with us. My brother actually did start my mattress on fire. Fortunately Mom checked on us before things got out of control. I remember her throwing a kettle of water on the fire and putting it out. No one was hurt, not even the turtle. (I did get a new mattress though!) I remember feeding raw hamburger meat to the turtle. I'm sure he had a name, but I don't remember what it was.
About the same time, I had a book called The Lonely Little Turtle, or maybe it was The Pokey Little Turtle. That was my favorite book for a couple of years, and the first one I wanted to read by myself after I learned to read with Dick and Jane. I wish I still had that book. It was a green (what other color would do?) hardcover book with what to my four-year-old eyes were beautiful illustrations. I've checked used book stores and I've searched the internet looking for a copy somewhere. It was about a boy turtle who was lonely and looking for a friend. He traveled all over, and made friends with a lot of animals in the forest. But even with all his new friends, he was still lonely. Then one day he meets a girl turtle. I remember she had long, curly eyelashes. The lonely turtle falls in love with the girl turtle, and he isn't lonely anymore.
When I saw these little turtles at Walgreens 2 for $3.00, they reminded me of our pet turtle and of my long-lost turtle book, and of happily ever after. Since I haven't been able to find the book, I decided the Walgreens turtles would do. I think the garden fairies like these turtles.