Thursday, August 25, 2005


This post, by the Velocimeister His Ownself, kicked over my Reminiscence Engine and set it to running.

It was spring of 1966 - possibly ’67 - and we were in the midst of our Annual South Florida Pilgrimage. We would spend several weeks visiting the Grandparents: the curmudgeonly Grandma Ann and her equally curmudgeonly Grandpa Abe. Despite their mutual orneriness, they were sweet to the grandkids; we always looked forward to our vacation with them.

Even more, I looked forward to spending time with my cousins: Andy, who was my age, and Diane, who was a few years older. Uncle Phil and Aunt Marge would host the Passover Seder, and my brother and I would spend the night at their house - if not on that night, then another one.

The night of our visit that year, Phil had gotten prepared by taking a couple of cots into the house from the garage. Later in the evening, he would set up the cots and my brother and I would sleep in them. But in the meantime, the family sat in the den, enjoying the time together.

All of a sudden, Diane shrieked. A roach!

Not just a roach, mind you, but one of those South Florida Specials, a nice, fat Palmetto Bug. It scurried across the shag carpet, with Aunt Marge screaming, “Phil! Kill it!”

Which he, ever the dutiful husband, did, and everything settled down. But not for long.

Three minutes later, another Monster Roach. Another flurry of excitement. Another job for the brave Uncle Phil.

But we all agreed that when Numbers Three, Four, and Five showed up within the next five minutes, something was Not Right. And that’s when the little Light Bulb o’ Recognition lit up.

They were coming from the cots.

Sure enough, all those months the cots were sitting in the garage, some intrepid roaches had built themselves a fine nest inside the aluminum tubes that made up the frames of the cots. And now that their home had been relocated to New Pastures, it was time to go a-foraging...with horrifying results.

Phil grabbed those cots and flung them into the backyard...and my brother and I were left to contemplate how the rest of the evening would have gone had we not discovered the source of the Roachy Infestation. You do not want those bastards walking all over you as you sleep.

But that’s South Florida for you. Got Insect Fear? Get over it if you want to live there.

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