Wildlife and Evil Pets

Philadelphia, PA – 1970s

I remember one season there were thousands of Monarch Butterfly caterpillars all over the place back the tracks on all of the trees. The Monarchs were making nests and laying eggs and the caterpillars were everywhere. I remember we’d catch them and collect them in jars and play with the little guys.

What monarch butterflies prefer | Earth | EarthSky

The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable and well-studied butterflies on the planet. Its orange wings are laced with black lines and bordered with white dots. Famous for their seasonal migration, millions of monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada south to California and Mexico for the winter.

The caterpillar of the monarch butterfly eats only milkweed, a poisonous plant that should kill it. The caterpillars thrive on the plant, even storing its toxins in their bodies as a defense against hungry birds. For decades, scientists have marveled at this adaptation.

These Butterflies Evolved to Eat Poison. How Could That Have Happened? - The New York Times

One time my friend Micahel had a jar full of them and he had it on his bicycle. The jar slipped and hit the street. Suddenly, there were hundreds of caterpillars spreading out through the broken glass and crawling all over the street, his bike, and on him. It was like a writhing malignancy from a horror movie. He didn’t know what to do and was obviously alarmed, and simply rode off on his bike from the scene. I think one of the parents just swept up the glass into the gutter as all of his caterpillars made their untimely escape.

Some of us had pets like dogs. Mostly everybody had dogs on our street. German shepherds were popular back then. Think I’m kidding? I’ll name all of the dogs just on our block. The Hunzingers had Jason, a scary dog that always barked at us and most of us were afraid of him. But the baby of that family, Jenny, who couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 at the time would go right up to the beast and tell him to settle down and he would. It was uncanny! She had power over that terrifying dog.

The Mitchell’s had a dog named Greta, Hersh’s next door had Gretchen, The Hanley’s had a Belgium Shepherd named Duke. That dog was enormous. He didn’t have to do anything. Just the sight of a dog that large was enough for you to steer clear of their gate. The McMeans had a chubby little dog named Happy, whom they would allow to go down into their cellar and do his business. It was a dirt cellar and they would just let him go down there and take a dump. Their next-door neighbors would complain because the smell was coming through to their basement. They later had a dog that was white with a little black spot on its side named Heidi.

We didn’t have a dog yet, and wouldn’t have one until 1978. You can check that out here:

April Wants A Dog – Part One

April Wants A Dog – Part Two

Up the street, there was a family who had a shepherd named Carrot, who was very shy. Apparently, he got his name because he had big pointy ears, and the little girl who owned him thought his ears looked like Carrots!

I think the Zerbach’s had a dog as well but I think it may have been some kind of black setter. Not sure.

We had a box turtle that my dad had found up in Stover, PA which was a camping area my dad and his friends would hang out in. Probably just to get away from the city and smoke pot. But we had her for a while and I think her name was Elizabeth. Not evil, but I think she escaped at some point. (maybe she was simply returned to the wild.)

I had a lizard named Rex who looked amazing and cost me $14. He looked really cool and I felt like I owned a little dinosaur, but he didn’t live long.

I had white mice for a short period as well. They weren’t much fun. Like all rodents, they just run around in the woodchips in their cage and constantly crap everywhere non-stop. I think they were only .49 cents at the pet store and were probably only there as lunch for people’s pet snakes. Kinda sad.

Here’s a previously published story about rodents:

Rosalie’s Rodents

Our neighbor Sandy had a little green turtle or two. We had heard a rumor back then that there was something going on with those turtles. But I’m sure that was just a childhood myth.

Oh, wait…

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/23/460561642/tiny-turtles-still-cute-still-illegal-and-still-spreading-salmonella

That’s why you didn’t see those little turtles around anymore.

We did have fish for a short period of time. That was my older sister’s idea. It was a freshwater 10-gallon tank. I remember she had all of these lovely fish. The most beautiful being the angelfish that always looked so elegant. There were also a few other fish and a pair of what I think they called tiger barbs. Everything seemed well and good, but I think someone at the pet store should have known not to mix certain species of fish together in a confined area. Because at night the barbs would hunt the other fish and ended up killing everything in the tank.

This reminds me of another story. When we were kids we’d be at the seashore with our parents and in any gift shop back then you could find hermit crabs for sale. These cute, shy creatures are of the tree variety and not the ones I’d occasionally see in the surf on the beach as a kid. Those little cuties hiding in their moon shells. My parents bought us each a hermit crab that we got to pick out. I don’t know if I named my guy and I don’t remember if my older sister named hers, but my middle sister named hers Shirley Temple. We kept them all in a little cage in the dining room of our house in Philly. But again, containing nature has its consequences. (You’ve seen Jurassic Park. You had the technology to do it, but SHOULD you do it?) We enjoyed having our little hermit crabs and would take them out and hold them. It was cute, You’d pick them up by their shells, and place them in the palm of your hand. Once you touched them they would zip back into their shells. Then if you held them in your palm and were still, they’d slowly peek out and walk around. It was really cute.

But what I didn’t know at the time was that hermit crabs don’t grow their own shells. These guys acquire their homes by finding snails and ripping them out of their shells and just hijacking the real estate. Home invasion and a hostile takeover. We didn’t know any of that. When we acquired them, we probably just picked each crab based on the color and shape of the shells they currently wore when we got them.

But night falls and that’s when all of the bad things happen in the animal world. I think this is why kids are instinctively afraid of the dark. Because that’s when our ancestors were at their most vulnerable. You’re passed out one night and you open your eyes and some large predatory dog or cat is chewing on your baby. But I digress…

Kids are busy getting into different things all of the time. When you’re young the world is a fascinating new place that’s controlled by adults. Anything you can get into on your own always feels exciting and powerful. Maybe a few days went by and we weren’t paying attention to the hermit crabs. They’re primarily nocturnal creatures for obvious reasons and they don’t do much during the day, so after a week or so, they’re kind of boring.

Doesn’t the Shirley Temple hermit crab begin to systematically murder her cage mates and rip them out of their shells?  Yea. I guess she was growing and was looking for a bigger shell to hang out in because hers was getting a bit snug around the hips. She killed the other crabs and then somehow busted out of the cage and left. We were all freaking out and of course my dad, the science dude comes to the rescue. He realizes she must be traveling along the baseboard and maybe somewhere nearby. So, Shirley busts out of her cage after killing her cellmates crawls along the tabletop. Falls three feet to the floor and makes her getaway. My dad finds her in the living room, like 40 feet away just cruising along to parts unknown.

I wish there were more to this story but wasn’t all of that pet murder enough?

Does anyone else have any interesting pet stories?

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Phicklephilly – 2019 – 1000 Posts! – We Did It!!!

“If you live a life that is without the elements of who you really are you will never be happy.”

I’ve just been notified by WordPress that after 2 1/2 years of writing this blog I’ve written a 1000 posts!!!

It’s been an incredible journey to finally be writing again. I started out in this life as an artist. Then a musician, and then a writer.

But life, marriage, a child, and a career removed me from all of that. Other people needed me and the bills had to be paid.

But after 10 years I decided to write again.

I created Phicklephilly in the spring of 2016 and then did nothing.

By the fall I asked myself, is this something you’re going to talk about in bars with your friends and never do? I had discussed the notion of writing a blog about my life with many of my friends. One who is a better and more visceral writer than myself.

But I started to write.

I published a post about a waitress I had been infatuated with for some time on a Monday.

I worried no one would read it or like it. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with content every Monday.

But I did.

Then I started writing updates for a Wednesday release.

Once the wheel started to roll, I did what needed to be done.

I wrote.

Writing is a hard lonely existence.

It’s something that you have to push yourself to do. Especially in the beginning. But like anything you really want you push yourself to do.

You begin a fitness program and you stick with it. The muscles grow and the fat disappears. You keep at it and then it gets easier.

I started to write like mad. Cranking out content until I had something happening  few times a week.

 

Then I found other things I liked and started to write about them. The Tanning salon, Tales of Rock, Crazy dates I’d been on in the past. Celebrities I’d met, and most of all, past relationships.

Some beautiful. Some bittersweet.

I’m not a great writer, but I kept at it. Like a pilot, I put in a certain number of hours until the plane called Phicklephilly soared.

And now here I am with all of you my loyal followers and readers after two and a half  years of writing.

1000 posts and over 50,000 views!

I couldn’t be happier.

 

If you want to do something, don’t talk about it. Like Nike says: Just do it.

Write everyday.

Push yourself. Who cares who reads it. Just create and express yourself.

 

I GUARANTEE  you that if you start writing and keep at it, the rewards will be like pieces of gold falling into your lap.

When you write from the heart and tell the truth about everything in your life, (Not everything. Keep some of yourself for yourself. That belong to you.)  You will find this liberating weight lifted from your shoulders.

Get it all out. The good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t be afraid. It’s just words. But it will lighten the load you’ve been carrying around your whole life.

Once you write it down and publish it… It’s gone but not invisible. But it’s out of you for the first time in your life. It’s now safely on the paper. You can understand what you’ve experienced so much better once you write about it.

You can look back on your work and your life and it’ so much easier to process, forgive and understand.

 

Writing Phicklephilly has been the most singular liberating experience of my adult life.

 

And there is so much more to tell.

I have so much more to say.

Knowing that these stories are now out on the internet forever. Even after I’m dead it is comforting.

Because they are no longer my responsibility. WordPress carries the weight for me now.

But by writing all of these stories guarantees my immortality.

 

I don’t need that, but it’s so much to live a simple, happy, and uncluttered life once you write.

I love most of what I’ve written. Everybody knows I hate writing dating and relationship advice but I found a way to keep it going for my readers who enjoy it.

I think my followers now know that I write Phicklephilly because of my simple love of creating. I’ve always been that way since I was a child. Drawing a picture. Sculpting something out of clay. Writing a song. Writing a book and a screenplay. Creating a comic strip.

I am an entity that apparently must always be creating and am happiest when I’m doing that very thing.

“If you live a life that is without the elements of who you really are you will not be happy.”

I feel happier than I have ever felt in my entire life.

I’ve lived a big exciting life. I’ve done a lot and experienced much. But it really comes down to a few simple components for me and please take heed if you wish.

  1. Your health is essential. You have that. you’re already winning.
  2. Surround yourself with good people. Whether they are friends, family or even some wonderful pet companions.
  3. Have something to do every day that you like to do. If you hate your job, find a better one that suits your life needs. It’s a third of your life, work. Why spend your day being miserable? Do something you don’t hate every day. It’s a short life. Enjoy yourself!
  4. To love and be loved. This is a tough one. Most people need this one. Love yourself and find someone else to love. If they love you back… Awesome!
  5. Have something to look FORWARD to. I don’t care what it is. Just have something. Brunch with a friend, a red envelope arriving from Netflix, a party, a day off, something you want to do that you made time to do. 

 

That’s it.

The rest is just stuff and bullshit.

Focus on the top 5.

 

Thank you one and all for taking the time out of your busy lives to take the time to read my little blog about dating, relationships and a bunch of stuff from my life.

I wish I could throw a big party and invite each and every one of you and we could all hang out and really get to know one another.

I’ve had the joy to become friends with some of the other talented writers on WordPress and it has been an absolute delight.

So many great people on here.

I also really appreciate my friends who have read and have subscribed to Phicklephilly. I love knowing they are here with me on this journey of self discovery and I hope some of this will inspire them to push forward on their lives.

Two and a half years ago there was nothing. I decided to start to write and now this is here.

You can create anything you want. You just have to do it and do it every day.

Look what can happen if you put your mind to something.

I’m still going to try in 2019 to get a couple of books published on Amazon Kindle this year!

 

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

 

Anything can be done, and you can do it too.

Please reach out to me for anything. I’ll always get back to as fast as I can.

 

My heart is full of love.

 

Life is good and my daughter Lorelei is healthy and happy, so that’s all I need.

 

Thank you one and all. This means the world to me and I hope you continue to enjoy the content I provide in 2019 and beyond!

 

There’s so much more to the story!!!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

Why Dogs Are Replacing Men in Women’s Hearts

http://va.topbuzz.com/s/yjhSQcp

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

Why 6th January is the Best Day for Online Dating

http://va.topbuzz.com/s/RdhNQcp

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly

14 of the Weirdest, Craziest, Philly-est Stories from 2018

Greased poles, profane potholes, farm animals roaming the city. Just another year in Philadelphia.

https://billypenn.com/2018/12/27/14-of-the-weirdest-craziest-philly-est-stories-from-2018/

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly   Twitter: @phicklephilly