Story Weekend Returns! This Weekend's Theme: Turtles
I was amazed by all the email asking what happened to Story Weekend last week. It’s nice to know you look forward to it as much as I do. I’ve been at the beach for two glorious weeks and somehow last weekend just slipped away, so we’ll make up for it now.
I’m on Topsail Island, the home of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital. To generate money for new equipment, twenty-two large fiberglass turtles were decorated by local artists and auctioned off after spending the summer in front of area businesses. Lori Fisher, owner of one of my favorite bookstores, Quarter Moon Books in Topsail Beach, was the high bidder on this beautiful turtle. I wish you could see it close up–so much detail. I’m so glad Lori got her. (Her name is Lucy).
Anyway, all this turtle talk has inspired the theme for the new Story Weekend. Do you have a turtle story?
If you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. I’ve loved reading your stories. As always, there are a few “rules”:
- The story must be true.
- Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.
- Avoid offensive language.
As usual, I’ll start it off with my own story.
Karen Beasley wanted to create a rescue and rehab facility for sea turtles, but she died before she could make it happen. Her mother, Jean, brought Karen’s dream to fruition and a few years ago, she gave us a personal tour. What an honor! Jean led us from tank to tank in the cramped, hot little building, each tank holding a giant injured turtle. There was the one with the missing flipper. The one with huge staples holding its shell together. But the memory we took away with us was of Jean herself, whose love for her daughter lives on in the beautiful creatures she saves every day.
Turtle rock. Not official but I call it that. It sticks up in the middle of the South Branch of the Raritan River just below the pony truss bridge in Clinton NJ. (Don’t try to find it if you aren’t a local.) There are BIG snappers in that part of the river. At least there used to be. The year before last there was this 15incher that used to climb up on the rock that was just about his size and sun himself every day. I got attached to him. He’s gone now. Too much construction beautifying the river. What they don’t understand was that he was the true beauty.
Turtles remind me of summer in the Okanogan in British Columbia. I would camp with my aunt and uncle and and their boy’s families. It was the only place outside an aquarium that I had ever seen large turtles in nature. Those were special summers, the turtles, outside cooking, tenting and sailing with one cousin. It is a very hot, dry area of British Columbia and the community has grown so much. However for me it will always be a small quiet area that made my summers complete.
On my first trip to the Outer Banks my Dad woke me up in the middle of the night and drug me down to the beach. I was sleeping soundly and was not pleased in the least to be woken up. However, I was 6 and adventures at night always seemed magical to me so I went along. We spent most of the night watching a sea turtle come to the beach, lay her eggs and go back. There was a full moon and the stars were brilliant that night – but the magic belonged to that sea turtle and her eggs. It still seems like a fairy tale to me!
while on topsail, in september, I was able to see a nest hatch. It was a beautiful night and at about 9;30PM, the smallest pile of hatchlings, came piling out of their nest. There was approx. 89 and we guided them to the ocean. It was one of the neatest things, to see these little turtles know to head out and to the water with only a “little help from their friends at the beach”.
I have a lovely old turtle that I spot each spring in the creek in my backyard. He/she is most often spotted near the bridge as I go across. I don’t have a story, (other than my fascination and surprise each spring at spotting my old friend and wondering just how old this creek turtle is, where he/she survives during the frigid winter), but your theme this weekend does bring to mind a wonderful adolescent novel called The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg. Konigsburg has a great way of interweaving nonfiction into fiction. Aspects of the remarkable migration of sea turtles off the coast of Florida are skillfully placed into this novel through the character Nadia and her work with the conservation of sea turtles.
Exploring a science center in SC with our grandson we decided to cross a foot bridge expanding a pond. As we crossed over we saw a huge turtle swimming our way, then another and another and another!
At last count more than 30 turtles had gathered below us, looking up in anticipation. The granddaddy, measuring 2 1/2 feet, had proudly lead his entourage over for afternoon snacks. Our 6yr old grandson was thrilled at the unexpected happening!
Luckily we had zoo crackers stashed in our jeep so Grandpa ran back to fetch them. Thanks to the Greenville Zoo animals’ lack of appetite during our last visit, the hungry turtles in Roper Mountain’s Lily Pond feasted like it was Thanksgiving that afternoon!
You all have such great stories about Real turtles. Mine is a little less significant than that. But mine is about a little 6 year old girl that was painfully shy getting through her first day of First Grade. No Kindergarten for us back in 1963, so this was my very first day of school. I was also devastated because I didn’t get the right teacher. My friends had all told me Mrs. Gray was THE teacher and when I got to school, my teacher’s name was Mrs. Richardson. I cried. But with a few hugs, I wiped my tears away and school began. The only other thing I remember about that day was the song she taught us…It went something like this …”There was a little turtle who lived in a box. He swam across the puddles and climbed upon the rocks”…well you get the idea. Turns out that Mrs. Richardson was one of my favorite teachers. And luck was with me again when in the 4th grade, I had her again. I have often thought of Mrs. Richardson and know that if we hadn’t moved away, I would have made a point of making her my friend as I got older.
Diane, my short story will appear tomorrow, however I have to tell you how much your story brought me to tears. I didnot know the story behind the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, but have read about it through your blogs and also through the blogs and books by Mary Alice Monroe. As a great lover of the sea world and all creatures from the ocean and the earth, I loved reading your paragraph and how the artists are creating the beauty of the turtle to raise money for them. Thx for sharing.
Little turtle, no bigger than a quarter…my sister and I held her in the palms of our hands and cherished her as our first pet…we were only 7 and 10 respectively but knew what love this little creature could give…diligently cleaning her tank and feeding her on schedule. The day we found her silent & still, we did not understand death but instinctively knew to place her in a band-aid box and bury her with a ceremony, a prayer, and with dignity.
We have a large fishpond in which resides a rescue male long neck turtle called Myrtle. We had to rescue 3 tiny turtles all about 3cm long and because we weren’t prepared we had to release them into our pond – not to be seen again! We were very sad at this and felt quite guilty. Until…. one day, 3 years later, we had emptied the pond almost totally to clean it and my husband found a large rock. The rock had legs and (cleaned off) was a baby turtle! We found 1 more – 2 out of 3 aint bad! It is now several years later and they are about 14cm long and thriving – though we hold our breath each spring to wait for them to come out of hibernation.
Scene: Airlie Gardens in Wilmington. Time: Spring. As we walked along the graveled path, one of my granddaughters spotted a tiny, recently hatched spotted turtle. Somehow it had wound up on the gravel path several yards from the nearest stream. Dropped there by a crow? A descendant of “Wrong-Way Corrigan?” Even though my granddaughter wanted to bring it home as a pet, her finer feelings were appealed to and she carefully carried it down to the edge of the stream and watched it swim away.