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The Spider Sat Down Beside Her

I went to grade school at J N Long Elementry on North Granbury St. At that time, late
1940’s and early 1950’s, Yorks Grocery Store was across the street where Jackey Lackey
Plumbing is now located. Sometimes if we had a little extra money some of us would
slip off campus at lunch and get some candy at the store. They had penny candy and
bubble gum so a nickle would get one piece of candy or bubble gum for five of us. A
nickle would get you several friends then.

One day when I was in the fourth grade I went over to the store at lunch and while there
saw something unusual on the counter. There was this huge spider sitting there, its body
was black with red spots and had small springs for legs. The springs were bent to make
them look like real spider legs and with just a breath of air on them, they would sit there
and wiggle. The spider was large enough that when placed in the palm of your open
hand it would cover the whole hand.

After looking at that ugly spider for a few minutes, I decided that I had to have it. When
I asked the price, Mrs. York said .25 cents and I only had a dime with me. I went on
back to school without the spider, but the next morning before leaving home I told
mother that I needed an extra .25 cents to get some theme paper and a pencil, which she
let me have without questioning the need.

At lunch that day I went to the store and sure enough the spider was still there on the
counter. I gave Mrs. York my quarter and she put the spider in a small paper sack for
me. Now I was ready to go have some fun!

Back at school I went on in the building to make sure I was the first one in the classroom
when the bell rang. Mrs. Lawson, our teacher, was standing in the hall just outside the
classroom door, as she always did, waiting for everyone to get back to class. I walked on
past her into the classroom and over to my desk, but didn’t sit down. One of the girls,
Suzanne Hodge, sat at the desk directly in front of mine and I took the spider out of the
sack and placed it in the center of her desk.

Suzanne was one of the last to come in and hurried over to her desk and started to sit
down. She was halfway into the seat before spotting the spider, at which time she
jumped up in the aisle and screamed as loud as she could, this just as Mrs. Lawson
entered the room.

Mrs. Lawson came over to see what the problem was and upon seeing the spider on the
desk she took one quick glance around the room. There I sat trying my best not to
snicker and with a very guilty look on my face. She looked me straight in the eye and
asked, “Did you do this?” Of course all I could say was “Yes maam.”

Expecting severe punishment, I was really surprised at what happened next. Mrs.
Lawson picked the spider up, looked at me and after a short scolding; said, “I’m putting
this in my desk and if you want it you can come see me after school is out in the spring
and get it.” I thought I saw just a hint of a smile on her face as she said that. I just
wonder what Mrs Lawson ever did with that spider because I never went to claim it.

Was it worth the .25 cents? Well, at the time I thought so.

We didn’t need to carry guns to school to have a little excitement now and then, and no
one got hurt with our little pranks. Well, maybe they got their pride bruised a little.