Like most kids, I loved playing games, running, all that stuff...but my favorite thing was catching animals. In the spring and summer, on into early fall, there were so many different kinds of critters, from tadpoles to toads, snakes to salamanders, pillbugs to praying mantises, a young Marlin Perkins like me was kept busy.
I remember going out one September afternoon, and gathering about a dozen mantis egg cases; my intention was to take them to school. Well, I put them in my ma's desk drawer, and forgot about them. They hatched the following spring, thousands of them, scaring her silly. I also loved catching snakes, but I never made the mistake of bringing one home.
Actually, my Grandfather was responsible for the critter story of all time....he loved fishing, and would often go up to Sandusky Bay with my Uncle Eddie, and spend the day there. They returned late that evening, and Papa had a prize catch- a huge channel cat, about four feet long, and still alive. When he got in, everyone was in bed, so he filled the bathtub with water, figuring he'd get up early, and clean the fish.
'Long about three in the morning, the entire household (if not the entire block) was awakened by a scream...it was my mother, who'd gotten up to use the bathroom, turned on the light, and was greeted with the sight of this enormous black fish, feelers waving, in her tub! She was standing there in the doorway, eyes bulging, finger pointing to the tub, so discombobulated she'd gone past speech, and was making hissing sounds. I took one look, and fell out laughing; not only was it funny (to me), but this was one no one could hang on me!