1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Dancing in the moonlight is not fun when your partner isn’t human.

Barbara Kay came to spend the night with me in my new room. I graciously let her sleep against the safety of my wall, while I lay on the outside as bait for hungry monsters.

Lying on our backs we took turns holding an arm up while the other person scratched it in long soothing motions.

“I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Let’s go to sleep,” said Barbie.

A full moon shone through my high basement window. Our evening would have remained calm if Barbie closed her tired eyes before rolling over. But she kept them open one second too long.

She turned her back to me and faced my studded wall. A bright moonbeam illuminated a fat hairy spider perched six inches from her nose. She screamed and scrambled over the top of me.

www.euclidlibrary.org Not in my room, not in my face; I would not like you anyplace.

Not in my room, not in my face; I would not like you anyplace.

“Kill it, kill it,” she yelled.

“Oh no, I’m not doing that. The last time I squished a spider that fat, a million babies crawled out of its body,” I said. My reassuring words failed to soothe.

Dad killed the spider. No babies crawled out.

Barbie didn’t want to sleep in my bed anymore and wanted to go home. I couldn’t really blame her.

“It’ll be crowded, but you can sleep in the middle with a decoy on the outside,” I said. I placed a life-size stuffed seal (that originally came from either Barbie or her brother) under the covers, taking my place as monster bait.

“Well, maybe,” she said.

I positioned my metal potholder looms across my doorway and pulled out random bureau drawers. “This worked really great on Dad. C’mon, you’ll be fine and I’ll be between you and the wall.”

Impressed with my early warning system, Barbie agreed to stay.

Stuck next to the spider wall, I spent an hour scanning the darkening shadows for signs of multi-legged movement before nodding off.

Dad slept safely because I thoughtfully remembered to inform him of my reactivated potholder looms.

I should have pursued a career in civil defense.

Lesson learned: Keep your bedroom free of clutter so creepy crawlies don’t have any place to hide. And you might want to keep a fly swatter or old shoe within reach.

Related post: Chapter Ten: Intruder Alert

Now it’s your turn: Have you had a bad spider experience?

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. mikesteeden says:

    I’m rather a fan of spiders yet I still enjoyed very much this rather lovely ‘gentle’ piece. Very easy on the read style of putting words together you have. Excellent!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, Mike. I always pick Daddy-Long-Legs up and return them to the outdoors. I just have a thing against the fat hairy ones. And the look on my face when all those babies popped out and scurried away in every direction was priceless. I felt like I was in the ‘Twilight Zone’.

  2. Kim13 says:

    My house is very old, and has many, many crawling visitors. I sleep with my trusty fly swatter within reach at all times.

  3. Sunni Morris says:

    As usual, I really enjoyed your story. We have spiders here where I live now – tarantulas. I also found a large black one in the grage a year ago that was not a tarantula and about half that size. It had a large body though. I promptly killed it with a shoe, I didn’t want that in the house. I had to whack it several times because it was pretty tough.

    We also have scorpions here. We emptied a whole bottle of insecticide on one before we killed it in the garage. Now I’m careful out there and never stick my hands into places I don’t look into first. I read scorpions can slither into a sealed box and can live without food or water for eighteen months. We found a baby one in the house so I was on the lookout for more, but never saw any.

    As kids, we were more worried about those giant flying cockroaches than spiders.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Oh Sunni, you make my hairy spider sound just fine. On my way to school once I felt something tickling my toes. I pulled my shoe off and, you guessed it, a hairy spider came out and ran under my seat to scare the kids behind me. That happened more that a few years ago, and to this day I thump my shoes and boots on the heel to see if anything is hiding in there. It’s never happened again, but I know it’s only a matter of time.

      • Sunni Morris says:


        I’m always worried about scorpions getting into a shoes here and my gloves. I always shake them out. That would make me shiver to discover a spider in my shoe tickling my toes.

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    You ask if I’ve had a bad spider incident. Can’t say that I have. It was me who was the bad experience to the spiders when I was a kid. We had ‘Grand Daddy Long Leg’ spiders in our basement. On hot summer days I would go down there to cool off. To keep myself occupied, I’d, very delicately, take all but one leg off of one of these creatures and watch the poor thing run around in circles until it would finally give up and just lay there. These spiders do grow their legs back so there was alway a good supply of them to torcher.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Okay, Glynis, you have left me speechless! And I never knew Daddy Long Legs grew their legs back. I wonder if other spiders do too.
      We had a barn cat that got kicked in the head by a cow. His head tilted slightly to one side. Whenever he got scared or excited he ran around in circles, sort of like your spiders. We renamed him Screwhead.

  5. alberta says:

    about a million:)

  6. suzjones says:

    Ooooh yes. Yes, I do.
    I once bought a large home made aviary from a person further north than where I lived. We bought it home in the back of trailer and set it up in our back yard under the trees.
    One day when my ex wasn’t at home (again), I went out to clean the aviary ready for putting birds in it. The aviary was divided into two parts divided by doors. I began to clean out the breeding boxes and this blinkin’ big bird eating spider jumped out at me. I screamed and unfortunately, jumped backwards into the aviary. The only way out was past this huge (think dinner plate) thing. Each time I attempted to edge past, it reared up on its hind legs. I screamed for my daughter (4 years old at that time) to come to me and asked her to call a friend. She bought me the teledex so I could find the number and I explained to her how to hit the numbers on the phone. My friend came around but big chicken that he was, he was just as terrified. He eventually cut a hole in the wire of the aviary at the front and killed it with the handle of my rake. I still remember the sound and the feeling…. ugh, I’m shivering now as I type.

  7. spunkybong says:

    Enjoyed reading this, Skinny. Why must we hate spiders? Nobody knows really. Are we judging a book by it’s cover? Maybe they really are good people underneath. 😀

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Thanks, Spunky. I only dislike the fat hairy spiders, and then only if they are in my immediate vicinity or path. I really, really, tried to like Charlotte while reading Charlotte’s Web.

  8. CJ says:

    Hon, they’re ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL bad spider experiences!!!!!

  9. C. Suresh says:

    Hahaha! Mary! Add one more – learn to identify the ones that will spew babies out 🙂

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Oh Suresh, to this day I cringe if I have to whack a fat spider. I’ve never experienced the flood of a gazillion babies flooding out again. It was like something out of the Twilight Zone, except it was real.

  10. I don’t like spiders, but I love your feedback. So I’m here today to thank you for being such a great contributor to my blog. Happy New Year!

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