The Antman

1971 Postmark
This afternoon the exterminator came. When I was a kid there was an exterminator company that had a guy holding a giant hammer he was going to use to smash the bug. I always wished we could have that at our house.

The guy that came to our house didn’t have a giant hammer but he was cool and had a good sense of humor and obviously knew what he was doing and took the time to explain it to me which I really appreciated. Who doesn’t like learning about bugs?

The first thing he did was ask me about the carpenter ants. I said they were huge and black and some had wings and that they apparently liked to eat each other because I saw one crawling around waving half the body of another. He said, yes, if you’re having ants over for dinner, damp wood and ants are their favorite. Then he asked where they were.

1971 Pam Letter
I was a tad embarrassed and I told my sister this story earlier and made her promise not to tell our father but now I’m going to tell you all here. About one hour before we were scheduled to leave for the airport for New York, I opened the shade in my room because I was looking for stuff and couldn’t see very well and natural light seemed like a great solution.

Instead what I saw were giant winged ants boiling out of a crack in the windowsill. Bob and I looked at it together and being the proactive and competent homeowners that we are, we killed the ants that we could reach (and some with wings flew away!) and slapped a big old piece of tape over the crack and then went on vacation and never gave it another thought.

About a week after our return I thought maybe I should revisit this because it would sure be embarrassing if our house fell down because we were too lame to deal with it, but the tape was working great and as long as I kept the blind closed I didn’t even think about the ants slowly devouring our home. But I finally called and made the appointment and now I had to show the guy that I was holding the ants at bay with tape.

He said that this kind of problem solving was not uncommon. He told me all about ants and how they like railroad ties (part of the landscaping) and how they like to hang out in the nice warm walls when its cold and pointed out a bush I could cut back so they couldn’t hop on and eat some aphids and then jump into my room. I couldn’t help think how popular he must be on his kids’ show and tell day, standing in front of the room talking about bugs.

I asked him if I had to leave the house while he filled it with poison and if there was any danger of me growing a second head and he pointed to his 2nd-head-free shoulder and said not to worry about it.

Another problem, apparently solved.

My sister found this letter in my Grandma’s stuff and sent it to me. You can click on it for a larger view.

I wrote this when I was 7 years old. Even then I knew about the concrete detail (four dollars, ballerina on the cake, yellow room-although I use the passive voice and I knew my Dad was painting it.). I also love that I signed it “Pamela” because back then I was Pammy. I must have thought I was being very grown-up.

But what really kills me about this letter is that my Grandma saved it all this time.

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