Tales of our
~ Members of Letters ~

Gene Hartstein of Newark, Delaware offers his tale:
I just have to join your Dead Bug in Amber Club. Needless to say I could qualify as a member in commerce but ... I do have a few stories to tell. Right now, since I'm the finder of the oldest Paper Wasp in North America, this makes me a lover of the vespids ( I guess). So here is a paper wasp story.
About 14 years ago, I was painting the outside of my house (it was the last time I lived in Wilmington before being transfered to Texas and to Chicago). We had fake shutters on each side of the upstairs windows that were made of wood and had become really ragged in the years since the house was painted. Rather than take them down, scrape them, prime them and put them back I bought new plastic ones that were lighter and easier to handle. I painted them and had them ready to go. I got up on my roof and, using a pry bar, I pried the first shutter off. There, on the back of the shutter was a big nest of paper wasps, fortunately lethargic as it was very early in the morning of a mid-September day. I threw the shutter as far as I could and ran over the roof and down the ladder on the back. I ducked inside my house as an angry swarm of wasps buzzed around the now shattered shutter. I didn't get stung.

Mitch Silverstein of Nyack, NY tells this tale:

I was at my basement workdesk where I have my microscope to work with amber. I was finishing and examining a piece I polished with a small bee included.
Behind me a few feet away I heard a rustling noise in a crunchy plastic bag. My first thought was that we have mice again and at that point I was more interested in the amber. When I heard the noise again, I went over to see. IT WAS THE BIGGEST BUMBLE BEE I HAD EVER SEEN! BIG AND FUZZY!
How he got into my basement I still do not know, but now he's a dead bug encased in my Shop Vac.

Sue Mance of Royal Oak, Michigan has 2 stories:

I have 2 bug stories to share. When my younger son was 3, I let him play in the backyard by himself for the first time (I could see him from the window.) When he came inside, he said "Mommy, I petted a bee. It was furry." That kid had no fear, unlike his older brother who was always afraid of what he called "Bzzz Bugs". In order to help his fear, I talked him into being a bee once for Halloween, complete with cardboard wings, a striped tee shirt, and a stinger made from a cone of cardboard strapped around his waist.

My second story involves my job of substitute teaching, which is about as glamourous as an insect in amber. I collect a lot amber jewelry which I often wear to work. I own an amber ring with a wasp, an amber pendant with a spider, and a chunk of amber with a fairly large fly. I have found that starting a conversation about these amber pieces is quite a good ice-breaker with the kids I teach, and help them feel a little more friendly toward the "sub". Unfortunately, it doesn't help my reputation of being kind of "buggy".

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