Arachnophobes Warning: possible trigger ☹️

School Nurses often extend their care to classroom pets. I look forward to sharing a couple of those critter happenings.

One such memorable encounter happened with Charlie, the beloved tarantula, on loan to the third grade classroom. Charlie was a lovely, big (3-4 inch),black, and quite furry spider . . . I don’t know which species of tarantula.  The children learned about spiders as they watched Charlie crawl around among rocks and plants that filled his aquarium. They helped feed him crickets. 

Early one Monday morning a student teacher appeared at my office door and asked for my help. “Nurse Flemr, it looks like over the weekend Charlie the spider died. He is curled up in a corner and isn’t moving.  Would you come and uh—maybe remove him—and uh— talk with the kids about his death for a little while?”  

I finished hanging up my coat and walked with her to the classroom.  Children were arriving and gathered around the aquarium as word of Charlie’s demise spread. I told them I was sorry to hear about his death and that perhaps we could take him out, look closely at the wonderful creature Charlie had been, and could talk about what we enjoyed about Charlie.

I removed the top screen, swallowed my own trepidation, and slowly reached down toward the motionless body.  As my hand approached Charlie, Teddy, standing next to me, called out as he pointed toward the other corner of the aquarium, “Hey nurse, Charlie is alive!”  ( I can’t find words to describe how quickly I removed my hand.)

Sure enough, there was Charlie—or his twin—crawling out from behind a rock. There was a collective “WOW” at that moment.

That was the day I learned how tarantulas shed their exoskeleton!

Memorial service cancelled!

Published by Susan Flemr

Retired former nurse and former Lutheran pastor. Happily living with her husband of 53 years in Des Moines Iowa. Two married sons and their beautiful families in Nichols, IA and Colorado Springs, CO.

4 thoughts on “Charlie

  1. Good story! Oh my, I would have had the hebee jeebies for a long time after the experience! I’m sure the kids were thrilled 🙂


  2. Love this! You are so brave! I guess everyone learned more about the life cycle of some of the creatures in our wonderful world. Judy

    Liked by 1 person

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