Grandma Roth and the Fireant

In the early 1940’s my grandmother Roth moved to Florida where she lived with us for several years. Ray and I were thrilled about it because we thought she would be like Grandma Caplinger, whom we adored. We were wrong. She turned out to be a mean old lady.

She became totally blind while she lived with us. I remember she had glass eyes! One of the things she did which made Ray and me awfully mad was refuse to believe us when we told her about how bad fire ant bites were. These were the original Florida fire ants and were a small red ant that you could hardly see even if you had 20/20 vision.

Iris had come down for a visit and one day we walked to the post office. Iris had a greeting card from Paul Herndon in the mail and somehow it had a fire ant in it! This gave us the idea of proving to Grandma Roth just how bad fire ants were. We giggled all the way home planning our revenge.

When we got there we went into the room grandma stayed in and put the ant under the covers. We could not contain our laughter and finally mama wanted to know what was so funny. She insisted we tell her and we had to confess what we had done. She became very upset and insisted we find the ant and get rid of it. She was afraid they would get stated in the house. I don’t know that the ants had the ability to reproduce without partners but nevertheless we had to find the ant. What a letdown.

For those of you who don’t know, if one of these ants bit you it would take a minimum of four hours before the itching and painful burning let up.

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