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October, 2003


Originally from Moments by Valerie, a collection of memories (1961-1983), written in 1986 and presented to Larry on their first anniversary.

Maxine, the diamondback terrapin From the time I was in grade school until my undergrad college years, I had a turtle who lived in a homemade pond in our backyard in Illinois. Her name was Maxine and she was a diamondback terrapin whom I bought for one dollar while on vacation in North Carolina, where they were sold for soup. Well, Max escaped that fate and spent a week and a half in a bucket until we got her home. After that, she was definitely in charge of her domain and always ran back to her pond if taken to another part of the yard. Being larger than the other turtles we kept (she weighed 1½ pounds), she chose the choicest food, lay in the best sunning spot, and demanded the most attention. She was beautiful, with a brown, orange, and yellow carapace, and blue skin with black markings. Her eyes were mammal-like with dark brown irises surrounded by white. Max ate crayfish and fish, loved to have her neck rubbed, and came to the sound of my voice. Although she had strong jaws and a voracious appetite, if she accidentally bit my fingers, she would let go immediately and it never hurt. Maxine was always entertaining people with her antics and was the most lovable turtle I've ever had.