Many, many years ago I was a little girl in Kindergarten. I loved my teacher. She was young and pretty and her name was Mrs. Libby. I loved school. Mrs. Libby made it fun and exciting to learn and it was fun playing with the other kids.
One of our lessons was about silkworms. I don’t recall how we got so many silkworms for our classroom, but some of the kids in the class were given a little cup with 4 or 5 silkworms in it, but only if we wanted to do it. Of course, I did. We had been learning about silkworms all week so I knew how to care for them once I got them home. We had a huge mulberry tree in our backyard and that’s exactly what the little silkworms ate!
I was so happy and excited to take these tiny silkworms home to watch them eat, grow and morph into beautiful silk moths. My mother let the wind out of my sails as quickly as I got into the car when she arrived to pick me up from school. She flew into a rage and I thought she was going to throw those poor little moths out in the parking lot! Her complaint was that I hadn’t asked for permission to bring them home, nor did my beloved teacher. I was just 5 years old and I was devastated that she was so angry about the little silkworms! I was allowed to keep them, but I don’t recall much about how that came about except that it was my responsibility to feed them and keep them from getting loose in the house.
It was exciting to me still, even after my mother’s temper tantrum, but I kept it to myself. I kept the little silkworms in a shoebox in my bedroom and never spoke of them, except of course to my Dad. He helped me reach the leaves in the mulberry tree that were too high for me since I was so small. Honestly, I thought my mother had hoped I couldn’t get any leaves at all so the little silkworms would die!
One day, the little silkworms spun their little cocoons and I was amazed and curious about what they were doing inside that I couldn’t see! I checked on my little silkworms day and night. I sat by my bed just staring, looking, hoping that the little moths would come out while I watched.
I don’t recall when they actually emerged from their cocoons, but I was thrilled to see them but yet sad to let them go! I knew I had to get them outside before my mother found out. I didn’t want to risk another one of her fits of rage for no good reason. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t able to put my 5-year-old feelings into words as I just did, but I’m positive the feelings were still there.
I waited for my Dad to come home so he could see the little moths, and he helped me let them go outside. It was so sad for my 5-year-old self to have to say goodbye. They fluttered and flew, right to the mulberry tree and at that moment I knew they were happy.
I’m wondering how long that mulberry tree lasted in the yard, since you said the silkworms liked to eat from that tree.
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I don’t know, Teri. I’m sure they moved on eventually. Where I lived we had many mulberry trees in the neighborhood, quite possibly the entire town. It was so long ago and we moved when I was 6.
I was just wondering if they ate the trees to the point where it destroyed the tree altogether, where it would have died. But, you wouldn’t have known since your family left there when you were still pretty young.
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