Tadpole Heaven


Change is an inevitable and important part of life. When I brought live tadpoles into my classroom that was the lesson I had planned to teach. Too bad it didn’t turn out that way.

These were not ordinary tadpoles – they were large, green, bullfrog tadpoles I had purchased at the local Walmart for a whopping forty-nine cents apiece.  “Oh, they’re easy to care for,” the young salesgirl assured me as she placed the precious cargo in a see-through plastic bag.  The tadpoles eyed me warily with big, bulbous eyes and I smiled back confidently.

Sure I could raise them.   I had a rabbit and crickets in my classroom, didn’t I?  Tadpoles would be a cinch, a snap!  Yeah, right.

I placed the tadpoles in an aquarium filled with water and colored rocks (primary colors at that).  For a while, the tadpoles swam about enjoying their new home.

After a few days, the children started to complain, “The water smells funny!”

Knowing I had to take care of it that day or walk into the smell of a fish market the following morning, I placed the tadpoles in a bowl and poured out the filmy water.  Then I filled a bucket with clean, fresh water and poured it into the aquarium.

The next morning the tadpoles seemed listless and depressed.  I threw in some fish food and kept my fingers crossed.  But by the time the children went to centers, one of the children tugged at my sleeve and announced.  “Teacher, the tadpoles are standing up!”

I walked over and, sure enough, the tadpoles did look like tiny green soldiers at attention with their noses pressed against the water line.  “Hmm,” I replied nonchalantly even though my heart raced, “Maybe they’re lined up to go to lunch.”  The child nodded thoughtfully and continued to study them.

As soon as the last child left for the day, I rushed to the grave site only to find our “new amphibian friends” still modeling correct posture in the now murky green water.

I’ve seen dead fish before but never a tadpole!  At the age of six I petted one of my father’s prized Black Angels and the next morning it lay on top of the aerated water glaring accusingly at me with its one visible fishy eye.

Forty years of guilt dragged me back to my parents’ living room in McKinney, Texas.   Reluctantly I picked up the largest tadpole and laid it in my hand.  It didn’t squirm or wiggle but lay in sweet repose and (dare I say it?) at still as D-E-A-T-H!!!

“Oh Lord,” I prayed – a full-blown panic attack setting in.  How was I going to explain this to twenty-two five-year-olds who trusted me implicitly?

After cleaning out the aquarium and flushing the tadpoles along the way that many good little tadpoles go, I called my “lifeline” – Walmart.

This time an older, more experienced saleslady helped me.  I told her step by step what I had done to care for them.

“Well honey,” she said, “Was there soap or some kind of cleaner in the bucket?”

I shuddered.  Only a few months before, I had mixed bubble solution in that very same death trap complete with three tablespoons of glycerin for strength.  Once again, I could feel the accusatory fish eye glaring at me down through the years.

The next day I was assailed with, “Where are the tadpoles?”

Should I lie?  NO!  Make up a story? NO!  I had to tell the truth.

“Oh, they went to tadpole heaven last night,” I replied fudging the truth just a little.

“But where is tadpole heaven?” One of my brighter (and obnoxious) students asked.  Sure – tie the noose good and tight!

I envisioned the swirling of the water as the tadpoles received their sailor’s burial and could not bring myself to divulge that much information.  “Well, it’s a nice, cool place where they’ll never be sick again.”

Then I took a deep breath and began to explain environmental pollution to a classroom full of anxious young biologists.

Wonderful Summer!


By the end of the last school year, I was positive I needed to immediately make an appointment with the first psychiatrist who would see me. But as the final school bell rang and the school, as a whole, gave an audible sigh of relief, I realized — I just needed a SUMMER!

As the final tiny faces rushed out the door with “See ‘ya teacher!” one hearty soul dared to stop in the throes of the stampede and asked, “Will you be here next year?”

My first response after a difficult semester was a loud and resounding “No!” But I squelched it, smiled serenely and answered, “Lord willing'”. Oh, how I needed this summer!

And it came, cautiously at first like the first tenacious drops from a 5:00 A.M. coffee pot. I tried to settle in and found myself with excess energy that forced me to actually putter around the house (horror of horrors!) What’s wrong here? Where are those lesson plans I need to do?

Then gradually it began to seep in through the pores of my skin infiltrating the grey matter between my ears. I was off — for the whole summer!

Some people feel its unfair for teachers to have this luxury (including my sister and brother-in-law). Little do they know that I, like many teachers, have  spread out my annual income just for this reason – blessed summer — when I can sit back with a cup of coffee (still steaming, imagine that!) and watch Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore ‘sin interrupción’ or guilt and am able to read a book cover to cover in a matter of days instead of months.

But too soon this lovely sabbatical ends. It creeps in through the pages of the Target flyer (or “Tar-jay” as it’s known in all the chic classrooms) stuck in the pages of the Sunday paper innocently advertising Crayola markers for $1.00.

My heart leaps, my breath quickens. A sale on school supplies! And it hits me, my school fix is needed. I find myself evaluating my wardrobe for another year of hard labor, scanning my shoes for the needed tread it will take to walk the “hallowed halls of education”. I also find myself watching shows on teaching methods and surfing the web for new sites with updated lesson plan ideas.

“You still have three weeks off!” my husband announces.

I ignore him blissfully and answer, “Did you know that Target has pocket and prong folders on twelve for a dollar?”


Author Interview: Paula Rose author of “Revenge”


1.What does your writing process look like? Messy. I’m very visual so you’ll find pictures and piles of research around until a book is finished.

2.What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors? Just write.

3.What’s more important: characters or plot? As a reader and a writer I think they are both important. I have to love the plot, but I have to fall in love with the characters.

4.What do you do when you experience writer’s block? I switch to another story.

5.Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers? I hope you’ll enjoy reading Revenge as much as I enjoyed writing this story.

6.Where can readers find you online?


The Letters

Attic memories

The bundle of letters lay in Jessica’s hand as she sat in front of the old trunk that had belonged to her grandmother.  The letters were filled with poetry and utterings of great love.  They were romantic and beautiful and filled Jessica’s heart with the passion of the young woman she once was.  But where had that handsome lover gone?  Where was the sweet way he used to touch her hair and caress her cheek?  “I’ll love you till the day I die,” he would say as he held her close.

She sighed and felt the aged brown paper crinkle between her fingertips.  “Where are you Jessie girl?” Samuel called as he struggled up each wooden step to reach her lofty perch in the attic.

When he walked through the door she recognized him, the handsome young man who had written the letters so long ago promising to love her till the day he died.

The Puppet

becky's getaway


Luisa never liked his carving. It left shavings all over the carpet and she never could get all of them out. Even when she pulled the tiny, minute particles out of the carpet she could still sense they were there taunting her even as her Mario sat there happily singing while he painted the puppets.

“Aye Luisa, Maria Isabela will love this one! It will be the hit of her puppet show next week. See how it moves its legs? Just like a real horse this one!”

He was so proud of the work he produced and being able to help with his granddaughter’s puppet theatre made him so happy!

“Come Luisa, come sit with me while I work and tell me about your day!”

She knew he would only listen halfway. His heart and mind were in the carvings that took up so much of his time and energy…

View original post 239 more words

Doll House

Doll House

Wouldn’t it be interesting if all of our homes were made like this dollhouse? There would be no secrets, no dark corners to hide in. Everything would be out in the open and viewed by the world. We would not be able to hide any skeletons in the closets because your neighbor could see them as clear as white clouds in a bright summer sky.

Of course, you could see your neighbor’s as well. You would have a front row seat to all of their sufferings, all of their pain as they would yours.

That wouldn’t be such a bad idea would it? Then we couldn’t hide behind our fine “facades” because there would be nothing we could hide. Then, we would all be the same, frail, disfunctional, struggling human beings who are just trying valiantly to have a happy life and to make one for our families.

We often fail at this, but still we persevere. After all, since everyone knows everything we’ve hidden away for so long, it doesn’t really matter does it? We’re all the same inside. Vulnerable.