Attack of the Giant Spider and Other Tales from My Childhood

My Real Memoir

As wonderful as my babysitter’s magical garden was, it clearly wasn’t up to OSHA standards.* But then I grew up in an era when kids were expected to fall out of trees, stub their toes, fall off their bikes, and acquire a colorful array of stitches. It was how one prepared for adulthood.

Assuming one made it to adulthood.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider ( of my early mishaps were harmless-ish. Take the Attack of the Giant Spider, for example. No, it wasn’t a 1950s creature feature. It was a garden spider, whose size probably only exceeded that of a skyscraper in my 4-year-old mind.

Frieda’s Field was a jungle waiting to be explored–and it contained wild animals! Including the LSEF (Largest Spider Ever Found). I ran into her—literally—when I pushed through a taller-than-me cluster of weeds, causing her to trampoline from her giant web…

Onto my nose.

We stared in shock at one another. And then she lifted a leg, and began walking up my nose. That was it. I ran screaming to the kitchen door. Within seconds, Frieda-the-Fearless had smacked the LSEF from my face and off into the ozone. How Frieda faced such a beast bare-handed I’ll never know!

Some dangers were of the purely sensory type. It seemed only fair I should occasionally bring home an offering from the hunt. So I was delighted when I stumbled upon the LEEF (Largest Egg Ever Found)! No, Frieda didn’t have any ostriches, but she did have chickens—and geese. There it was in Frieda’s Field, a massive, mottled beauty just waiting to be eaten! I was so excited, I ran to the house with it.

Bad idea.Goose Egg (

I dropped the egg. Which would have been bad enough if it had been edible. But it wasn’t. It was green. Like Dr. Seuss Green. And it smelled like what I imagined Hell smells like. Until then, I’d never experienced evil in its pure form. Every pore of my body wanted to die.

The last straw came when I was hanging around in Frieda’s house. The Tompkins Hacienda had an ancient heating system made up of, well, basically giant toasters behind metal grills. When they were on, the grills could heat a whole room. They were roughly the temperature of the Sun. But they were set in the walls and easy enough to avoid. Except one. It was on the floor of a long hallway that was perfect for racing in.


So naturally I stepped on it. Result? All the bottom of my foot needed was a scoop of butter and a splash of maple syrup—it was a perfect waffle. It hurt like that rotten egg had smelled. But the pain eventually went away, and so did the beautiful waffle tattoo.

I was getting older and getting bored-er. The magic of playing alone was wearing thin. What I needed was a friend.

A human friend.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

*Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Spider photo: Maggie Wilson Author.

Egg photo: Apartment Therapy

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Attack of the Giant Spider and Other Tales from My Childhood

  1. Pingback: Frieda’s Magical Garden | Mitch Teemley

  2. DeniseBalog says:

    Oh Mitch, I LOVE your telling of Tales from your Childhood ❤️ I chuckled with every sentence and adventure 😊 Giggle, giggle, it rush my memories of my running through s sliding screen door with an apple in my mouth. Not the best idea while visiting with your parents at their friend’s home😲 Glorious childhood of the carefree past❤️ Again, thank you for sharing yours😊

    Liked by 3 people

  3. beth says:

    the best kind of play and i love your stories about it

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Siva jyothi says:

    The Human man Was Need good health,mind joyful, peace and courage 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pastorpete51 says:

    Haha! Life was both fun and full of dangers then. We have to work harder as we get older to recall the fun part. Thanks for the story Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Erika says:

    That sounds like quite some traumatic and painful childhood memories. I can only imagine that spider….. help!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. wayocross says:

    We used to collect the Garden Spiders you displayed in your post. They can’t see below or above themselves. So just uncap a jar, walk up to the web, and close the jar around the spider. The real problem was feeding them without them running up our arm when we removed the lid.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I loved the description of the heating system in Frieda’s house! Ouch!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Piano girl says:

    I love your stories!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. revruss1220 says:

    YIKES! The image of any spider – let alone the LSEF – landing on my nose makes my skin crawl and my toenails curl. You are lucky to be alive, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    Love, love your stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Giant spider! That’s a direct hit on the universal willies nerve!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I wonder how many people have heard of you, Mitch, as Frieda told stories over the years of the always-into-something little kid she used to babysit for?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jane Lurie says:

    Absolutely delightful, Mitch. Love your acronyms. Frieda’s place sounds like a kid’s dream! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. lilyofthevalley777 says:

    I finally took time out to read your LSEF story. I laughed all the way through. I enjoyed it so much. It took me back to my youth.
    I was raised in the Northwest, in Seattle, a small suburb named Lake City. Lived on a road that had a sign posted at the beginning that stated ‘Private Road Dead End’. I guess so no one would come check out what they were missing. We had a Splitlevel house at the end of the road with a crick and the woods in the backyard. My siblings and I had the world at our feet. It wasn’t as scary as your story, but I had my escapades of catching caterpillars, butterflies, pollywogs, bumblebees. I never got stung, bit or got a broken bone…However my sister flooded the neighbors basement thinking she was rescuing their goldfish, or just thought she’d take them for a ride in her wagon. Then on another day I think she was mad at me so while we were traipsing through the woods, she threw something large at me in the backyard and instead of hitting her target, she bullseyed a bees nest instead, and boy were they hot on her tail. She was screaming all the way to our house…I think us babyboomers have quite a few fond memoirs from the past….and like I mentioned on another post you have a way with words and are most witty and whimsical. Thanks for sharing your great Spider story. ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  16. When I read a story such as this one, “like” doesn’t really fit. I’m with the many who said they LOVED this story. I adored every sentence. You had me laughing out loud from, “causing her to trampoline from her giant web,” to the last line.

    I raised two adventuresome boys and this sounds so much like something they would have done. Thanks for sharing your childhood traumas and stories with such glorious humor!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. LOL! An enlarged cavalier.💦

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Your childhood tales are so cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. TEP336 says:

    Ah yes, childhood. Mine was spent running all over the area around my housing projects with my friends. We were running through fields, climbing trees, taking turns falling out of them, acquiring an admirable collection of cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and tetanus shots after stepping on a board with a nail sticking out (not me, one of my friends). We swam in the floodwaters that resulted from a Hurricane, and then got good and properly whooped for doing so. We drank from water hoses, played with metal toys, and performed unplanned gymnastics off our bikes when trying some new trick that popped into mind. While I kind of miss those days, I’m fairly certain that my body doesn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jennie says:

    I love your Freida and childhood stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Carla says:

    I love your stories of your growing up Mitch. Does Frieda know about them? 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I too had a run-in with a bulgy garden spider, but not that close! It did begin a blog post that ended with a spider dangling over the choir loft right above a certain alto being dispatched by a nearby tenor!

    Liked by 1 person

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