We people spending the summer in the neighboring bungalow colonies in the Catskills were allowed to attend the Saturday night show at the nearby Hotel Roseville. As an eight-year-old, my older sister took me and my best friend to see the show. While playing outside the casino before the show started, I was delighted to come upon an exquisite black, orange, and white monarch butterfly. It appeared to be resting on the grass.

Sadly, it was not resting, it was dead. I don’t know what was in my mind, except that I wanted to mount it and display it. I needed to take it before someone trampled on it. I had no paper bag; I’m not sure plastic bags even existed, but none was available. I gently placed it on the waistline of my sweater and put the bottom rim of my sweater over it to safely cover the entire butterfly.

In the casino, I found a seat in the front row where the children usually sat to avoid taller adults obstructing the view. A few minutes before the theatrical event began, an elderly woman approached me.
“Little girl, I need your seat,” she whispered. “I’m sure you are not even from the Roseville.” I reached over to share my friend’s seat. Too late!! The woman grabbed me and sat me on her lap. “See, now you are even taller, so you can see better,” she said loud enough for the entire audience to hear. I was taught to “respect your elders.” I was stuck!! The show was a comedy. Each time the woman laughed, with her hands around my waist, she pressed hard on me, or each laugh was accompanied by her clapping on me. 

When I got home, my mother was faced with the task of removing my sweater with the stored butterfly. The sweater had no buttons to ease the task; it was an over-the-head kind. It was a serious, sorry, sad sight! The head, abdomen and thorax were all crushed. Mixed into this were the legs and the antenna. The orange, black and white wings were a powdery mess. All of this was pasted to the rim of my sweater. The sweater had to come off without smearing this dreadful pulp on my face and into my hair. Momma was screaming at me for bringing home this horrific mess. I was screaming, crying, and shouting, “UGH! YUCK! ICKY! The memory of this event has remained with me for more than eighty-five years.

How could such beautiful thing in nature become so loathsome, so ugly, so hideous, so repellent and so revolting??