My father confirmed a strong memory that I have of an event prior to the first grade. It is my first memory from childhood. It happened when I was four years old and when you hear it you will understand why I remember it, or maybe you would know why I can’t forget it.

I am not writing this story myself. I have a ghost writer. I don’t think that’s so bad. A lot of famous people do it and get paid millions for stuff other people write about them. I am being paid nothing. So there.

I was living in Ormond Beach Florida and it was 1934. Ormond Beach is still around, and it is thriving. It was a sleepy small town then between St. Augustine the oldest city in the United States and Daytona Beach where stock car racing was born. I lived with my family which is not only normal but mandatory when you are only four. I mention my family because my dad played a big part in this tale.

Today the green sea turtle is considered an endangered species and the government has strict rules to protect these gentle giants. Things were not so eighty years ago and that is why the following could take place.

It was summer in the middle of the egg laying-nesting season. Giant green turtles weighing between 250 and 400 lbs. and measuring nearly four feet long crawl up on the beach at night, burrow in the sand, and lay between 75 and 150 eggs that are about the size of a ping pong ball, not all that big for the size of the turtle. When finished, the mother turtle buries the eggs and crawls back to the sea. In about two months, the top of the nest mounds up from the stirring of baby turtles and dozens, sometimes more than a hundred newborns, each the size of a newborn chick clumsily scamper to the sea where they can live as long as 70 years.

Now comes my part. My dad took me down to the beach in the moonlight when a large turtle was nestled in the sand and in the process of laying her eggs. My dad said, “you bend over George and catch one of those eggs when it comes out.”

Of course, when you are four years old you do what your dad tells you because after all he is the smartest person you know. I stuck my hand under the back end of the busy turtle and caught one of these eggs. This act produced the most enduring memory of the event. I felt a squishy liquid surrounding the egg as it came out. After that I dropped it and let the turtle do the rest; that is, bury it. When the turtle was done laying her eggs the next most memorable thing happened.

They put me on top of the turtle and walked along as the turtle, with me astride, went back into the ocean. The men were knee deep and the turtle was getting ready to dive when they retrieved me.

Thanks dad, for creating quite a memory.

Contributed by:  By George Charbonneau


To see the amazing sight of hundreds of just hatched sea turtles and learn more about these amazing creatures click this link :


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