Home > > Landsteward Reader Response > Our column on Catalpa trees rekindles memories.

Our column on Catalpa trees rekindles memories.

You wouldn't think a woman who lives in a suburban Brentwood home with a manicured lawn would have a personal acquaintance with the very interesting catalpa worms, would you? Your article on the creatures took me on a trip down memory lane. In my youth, I was the only grandchild of my great-grandmother Annie Frances Brooks (otherwise known as Mamma Frankie) who was willing to climb the tree outside her kitchen window in Samson, Alabama with a plastic container in hand to capture the worms. As you mentioned, catalpa worms resemble caterpillars or some bizarre creature from a science fiction movie, but are in truth very harmless creatures -- to humans that is. My greatgrandmother would bribe me to get up into the tree with the promise of an early morning fishing trip alone with her (unaccompanied by a multitude of other greatgrandchildren). She coached me from the ground on where to look so that I could gather as many worms as possible. She would then refrigerate the worms and even freeze them as she believed it was their color pattern that proved to be so enticing to the fish. I think she must have been right. Even frozen and thawed and oozing, the catalpa worms almost always yielded a marvelous catch. I can feel the hot sun on my back even now and see the cork bobbing off the end of my cane pole as I pull the fish in. I can see my grandmother's nod of approval and her smile under the wide brim of her hat. It is just the two of us standing on that bank together. It's been a long time since those days. Thanks for rekindling the memories.

Kathryn S. White Brentwood, TN

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