By Margaret Elwood, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member

In the summer of 1937, my older sister Barb and I found ourselves knee-deep in dirt, our fingers stained with the earth’s secrets. Our family’s home was in Hillman, Michigan, a couple blocks from the Thunder Bay River. The Great Depression had gnawed a tour livelihood, leaving us with little more than stubborn resolve and empty pockets.

One of the stores in town sold bait for fishing, and so my sister and I went in and asked how much we would earn if we dug up worms. The manager answered 10 cents for 100 worms.

With shovels and a shared desperation, we headed out near the Thunder Bay River to dig up worms. Our hands plunging into the cool earth, we pulled out the worms one by one. The worms squirmed, protesting their eviction.

We were on a mission—to turn soil into silver.

I had the great idea to cut the worms in half to double our profit! 20 cents was a great deal of money back in that day. So, we took the 200 worms into the store, and we were handed the 20 cents. We were so excited, we couldn’t wait to tell our mother.

Well, word had gotten back to our mom about what we did, and when we arrived home and showed our mom the 20 cents, she said “We are all going back to the store to return that man’s 20 cents.” Both my sister and I said, “But why, Mom?” She replied, “You cheated that poor man by cutting those worms in half to get more money. You should be ashamed of yourselves!”

Now, at 96 years old, I sit on my couch and look back at all the fun we had growing up in our little town of Hillman. Barb is long gone, but her laughter dances in the wind.

Remember this tale when life throws you a curveball—sometimes the early bird doesn’t get the worm!

About the Author: Margaret is retired and likes to fish, read, play Scattegories, and watch nature programs. She is an outgoing person who loves people and parties too.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here