It's 1961 and we had been visiting my grandparents, Florence and Scott Hilligoss in Boneventure Florida located just outside of Cocoa. Dad always had his vacation the first two weeks of July, but the time had sadly come to head back to Massachusetts.
My three sisters and I hopped in the backseat of the new shiny black Ford, mom in the front seat with dad driving. But we had another making the trip home with us. In the back window was a box carefully sealed .
Somewhere along the road we pulled over for gas. This is where my mom climbed into the backseat to stretch out and take a nap. My sister and I then climbed into the front seat. Slowly but surely all fell asleep, except for dad of course who still had control of the steering wheel.
Suddenly, my sister was nudging me and telling me to stop it. "Stop what?" Touching my foot she complained. "I didn't touch your foot." Yes you did. We went back to sleep. When suddenly it happened again, and this time she was obviously mad and began yelling at me. Then she yelled in pain when something bit her toe.
Now all hell broke out in the car for the alligator in the box had escaped. This carnivorous beast was just waiting to pounce on my unsuspecting sister. It had to have crawled over my mother and two sisters in the back seat to get down to the floor to crawl under the front seat to reach my sisters feet.
Now we pull our feet up on the front seat screaming.
Dad pulls into a gas station and gets out to try and capture this beast which proved to be an impossible task. Fortunately, the gas station attendant, apparently a pro, appeared and grabbed the alligator as it was squirming around like a contortionist hissing with his mouth wide open exposing those sharp teeth. We found it had chewed a hole right through that cardboard box, so the gas station attendant gave us a wooden box so it would not escape again.
When we got home the person I bought it for wanted nothing to do with it. Can't blame him. So into the bathtub it went and we fed it hamburger. Finally, a boy I had dated a few times said he wanted the alligator and he took it home, thank goodness.
It wasn't long after he too decided this was not exactly a friendly pet. He told me he just let it loose somewhere. So if you ever hear about an alligator in the sewer, you know where it came from.