It Happened In Dayton – Toads and Small Boys
by Charles F. Sullivan
James Rickey owned a book store on Main Street between 2nd and 3rd at the corner of the alley, now a part of the Third National Building. His residence was across the street from us 435 W. Second St., and a little west, in a large brick house with a cupola on top with the entrance from inside. His family consisted of himself & wife, a daughter older than myself and two boys somewhat younger.
The boys were live active boys, anxious to be doing all the time.
They conceived the idea to gather all the hop toads in the neighborhood and keep them in the cupola, but what they expected to do with them eventually I do not know. At that time toads were very plentiful but now we seldom see them. The boys were very busy for three days going all over the neighborhood and collecting the toads in a box and sneaking them up to the cupola.
That evening, it turned cool and the daughter needed more bed clothes which were stored in the cupola. This was before the day of electric lights, and since she knew just where they were located, she took no light with her. She opened the door and immediately a toad jumped to the stairway, startling her greatly. This was followed by another and leaving the door open, she went for a light. By the time she came back with a kerosene lamp, and could look around, she found the house filled with large, small or any other kind of toads. She called her mother and they spent much of the night getting the toads one at a time upon a dust pan with a whist broom and holding it there until they could get it down stairs and out of doors. For several days after they would find a toad around the house, jumping around over the floor and he was promptly given the opportunity to go out the door which was just what he wanted to do. This experience reminded these folks of the plague of toads when the Children of Israel wanted to make their get away from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.
What happened to the boys? I was not there at that time so we will just have to draw the curtain, but the whole family including the boys were not interested in toads after that.
Toads have been considered good to have around a garden to eat insects and worms, but in the city at least they seem to have gone almost entirely.
What became of the family, I do not know for they just disappeared and I have never heard of them since that time or shortly after.
Chas. F. Sullivan
Feb. 8, 1944
114 E. Idaho St. Apt. C