Gladys, Who Loves Her Husband and Spiders

Gladys, Who Loves Her Husband and Spiders

Gladys and Henry have been married for fifty years.

As I approached the date of my own nuptials, I spoke to her to get some advice. How do I create a loving and long-lasting marriage? What's their secret?

Are you good at giving marriage advice?

I don't know. I guess we've been married long enough so I should be.

How did you and your husband meet?

He was a neighbor, lived down the street from my family's house in Philadelphia. Our first date was a trip to the zoo. He came back to our house and we sat on the couch and at 8pm my mother called down from upstairs, Gladys time to come to bed. 

What's your advice for a successful marriage?

I don't think it's that hard. You just have to be kind and understanding.

That's it?

Well, sometimes you have to shout a little. You have to fight. It's healthy to fight.

What do you and Henry fight about?

Oh, everything. He wants to go out golfing and I hate golfing and I don't want to go but he doesn't want to go by himself and I tell him to go with a friend but he says all his friends have died.

What else?

He's stubborn. He didn't want to clean the leaves out of the gutter and I told him he'd been doing it for fifty years so I'm sure he could still do it.

You wanted him to climb the ladder?

Sure. He doesn't help out any other way around the house. That was one of the only things he did.

Your husband is a little accident prone, I hear.

He gets into all sorts of scrapes.

You did put rat poison on his eggs once.

It was a mistake. He had put the rat poison next to the salt.

You also put a tarantula in his shoe once.

I love spiders, I've always been fascinated by spiders--I would have been an arachnologist if he had let me finish my schooling--and so I decided I would keep spiders. It was a beautiful little tarantula. I had it out of his glass box and I dropped it. I couldn't find him. I didn't want to tell Henry and it ended up taking refuge in his shoe.

It bit him?

Yes. But contrary to what most people think, although tarantulas are venomous and the bites can cause discomfort, they don't kill people.

Did you know that?

No, not at the time. It was all a learning experience for me.

You still collect spiders?

Yes, would you like to see Tommy?

Who is Tommy?

I'll show you. Come here. This my Brazilian Wandering Spider. It's similar to North American Wolf Spiders, but they are generally bigger and possess more toxic venom. Tommy has the most neurologically active venom of all spiders, and is generally regarded as the most dangerous spider in the world. Isn't he cute?

It's kind of cool. What does Henry think?

He won't come in this room. Sometimes I put fake spiders--I buy them on Amazon--and I put them in his shoes, in his bathroom, on the floor. I find it amusing, his reactions.

Is it?

Well, he had a heart attack, but he eats bacon almost every day.

Hi Tommy, you're so cute. You don't like bacon do you?

When does Tommy bite?

If he is alarmed or scared, he will bite.

What happens?

Muscle shock. It's very painful.

Are you happy you got married?

Sure, it's just important to maintain your own interests. My interests are spiders. And I am really devoted to them. Would you like to hold Tommy?

I don't think that's a good idea.

Are you scared?

Maybe a little. How often do you take him out of his box?

Well, Henry doesn't like me to, so that's why I do it when he's asleep. Although one time I was holding Tommy and he got away. I was holding him like this when he jumped, nearly jumped, and got away. They're fast.

Oh my God! He jumped!

Come here, Tommy. Tommy, come here.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.

Don't move. Don't make any big movements.

Will you get him off me, please?

Sure, sure.

He jumped again!

Where did he go? I can't see him without my glasses.

I don't know. I'm not sure where he went.

We'll have to look for him. Henry won't be happy about this.

Okay, I think he went under the bed.

Tommy, sweetie. Come here. Come to mama.

I don't see him.

He's probably hiding now. We'll find him. Don't worry, he'll turn up.

Anything else you'd like to say about marriage?

There's good and bad days. And always shake your shoe out before you put it on.