Bats: In reverse chronological order…
Tonight I was walking our dog Mia right at dusk. The sky was still a light red but it was dark under the trees. In the gaps between the trees I saw bats. I don’t know if there were thousands, hundreds or dozens. They swooped back and forth in the open sky between the trees. I don’t know if they were the same bats over and over again or new bats each time. It was a beautiful site.
In the 80’s we had bats in Sidney Grade School. I would be called from my classroom several times a year to remove a bat from a classroom, hall or gym. I would catch then and let them go outside. My students or former students loved bats, other students reacted like their teachers reacted. The old part of the school was built in 1896 and eventually brown streaks began to run down the office walls. I got a ladder and climbed through the false ceiling in the newer part of the building and the through a trap door in the original ceiling, then walked across the rafters to the 1896 portion. There was a fire door. I went through it and found a couple of feet of bat guano around the old chimney – the source of the brown streaks in the office. Because bats are protected in Illinois we hired a company to install one way “gates” in all the cracks and holes. The bats could get out but not in. There must have been lots of cracks and holes because it didn’t do any good. The building was torn down in about 1997.
1960’s: We did a lot of cave exploring in Southern Illinois. There would often be bats on the ceiling near the entrance, but they never got in our hair.
1950’s: I remember looking as street lights in Mount Carmel and throwing small rocks in the air and watching the bats swoop toward them.
1940’s: We lived at Fort Bliss, Texas and my older sisters woke us up screaming. There was a bat in the house. Dad grabbed a coat hanger and took his best tennis swing. The bat dropped straight to the ground, the wings each fell left and right. I’m glad killing bats wasn’t illegal in Texas then or if it was illegal I’m glad the statute of limitations is up.