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1949: When is an alligator a crocodile?

By THERESA BLACWEL, Times Staff Writer
Published August 14, 2007


AUG. 20, 1949

SAFETY HARBOR - When is an alligator a crocodile and vice versa? That is the question that has locals batting the breeze in this otherwise breezeless community.

No denizen of the deep is safe when the Smith family goes strolling. One day this week, they walked straight into a pint-sized crocodile or alligator.

When the miniature monster was spotted, Papa G.C. Smith danced around to harass the enemy, while Mama Lena Smith and daughters Lena Mae, 16, Margie, 14, Ann, 12, Helen, 9, Donna Fay, 7, and Betty Sue, 5, deployed for ammunition in the form of a forked stick.

When the necessary implement was found, the Smith girls engaged in a flanking movement that left the enemy flabbergasted. In no time at all, the 18-inch bundle of fighting fury was captured. Holding the hissing, wriggling reptile securely, Papa Smith and family marched to their home on Fourth Street N to take pictures of the varmint.

On the way home, however, they were met by several nature-lovers who claimed the critter was an alligator. They said there were no crocodiles this far north.

Papa Smith settled the argument by hauling out a huge dictionary that showed pictures of both the alligator and the crocodile. The latter has stripes on its tail and the captured reptile did, too, he pointed out.

Then Papa Smith put the four-legged buzz bomb into the family bathtub, hoping to make a pet out of it. Mama Smith put some chicken livers in a dish on the bottom of the tub in case the visitor got hungry during the night.

In the morning, both the chicken livers and the crocodile (or alligator) were gone.

When someone asked later whether or not there were any big crocodiles (or alligators) in Mullet Creek, behind the Smith home, Mama Smith said wryly:

"Where there are little ones, there have to be big ones."

AUG. 17, 1936

Merchant goes East for goods for new store

TARPON SPRINGS - Abe L. Tarapani left Sunday for New York and other eastern points to do his buying for his new department store, which he plans to open about the middle of September in his newly equipped building on E Tarpon Avenue.

For many years, he operated the New York department store on the other side of Tarpon Avenue. But some time ago, he bought the building his new store will occupy and has completely remodeled the building to suit his purposes.

AUG. 17, 1936

Entrepreneur shines from the home front

One of the chief objectives of the Home Demonstration Club work carried on by Mrs. Joy Belle Hess, county agent, is to help women contribute money to family finances, yet remain at home.

Mrs. J.D. Mercer, member of the Sunset Point Club, former employee in a canning plant, cleared $61.60 in addition to the preservation of more than $200 worth of garden products.

She sold six chickens to get the funds to buy $5 worth of Easter lily bulbs. When they failed to bloom in time for Easter, she cut the flowers and sold them for Mother's Day. She also raised a calf and sold part of it, and sold Christmas wreaths and orange marmalade.

"While I was doing all these things, I was canning the surplus vegetables from my husband's garden," she said. "Most of them were not up to No. 1 standard, but were good culls. I have over $200 worth of canned products in my pantry. I have made more by staying at home than I used to make in the canning plant."

Mrs. Hess and Mrs. Wilson are making plans to start a cooperative market, collecting standard canned goods from club members and selling them at regular prices.

Theresa Blackwell compiles the history column. She can be reached at

Looking back

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

[Last modified August 13, 2007, 21:18:46]

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