Nadine Rhem is one of Nancy's oldest friends. They've known each other for a little over 50 years, now, and even though they don't always get so see each other; they have one little tradition they keep up that started when they were sixteen.
It was 1974, Nancy was just shy of 17 and months away from high school graduation. Nadine had just gotten back from spring break in Florida with her family and brought back a 'souvenir' of sorts. It was a lizard. An American Anole( aka the American Chameleon). She had named it Chloe.
Let's just say, this new pet could not acclimate after the transition from FL to Skokie, IL in mid-March and was, therefore short-lived. Needless to say, the two friends decided to give the pet a proper burial.
Appropriate weather fell on the day of this somber occasion. The burial site was chosen under a tree in Nadine's parents' backyard. It was raining. That didn't stop them, though, it only added to the ambiance. A possible Tequila Sunrise (Nancy and Nadine's favorite drink) might have been involved, too. Amidst the rain, Nadine looked at Nancy and said, "Let's aways remember this day, no matter where we are in our lives." and that marked the very first Lizard Day.
Time has passed and each year Nancy and Nadine celebrated as best their growing, changing lives allowed. In their mid- twenties, they celebrated Lizard Day by going to Indiana for cheap cigarettes and frog legs at Phil Smidt and Son in Hammond, Indiana. Imagine: two tiny girls eating mountains of frog legs, tartar sauce, reeking of garlic, and just having the time of their lives! Now, Nancy has quite a collection of Phil Smidt water glasses that she took as souvenirs which may or may not have frog bones in them.
Modern day Lizard Day celebrations now consist of a phone call or a meet up because they're lives are different. Phil Smidt and Son closed down in 2007, and there aren't any other known establishments where you can eat heaps of frog legs for $3.00. Nancy's family has helped her carry on the tradition too. Her three boys help her celebrate and even her daughter-in-law, Linsey, remembers this occasion. All Nancy has to do is text them, "Do you have something to say to me ?" and within moments responses pour into her inbox.
This year, in keeping the tradition going strong, we are having an Open House at Nancy's studio (you can find the address under "come visit" on our homepage) on May 19th from 10AM- 6PM, so stop by, bring some frog legs, and don't forget to wish her a "Happy Lizard Day". Just don't bring any Lizards, please. :) :) :)