I must have been 5 or so.
One evening my father came home from work with a present for me.
I opened the parcel and found a rubber tarantula. It had a plastic tube inserted in its abdomen and attached to the other end a rubber hand pump.
When you squeezed the pump the spider jumped.
When my mother entered the living room to say hi to my father I joyfully ran towards her.
“Mommy, mommy, look what Daddy got me,” I beamed breathlessly.
I made the spider jump.
I remember my mother screaming with fear and turning pale. My father took her in his arms and then upstairs.
It took a while before she came back, still shaking.
I was way to young to understand what had happened.
The next morning I searched for my rubber tarantula.
In vain though and being a kid a soon forgot the toy.
My father had discretely thrown it in the garbage bin.
My parents had been married for 5 years or so and my father did not know my mother suffered from extreme arachnophobia.
Well, he finally found out, didn’t he?
What happened that evening changed my perception of spiders. For years to come I too suffered from arachnophobia albeit not as extreme as my mother did.
A few years ago I started taking close-ups and later macro’s from spiders hoping I would get past my phobia.
I must admit it did help although I still tend to freeze when I’m confronted with a big, black and hairy house spider.
One species I really like are crab spiders. They are small, very colorful and a pleasure to photograph.