Mike Breiding's Epic Road Trips: June 2021

How We Met the Frog Maiden


by Betsy Beal Breiding

In the fall of 1974, I headed off to Denver, CO to get my masters degree in Library Science at the University of Denver. It was quite a change after graduating in a high school class of 104 students followed by four years at tiny Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio and a year of teaching 3rd grade in Mineral City, Ohio. Not that DU was giant, but it sure beat any of the previous places for numbers.

I would be living in the graduate apartments and had corresponded with my two roommates before leaving for Denver but it's always hard to know through a letter just what someone is going to be like. The roommates' names were Linda and Pat and all three of us would be in the library science program.

So upon arrival, we finally met and began to get to know one another. Poor Pat. Both Linda and I had lied about our smoking habits on our roommate forms and Pat had told the truth that she definitely did not want smoking roommates, so she surely was dismayed when Linda and I both showed up with cigarettes in hand. In spite of that, the three of us got along well for quite some time, but eventually split up and Pat got an apartment of her own.

It was a year of laughter, tears and tribulations. Linda was quite a character. She drank like a fish and two of her favorite phrases were "Men are sons of bitches" and "I don't give a flying fuck". We didn't ignore our course work, but did our share of partying too, and would often get up on Saturday mornings to breakfast on the previous night's leftover pizza accompanied by gin and Wink. Nearing the end of our four quarters at DU, Linda's advisor told her she had a cavalier attitude and would probably never be able to hold any kind of position. Linda didn't take it to heart. As she left for the airport to head home after graduation, she lifted the drink she was carrying in a toast and declared "I'm a Librarian!"

Linda and I each went off to new places. I went to look for a job in Boston and finally settled down in Cleveland for seven years, then later moved to West Virginia to marry my sweetheart Mike. Linda, after a failed marriage to her grad school boyfriend, married Robert and Mike and I enjoyed several trips to visit them there. Linda and Robert had three children: Juliette, Grace and Benjamin and we received news of them along with pictures in letters from Linda through the years.

Linda proved her grad school advisor wrong with her career at a public library where she worked as a cataloger and later went on to head one of their branch libraries. She had a real flare and passion for quilt making, and now has over 150 quilts displayed on the Internet, and apparently passed on her artistic talent to her daughter Grace.

On one of our visits to see Linda, Mike noticed a beautiful colored pencil drawing hanging on the wall that took his fancy. It showed a lovely young maiden with an enigmatic look on her face. She was bare breasted, the upper part of her body being human and the lower part showing graceful, frog like legs. As Mike expressed his admiration, Linda said, "Oh, my daughter Grace drew that when she was 15 years old. Would you like me to print you a copy." There was an enthusiastic "Yes!" from Mike and Linda proceeded to remove the original drawing from its frame. She then scanned it on a flatbed scanner, printed Mike a copy and also burned a copy to a CD for him. Mike thanked Linda warmly and said: "Now I can take the Frog Maiden home with me".

And that is how we met the Frog Maiden.

The Frog Maiden - Click for larger image



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