This story comes to us from Charlie R. in Maine. Charlie was part of Fjor Films’ Hear Our Heroes Project. For more information visit www.fjorfilms.com/hearourheroes.
I grew up working on a chicken farm and my brothers and I had to share the chores. Back in those days you had to feed the chickens by hand and water them by hand—everything was by hand.
Before our eggs were ready to sell we’d all gather in the kitchen to clean and polish the eggs, weigh them, and put them in the cartons.
One day I lugged another bunch of eggs in and my dad finally said, “Where in tarnation are you getting all these eggs? What are you doing, squeezing dead chickens?”
And my mother looked at him and said, “Peter! Don’t give that kid any ideas, he’s got enough of his own.”
Well it did give me an idea. Across the street we had this old cellar hole where we used to throw any dead chickens that we had. And I had thrown two or three dead chickens in it that day.
So I went over to the cellar hole and dug out a bunch of chickens that hadn’t been dead too long. Then I would take one of the chickens and press really hard up by its breast and I push all the way down its body. And all of a sudden out would pop a small, soft-shelled egg.
About every third chicken, though, would pop out a real, hard-shelled egg. And so after squeezing all the dead chickens I could find I brought home about a dozen eggs.
When I brought the basket of eggs into the kitchen my father asked, “Where’d you get those eggs?”
“Squeezing dead chickens,” I said.
My father just looked at my mother, shook his head, and then told me to go clean up the eggs and put them in the refrigerator.
“You really don’t want me to put them in there,” I said. “I’m telling you I got these by squeezing the dead chickens.” But they thought I was just teasing them and so I had to clean the eggs anyway.
So I cleaned those eggs and put them in the refrigerator, but I thought to myself, I ain’t eating those eggs. And so I made sure that my sisters ate them instead of me.