It’s been over 50 years since I first started keeping fish. Well that is, keeping fish properly. I had for several years previous, kept all manner of pond life in jars and buckets, just about anything that would hold water.
The lady at the top of this post is Martha Herzog. Martha was born on Friday, June 23, 1922 in Springfield, Ohio and passed away Sunday, June 21, 2009. She was 86 years old.
For 21 years, Martha owned and operated Hertz Aquarium and Pets in Springfield, Ohio. That was where I knew her from.
She ran the store with her daughter Christina and I can see them both in my minds eye as if it were only yesterday.
You see, for more years than I can remember, I would make a weekly trip to Hertz Aquarium with my allowance in hand. It was a magical place. There were dozens of tanks with fish of all shapes and sizes, and several giant tanks with plecos as long as my arm. Well, they seemed as long as my arm when I was 10 or 12 years old!
Martha loved her fish, and just a look around her store showed it. Everything was spotlessly clean and the viewing area in front of the tanks was always open. The tanks were all aquascaped and well lighted. A dead or sick fish was nowhere to be found.
I loved my weekly visits to Hertz! And even though, as an eight year old boy, I didn’t have much money to spend, Martha and Christina always seemed as happy to see me, as I was to see them.
The turning point…
I think the real turning point for me was when Martha said she would buy all the cichlids I could raise. It just seemed to elevate my love of keeping fish to a new level. I could work with the fish, get them to spawn for me, and then share my achievement with someone who saw value in my efforts.
So here’s to you Martha. Fifty plus years down the road, and baby fish still bring a smile to my face. Just as thoughts of my time spent at Hertz Aquarium does too!