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Butterflies, Hurricanes, and Rebirth

Butterflies, Hurricanes, and Rebirth

The Story of a Collection from the Bayou and the Three Generations that Held it Together

Ted was a young man when he moved from Pascagoula to Natchez, Mississippi in the early 1950s. To help pay bills, Ted got a job part-time job with a local Taxidermist, who had a large collection of butterflies and moths from all over the world.

Ted worked next to these beautiful butterfly specimens every day. It didn’t take long before he was hooked, and decided he wanted to start a butterfly collection of his own! So, he set out with a net and a simple glass jar and started collecting local butterflies and moths which he displayed in the top of an old boot box that he brought with him.

Ted continued to collect and build his butterfly collection throughout his high school and college years, carefully storing his collection as well as archeological artifacts and things of interest he collected during his travels. The collection of butterflies, insects, and curios eventually adorned the walls, bookshelf and every nook and cranny of Ted’s Den in the upstairs office in his home where he and his wife raised their family, on a bayou close to the Gulf of Mexico.

Fast forward to many years later, Ted would have the privilege of watching his daughter graduate from college with a degree in Interior Design, get married and start a family of her own. His daughter, Melissia, and her husband, Chad, didn’t live far away with their two sons, Bobby and Abe.

Several years ago, the entire family fell under the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. The storm destroyed Melissia and Chad’s home, their family veterinary business, and most of Grandpa Ted’s home too, except for his upstairs Den, which survived almost completely unscathed.

As the family rebuilt their beautiful little home in the country and filled the yard with flowers and plants, butterflies, moths, and wildlife began to return. As they did, Chad (Melissia’s husband) would go out after work and collect a few from around the yard. He taught their youngest son, Abe, how to mount and display them. Abe was a natural outdoorsman, spending time exploring the outdoors and fishing in the bayou. It only made sense that he would be a natural with butterflies and insects.

Working with his father, Abe started putting together the family’s butterfly collection. It wasn’t long before his grandfather noticed this interest and brought over a box of papered butterflies that he’d bought in the 1950’s and gave it to Abe to work on. The whole family was amazed with Abe’s skill and the beauty that unfolded as they opened one butterfly after another. The next week, Grandpa brought over another box of butterflies, and then another, and so on from the secret Den collection that survived the storm and over 50 years.

Melissia realized the collection needed to be properly displayed, so she ordered a handful of frames, supplies and “filler butterflies” from The Butterfly Company, and the whole family worked to get the collection ready to hang. Then, using a practiced hand and her wonderful design skills, Melissia did a gold French wash over cloud-blue painted walls, creating the perfect backdrop for their collection. They fill an entire wall and are enjoyed by the whole family every day, and hopefully will for many years to come!

We would like to give a big thank you to Melissia & Chad. We are extremely grateful for the chance to share their story about their butterfly collections.

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