One evening in the fall of 1975 we had a most unusual experience at our home on Spotted Horse Lane in Columbia, Maryland. Sandy Jr. was away in New England. Stuart was attending Howard County Community College. Harold and Robert were at Wilde Lake High School, and Eric had just begun middle school. The family had retired for the night, and all was quiet in the house.
Suddenly, Ann and I were disturbed by a noise at the foot of our bed. A moment later both of us were awake, and I switched on the bed light. In the dimness at the foot of the bed I could make out the form of an animal. I was not certain of its identity, but I thought perhaps it was a weasel – possibly rabid. Then, to my consternation, I saw it was moving towards the head of the bed. I reached down beside the bed, picked up one of my shoes, and threw it at the unidentified creature. Its identity was immediately established as the pungent odor of a skunk filled our bedroom. Ann and I both headed for the bedroom door, nearly getting wedged in the opening as terror made us think only of “sauve qui peut.”
Within moments the entire household was awake and in an uproar. I believe that one or two of the boys even went out of their bedroom window to escape the smell. And believe me, the odor was overpowering.
Somehow, we got our bedroom door closed and the family took sanctuary in other parts of the house. The next morning the boys went off to their respective schools and Ann and I took measures to deal with our resident skunk. Unfortunately, we discovered that the county’s animal control officer was not equipped to control skunks. He came by our house, left a cage trap, and immediately departed. As it turned out, the skunk continued to occupy our bedroom for the next two days. We finally got rid of him by closing doors to all the other bedrooms, opening the front door and our bedroom door, and letting the skunk walk out of the house. Goodbye and good riddance!
Even though the skunk was gone, the aroma remained with us. We tried every known remedy, but the smell stayed with us for another six months. We entertained no visitors for a very long time.
How did the skunk get in the house? We will never know.