Goodbye Vesuvius

My male Betta fish of three years died today. I originally got him for a classroom pet when I was teaching elementary school back in 2008-2009. I decided on a fish over the students wishes for a horse or a dog for a class pet! For one reason, they are a lot easier to clean up after and MUCH less expensive.

I purchased my Betta at the local pet and feed store. He was a deep red with the tips of his fins turning purple to blue. He was really unusual looking. I used Mr. Betta to help teach a lesson to my kids. Each child put forth a name that they wanted to give to Mr. Betta. I then had them write down two names that they wanted to vote for on a secret ballot. Each day they could “earn” votes by doing nice things for others, or being helpful in the classroom.

At the end of a week we held “elections” and I tallied up the final votes. Mr. Betta was then renamed to Goldie. How the one child came up with such a name (there wasn’t a speck of gold on that poor fish) much less garner the support of others to vote for it escaped me! This only served to remind me that it isn’t always the best candidate that wins…

Goldie lived happily in his tank at school, and the class helper for the week was in charge of feeding him everyday. After school ended, I took Goldie home and promptly renamed him to a more manly and appropriate Vesuvius. His colors reminded me of spewing and cooling lava. He happily lived at home for another two years, earning a more spacious bowl, enduring power outages heated by oil lamps and foil reflectors, and proudly displaying his fins when facing a mirror.

Perhaps it’s silly to mourn a Betta fish, but he is linked to so many memories. You’ll be missed Vesuvius.

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