Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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A Monkey Up A Tree

A monkey was spotted in a tree behind the Miami Beach, Florida home of Selma and Ben Grenald on December 5, 1951. The police were called and Patrolman John Ward was dispatched to the couple’s home.  

There was nothing in Officer Ward’s training to prepare him for dealing with having to get a monkey down out of a tree. So, he danced around under the tree with – you guessed it – a bunch of bananas in his hands in an effort to lure the monkey down.

A small crowd began to gather when, suddenly, their two-year-old son Douglas somehow got into a bed of stinging red ants. Dad quickly grabbed Douglas and dunked him in a tub of water to rid him of the ants.

During all of that commotion, Mrs. Grenald had forgotten about a pan that she had left the stove on and, the next thing you know, the family was dealing with a grease fire that scorched their curtains and some woodwork. Mr. Grenald put out the fire, but the smoke had made him ill.

The rags that had been used to clean up the mess created by the fire were placed into the washing machine, but one of their kids opened the machine door while it was running, flooding the kitchen with four-inches (approximately 10-cm) of water before anyone noticed.

At 1:00 AM, nine hours after the monkey was first spotted in the tree, the mess was finally cleaned up.

As to what happened to the monkey, Mrs. Grenald said, “We don’t know and we don’t care.”

Selma, Douglas, and Ben Grenald.
Selma, Douglas, and Ben Grenald. The image appeared on page 13 of the December 5, 1951 publication of the Miami News.
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