In October 1998, the Schultzes were on a vacation, visiting family and friends in Michigan. It turns out that Dr. Sam Marshall (Tarantulas and Other Arachnids) lived in Oxford, Ohio, an easy day's drive from south-central Michigan. So, Stan and Marguerite decided to make a slight side-jaunt down to Oxford and Cincinnati to visit both a granddaughter and Sam. All sorts of phone calls were made, and an intricately programmed itinerary was developed that would allow them to visit the granddaughter the evening before, then rendezvous with two other tarantula enthusiasts (Dave Kroger and James Coffey) in Cincinnati, link up with Sam, and make a visit to the Cincinnati zoo to see their world famous insect zoo on the next day. Of course, during all this, the Schultzes, the other two fellows, and Sam were all supposed to get one heck of a lot of arachnidizing done. Silly people, these Schultzes.
It turns out that Sam was also visiting family and friends "back east," and driving back, was scheduled to arrive in Oxford the same day the Schultzes were. You guessed it. The schedules got all screwed up and little went as planned. The Schultzes never had a chance to meet James and Dave or see the insect zoo in Cincinnati (although they did visit with the granddaughter). And, Sam must have felt like death revisited after having driven 1,000 miles or more and then having to entertain these two strangers. Still, so that the trip wouldn't be too much a disaster for everybody concerned, Sam and the Schultzes did spend an afternoon talking spiders, and eventually wound up in a unique restaurant in a converted movie theatre. The food and company were good, and a good time was had by all.
For the record, Sam is an affable sort of guy who really does research on spiders, something we all envy him for: a real, live, official arachnologist! He has quite a collection in his spare bedroom (Does this sound familiar?) including several goliaths and a bunch of species the Schultzes had only heard about before visiting him. Sam wrote Tarantulas and Other Arachnids (TOA) at about the same time, and even has the same publisher (Barrons Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, NY) as the Schultzes and their The Tarantula Keeper's Guide. But, it turns out that neither Sam nor the Schultzes knew of each other until Stan found a copy of TOA in a pet shop in Calgary and contacted Sam by e-mail through the arachnid mailing list. (A tip of the hat to Ed Welbon for that one.)
Tarantulas and Other Arachnids (TOA) was released about one year before the Guide. Thus, while the Guide isn't referenced in TOA, TOA is referenced in the Guide. (A little friendly one-upmanship, there.)
Apparently, Barron's had intentionally neglected to inform either Sam or the Schultzes of the other's actions. At first this was quite puzzling, but ultimately its wisdom became obvious. It prevented untoward collusion or competition. The result is two books on the same subject from the same publisher in the same time frame. But, while these two books more or less mesh in their treatments, they are also distinct entities, reflecting the distinct experiences, opinions and knowledge of the individuals who wrote them rather than devolving into "dog eat dog" contradictions, or clones of each other. When taken as a pair, it will likely be a long time before anyone writes a sequel that matches or exceeds these two.
At that restaurant in Oxford, a waitress was coerced into taking a few snapshots of the three authors around their table. We present the best one here for those who are interested in what these mad people really look like. What you see here are the three people on the planet who quite literally "wrote the books" on keeping pet tarantulas. That's just got to be a first!
Left to right, Stan Schultz, Sam Marshall, Marguerite ("Grandma") Schultz. Up front, diet cola (easy on the ice), white wine, Sam's drink (We don't recall what it was, nothing very potent, though. Trust us.)
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This page was initially created on 1999-February-28.
The last revision occurred on 2005-December-17.
Copyright © 1998, Stanley A. Schultz and Marguerite J. Schultz.
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