It was 1985. Reagan was sworn in for his second term, Gorbachev became the de facto leader of the Soviet Union, the Breakfast Club was playing in theaters, Michael Jordan won Rookie of the Year, and the Nintendo was launched in the United States. And yet, even more importantly, at just seven years of age, 1985 marks the year my passion for reptiles and amphibians took off.
Over the ensuing years, my experience and knowledge of reptiles and amphibians expanded exponentially, and I graduated from Green anoles and Curly-tailed lizards to the more advanced species. I devoured every reptile and amphibian book or magazine I could get my hands on, including the venerable National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians—in fact, I still remember the day my mom bought it for me as an Easter present. I was also a big fan of Vivarium magazine.
Here's one of several little Red-bellied snakes I caught in 1986 in my grandparent's garden.