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Japanese Glass Fishing Floats

Updated on April 11, 2014

My Dad's Find

This is a story about how I've acquired a cool little collection of Japanese Glass Fishing Floats. I love these and I have made them my table's center piece.

A long time ago, before and after I was born, my family lived on a little island of Hawaii called Lanai. This was in the 70's, and long before the tourists found out about this island. The Philippinos who lived there were afraid of the ocean so my family had the beaches all to themselves.

One day while walking along Shipwreck Beach, my dad made a fantastic discovery.

The shore was covered with glass balls. Not one one of them was the same, there were big ones and little ones. Most were round like balls but some were shaped like rolling pins. There were some that were dark green, and some were light green and blue. A lot of them were encased in fishing nets and some weren't. But they were treasures, every one of them.

This is a picture of my glass ball collection from Hawaii.

I want to thank everyone who provided me with a PURPLE STAR, and LENS OF THE DAY!!! Talk about happiness! And both on the same day! So awesome! Thank you so much, all of you who loved my lens, and gave me not only a great day, but inspiration too!

Collecting Glass Balls On Shipwreck Beach

This is the beach that was once covered with glass fishing balls. The glass balls my dad found were carried in tides from Japan and were swept to rest on this beach. My dad went home to tell my mom, brother, and sister about his cool find.

For days my family collected these balls and took them home. My brother and sister were 6 and 7 and everyday they raced to the beach to see who could get there faster.

My mom being pregnant with me and about to pop would just waddle slowly to the beach.

When they brought glass balls home, they hung them up on the front porch for all to see. And my mom filled their hammock with the ones that they couldn't hang.

These Great Balls Will Always Be In Our Collections

About six years later we moved to California and we took at least thirty glass balls with us. I was always fascinated with them and admired them. I had a favorite, and it just happened to be my dad's favorite too. It was unique because this particular glass ball had water inside it!

I asked him one day how that happened and he explained that it must have been submerged down into the ocean with such force that some of the water was trapped inside. My dad still has this glass ball to this day and the water is still inside!

Now over 35 years later my mom and dad has kept some of the glass balls, and so have I. This is one of the glass balls my dad gave to me, it is also unique because it has a flag pole holder that is still attached. The fishermen would put flags in these holders to find the nets easier.

I love my glass balls and very proud of them and their history. I will keep them for the rest of my life, and will share this story with anyone who asks about them.

Glass Balls - Cool glass balls to cherish:

Red Japanese Glass Fishing Floats Fish Net Buoys Tiki Decor
Red Japanese Glass Fishing Floats Fish Net Buoys Tiki Decor

Not genuine, but pretty anyway. And would look good hanging on your front porch, especially if you live in a beach town!

 

More About Japanese Glass Fishing Floats

These are floats that the Japanese made over 80 years ago for fishing. The green color was the most common because they were made from recycled Sake bottles. The sizes were varied because the fishermen were always experimenting on what works the best.

Sometimes the floats would "escape" from fishing nets and they were found washed up all over the Pacific beaches in the 60's, 70's and 80's. The balls are the most common but the rolling pin shaped ones (called rollers), have also been found on the beaches at the same time.

Originally all round floats were made with nets, but the theory is that some of the nets may have rotted off while in the ocean. The rolling pins didn't have nets and ropes were tied on the two ends in order to use for fishing. The fishermen were not happy that their floats would "escape" from their fishing nets, but my family sure was, and I'm sure other people who found them were happy too. When talking about them, we never called these glass floats, instead we always called them glass balls!

My Little Treasure - My favorite glass ball, because it's so small and cute!

Genuine Glass Fishing Floats

These are just like ours, and I found some of the rolling pin kind as well! :)

Glass Ball Collection

This is a very cool video showing all kinds of different fishing floats.

Books About Japanese Fishing Balls

Beachcombing for Japanese Glass Floats
Beachcombing for Japanese Glass Floats

Loaded with pictures of great beach finds.

 
Glass Ball
Glass Ball

Learn more about this fascinating creation!

 

Do You Love Glass Balls Too? - Do you have a similar story? Even if you don't, comments are welcome anyway! :)

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    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      Great piece of trivia and congrats on LOTD

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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @maryseena: You're welcome, thank you for visiting. :)

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      maryseena 3 years ago

      They look so delicate and pretty. Thanks for sharing.

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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @flinnie lm: Thank you very much :)

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      Gloria Freeman 3 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I enjoyed reading your story about these glass balls. Congrats on LOTD.

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      I have one that's at least 10 inches across, large bluegreen in color. Have it as room decor in my livingroom. Love it.

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      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 3 years ago from Johanesburg

      Nice and interesting lens ,thanks for sharing

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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @ForEverProud: Thank you! :)

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      Jeanne Rene 3 years ago from Northern California

      Wow ... that was very interesting. I remember seeing glass balls inside nets in San Francisco when I was a little girl. It's cool to know a little history about them. Congrats on making LOTD

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @somebudiesangel2: Yes, guess they had some fun before they made them! lol

    • somebudiesangel2 profile image

      Tami-Lynn 3 years ago from North Vancouver

      Interesting story! Made from sake bottles wow!:)

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      BlakeJohnson 3 years ago

      wow what an amazing story, I've always been fascinated with stories about japan :D wonderful

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      What delightful treasures you and your family found! I love glass fishing floats. What an amazing lens!

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      tbonestakes 3 years ago

      The are really quite lovely, thanks for your effort!

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @SBPI Inc: Yes :)

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @Bercton1: Thank you! :)

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @soaringsis: Thank you :)

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 3 years ago

      Very interesting lens. Congratulations on LOTD!

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      soaringsis 3 years ago

      Congratulations on you LoTD award. This is so interesting.

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      SBPI Inc 3 years ago

      Have actually used them and they are quite nice.

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @DebMartin: Yes, very :)

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @juneward: Yes, my dad has a better collection than mine but he's been buying some lately. I guess he can't get enough! I want one with water in it. :)

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @Dusty2 LM: Yah I guess you could mistake them for jelly fish especially if half is buried, which some were. That's too bad though :(

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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @hottestspers87: Yes :)

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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @natureadventure: Thank you!

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 3 years ago

      @Jemjoseph: Wow, I've never seen a purple one before! That's sounds really pretty!

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      hottestspers87 4 years ago

      It is very nice to look at!

    • Jemjoseph profile image

      Jemjoseph 4 years ago

      My parents have two of them from decades ago, one with a hint of green and one in purple, I really like the purple one but even more so I like finding sea glass on the beach.

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      natureadventure 4 years ago

      It's interesting! I came to know something new through your lens. Thanks...and congrats on LoTD!!

    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 4 years ago

      Jeepers!!! I wish I had known about these Japanese fishing glass balls when I saw some of them on the beaches of Hawaii when I used to live there in the early 70s. If I had only known! I always thought they were jelly fish that had washed up on the beach so I didn't really mess with them. I guess I should have explored them a little bit closer. What treasures they would be today! I'm kicking myself!!! Anyway, I'm happy to read about you finding your fishing glass ball treasures; especially the fishing glass ball that still has the sea water in it. Glass objects of ant kind has always been my favorites. I appreciate you writing this Purple Star lens and sharing it. Congratulations on LotD. Have an A1 Day!

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      juneward 4 years ago

      What a wonderful hobby. They are so pretty.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @aidenw: Thank you very much, thank you for commenting. :)

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      DebMartin 4 years ago

      They are cute and quite lovely.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @delia-delia: Thank you :) That's too bad you only have pieces. I'm sure you'd love an intact one, they are wonderful.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you very much :)

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! What a delightful hobby and subject...I love glass balls but don't have one of the Fishing Balls...I do have some glass pieces from the beach that look like they once were a fishing ball.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've never seen these before. Very unique stuff. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • ghoststorylover profile image
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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @dustymoore1981: A dollar? Wow, they are worth a lot more, you got a bargain depending on what size it was. Even the really little ones are worth more than a dollar. seems like the ones selling it didn't know what it was either. lol :)

    • dustymoore1981 profile image

      dustymoore1981 4 years ago

      Really enjoyed the article. i have a small collection of these as well. They are cool display pieces, I remember finding my first one at an estate sale 2 years ago. I bought it for a dollar, not even knowing what is was, i just thought it looked cool. Great lens!!

    • aidenw profile image

      aidenw 4 years ago from USA

      What an interesting lens. I had never heard of these glass fishing floats although I lived in Hawaii (but it was in the 90's though). The only glass balls I knew were Christmas tree ornaments, lol. Congrats on LOTD!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @Mary Stephenson: Thank you very much!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @ewankian: thank you!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @aaronwrightsgood: You're welcome, and thank you for visiting :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @MrAusAdventure: thank you very much :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @koby-dumas: Welcome! But be careful, squidoo is addictive! lol I'm glad you enjoyed the first lens you read! :)

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      koby-dumas 4 years ago

      New to Squidoo, first lens I come across, I learn something. My Father in law is Japanese and fishes quite often, I'm going to see if he has any of these glass fishing floats, . . . .First I've hear of them. Thanks for sharing!!

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      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Congrats on LOTD. I have never seen or even heard of these balls before! Amazing!

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      aaronwrightsgood 4 years ago

      Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this lens and your experiences.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      hmm Good job dear

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      ewankian 4 years ago

      Really Great Working

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      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      Congratulations on LOTD. Interesting history. Love the varied colors.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @Cop-Speak: Thank you!

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      Smitty 4 years ago from Arizona

      Great Lens... Cool stuff!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @HSP Connections: That's too bad, I hear that they are easier to find right after a big storm.

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      Peter Messerschmidt 4 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      Very nice article! I've been a beach comber all my life and have found all sorts of sea glass, but never an intact fishing float... even being on the coast in the US Pacific Northwest.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: lol :) I'm glad you like them. I'm glad to share it, thank you for visiting. :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I really like the glass fishing balls, and I recently bought a couple up in Leland, MI on Lake Michigan...no, they didn't float in! ;-) Thanks for sharing your story, and their history.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @stevenalfano: I have several for sale here if you like them. Very pretty ones too. :) Yes, both California and Hawaii have gorgeous beaches. :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice post

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      stevenalfano 4 years ago

      I would like to buy sea Glass Globe Set. No doubt great info you have shared in this article. Lanai beach Hawaii is very beautiful and glass balls can be seen at there, as like Glass beach California is also very popular and one of the unique beach.

      Fly Shoes Centre l Click Here

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      ok

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @robelmark64: Thank you very much :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice post.

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      robelmark64 4 years ago

      very nice post.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @angelatvs: That sounds like a lovely display. :) You're welcome and thank you for visiting. :)

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      angelatvs 4 years ago

      I have a few of these that I display on an old wooden tray along with some conch and scallop shells. They do make a great centerpiece! Thanks for sharing your story.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @E Andrew Brandon: Thank you! :)

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      Ean Brandon 4 years ago from United States

      This is a great story!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: That sounds very pretty, I never thought of that. I would love to see a picture if you have one. I think I might try it for something different.Thank you for sharing this very cool idea! :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @Ruthi: Thank you, and yes the kind with water inside is a very rare treat to find.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      These glass balls can be placed in a large clear container vase. Hold them down w/ "museum wax" or wedge them in so they fit and stay down. Then arrange stem chrysanthemum flowers in the vase. The balls will hold the stems. Effect is lovely.

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @Raymond Eagar: thank you :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you very much!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @abbykhurana: Thank you :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you so much. :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: Thank you very much! :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @linfcor: Thank you, and I hope they do too. :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @MicheleWebber: You're welcome, and thank you for visiting. :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @jura: thank you! :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @mina009: Yes, they're lovely :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @Dressage Husband: Thank you very much! :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @amosvee: Thank you :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @DrLibby: Yes they remind me of the beach too. ;)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @JustRogerz: my little one defiantly is. :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @Art Inspired: Thank you very much, and indeed I will, it already is a great one. :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @LotusLandry: I've heard that too, I guess a lot bypassed Hawaii and hit the mainland. :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you so much! It has made my day! :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @LiteraryMind: I don't know if they were used, but they were found there too. And I also heard the Europe made them as well, maybe the ones on the east coast floated from Europe...

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @JackieBlock: Thank you very much! :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @suzzycue: They are wonderful!

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @diligentwheel lm: I'm glad you did, thank you for visiting :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @RinchenChodron: Thank you so much :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @jelle-boutsen-969: Thank you! :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @tahirmahmood: :)

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @EzLoanLookUp LM: I hope you find some, they're a lot harder to find these days. :(

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      ghoststorylover 4 years ago

      @esmonaco: You're welcome and thanks for visiting! :)

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      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Facts that I never knew existed "I Love It" Thanks for sharing this story