Just another amazing thing my dad taught me…


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When I was five or six years we old we moved from Vernon Hills Illinois (just outside Chicago) to Bloomington Indiana. My father (I didn’t know it then but I do know it now) got a National Science Foundation grant to complete his doctoral degree in science education. We ended up living in old converted either Korean War or World War II army barracks. The place was called Hoosier Courts.

I was a bit wild as I have mentioned previously so that is the first of the stories. There was a fire escape on the buildings (the old barracks) and my friends and I would climb up and drop off the fire escape. It was a good fall probably 3-5 feet and within weeks I was covered in bruises. What happened next is something I owe my mother a huge apology for. At a Doctor’s appointment the doctor asked my mother if she was abusing me. My mother responded no to the question. I suspect knowing her nature that was probably one of the worst days up to that point of her life. For me it was just another squiggly hour at the Doctor, school or anywhere else I had to sit for more than 10 minutes.

Near Bloomington Indiana on the map is a large lake called Lake Monroe. It was an early 1960’s Army Corp of engineers project. They were cutting huge flood plains and building a massive damn to create this new reservoirs when we first arrived in Indiana. The dam was in place in 1965 but the lake was still filling in. They also cut large boat docks and flood water release gates out of the limestone hills. In so doing they revealed geodes. My dad was a biologist but he loved science. He taught me all about the wonder of sedimentary rock. We would go to those swath’s of suddenly visible bedrock and he would point to the fossils and layers of rock there. Then we would wander off to the debris field and search for geodes. My mother loved the beautiful quartz crystals produced in the ancient mud bubbles. My father loved my mother so we went looking for them.

One time when I was very young mom found the perfect Geode. It was huge and dad had to lug it out of the place we found it and back to the car. When we cracked it open it had the most beautiful quartz and other crystals. It weighed a ton. That rock was displayed in every house my parents owned in Bloomington Indiana.

Those memories are strong. I remember dad talking about Limestone and the wonder that it represented. Millions of years of history just there for the touching. He also introduced me to Crinoids and Crinoid Stems. They were all over the limestone. As the limestone (a soft rock) wore away the Crinoid stems would be left behind. In the creek near our house in Sherwood Oaks we found thousands of them. If you think about the fact that they could have been as much as 450 million years old it is well just another amazing thing my dad taught me.

.your loving son

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