Come Into this Dark Room With Me, Little Girl

Hi Folks — Just on a run of “good news” stories. Here’s another! — L (who was something of a rockhound in her youth, too!)

Dear Free-Range Kids: Re: ‘the stranger” who offered kids donuts… one of the most awesome memories I have is being taken into a dark room by a “stranger” — wait for it — he was a science teacher who was traveling across the southwest during his summer break collecting mineral samples, as an amateur geologist. He wanted to show me and my sister and brother how different minerals fluoresce under ultra-violet light, but in the treeless campsite in Texas where our family encountered him, it couldn’t be done outdoors. He gave us a variety of impromptu geology lessons in the heat of a very boring location that we were passing thru on a trip to visit relatives. He also gave us each crystals.
This sparked a temporary geologomania in me, in the 1960s, when girls were not encouraged to participate in science. I collected minerals for several years after the incident.
I did not end up majoring in geology in college, but I do work in science these days.
Sorry I cannot remember your name Mr. Stranger, but I do still have the crystal. – Diana

Men + rocks = Scary?

10 Responses

  1. That was awfully gneiss from him!

  2. That is cool

  3. That is so sweet!

  4. He was so clearly grooming you. Showing how minerals fluoresce under ultra-violet light and talking about geology is a well known strategy deployed by pedophiles, did you not know? :p

  5. Reminds me of the archaeologist/geologist I met at the beach when I was about 7. He was wearing a “safari” outfit and licking rocks, looking for fossils. He was super nice and explained what he was doing so I started licking rocks to find fossils to give to him (oh, and I didn’t get sick from doing it either). Same mania for rocks after that too! And I still want to be an anthropologist.

  6. @Peterbruells: None of those schisty puns here!

    @Robynheud: What do fossils taste like compared to regular ol’ rocks?

  7. @Josh

    a) Duly noted.

    b) They probably taste like chicken.

  8. Better a GNEISS guyot than a COAL-d-hearted person like myself, I would have said TUFF luck. But then we can’t all start with a clean SLATE.

  9. I am sure it is just a coincidence, but I get the feeling this was my science teacher. He loved geology and those fluorescent rocks. He never missed a chance to share it with anyone either. Even if it meant stopping the school bus on the side of the highway to look at rocks. Either way, thanks for the memory. And despite all of the ten year olds hanging out on the side of the highway, no one was injured.

  10. Well, they taste a lot like regular rocks, but when you get them wet you can see the fossil lines a lot better. Probably should have clarified 🙂 I do kind of miss the taste sometimes.

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