In the spring we did some writing and drawing assignments to entice the more artistic students. One was a story in which we traveled to the Earth’s core and back. Mine turned into a 14-page love story set in the 1800s. Then there was the time our teacher lectured us to be careful with some special light bulbs. I, of course, dropped it and broke the filament.
In eighth grade, the science of choice was biology. One of my most vivid memories is of a video, or, more accurately, my physical reaction to the movie. In it, a little girl broke her arm. I don’t know why I was so moved but I was, to the point of almost tossing my cookies.
When we were studying pedigrees, a boy asked if a hermaphrodite might be shown by a sort of cupcake shape as a way to blend the genders represented by a square or a circle. It took a long time for “cupcake” to fade from our slang repertoire.
At the end of the year we got into body systems. I found them fascinating. Then the skeleton came out; a real-live, but actually dead, skeleton. A man from India died and donated his body to science. His bones ended up at good ol’ Unatego. Our teacher told us not to touch and, being a good little student, I did not. I wish I had, though; how often does one have the chance to touch human bone in a relaxed environment?
Science isn’t always glamorous or ethical. It’s messy and complex and fluid. I might not be able to recite all the elements or classify each rock I see. Those skills have faded from my memory. These little snippets have stuck around, though. I muddled through the left-brain aspect of science while being enchanted by the right-brain side.