The Story of My Rock Collection Circa 8 Years Old
Around eight years old, I had been collecting rocks for about three years. I would go off on my own when my family went to the park, checking by the swings in the playground (they use more sensible padding than gravel and rock fill now… but kids just ain’t as tough).
I didn’t take much from there, the rocks were junky. Quartzite was common and not really worth keeping. Every now and then I’d find something nice, Something to pocket and take back. You get the thrill of finding something special in what everyone else seemed to overlook.
I looked everywhere too, around my neighborhood, a lower middle class suburb, I’d search roadsides and empty lots. I would crouch down by a promising pile of rocks, picking one rock up at a time. I’d hold it at eye level, and I would examine it closely. If my mom saw me she would ask me,
“What are you looking for?”
“Something neat,” I would say.
If I found something neat, something that caught my attention, it went into my pocket straight away. Later, at home, I would wash it and look at it more closely.
Other rocks in my collection I got from gift shops or on reservations where I’d find colorful tumbled agates. I still remember a rhomboidal tigers eye worry stone I got from Four Corners that stayed in my pocket for a year.
In 3rd grade, we had a show-and-tell at school, and while my airplane drawings were pretty damn cool, there was no real contest. I would bring part of my collection. I had a fun time the night before, laying them out, deciding carefully, the ones that best exemplified me.
One of them was an obvious choice, a mica stone the size of my thumb,made up of fine phyllo-like layers of silicon and oxygen. It was from Genova, my sister, and it was her favorite kind of stone. Petrified sharks teeth. Hmmm… I mulled it over, putting some back into my lunchbox after having taken them out. By bedtime, I felt good about the selection about half the collection actually. I placed the box away carefully, asked my mom for a sack lunch, and went to bed.
I remember being excited about the show and tell, but not much else about the morning. I actually barely remember doing the show and tell. I had terrible self awareness and probably just talked excitedly for twice the allotted time.
All I remember really about that day was the walk back from school. I got knocked down by someone, punched several times, once in the face, and I was held down. I was the target of a lot of racially violent bullying in school.
I looked over and saw another boy reaching into my bag and pulling out my lunch box. He tucked them in his arm like a football and they ran. They ran off with my rocks. I didn’t even see who they were.
My mom said I came home in tears. She said I only said one thing, and went to my room crying for the night,
“Mommy, they beat me up and stole my rocks.”
And then I stopped collecting rocks.
It happened a long time ago, and it might have been a sad memory, except a few years ago, I got interested again. I started reading up on geology and inorganic chemistry for fun, and I have a seriously awesome mineral collection now. I have fun looking, taking trips to beautiful places. I’ve definitely reclaimed my interest, I walk around with a hefty rock hammer, and my life is good.