A sweet memory

1970s

A sweet memory

Era: 

  • 1968 - 1982

A very long time ago now, when my twin girls were little, their favourite treat was to go to the ‘moozzie-zeem’. At the time we lived northeast of Newmarket so the trip was a real excursion. The visit always started with a snack or lunch because you can’t concentrate on what you are seeing if you are hungry! The dioramas inspired all sorts of complicated questions. The animals exhibited were perhaps the most poignant of these. “Mom, why is that bear there?” and of course that required explanation about how the collections were gotten, how shooting animals to augment the collection was acceptable in the 19th century, and that now we were more apt to put animals in zoos and take pictures of them than kill them. One diorama of dead animals after another, the question was re-asked, and the answer was a variation on the same theme. After a while, we came on the diorama that showed the tools of a paleontologist, the augurs, brushes, shovels, picks and so on. There was also a mannequin of a paleontologist for verisimilitude. Imagine the look growing on the little girls’ faces! If the animals had been killed to put them in a display…..I hastily explained that no, no he wasn't real, and mollified, we went on exploring. One of the twins saw a man examining the dioramas as we had. When he came to the paleontologist she ran to him in some distress, fearing he would think what she had thought, and in sympathy with his consternation she volunteered, “He’s not real, you know.” And the man, with infinite sensitivity, solemnly acknowledged her information.

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