Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Childhood Fascinations

Definitely click for larger view.

Definitely click for larger view.

WHEN I WAS A KID, THERE WERE A FEW THINGS THAT FASCINATED ME MORE THAN MOST. I call these things magic. These were things that I marveled at but could not fully grasp how it was done. Kaleidoscopes were one. I was continually amazed at how it worked, how infinitely variable and beautiful it was. Magnets were another source of fascination. What was this invisible power that attracted and repelled one another? Why did it work on some metal but not others?

, the kind that only showed up at the fourth of July, was yet another. I guess sparklers would fall under the category of fire, as I was something of a pyromaniac as a kid. This was evidenced by the fact that I once caught a chair on fire in our house, which for sure ended up with an old-fashioned spanking delivered from my father.

Magnifying lens were another, especially when it came to focusing the power of the sun to catch a piece of paper on fire. You had to have patience, but soon enough came smoke, then poof! Fire! I told you. Pyromania.

In the summertime, I was very much fascinated with flowers. Like kaleidoscopes, the neighborhood was filled with flowers of seemingly endless varieties. Each one, different from the other, had similar parts but so very varied in color, texture and smell. While my own yard was not so exotic, there were neighbors who had some wonderful varieties. I know that tulips were a favorite, but the iris was probably my all time favorite and still is to this day.

So, where in the heck am I going with all this? I found an “on-line” kaleidoscope that is pretty darned amazing. You’ll see what I mean by going here.

So, what fascinated you as a child, dear readers?


Maureen said...

Ditto, kaleidoscopes, and fire. Oh, and butterflies. This was a treat, I have a newish kaleidoscope that is just mirrors reflecting what in front of me, I miss the ones with the bits of glass. Have you seen the documentary about fractals? That's pretty amazing too.

Robert said...


Larry the Artist said...

Yes, kaleidoscopes, telescopes and binoculars.

Jan said...

Exactly the same things as you dear John.
Loved kaleidoscopes!

Patricia said...

Thank you so much for the kaleidoscope link, what a treat!

...fascinations= horses, fireflies, bubbles, wildflowers, creeks, animal footprints...

Hannah Stephenson said...

Love this post.

Love kaleidoscopes.

My childhood fascinations: brushing dust from lamps with paintbrushes (I'd seen a paleontologist do this in a movie once); Greek gods and goddesses; a crystal from an old chandelier; our squirrel salt and pepper shakers (I would stare at their eyes all the time); a painting of a man in the art museum by my house that I called "Sherlock Holmes" (I once cried because I couldn't find a postcard of the painting!?).

Tattered and Lost said...

The site is stunning! Thanks for finding and sharing this. I can almost feel the world disappearing around me as I look down the long tube into the magic. Perfect summertime treasure!

Tattered and Lost said...

By the way, if you save the source file to your desktop you can play this loveliness through your browser any time.

John Foster said...

For the people who said "bubbles"... ditto!. I forgot about that one. Yes, fireflies (lightning bugs( definitely!
Butterflies were good! The big yellow swallowtails were awesome.

What about hummingbirds? Fast, small, and I could never get a good look at one.

Creeks yielded salamanders and crayfish and excitement of all kinds, but still, those were things I could understand. Lightning bug "fire"... nope. That was the "magic" part.

ga norwood said...

What a great post - thanks John. We watched for Sputnik passing in the night. A couple of years ago i almost passed out watching the space station fly over my back deck - i was extremely excited to see it.

Tattered and Lost said...

Running along the sidewalk on a summer's eve wearing my PF Flyers catching fireflies in a jar. Then putting the jar on my nightstand and watching them as I went to sleep. I don't remember the jars being there in the morn so my dad probably came in and let the bugs back out to fly.

John Foster said...

opla plaza-- I remember my dad taking me to the 'country" to watch the Sputnik pass overhead. It was pretty freaky, and I was filled with amazement and wonder.

ga norwood said...

hey John; Thanks for comment. I felt freaky, awe and a little dread and fear - you know cold war and they were the bad guys, able to fly over head and get us from outter space! Now watching the international space station, it's more united human awe inspiring accomplishment + seeing something moving at that speed and distance that makes me swoon, Alex

Lisa M. Patterson, J.D., Assoc. Dean for Career Services said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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