Saturday, March 24, 2018

Pop's Microscope #Pop'sMicroscope #ChildhoodMemories

My sister, Mary, asked me to post something about Pop and his microscope, so here goes.

Pop had many hobbies. Among them he liked to study things under the microscope. I must preface here that his microscope was as basic as it gets just above a magnifying glass. A mirror reflecting light from the sun or some other external light source is all his microscope possessed in the way of illumination to view whatever was on the slide. That being said, it certainly made it a mobile device that could be used in the house or out on the picnic table.

He taught my sister and me how to use the microscope and how to prepare slides. He showed us the wonders and diversity of life along with objects of interest from nature like the difference between sugar crystals and salt.
One of the things we did that I found fascinating was to put straw in water in an old mason jar and let it stand for a few days. He placed a drop of the “matured” water on a glass slide and placed a slide cover (a thin square of glass) over the drop without a fixative to spread the drop thin enough to look at what was in it. Inside that single drop of water life had sprung up in the form of tiny creatures. They were busy creatures, too. They moved around eating microscopic bits of algae and such. As days passed we checked on the tiny world of creatures in that jar of straw water and things were rapidly changing in there. New creatures would arrive and older ones disappeared. I could only assume new creatures hunted down the older ones and ate them. After some time had passed watching the evolution of life in the jar, we found that all the creatures were gone having, I imagine, reached the end of life in their world with nothing further to eat.
Our parents gave us each a new microscope one Christmas and I loved that mine had its own little light I could plug in and see things more clearly. After I left home to go to college and then out into the world, Pop found ways to use my microscope and the wooden box it came in to improve his microscope. I don’t know what became of my microscope, but years later, Pop gave me his (in the wooden box mine had come in, but transformed to accommodate his microscope.) I still have some of the slides we made together and some pipettes and other tools left from my days at Career Academy. Pop’s microscope is one of my favorite treasures. It warms my heart to have these things that my parents held dear. And I like sharing these childhood stories with all of you.

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