Collecting glass animals

by James K. Sayre

In my late childhood, in fifth grade, or so, I had a small but steady income from my paper route (newspaper delivery). So I could afford to buy some interesting little things, such as small glass animals.

Our family, every so often, would drive on a Sunday morning into the academic part of Pittsburgh, when the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning was the imposing landmark. We visited the Buhl Planetarium, where staff members put on a great sky-star show in a darkened auditorium. The science of it was basically beyond me back then, but afterwards, we got to visit the little gift shop area, where there were many neat things to be examined and possibly purchased. I got a small plastic Egyptian mummy, which had magnets inside, so either the mummy was securely in his case or the mummy would not stay in his case at all. As a wide-eyed little kid, I thought that this was great stuff. This science museum also had a very large and very heavy brass pendulum, which was suspended from a very high ceiling. It had a large circular fenced-off area to swing in, and employees had put up a circle of little pieces of chalk, which the pendulum slowly knocked down, one by one. Very impressive.

Back to the glass animals. They were small and quite well designed, so I slowly built up a small collection. Later, I made some small wooden shelves in a summer Day Camp woodworking class. These shelves held the glass animal collection for several years. I must have left the glass animals behind after I graduated from college and moved out to California.




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