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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Horizons


25th February 2012
Dear Cassi,

Among the many things my mother could claim to be one was a science teacher and she spent her summers teaching at the Youth Science Center. The class that I remember best was anatomy as my mother had me help with a lecture or two.
   
That memory resonates for no good reason, but I still recall my mother preparing for her lecture. We had fried chicken the night before, and from that my mother would take a piece of cartilage to show the class. I was so thin as a child that you could see my bones well, and she had me stand in front of the class and show them the skin of my back and point out where the cartilage was in my spine.
   
She would then show them the bit of chicken and explain that it was much like the human nose. It was not for decades after that I would learn that bone is matrix tissue not composed entirely of cells but, well, more like coral to me. The bone is secreted by cells that make their homes in it like a tiny version of coral.
   
My mother loved science with a passion that I have never been able to emulate but the truth be told for the whole of my life she knew she was dying so she lived every moment as best she could. Nothing brought her more joy than expanding the horizons of others.
   
Love to know, little sister


Richard Leland Neal