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Sunday, June 3, 2012


28th February 2012
Dear Cassi,

As I have already made mention, my mother had a profound love for science and oceanography stood high on her list of proffered pass times. It is with faint memory that I recall the touch tank at the aquarium we used to frequent. I remember the hard spines of the sea urchins and the tentacles of the anemones that felt so much like scotch tape.
This was the first place I touched a live starfish and the first place I saw a live shark. I remember looking into the water at the dark shapes that were sharks and thinking that I had never known that sharks could be that small. I had always thought of sharks and man eaters but these ones were no longer than my arm.
I recall walking though an area that had been lit to look like it was deep in the ocean. I looked up to see mockups of hammer head sharks arranged in a life like way around antique diving suits made to look like men working.
I remember the first time I saw a real live rock fish. I had never seen even a picture, other than an illustration, of the animal. It was like my favorite children’s book had come to life and was looking me in the eye.
The truth is, Cassi, much of that young life of mine had been a wonderland of undersea adventures and battles in old time wars. That was the world my mother wanted to live. My mother’s world was one where the pages of her books came to life.

Live your dreams, little sister

Richard Leland Neal