A Blog By Any Other Name

it's about crochet ..... it's about writing ....

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Location: California

Part of me is a wife and mom, part of me is a writer and poet and part of me is still a kid in jeans tooling around in my VW Beetle listening to Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, James Taylor ... and The Beatles ...

Monday, March 30, 2015

...remembering the Bunsen burner

"Ah, how sweetly I remember ...."  Well, not really.

I grew up in Ohio.  I went to Catholic school from second grade through high school.  The grade school was part of the local parish church my family attended.  For high school, I traveled by bus about 35 miles away to an all girls high school.  The good thing was I never had to worry about fashion trends or dressing as well as other girls because we wore uniforms.  In grade school, except for actually sitting in the classroom, the boys and girls never actually did anything together.  In high school, there were no boys to worry about, think about or moon over.

What does any of this have to do with a Bunsen burner?  Well, the high school I attended was  "College Prep."  This meant the curriculum was designed to provide only the classes needed to be accepted into college.  There were not a lot of extras.  All classes were academic.  Well, except for Gym and that was probably required by the state.  Even then physical exercise was considered important.  Oh, there was one Home Economics class and one Sewing class.  But then, we were all girls and those classes were only one semester so they filled in for the other two one semester classes, Civics and Health (probably also state mandated.)

Okay, back to the Bunsen burner.  One of the college requirements was a lab science.  The school only had two from which to choose, Biology or Chemistry.  So freshman year I took Biology.  I didn't love it but I didn't hate it.  I did not mind dissecting the earthworm but I was not thrilled about the frog.  While there were enough earthworms soaking in the jar of formaldehyde for each student to have their own, frogs were more expensive.  As a result, two students had to share one frog.  Luckily, my lab partner really got into the experience and I only had to watch.

One lab science credit out of the way, I breezed through my Sophomore year.  Come beginning of my Junior year, I find that Chemistry has been added to my list of classes without my knowledge.  An error had been made.  My Biology class did not count as a lab science because it was only one period.  Lab science meant one period class, one period lab.

So, there I was sitting around a square cabinet like table that had a sink and a Bunsen burner.  Four students sat on stools around the table.  We were lab partners.  I'm pretty sure only one of us got to actually light the Bunsen burner.  I don't remember ever using the sink because only the teacher handled the chemicals.  We did a lot of leaning over the table while our knees bumped into the sides of the box-like table trying to do long math calculations in our lab books.  Calculations that we had to take out twenty-two decimal places.  We were not allowed to use a calculator of any kind and there were no computers.  (Did I mention it was a long time ago?)  However, we were allowed to use a pencil so we could erase over and over and over .....

(On a side note:  I've been wondering why Microsoft Word had been informing me that I was spelling bunsen incorrectly.  Lo and behold, it has to be capitalized.  Sorry, Mr. Bunsen.)

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