A compelling and revealing autobiographical vignette
by and about Dr. Erik Hocster


Yesterday, I saw three dead dogs floating in the East River. They looked alike, small, medium and large: a mommy, daddy and a puppy. I asked a policeman to fish them out. He laughed and asked me why. Fishing for a good reason I said: "..the Museum of Natural History could use them in a display".

"Stupid", said my brother! "The Natural History Museum picks out live animals, then they kill them on purpose so they can put them into poses before they get stiff." Sammy and the policeman laughed together, I didn't know if they were laughing at me or about the animals.

My Report on Our Class Trip To The Museum of Natural History

A long time ago a huge sheet of ice slid down from the north pole and covered all of New York. The Empire State Building was covered up by ice. Everyone went somewhere till it was over, like a fire drill at school, only ice, not fire.

Spiders, ants, worms and beetles who look as big as houses to each other live on the ground in the forest so even though it looks like a dead heap of trash, it really has lots of things living in it. A square f oot of dirt in a forest holds 4 times as many dead insects and animals as how many humans there are on all of the earth.

So all the time, all kinds of leaves, flowers, fruits, twigs and dead animals fall on the forest floor. If the pile just grew and grew the forest wouldn't get any light and air and everything would die. This i s called the Cycle of Nutrition and Decay.

The chipmunk gets trapped in the winter under the ground and has to sleep through all of this. I don't know if he dreams.

The Sequoia Tree started growing in the year 550 AD, it has 1,342 rings and measures 16 feet 5 inches across, and weighs 9 tons. Its bark gets 4 feet thick. The seed that started the tree weighed 1/3,000 of an ounce but the final tree can weigh 65 billion times that. Something tells the tree to stop growing.

The Sea World has sharks and whales and porpoises and seals in different kinds of waters from all over the world. I always color the Pacific dark blue and the Caribbean turquoise. At first there was the Pacifi c and then the sun put some yellow in to make the Caribbean.

The Sea World Hall has an exhibit of divers diving for pearls. I know its in the Caribbean because the water is turquoise. Two divers are in an underwater cave. One is swimming down head first to pick up an o yster and put it in his basket; the other is standing on the ocean floor looking for pearls.

Though I know the Museum had to have pearl divers for the pearl divers exhibit, I still wonder about their families and what they think when they see them here on exhibit. I wonder if they ever asked the guards to fish them out.

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