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February, 2001

The Museum

Originally from Moments by Valerie, a collection of memories (1961-1983), written in 1986 and presented to Larry on their first anniversary.

Valerie and schnauzer named Penny,
Joliet, Illinois, 1959

I love museums and The Field Museum in Chicago is one of my favorites. Besides all the interesting things to see, there is a special atmosphere surrounding the collections and exhibits. It makes me think that, in the future, when all the people are gone, the next intelligent explorers will find these same exhibits, a little dusty perhaps, but still intact.

I used to visit the museum on Friday nights, when they stayed open late but the crowds were very sparse. Sitting in the soft chairs on the second floor lounge, above the north entrance, the hush and subdued lighting, combined with the end-of-the-week relief, formed an idyllic setting.

I would look out the huge front windows and watch the lights of traffic far below flow like blood corpuscles up and down Lake Shore Drive as the thoroughfare split to stream around both sides of the museum. There was something secret, secure, and comfortable about being in that big old building full of bones, sculptures, animal skins and artifacts.

Mural by Charles Knight in the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.