Richard G Lowe Jr: Geology

Richard G Lowe Jr: Geology

I’ve been interested in the Earth for as long as I can remember. I believe that rocks were the first thing I actively began collecting, and that geology is the first science I studied.

I remember when I got my first specimen of petrified wood. This mineral had always fascinated me, and I made it known that I wanted a specimen. One day at elementary school a student ran past me and handed me some rocks. he told me to hide them and ran away. I wound up keeping these specimens and added them to my collection. They were, of course, petrified wood.

I also remember visiting the Rock show at the Orange Show Grounds in San Bernardino. Every year (after my parents discovered I was interested in such things) we went to this show and I purchased more specimens. I watched saws cut open geodes, and looked at all of the displays. I purchased many, many specimens from this show.

I knew the history of each rock in my collection. I knew what type of rock it was – igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary. I knew roughly how old it was, and how it was formed. And I had a page or so of notes about each and every item.

I was introduced to geology and mineralogy by a chance meeting with a woman who was to become my first adult friend. Her name was Lola, and she was very old … perhaps fifty or even sixty. I believe I was ten or eleven years old, so to me she appeared very grey and wise indeed.

I clearly remember that first visit. Her living room was full of hundreds of strange and wonderful things, including old clocks, pictures and, most fascinating of all, rocks. Hundreds of beautiful rocks and minerals. They were everywhere, lining every shelf and display case. Geodes and bookends and beautiful crystals.

I spent many wonderful afternoons talking to this beautiful old lady. She spent hours and hours discussing lots of interesting things, including her rock and mineral collection. I remember watching in fascination as she pulled rock after rock off the shelf, carefully placing each one on the table so I could examine it closely.

She took hours to explain the meaning of each layer of color and each crystal. She told me how each rock was formed, any why it had a particular shape or color. We discussed crystals and she explained how I could make my own with a mixture of bluing and ammonia.

I believe that Lola was the first grown-up to actually sit down and treat me like an adult. She didn’t patronize me, she didn’t talk down to me. She knew that I was intelligent and she could see the fascination in my young eyes. At the time, this was a unique and exhilarating experience that strongly affected my life.

After that first visit to her house, I became even more fascinated by the study of the Earth. I wanted to find out everything about rocks and minerals. I got my parents to purchase every book that they could find about the subject. We visited the library at every opportunity so I could find even more books about my new favorite subject.

I continued to be fascinated with this hobby right up through high school – until I took a geology class. Then a boring, stupid, ignorant teacher ruined my love of this hobby for a long, long time. I was so bored, so annoyed and so hurt by this class that I threw away all of my rocks and I haven’t collected anything since.

Some of rocks and minerals in my collection
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