Friday, April 24, 2015

I grew this crystal in sixth grade. It was a subsequent attempt of failed experiments. We were assigned to make a super saturated solution of alum, place it in a jar, tie a string to a pencil, and lay the pencil across the top of the jar so the string is suspended in the solution. The key was to not move the jar. It needed to be completely still for the crystal to form.
I did everything as instructed, except keeping my little hands off the jar. Every day after school I searched the jar for my precious crystal, only to be disappointed. I tried again and again. Other kids brought their crystals to school. Jealousy raged. Mom eventually threw out the solutions and that was that.
I wanted to try it one more time. I again followed all of the instructions to a tee, except this time I added blue food coloring. I decided to take the jar downstairs to the fruit cellar and place it on a shelf.
Time went on and I forgot about the experiment. Months went by. Then one day Mom sent me down to the fruit cellar to bring up a jar of tomatoes, my eyes couldn't believe what I saw. This large blue crystal lay in the bottom of the jar. Larger than any crystal grown by my classmates.
Who would know 50 years later my grandsons would play with this same crystal? Who would know it would inspire their mother the help them grow blue crystals? Who would know she would try to grow a larger one by super, super, super saturating a solution only to create a pan caked with crystals?
When I was 12, I wasn't thinking about keeping this crystal all my life. I wasn't thinking about it as a success after failure. My only thought was is was precious to me and placed it in my jewelry box.

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