Saturday, August 27, 2011

OMG, the Dinosaurs Were Real!

I have a childhood memory of being someplace--I think it was at night--with crowds of people. We were there to see the dinosaurs. It was an outdoor exhibit of some kind, with these life-sized dinosaurs, including the peaceful vegetarian brontosaurus and the ferocious man-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex. I recall being simultaneously fascinated yet scared by the towering TRex, staring up at his snarling big teeth.

I turned to continue on with my family, and they were nowhere to be seen.

I stood, surrounded by swarms of people and other kids, turning anxiously to see if I could catch a glimpse of my mom and dad. What seemed an interminable amount of time passed as panic rose in me--and then there were my parents, just as relieved to find me as I was to see them.

I was only four years old, so it's a very sketchy memory, but the big TRex and the scared feeling have always stayed with me. I just have never been able to figure out where on earth we were--it had to be close to home--yet there are no dinosaur exhibits of any kind in Richmond, Virginia, and who on earth has ever heard of a huge traveling dinosaur exhibit? Is my brain playing tricks on me and I made all this stuff up, or it's merely a childhood dream I'm remembering?

(Believe it or not, I remember the first time I became aware that I dreamed in color. It's because I woke surprised to realize I'd been dreaming about my favorite sweater, which was purple.)

On Facebook, lately everybody has been joining these hometown groups, so a couple weeks ago I joined "You know you're from Richmond, Virginia if..." It's been fun chatting with some college friends who grew up there and have memories of the 60s and 70s, and I have even met a woman who knew my two older brothers, Harvey and Steve, when they were patients at the VA Hospital after being discharged from the service. And this morning, lo and behold, the mystery of the dinosaur memory has now been solved.

Read about the traveling dinosaur exhibit here. In 1966, it stopped by Willow Lawn Shopping Center in Richmond, Virginia. I'll be damned.

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