It started innocently like any fairy tale—this obsession of his. A purple dinosaur, movies, and several books. In those books, he could read words like Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, and Pteradactyl long before he could read the words like “and”, “the” and “school”.
A couple of those books stand out—a huge encyclopedia of dinosaurs that was his close companion for many years and a Jurassic Park guide to the movie dinosaurs. A gift from his uncle, he never went anywhere without the encyclopedia and read it until it was almost falling apart from its binding.
The Jurassic Park book was the key element of a first grade event. Chris’s tutor said something about a dinosaur, Chris said no, she said yes, he said no…I don’t remember the dinosaur or the issue now but Chris got up, ran to his room, got the JP book, and pointed out this dinosaur’s important information to prove himself right and prove the tutor wrong.
By the end of his first grade year, he was also correcting his teachers in class and ended up helping to teach his classmates about which dinosaur was which. One of the first things all of his teachers found out about him—he was obsessed with dinosaurs. Chris would turn discussions that way—any discussion at any moment could turn to “let me tell you about this dinosaur”. By third grade, he was doing the dinosaur chapter on his own in his classes.
And it was during JP2, at a drive-in, late one night with three small boys in the backseat of the car, that we, the parents, became very aware that the boys were very aware of what was happening in these movies. As the T-rex raised his head and looked into the boy’s window with a chain and dog house dangling from his mouth, I remember a little shock and hoping that the boys would not be scared. Instead, we hear a big “HE ATE THE DOG!” from the back seat. No, not from Chris. From his littlest brother Xavier, who was 3 at the time.
About 6 years ago, we found something awesome here in our area. A fossil club! No, there were no dinosaurs in Florida. We did get to see lectures by people who were finding them and learned what kind of fossils we could find in Florida. We have gone on field trips to find our own fossils and have accumulated a big collection. We remain loyal members of the Tampa Bay Fossil Club.
In 1997, the Field Museum in Chicago bought the most complete T-rex skeleton ever found. Named Sue, she went on display in 2000. Ever since, Chris has wanted to see it. Well, here’s to dreams come true…