Someone once said that the ones sense of smell provokes the most profound memories. I'm not sure if this is true, but it evokes profound memories to me. My first memory of astronomy was a photo my older brother had of the horsehead nebula on his wall sometime in the 70's. He had also constructed a 6" F8 Coulter Newtonian kit with my uncle. One night, years later, I found it collecting dust in my parents garage. I think I must have been about 11 years old and I didn't even know what I didn't know about astronomy. It had two lense and one said 25K and the other said 12K. I had no idea what that meant. I noticed the telescopes didn't have any kind of tripod or finder scope, so I asked my parents if I could drag one of the couches out front so I could lean it on to aim it at something. I just happened to put the 25K eyepiece in. I noticed the old focuser had a spring loaded bearing in it and I had to rotate the focuser to change the focus.
When I removed the old shower cap, out came this incredible fragrance and it had such a profound impact on my memory, all these thoughts of that picture on my brothers wall years prior, were so vivid to me. By that time I had also seen pictures of the 48" and 200" Palomar scope in an old encyclopedia book my brother had. I just loved those pictures and had dreams of one day looking through that scope. That evening, I noticed a bright star towards the south right out front of my parents house. So, for twenty minutes, I struggled in vain, gunsighting behind the tube, leaned an the old couch. It was near impossible to find the star, then suddenly I saw something fuzzy and realized it must be out of focus. When I finally focused what I was seeing, I dropped my jaw in disbelief.....OMG! That's Saturn!!!!... I ran into the front door, yelling mom!!! dad!!!! Come out here, you gotta see this!!! After struggling to keep it centered, not to lose it, I finally got the hang of the movement, then ran next door, banging on two neighbors front doors. In the end, it changed my life forever, but the smell of that Bakelite tube evokes such profound images and memories. I dearly miss that telescope and have no idea who I sold it too and it really saddens me.