What was your dream job as a child?

Throughout the month of January, WordPress is sending participating bloggers a writing prompt each day. It’s a way to find some creative inspiration and perhaps make connections with other bloggers. My entries in this blogging challenge will appear here under the tag #bloganuary.

From the time I could pronounce the word, perhaps at the age of seven or eight, I wanted to be an archeologist. Like most of the other kids I knew at school, I was fascinated with dinosaurs. Because my parents knew the value of reading (they were both avid readers), they took us to the library at least every other week. I always looked forward to going to the library, partly because it was a fun family outing, partly because I loved the way the library smelled–like old books, leather, and furniture polish–but mostly because I loved reading books.

Around the time I started reading the Dick and Jane books at school, I began checking out every book about dinosaurs that the library had, and then checked them out again and again. Eventually I could read all of them for myself. I had no idea what archaeologists really did, but I knew that some of them were the people who got to go out into wild places and dig for fossils. Sometimes archaeologists worked at museums, too, preparing the bones for exhibiting to the public. It sounded to me like a really cool job.

I wasn’t just looking at the dinosaur pictures, either–I learned the names of as many dinosaurs as I could, and not just the ones everyone else knew, like the brontosaurus, or the stegosaurus or the pteranodon. I could name many other species, such as the diplodocus, the ankylosaurus, and lots of others. I knew which were the meat-eaters and which were the plant-eaters, too. When I was given a set of plastic dinosaurs as a birthday or Christmas gift, well, that was just the best. My brother and I played with those plastic creatures in our room a lot, but the best thing was taking them outside, where we could create little dinosaur landscapes for them, and pretend they were stomping around among the gravel hills and dirt volcanoes we built for them under the broad branches in the shade of the plum tree in our back yard. The tyrannosaurus always won the battles.

As I got a little older, I discovered the Tom Swift books, and the Trixie Belden mysteries, and books about rockets and space. And of course, the dream of being an archaeologist gave way to other dreams, such as being an astronaut (I followed the space program religiously), or a spy (The Man from U.N.C.L.E was my favorite TV show when I was a little bit older), and later on, being a rock star, or a songwriter, a journalist, an engineer, a computer programmer, a pastor, and a writer.

A few of those dreams actually came true for a while, and some I’m still waiting on.

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