National Geographic : 1960 Dec
Kindergarten Boys Make Friends With a Harmless Pilot Black Snake The American Museum's Natural Science Center introduces children to the sight, sound, and touch of creatures found in city parks and near-by shore and forest. "Snakes feel warm and dry, not cold and slimy," exclaims many a surprised youngster. by their deed, raced along the path again. At this point Mr. Liggio intervened. Cy cling on pedestrian walks was strictly illegal, he explained, and if it happened once more he would have to call a policeman. Three of the boys disappeared. The fourth took a seat at the edge of the pond and watched the model yachts scudding to and fro like white-winged moths. Soon he took a small wire slingshot from his pocket and be gan shooting paper clips at the boats. Instantly there was a new outcry, this time from the boat owners. Mr. Liggio reached the scene just as a paper clip bounced off a tiny barkentine's varnished deck. "Look," Mr. Liggio told the boy, "these people have spent months building these boats, and now you come along spoiling their fun. Why don't you build a boat of your own?" The youth muttered a reply, and Mr. Liggio led him into the Kerbs Memorial Model Yacht 794 Boathouse, crowded with sloops, schooners, caravels, galleys, junks, and frigates, all built precisely to scale. When the boy emerged 15 minutes later, he carried a sheaf of catalogues and model building instruction booklets. He mounted his bicycle and rode off with purposeful look. "Maybe he'll be back with a boat some day," remarked Mr. Liggio, watching from the boathouse doorway. "Let's hope so." For every man or boy who comes to sail model yachts, dozens more come to watch. Sometimes as many as a hundred miniature craft may be seen beating to windward, com ing about, or running downwind, each with its own self-steering rig (page 787). I watched young Brian Hicks, who earns his living selling salted peanuts in a Times Square shop, tenderly launch a 62-inch model of a Gloucester fishing schooner. Building it had taken two years of spare time, he said.