Debra Mashek submitted this memory of her Mom, grandmother of Rocco. Here’s a pic of young Joan:
Joan Mashek was a water quality analyst for the Environmental Protection Agency in western Nebraska. Her lab was located in the Craft State Office Building in North Platte, NE, just a block away from my elementary school. Every year my mom would welcome to her lab any elementary class that wanted to visit. I always felt so much pride watching *my* mom wow my classmates with her “magic” : magnetic stirring rods and pellets, color changing chemical reactions, bunsen burners with flames that changed colors depending on what she put into the fire, and fancy scales that could weigh a hair. She died 12 years ago. Yet, to this day, every time I walk into a chemistry lab the smell of the chemicals trigger a strong sense memory of my mom, the scientist.