So he did, and did he ever! Beginning in kindergarten, Ebright collected butterflies with the same determination that has marked all his activities. He also collected rocks, fossils, and coins. He became an eager astronomer, too, sometimes star-gazing all night.
     From the first he had a driving curiosity along with a bright mind. He also had a mother who encouraged his interest in learning. She took him on trips, bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials, and other equipment and helped him in many other ways.
     “I was his only companion until he started school,” his mother said. “After that I would bring home friends for him. But at night we just did things together. Richie was my whole life after his father died when Richie was in third grade.”
     She and her son spent almost every evening at the dining room table. “If he didn’t have things to do, I found work for him — not physical work, but learning things,” his mother said. “He liked it. He wanted to learn.”
     And learn he did. He earned top grades in school. “On everyday things he was just like every other kid,” his mother said. 
Ebright collected the little things, and he continued doing it. He has had the habit of collecting butterflies since kindergarten (nursery school). The most remarkable characteristic of Ebright was that he used to collect things with the same determination. Whenever he used to do some activities, he would concentrate on them and do them as per his interest. The narrator then says that Ebright also collected rocks, fossils (the remains or imprint of an ancient plant or animal lodged in rock and preserved in preserved form) and coins.
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Ebright collected coins and rocks during his childhood days

The narrator then says that Ebright does become not only an eager scientist but also an astronomer. He had the habit of admiring the stars. Ebright used to gaze at the shining stars all night. It shows his interest in marvelling at things.
Ebright had always been interested to learn new things and had a sharp mind. Also, the narrator says that in Ebright's life, his mother's role was very important. His mother used to motivate him to learn. She used to take him on learning trips. In addition to that, she used to buy him telescopes, microscopes, and cameras. Also, she would buy him mounting materials and other instruments that would help him learn new things. Here the term "mounting material" refers to a glass slide which can be kept under a microscope to see the objects. While looking at the things which were bought for him indicates the objects in 'plural form' (i.e., telescopes, microscopes). It might be because she had bought it multiple times because of her son's interest in learning things.
Ebright's mother was his only companion until he went to school. We learnt from the earlier paragraphs that Ebright did not have any friends during his childhood days. After he started school, his mother would bring him home some friends. Here one can find that as he had no siblings, his mother used to bring his friends to their home. She might have done it to make him happier and mingle with others.
Ebright and his mother spent their nights together doing and learning things. When he was in third grade, Ebright's father passed away. After his father's death, Ebright became the whole life and support system of his mother's life. She called him Richie (pet name).
Ebright and her son used to spend most of their evenings together. If he did not have anything to do, his mother would find some work for him. After telling that, she insisted on the word 'work' and said she would not give him any hard physical work. On the other hand, she used to give him some learning tasks. He liked the work his mother gave him and was interested in learning it.
Ebright learned everything his mother said. He was a bright student, and he used to score good marks in class. In addition to that, his mother said that "On everyday things, he was just like every other kid". Apart from studying and discovering new things, he acted like a normal child. It implies he used to do activities like normal people.
Meanings of the difficult words:
KindergartenA class for young children, who are four and five years old, which is often the first year of formal education
Determination The ability to continue trying to do something, although it is very difficult
RockThe solid mineral material forming part of the surface of the earth and other similar planets, exposed on the surface or underlying the soil
CoinA flat disc or piece of metal with an official stamp, used as money
AstronomerAn expert in or student of astronomy
GazeLook steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought
Curiosity A strong desire to know or learn something
Companion A person or animal with whom one spends a lot of time or with whom one travels
TripA journey in which you go somewhere, usually for a short time, and come back again
EncourageHaving more confidence or hope about something
Equipment The set of necessary tools, clothing for a particular purpose
Earn To get something that you deserve
Grade A number or letter that shows how good someone's work or performance is
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). The Making of a Scientist- Robert W. Peterson(pp. 32-38). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.