1561. Great-aunt Pretoria

When Pretoria (her great-grandfather had served in the Boer War and somehow her naming had something to do with that. Her grandmother had explained it to her once, and now that she was older she wished she had listened and remembered. It was something to do with the fact that he (her great-grandfather) had caught malaria and spent the entire war in a mobile hospital unit being shunted from one encampment to another. Why they just didn’t send him home was anyone’s guess. She didn’t actually recall hearing anything about her great-grandfather being in Pretoria itself. Anyway she was glad they never called her Johannesburg or even Port Elizabeth. Her brother was called Klerksdorp, a name he hated with a vengeance. At least it made him look up a bit of history when he was at school – that is before he changed his name to Clark (similar to Clark Gable and Lois and Clark)) was getting ready to go to town when she notice that the car had a puncture (which reminds me that where I go to get my car serviced they have a great big sign that says: Puntchers fixed for $10. The head mechanic’s daughter is a school teacher so I’m not surprised about the lack of spelling. The standard of teaching these days is appalling but that’s because the teachers themselves were badly tort by bad teachers so it’s been going on for generations, getting lower and lower in standards. Not only that but teachers these days can’t stay on the topic and wander off like they start talking about the properties of hydrogen peroxide and end up talking about hair dye or something. It’s pathetic. Punctuation has also gone out the window. And so have manners. Old-fashioned values like courtesy are for the birds).

Anyway I better shut up and get some work done. I’ve a lecture to give tomorrow. I’m excited because I recently got a pay rise. I’m a professor at Harvard, and deal mainly with Logic in the Philosophy Department. I’m hoping to tell them about my great-aunt Pretoria who is long dead and I have only a vague memory of her. She collected teaspoons apparently. From all over the world.

16 thoughts on “1561. Great-aunt Pretoria

  1. umashankar

    That is some kind of Comic-Disruptive fiction highlighting disintegration of institutions. The switch from grace to pedestrian coincides with the shift in perspective. I do agree with Yvonne. What do I say other than, Excusez moi monsieur, ma moustache voudrait vous parler, si vous voulez sortir de votre véhicule.

    (Excuse me, sir, my moustache would like a word with you, if you’d like to step out of the vehicle.)

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      The quotation is brilliant and an excellent sequel to the posting at hand. And I might add that my paternal grandfather contracted malaria during the Boer War and they moved him around with the platoon from place to place. When he came back to New Zealand (I’m not talking about cricket) he couldn’t get a war benefit because malaria wasn’t a war injury – even though it incapacitated him!

  2. umashankar

    That is overbearing high-handedness but the armies world over are known to exhibit such traits. The autobiographical element in the story is startling, but the thread is howling for further treatment.

  3. umashankar

    Aha! I can certainly imagine the gentleman sharing with the world the concerns of his much oppressed, gargantuanly overrated brain. In a better note, let us cheer New Zealand Cricket!!

  4. noelleg44

    Spot on for a Professor at a learned college. Where do they find them? You can’t imagine what I saw editing papers for some of them! Perhaps I should post the sentence I wrote at a conference once – one sentence but an entire paragraph!

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      I must admit that, it seems to me, many bloggers post what they call “stream-of-consciousness”, but really simply a disconnected diatribe and has little to do, really, with the literary genre!


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