(Damn it, Briney; why cheapssoft.ru aren't you here? This is your job. ) ‘Then I must show them to you. If I can find them. '
‘Auntie B'Lou showed them to me. They're in my room. ' He smiled shyly. ‘I like to look at them. Shall I get them for you? '
‘No. Well, at your convenience. Patrick, you seem to know all about sex a boy your age needs to know. Is there anything I can tell you? Or do for you? '
‘Uh. .. I guess not. Well - Auntie B'Lou used to keep me supplied with fishskins. I promised her that I would always use them. .. but Walgren's won't sell them to anyone my a age, '
(What else has Betty Lou dope for him? Is intercourse with an aunt incest? Correction: is an aunt-in-law incest? They are certainly no blood relation. Maureen, mind your own business. )
‘All right, I'll keep you supplied. Uh, Patrick, where have you been using them? Not who, but where? '
‘Right now I only know one girl that well. .. and her mother is very fussy. Her mother has told her to do it only at home, in their basement playroom. Or else. '
(I did not ask about ‘Or else'. ) ‘Her mother seems very sensible. Well, dear, you can do it safely here at home, too. But nowhere else, I hope Not in Swope Park, for example. Too risky. ' (Maureen, who are you to talk? )
All three were good children and I had no trouble with them. Aside from some mild supervision the household ran itself and I had plenty of time for school. By the time Susan married in August 1952 I had not one but four degrees: bachelor of arts, bachelor of laws, master of science, and doctor of philosophy. Preposterous!
But here is how the rabbit got into the hat:
I could not claim a high school education because a high school diploma dated 1898 would have been horribly inconsistent with my claimed Howard age (forty-four in 1946). Oh, whenever possible I listed my age as ‘over 21' but, if pinned down, I claimed my Howard age and avoided situations that could possibly tie me into anything that happened before about 1910. Mostly I did this by keeping my lips zipped - no ‘Did you know so-and-so? ' and no ‘Remember whens'.
So, when I registered at KCU ir was not as a freshman, but as a special student. Then I asked for advanced standing and degree-seeking status, through examinations, and did not boggle at the high fees quoted to me for special examinations to discover just where I stood in English and American literature, American history, world history, mathematics, Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, and general science. During the remainder of that semester I took examinations steadily, cramming for the next one at night and sometimes attending lectures across the boulevard for dessert.
Toward the beginning of the summer session I was called to the office of the Dean of Academics, Dr Bannister.
‘Please sit down, Mrs Johnson. '
I sat down and waited. In appearance he reminded me of Mr Clemens, even though he did not wear white suits and did not smoke (thank goodness! ) those horrible cigars. But he had that untidy halo of white hair and that look of a jovial Satan. I liked him on sight.
He went on: ‘You have completed your special examinations. May I ask what standing you expected to receive here? '
‘I had no expectations, Doctor. I asked to be examined in order to find out where I belong. '
‘Hmm. Your application shows no schools. '
‘I was privately tutored, sir. '
‘Yen, so I sce. You've never attended school? '
‘I have attended a number of schools, sir. But briefly, never long enough for academic credit. My father travelled a great deal:
‘What did your father do? '
‘He was a doctor of medicine, sir. '
‘You used the past tense. '
‘He was killed in the Battle of Britain, Doctor. '
‘Oh. Sorry. Mrs Johnson, your correct advanced standing is that of bachelor of arts - no, no, attend me. We do not award that degree or any degree simply on the basis of examinations with no time in residence. Do you expect to be on campus for the next two semesters? The academic year of 1946-47? '
‘Certainly. And this present summer session as well. And then some, as I purpose asking to be accepted as a candidate for a doctor's degree if and when I achieve a baccalaureate. '
Indeed. In what field? '
‘Philosophy. Metaphysics, in particular. '
‘Well. Mrs Johnson, you amaze me. In your application you describe yourself as "housewife". '
‘Me description is correct, Doctor. I still have three children at home. However, two of them are adolescent girls; both are good cooks. With cooking and housekeeping divided among us we all have time to go to school. And, I assure you, there is nothing basically incompatible between dishwater and curiosity abut noumera. I am a grandmother who never had time to go to college But I cannot believe that I'm too old to learn. This granny refuses to sit by the fire and knit. ' I added, ‘Dr Will Durant lectured here in 1921. That was my initial exposure to metaphysics. '
‘Yes, I heard him myself. An evening series at the Grand Avenue Temple. A charming speaker. Goodness, you hardly seem old enough. That was twenty-five years ago. '
‘My father took me. I promised myself that I would resume the study of philosophy when I had time. Now I do. '
‘I see. Mrs Johnson, do you know what I taught before I went into administration? '