Sex and the single silk worm
Granny's still working on her parents. In betweenwhiles a small story about eldest granddaughter.
Like all children of her generation she's skilled on a computer; is allowed by her parents to spend half an hour a day on the family machine. (And no, it is not in her bedroom. Absolutely not.) One day recently she went up to have her session - the computer sits in her parents' shared workroom at the top of the three storied house. Only to come tearing downstairs suddenly pink-cheeked, demanding to be taken to the park on her bicycle - as she is not usually by choice a physically energetic child this was very unusual. Her parents were baffled.
When they used the computer later the answer to the mystery was obvious. Those things that appear like maggots when one bluebottle has landed popped up all over the place. Evidently their Gorgeous Daughter had googled SEX and got more than she bargained for. Beloved daughter said; I was expecting these problems in due course; but not at eight.'
Where was 'parental control' you might ask? Well, leaving aside her mother's belief stated above, Beloved Son-in-Law pointed out that if you impose this it disables all kinds of quite innocent and useful sites at the same time - he preferred to deal with the problem locally as far as he could. He proceeded to do so. Now if you put SEX into their Google it comes up with such gems as 'gender selection in fruit flies.' Or 'sex ratios in rabbits.' Granny is making these up of course. But you get the picture.
When Granny was eight she didn't know the word sex in any context other, just possibly, than that of telling the gender of her dog's puppies. Her parents meanwhile knew as little about such knotty problems as 'gender selection in fruit flies' - let alone 'ex ratios in rabbits.' Science was - and remained - as closed a book to them as sex was - but not for ever -to their daughters.
They did know on the other hand about silkworms. Granny has not a clue herself as to what whim led her mother to decide that her children needed to know about the life cycle of the butterfly/moth genus. Or quite how she managed to persuade the nearest silkworm farm - the onlyEnglish silkworm farm of which Granny knows - the one that still produces silk for royal wedding-dresses - to provide her with some eggs. Or how she managed to pick them up even - this was just after the war; there was still no petrol for their car. But she did manage all of it. As she also managed to browbeat the owners of the only local mulberry tree into letting her pick mulberry leaves to feed them on.
It only lasted a year or so, till the time, more or less, that the family moved to the stupendously ugly but much more comfortable thirties house in which they lived for the next six years. But Granny remembers it all as wondrous. Though it taught her nothing about sex - it wasn't intended to - the life-cycle of the silkworm moth sits deep in her soul somewhere. Some time she might try to describe it. But just now she has to take Feline Houdini to the vet to get 'sus protecciones.' In other words his yearly jabs. Cheers
Here is a small postscript added later: driving down south to the vet, loudly protesting Feline Houdini beside her, granny found herself reflecting; that her eight year old innocence was infinitely preferable to Beloved Granddaughter's so rudely disrupted one. She would not have wished that on any grandchild of hers - or anyone else's. Why does not Google, she wonders, prevent such sites appearing instantly to anyone? For those desperately in need of them - poor things - there would always be some way round it. Or is she just being naive?
Driving back north, Feline Houdini protesting loudly as ever, she reflected further on the fact that it was hot down there in the south, also seething with tourists. The price of her disdain for the latter, her somewhat guilty ambivalence towards her holidaying compatriots - their carefully chosen pastel holiday outfits, their peeling skin, the over-exposed, over-endowed flesh - is living up here with the wind; and with - at this time of year - the frequently immovable cloud cap above their heads. It is infinitely more beautiful in these parts, for sure. She doesn't really regret it, even while throwing on the sweaters. But she does sometimes wonder about the way she sees her fellow Brits, she really does - though she doesn't think she's alone in it.
After writing which she looks out of the window and sees the sky is blue and the sun has at last come out. She's off!
Labels: family stories