As a University student studying Computer Science, I am relatively new to many of the concepts that come springing up for me to do battle with (and, with any luck, conquer). Of these, object orientation is quite the tricky one. There are those that say that students who've learnt BASIC are hopeless; while I don't quite subscribe to such an extreme view, making the mental jump from that venerable language of the BBC Micro to Java is quite a hurdle.

It's three o'clock in the morning. My current assignment, due on Thursday, has been not so much a hurdle as a gaping chasm. The previous assignment, to write a class to calculate leap years, was not so terrifying; it came as quite a shock to see the scope of this assignment. In essence, we are to design a ticketing system for a (fictitious) cinema - a task I could quite happily achieve, were it not for the fact that we are so hideously underequipped for the task. Were this a databases assignment, and my tool Access, I would probably be alright. No such luck here - we are, indeed, forbidden from implementing any kind of database functionality at all.

Still, we soldier on and do our best. One part in particular has caused some consternation, though. How does one call a method in a class, from within that class itself? This will, to any veteran Java programmer, seem to be quite the easy feat, but this has left us all scratching our heads in collective bewilderment.

It's three fifteen. David Bowie's Word On A Wing has just started playing, courtesy of iTunes. I sit here staring at my laptop screen, musing the problem.

Inspiration strikes

What if, I think, I use the this keyword? It's certainly worth a shot.

*furious typing, growling at NetBeans to get a move on, finally compiling*

Well that was a pleasant surprise. It works, I celebrate, and the assignment moves slowly onward towards completion.

The world of teenagers works in mysterious ways. Filled to the brim with bitter rivalries, sugar-choke-on-my-coffee-sweet week long romances, angst-riddled blogs.....need I go on? It's a kitty-eat-dog world out there, baby. We just try to make our pointless way through it.

But every now and then, someone comes along who makes you think that hey, that adolescence angst ain't so bad. In fact, it just about makes it your bag. Someone so attractive, physically andmentally, it just about blows your mind. But what makes the shit really hit the fan is that they have an undying obsession with... you.

And what aches, what really puts the icing on top of the cake, is the human faults. The insecurity, the mind games, the world of debauchery and dervish that is our whim. The way our culture progams us. It tears and tears at you until there is nothing but a shell left.

It is so redundant, this perfect situation that happens all the time. Caught at a stand-still, you can't do anything other than wonder;



I hadn't been looking forward to this day. My mother had announced shortly after Omi died that my cousin and I needed to go through her jewelry box and divvy up the contents. Watch me put off an undesired task. How am I supposed to decide who gets what piece of Omi? I had to make sure each great granddaughter and each granddaughter had some memento. A memento? Gah... How does one divvy up a life?

How is the piece we choose to have any meaning to the great granddaughters that had never seen Omi wear these pieces? How do we come up with a value? In the end, we didn't. Real pearls, diamonds, gold, and silver were mixed with costume ones. We divided into two piles based on whether or not there was sentimental value to us. Then she and I took turns choosing and sharing memories from the sentimental pile for ourselves. And then for our daughters and nieces. We chose for them based on what they were likely to wear at some point in their lives.

There were lockets, and time pieces, and pins, bracelets, and rings. There were hat pins and scarf rings. And even two ankle bracelets, which surprised me. I had not thought those were around until more recently. There was an ornate silver triangle pendant with a tiny spoon at the end hung on a silver chain. We joked about what the spoon could have been used for. There was even a monocle disguised as a pendant on an ornate gold quadruple chain. Not just jewelry either, there were also old coins in sealed glass, a small tiny bible, two shark teeth, and a miniature plastic baby nestled in a small cotton square. An interesting and unusual assortment of items to be sure.

What surprised me the most, though, was the discovery that Omi was a participant in the Summer Olympics. It was the only thing written down from a time long ago, that my cousin was to get the participation award. My grandmother was an Olympian. Wow. She was an Olympian. My cousin thought maybe it was for swimming, because we both remember her swimming a great deal when we were children, but my father said, "No, your grandmother was a sprinter." She didn't place, but she was there at the same age my daughter is now. There during a time when women were growing in Olympic participation. Not only that, she was present during one of the most controversal olympics, 1936 Berlin. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why she never talked about it.

It took the afternoon to sort through the old jewelry boxes. There was a lot of laughter and fond memories. It was not the chore I thought it would be. There was not the sadness that I thought would accompany the task.


And now this morning my kids are going through the pieces that came to me. "This is soooo cool!" "I am so wearing this" "She was a track star? I am so telling my coach he has to let me do sprints now. It's in my genes." They want to hear the old stories attached to each. My daughter wants to hear about the pieces she is getting. She'll have to wait for those stories. She'll be getting those with the other great grand daughters who will receive their inheritance on Christmas Eve, packaged up special from their great grandmother. The first Christmas without her. My daughter can't wait. She, who inherited so many of her great-grandmother's genes and thought her Gromi was one of the coolest people around.

Perhaps my mother's idea was not such a bad one after all.

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