s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Cassandra

Monday, April 10, 2006


When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher’s name was Miss W. (where W. is a very unusual last name). Her last name had originated with her Canadian great-great-great- (etc.) grandfather, who was a fur trapper. (This would make more sense if I would actually post the full last name, but I won’t, for reasons of privacy.)

Anyway, one day in October or November she told us that she was going to get married over Christmas vacation to a man named Mr. W. (same unusual last name). Mr. W., she explained, was descended from the same Canadian fur trapper, but they were no more closely related than 4th or 5th cousins.

One of my classmates raises his hand: “Are you marrying your brother?”

“No,” Miss W. replied, “We have the same great-great-great-grandfather, so we’re 4th cousins.”


Another classmate raises her hand: “Why are you marrying your brother?”

Miss W. (with a tighter smile, perhaps): “I’m not marrying my brother. I’m marrying my 4th cousin. That’s a lot different from a brother.”

Yet another classmate: “Are you allowed to marry your brother?”

(Imagine 6-year-old Katya wanting to hit her head repeatedly on her desk.)

I came home that day, and I told my Mom that Miss W. would be married when we got back from Christmas.

“Oh? And what will her name be then?”

Mrs. W.,” I confidently state.

“No,” my Mom replies gently, “It won’t be Mrs. W. any more. She’ll have a different last name.”

You can’t win.


At April 11, 2006 5:40 PM, Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

No, you really can't. I've tried. I sometime wonder what would happen if grade school teachers were allowed to carry around clubs for student bopping. I'd support it. Heck, I'd support it for college studens.


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