Friday, February 20, 2015

We would disappoint each other immensely

Most days I drive past a place called CrossFit Naptown.  I had no idea what this meant until Cate told me that Indianapolis used to be – and still is – called Naptown.  Now there are as many explanations for Naptown as there are for Hoosier – which is what people from Indiana are called.

Incidentally I found out that my great, great, great, great grandmother – who arrived on the second fleet in 1793 as a convict  -  was not a thief per se. She was a receiver of stolen goods – probably a rat turd given the nature of society at the time  – and instead of hanging her they sent her to Australia.

Almost certainly the rat turds belonged to the king’s swans and were not allowed to be poached by the serfs and churls who swarmed about the streets – which probably looked a bit like those in Indianapolis today.

But I think Naptown is quite cool and am not unhappy to be called a Naptowner – or a Napolite.

I am not sure when – and if – we become Hoosiers.

In Austria there was never any prospect that we would become locals. We were ‘Auslanders’ and would remain so had we lived there permanently and died in 50 years. When burying us they would say ‘nice people – but Auslanders’.

And bugger me dead but I found out tonite that there are still roller derbies in this and other towns.

You remember roller derbies? I used to watch these in the sixties. A number of people skate around a small track and attempt to assassinate each other. Every second lap someone is hit and somersaults into the crowd. They come back with a vengeance and cream the person responsible. It is almost as pointless as televised wrestling.

Anyway our girls are called the ‘Naptown Roller Girls’. I am not sure I can convince Cate that she should go and watch them roll but I will watch them assiduously.

When I was a teenager there was a roller girl who was at least six feet tall and blonde and so well put together that it took my breath away. I think she was called Elka.

I used to watch her every Saturday and dream about rolling along with her. She did not somersault into the crowds very often – she was more the somersaulter than the somersaultee. I loved her for this.

I will not try to find her now because she will be at least 80 years old and has – as we all have – been subjected to the forces of gravity and has been visited by the wrinkle fairy.  We would disappoint each other immensely.


  1. "wrinkle fairy", oh, that made my day! Really, you should try to find her to see how long her career spanned. I stiLL stay up with the cute little girl from 6th grade. She has a PhD and is the dean of a college in my old hometown. We chat briefly every couple of years.

  2. Badger: I'm delighted to see that you’re getting back into super writing form. It’s over half a century since I’d heard the colorful expression “bugger me dead” (which might need some explaining… for your neighbors). Then I saw the start of your sentence: “I am not sure I can convince Cate that she should go and …” I gasped and said to myself: “No, it’s not imaginable. Is Badger really going to attempt to convince Cate that she should become a Naptown Roller Girl?” I had sudden visions of your wife (whom I barely visualize even in the best of circumstances) plunging down the track at a breakneck speed, with a flying kangaroo flag floating behind her, and performing a spectacular Elka somersault into the crowd of amazed Hosiers. And your new dog appeared in the middle of this psychodelic vision, barking madly and licking Cate’s sweat-soaked face…

  3. Very true, Keegan.

    One of my many-greats ancestors arrived on the 2nd Fleet, but he was a military man. His daughter married my slightly less great ancestor, Thomas William Kite, a convict who arrived on the Fortune in in 1814. Kite owned a property in Castlereagh Street, Sydney, now the Commonwealth Bank building, Martin Place, which was sold by his Estate in 1917 for £77,000... And that was just one of his properties. So he got a good return on his original "investment" - the theft of £5!

  4. My Great Aunt was a roller derby Queen back in the 30's or 40's. She grew up to be an oil executive and kinda wanted to forget those old fun times. Seems I am the only one that embraces the kinda crazy past in our family.

  5. esb: I really think it is s young woman's game so I think she would have retired at 30. I am sure her children grew up to be roller girls. I don't remember anyone at all from my school years.

    William: You are much too kind. The phrase - which I have not heard for years - just popped into my head while I was writing. Cate is now fit enough to be a roller girl and would give them a run for their money. But I don't think it is really her.

    Keegan88: He has a way with words.

    Annie: Well your investor would not have known my GGGG grandmother - although he might have shagged her - it seems that quite a few did. MY father used to work in that Commonwealth Bank building when it was the Government Savings Bank.

    fmcgmccllc: I though it would be a badge of honor to be a roller girl.