Story and Photograph by Lehan Winifred Ramsay
Well he died, my cat, just the other day. I heard about it from my student who heard about it from the woman who lives nearby.
My cat was supposed to be living with my student but he ran away on about the second day and wasn’t seen for quite some time after that. Finally he surfaced and it turned out that he was living at the house of a woman who had several cats.
My student took him home for the winter when it was very cold and then he took off again when it got warmer. He says that the woman told him some stories and he will send them to me soon.
I was running a school there, in my house, maybe you all remember that. I had decided I would make the educational program, the curriculum that I believed in. I used to go out and take my dogs for a walk, and some of the cats would come too.
We met these boys with their grandmother, they were about 12, twins, and they were walking with the dog. They were funny kids, they asked if they could visit with their friend and that was also nice. One day those three kids stole a heap of money from me; a heap, and I had been saving up for a wood stove.
When I realized I thought a lot about what to do, and then I went to the Police Box to talk about it with the local policeman. He said it had nothing to do with him, I argued a lot about that, and then I went to the City Hall and argued a lot with them too. I thought it had a lot to do with them, I thought they should really take some interest. We argued a lot, me and the Police, and me and the City Hall, but we generally didn’t get mean.
I thought they were kind of funny even when they didn’t respond like the Police and the City Hall people always responded on the Television. But they didn’t take an interest and anyway one of those kids came round and kind of confessed.
They were such funny kids, even when I had them lined up in a row and was interrogating them in the most severe way possible I couldn’t help but think how funny they were. Really really sweet, and then at the same time total ratbags. We thought you must be rich, they said.
Anyway they had already spent the money trying to make friends, there wasn’t a lot I could do. Eventually I had a visit from the grandmother, she wanted to know if I’d noticed anything stolen from my house. So I told her about the wood stove money. She was a really nice woman. She was going once a month to study about a kind of pastoral education, in Tokyo. She gave me the money back and enrolled the kids in my school.
I asked my student to teach them, because I thought he was a good teacher for them. He told her: it might take a while for their grades to improve, because I’m trying to help them in more things. And I would listen to him teaching the kids, because I usually didn’t have students at that time, and was usually painting a picture or something, and it sounded good. But after a couple of months she came round and took them out of the school. She decided to put them in cram school so their grades would improve.
That was about the time I left.