Remembering my Grandma


Born March 16, 1906 – March 4, 1981


Grandma rarely locked the back door; not when home or if she ran short errands. The only times she did lock the back door was when she went away on holiday. Ah! Those were the days! The 1960’s—Adelaide, the front door greeted strangers and salespeople, the back door welcomed friends and family who didn’t knock, but walked straight in.

[Photo 1: Opening the door to Grandma’s “Lace” © C.D. Trudinger 1964]

Grandma lived a ten-minute walk from my home in Somerton Park. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I walked or rode the route down Baker Street, across “busy” Diagonal Road, and into Panton Crescent. Then I trod down her gravel drive of her Trust home to her back door; a door always unlocked and without any ceremony of knocking, I pulled open the fly-screen door, pushed open the wooden door, and walked into Grandma’s small kitchen. I still dream of Grandma’s place, “Grandma’s Lace” as I used to call it as a child, her huge backyard with fruit trees and hen house.

[Photo 2: Escape from Grandma’s “Lace” © C.D. Trudinger 1966

The same as her home, Grandma had an open heart with time available to be there for me. From the time I was born, she was there. She bought and moved into her Somerton Park home nearby, about the same time my mum and dad with my brother and me, bought and moved into our home.

Every Sunday all the family which included mum’s brothers and sisters and their spouses, gathered in her tiny kitchen dining area for Sunday roast. The home filled with laughter as we enjoyed Grandma’s roast beef and crunchy roast potatoes—the best ever! Dessert of jelly and ice-cream followed, topped with a devotion, then the Sunday Mail quiz. Holidays held extra treats of cousins from Cleve, all five of them and Auntie and Uncle. Grandma fitted us all in, albeit us younger ones sat at the “kinder tisch” in the passageway. Often friends from church or elsewhere joined us for Sunday lunch. The door was open for them too, and somehow Grandma made the food stretch and the table expand for unexpected guests.

Photo 3: An example followed by her children from early on © S.O. Gross circa 1941]

One of the first times I took advantage of Grandma’s “open door policy” was at two years old. I’d dreamt my cousins were visiting and no one told me. My beloved cousins were at “Grandma’s Lace” and I was missing out.

So early that hot summer’s morning, I climbed out of my cot, dumped my nappy, and naked, I navigated my way to Grandma’s. I streaked over Diagonal Road, not so busy at dawn, and then toddled down Grandma’s driveway. I pushed open the back door and tiptoed through the kitchen and passageway. Then I peered into the bedrooms one by one. Each room was empty. Where were they? Where’s my cousins? I was sure they were here.

[Photo 4: Lined up with Country Cousins © C.D. Trudinger circa 1965]

I entered Grandma’s room. The mound of bedding rose and fell with each puff of breath Grandma made.

I tapped Grandma and asked, ‘Where’s my cousins?’

Grandma startled and her eyes sprang open. ‘Oh! Oh! What are you doing here?’

‘I come to play with my cousins,’ I said. ‘Where are they?’

‘Oh, my goodness—no dear—they’re not here.’ Grandma climbed out of bed and waddled to the bathroom. ‘Now, let’s get you decent.’

After wrapping a towel around me, she picked up the telephone. I stuck by her solid legs while she spoke to my mum. ‘Marie, just wondering, are you missing a daughter?…You might like to bring some clothes…’

As I grew older, Grandma’s open-door policy included her home-made honey biscuits. My friends and I visited Grandma on a regular basis. We’d enter through the back door and make a beeline for the biscuit tin. Then we’d meander into the lounge room. With my mouth full of biscuit, I’d ask, ‘Grandma, may I have a biscuit?’

Grandma would always smile and reply, ‘Yes, dear.’

Grandma’s open-door policy helped as a refuge when love-sick boys stalked me. Mum and I arranged that when I rode home from school, if my blind was up, I was safe from unwanted attention. But if the blind was pulled down, I would turn around and ride to Grandma’s place.

Photo 5: Grandma with her white cat © C.D. Trudinger 1965

Grandma was there also when I had trouble at school. I remember at fifteen, having boy-trouble of the unrequited love kind. Grandma listened. She was good at that. She sat in her chair as I talked and talked, pouring out my heart, while emptying her biscuit tin.

When I paused one time, after exhausting all my words, she said, ‘Lee-Anne, one thing that may help—you need to have Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.’

Grandma passed on from this life to meet her Lord and Saviour in early 1981, less than two weeks’ shy of her seventy-fifth birthday. Her old Trust home on the big block with the fruit trees and chook-yard were razed and redeveloped into four units—front doors locked and no easy way to their back doors.

[Photo 6: Looking beyond into the Hermannsburg compound © Courtesy M.E. Trudinger circa 1950]

The Sunday after the funeral, it seemed to me strange not to gather at Grandma’s. Then Christmas, the brothers and sisters celebrated separately with their own family or partners. I missed the whole Christmas connection with my cousins, aunts and uncles. Time had moved on and our family had evolved to the next stage of our lives.

[Photo 7: Christmas Memories (Grandma in her iconic purple dress far left) © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

These days, leaving one’s back door open, even during the day, seems an odd and risky thing to do. Times have changed—more dangerous, or perhaps we’re more fearful of imagined dangers outside our castles. And now in 2023…Well, Grandma’s life and her “open door” policy in a more trusting time, has made me ponder: How open and available am I to others? How willing am I to listen and value others and their world?

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2019; updated 2021; 2023

Feature Photo: My Grandma and Grandpa courtesy of Marie Trudinger circa 1950


The adventure began in 1981…

Check out my memoir, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981


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Click here on The Lost World of the Wends.

Out of Time (10.5)

Doors of Time

Part 5

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (10.5) Letitia becomes acquainted with the flat Gunter has allowed her to stay in…]

Further Back In Time

She was prised out of her travel-stupor as a light-coloured concrete driveway magically absorbed them into a cluster of flats. Under the thin cover of carport, Gunter terminated the engine and yanked the handbrake to almost vertical.

‘So, here we are! You can stay here as long as you like. Okay, a couple of weeks, anyway,’ Gunter said unwinding his lanky frame out of the car.

Letitia pushed open her door with some effort and watched as he placed a brick under the back tyre. The Austin creaked as if in protest. She noticed a bent pole opposite. Obviously, the pole had suffered such a fate at the mercy of this car.

Gunter jangling some keys, loped up the narrow path framed with a few withered sticks of trees. She shuddered at the gazanias attacking the rocks that marked the dried-out lawn. Reminded her of some of the housing trust houses near where she had lived in Mirror. Different era. But same kind of houses, and same level of neglect.

‘I’m looking after this flat while my friend is away on tour; he’s the clown in the circus. Actually, it was his mother’s house,’ Gunter explained as he fiddled with the with the key in the lock of the door. ‘It must be all in the wrist action.’ He muttered with frustration as he jiggled the key in the lock. ‘Das ist eine Dumkopf!’ He rattled the door and twisted the key willing it to work. ‘See, it is not my house. There is a knack to it – I mean getting the door unlocked.’

‘Let me try,’ Letitia said as she grabbed the keys from Gunter. The cream painted wooden door appeared like the one possessed by her Mirror house. ‘It seems to have a similar temperament to a house I once lived in.’

‘Mirror?’ Gunter sighed as Letitia took over.

Within seconds the lock clicked in compliance and after unlocking the door with ease, they were inside staring at hideous brown carpet with accompanying musty odour.

‘Well, I will leave you to it,’ Gunter said. ‘I must get back to the boarding house or old Mrs. C will lock me out. I am sure you will be fine finding everything. I mean it is just a home. You will be right. Tschüs.’ His voice was beginning to trail off down the dimly lit path. ‘I am just down the road if you have any questions,’ he called out from the hidden darkness of the carport. ‘I think my phone number is somewhere there. Must go. Bis später.’

With a thunderous roar of the engine that caused the metal roof to vibrate, Gunter’s Austin rolled out of the carport and vanished around a corner of apartment complex.

‘Thanks for the tips,’ Letitia muttered to the greasy brown carpet. She sank onto an iridescent green felt cushion that garnished the white vinyl clad armchair and gazed, her eyes glazed, on her surroundings. There were the cream painted walls, lolly-green kitchen cupboards, the brown carpet sucking in life and light, the white wood framed curtain-challenged window, and finally an ebony veneer radiogram cabinet that engulfed the front end of the tiny lounge room. If it wasn’t for the 1967 calendar that was placed neatly under the austere mini-Christmas tree gracing the cedar dining table, she would have been sure she had been thrust further back in time to the 1930’s. Instead, only the décor and furnishings had been preserved, frozen in time, not her.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Dolls House © J. Gross circa 1965 (most probably arranged by me as I was the owner of the dolls house from the age of around 2. I’m thinking that the photo was taken in our front yard soon after I received it as a gift. I remember playing with the doll’s house in our front garden. I also remember “painting” the doll’s house when I was about 3. But that’s another story where my escapades got me into strife…)


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Out of Time (10.2)

Doors of Deception

Part 2

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (10.2) Letitia discusses family matters while Gunter comes to terms with his embarrassing discovery about Jemima…]

Turkish Coffee Time

They found a café still open and churning out Turkish coffees in tiny golden cups.
The aroma lingered in the air surrounding the café, the same one in which Letitia had partaken of vanilla slice and coffee eight maybe nine hours earlier. The same dark eyed woman black hair rolled up in a bun, stared at her. The vendor kept her surveillance as Gunter organised the drinks while Letitia waited at the table that had crammed itself against the wall.

‘Trev won’t trouble us here, Lettie.’ Gunter set down the miniature cups on the laminated table that had the distinct smell of disinfectant.

‘I’m sure that he will be too busy dancing his way to fame and fortune.’

‘He’ll get sick of that.’ Gunter dismissed her suggestion with the wave of one hand. ‘Always does. Same every week. Then he comes looking for me. Every week! I cannot get rid of him.’ He leaned back on the wooden chair, crossed his lanky legs, and continued, ‘When I need a break, I come here.’ He indicated a subtle thumb towards the proprietor. ‘Trev’s afraid of her. Thinks she’s the FBI. No kidding! He’s paranoid.’ Gunter chuckled and then confided, ‘I take Jemima here.’ More sniggers. ‘It’s the only way we get privacy.’

‘Oh, I see.’ Letitia shifted uncomfortably in her seat and glanced briefly at the Greek lady busily polishing the benches. The languid staring from her was beginning to make sense. ‘She’s a bit old for you, though. I mean Jemima – why’s she interested in you, pet?’ Jemima, after all, was still her daughter and she had trouble reconciling that in another time and world, Gunter and Minna were a constant item.

Gunter locked eyes with Letitia. ‘We’re just friends. I did not know she was my niece and involved with the IGSF. She never…’

‘Is that why you reacted, like you…’

Gunter bent his head and nodded.

‘She found you, then. And you know she will go to Papa and…’

‘I must admit, I suspected, but hoped…I mean, she talked about finding her father.’ He grabbed Letitia’s arm and met her eyes. ‘Look, don’t tell them. I want to be left alone. Find my own way.’

‘But why, Gunter? We’re family.’

‘You can’t begin to understand.’ Gunter looked away and sipped some coffee. ‘I’ll always be the lesser. The black sheep. And now that Johann has…’

‘Johann? Your older brother?’

Gunter stared into his coffee cup. ‘Yes.’

‘But why? What’s so bad that…?’

‘You don’t understand. I’ve done some things I’m not proud of.’

 ‘What have you done, Gunter? Don’t you think I don’t know what Boris is like? What has he got over you? What has he asked you to do?’ Letitia searched for his evading gaze. ‘Nothing is too bad that you have to sell your soul to that creep.’

‘Just last night, I saw her. Jemima. She comes and goes a bit. I never know when I am going to see her.’ Gunter’s gaze wandered out into the street. The atmosphere was still bustling and electric as summer nights in Melbourne usually are. ‘You don’t have an address for her?’ His voice sounded concerned, with a thin reedy tenor to it.

‘No, she went away and never really gave one, I’m afraid.’ Letitia continued this line of enquiry without further mention of Boris. No need to trigger Gunter. Trigger, there’s that word again. ‘Say, does she still carry around that little black treasure box?’ The transportation device materialised in Letitia’s mind. She remembered that black box. Remembered distinctly what the box could do. Hot beads of sweat rolled slowly down from her temples and over her cheeks.

Gunter peered at her. ‘Are you alright?’

She fanned her face with a menu. ‘Yeah! Not used to the Melbourne heat. It’s getting to me.’

‘But, Sydney is hotter and more humid. Remember? We used to sleep out in the back yard on our foam mattresses. I remember Papa used to snore so loud that it would keep us awake.’

‘Yep, those were the days! Wouldn’t dream about doing that now.’ Letitia forgetting what era she was in. All time, all years were embraced by the immediacy of “now”.

 ‘Ja, must not do that these days. Not in Melbourne. There was that serial killer in Perth.’ All that remained in Gunter’s cup was a pug of silty coffee grounds. ‘The night caller. Other end of the country, but it could happen here.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature photo: Coffee anyone? Turkish or otherwise. (The tea set is St Kilda Fine China made in the 1960’s). © L.M. Kling 2021


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Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

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The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out Of Time (10.1)

Doors of Time

Part 1

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (10.1) Letitia challenges her black sheep brother, Gunter …]

The Fog of Time

Reality is out there; oftentimes it is hidden behind the fog of muddied perceptions, overlooked details and the brainwashing of denial. At that precise time, Letitia was sure that Gunter was in denial about something; that something being his association with Boris. While Trevor insisted on doing a little dance and ditty about Gunter and Jemima, Gunter kept batting the demented soul with the back of his hand and telling him to stop in no uncertain terms. Obvious denial there.

Meanwhile, as they walked, Letitia kept glancing back, sure that behind Trevor, Boris lurked in the shadows. Sure she smelt wafts of cockroach. Definitely not garbage spilling out of public bins.

Gunter was perplexed about the possibility that Letitia could be anyone’s mother, let alone Jemima’s. As Trevor continued to provide the entertainment, Gunter argued, ‘But you can’t possibly be a mother.’ He gesticulated in mathematical frustration. ‘You look too young.’

‘I’m not. I’m nearing fifty, pet,’ Letitia replied, the verbal idiosyncrasies of a certain detective series she had enjoyed on Mirror surfaced. Then, guiding the conversation to eke more truth out of Gunter, she asked, ‘Why the sour face, dear? Why are you hiding here in Melbourne? Why don’t you keep in touch with your family?’

‘Do you know how screwed up they are?’

‘Hey, my dear, brother, I’m part of that family.’

‘But, there are parts you have no idea about, Letitia.’

‘Ooh, that sounds interesting,’ Trevor’s voice sang from behind them.

Letitia turned and glared at him. ‘What? Pray, Gunter?’

‘Wouldn’t you like to know?’ Trevor gyrated. ‘Come on baby, light my…’

Gunter snapped, ‘Stop it, Trev!’

Letitia laughed, ‘Reminds me of the Mr Bean.’

‘Mr. Bean? Who’s he when he’s at home?’

‘On Mirror, in the future…Oh, never mind…’ Letitia sighed. ‘I shouldn’t even be in this time.’

Gunter stared at Letitia his eyes wide. ‘Time travel is impossible. Anyway, why do you keep going on about a train crash?’ He then patted Letitia on her back. ‘I think you need help, Lettie, my dear sister.’

‘You did. Time travel, that is. When you go light speed, through worm holes, whatever. Remember Einstein’s theory of relativity?’

‘That’s forward. Never backward. Think of the…the…problems if you went back? The…the…what is the word?’


‘Yes, that is the one. You must not have paradoxes. They are not allowed.’

‘But there’s the paradox. Anyway, it’s more likely a parallel world. I gather this world is a parallel world, but out of sync, or time. In my universe, I am in 2018.’

Letitia thought that of all the people in the universe, Gunter would understand. But it appeared as if he didn’t. She had two choices. She could either persist in convincing him that she was from the future and risk ending up in the funny farm surrounded by the men in white coats, or she could pretend that she had been joking. After all, Trevor was still tagging behind them, listening. What would he make of this information?

Gunter scratched his head. ‘It still doesn’t make sense.’

Letitia laughed, ‘Gunter, you’d believe anything! You haven’t changed, that’s for sure.’

‘I – I thought you were – were – serious – ly deluded.’ Gunter patted her head. ‘Little Lettie! Always joking.’

Again behind, Trevor roared with ripples of uncontrolled laughter. ‘I reckon Ferro believed you, though. Know what – hee – hee – haw- haw, I had a friend from Adelaide once who used to tell us at school that she had flown to the moon in a spaceship called “Trigger” Ha-ha-hee-hee-haw-haw! What a name for a car! Trigger! Reckoned it was Chrysler Charger or something. Ha-ha. What Chrylser could ever fly to the moon, let alone move on four wheels?’

‘Well, there you go,’ Letitia said, humouring Trevor. A cold chill raised the hairs on the back of her head. ‘Sides, anyone knows it is Adelaide that is stuck in a time warp.’

‘Chrysler Charger? What is that?’ Gunter asked. Then before Letitia could explain, he jerked his head back towards Acland Street, ‘C’mon, let’s get a coffee and catch up.’

‘Okay.’ Letitia followed Gunter as he marched towards the bright lights of St Kilda’s most favourite street. Meters away, Trevor’s dance had developed into a street performance and coins, mostly the old, now defunct pennies, gathered on a crumpled hanky and glistened in the light of the lamps by the bay.

As they passed the food caravan once again, Letitia noticed the smokers still there, statue-like, tracking them, plumes of cigarette fumes rising and mingling with the humid night air. She could not resist throwing in a comment, ‘What is it with those people? Not very Christian, if you want my opinion.’

‘They’re not,’ Gunter replied.

‘They’re not? Then what are they doing at a charity food van, serving food?’ Are they working for Boris? she wanted to also ask.

‘Community service. They don’t want to be here; they have to be.’

‘Oh, that makes sense then.’ Letitia was tempted to add a quip such as “better than a Mirror-mind wipe” or “splitting rocks on the mining planet” but decided that under the circumstances, that turn of conversation would not be a good idea.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: A door in Wil, Switzerland © L.M. Kling 2014


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More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (9.3)

Plenty of Time

Part 3

Ferro of the Food Cart

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (9.3) Letitia encounters the black sheep of the family…]

The sun had sunk below the horizon and cockroaches of the human variety had emerged from under their rocks. She hoped that didn’t include Boris but imagined that every second person was a creepy man or a drug thirsty prostitute. Afraid, she kept her head down while she walked. On the Esplanade where the pavement widened, she became aware of a food van that had set itself up for business.

For want of nothing better to occupy her time and with the want of food, she drifted over to the vicinity of the crowd and hung shiftlessly around the fringes. The tantalizing aroma of roast chicken and vegetables were more than her empty stomach could tolerate. Her gut grumbled. She watched with envy as a collective of odd individuals with their nervous twitches and unkempt hair, homeless bearing beanies, and the occasional drunk whose pores oozing the pure scent of methanol, hoed into plates full of food with their plastic forks.

‘Go on! Get yourself some grub. It’s free!’ An unshaven man with dark brown disturbingly melancholic eyes had singled her out. ‘Go on! It’s delicious! Chicken tonight!’ He insisted with gravy dribbling down his week-old stubble.

‘No, no thank you.’ Letitia edged away from him. She was better than them. ‘I don’t need free food.’ Sounded just a tad hypocritical coming from the lady who had performed a virtual bin-dive just a few days prior.

He thrust a fork full of poultry meat towards her. ‘Go on! Have a bite! It’s delicious. You look like you need some filling up.’ His rotting teeth glistened in the fluorescent beams of streetlight.

She veered away from the fork with chicken attack and visibly shuddered. Knew where that fork had been and was not about to risk disease and death to taste a morsal of chicken. She held her hand up and repeated, ‘No, thank you. I’m fine, really.’

‘Don’t be embarrassed. There’s plenty to go ‘round. Go on! Have some. Go get it while it’s hot,’ the man said, his sad eyes fixed on her.

‘No,’ she began, then remembered the mutants. How could she have become so isolated, so afraid of the poor, the different? ‘Oh, alright. I will have some food then. I’ll get some myself, alright?’

The melancholic man grinned like a Cheshire cat, pleased at her conversion. ‘You’ll make Ferro happy, ‘cos when food’s left over he eats it and he’ll get fat and have to go on a diet. Ha-ha.’ He then babbled on in a monotone voice while trailing after her.

Letitia joined the dinner line, the dark-haired man stuck like a limpet behind her, still mumbling monotonously in a one-sided conversation with the back of her head. ‘You been to the Circus? Great show! There’s a big fat clown in there. Ha-ha. We call him Wally. Where you from? You not from round here, are you? I’m having seconds. Yum, chicken! I like chicken. You like chicken? You’re nice. You’re not like the other girls. Do you have a boyfriend? Do you want to be my girlfriend?’

He did not seem to hear the answer, “No, I mean, yes, I’m spoken for.” Lie. “And, no thank you”, to the last two questions. She had obviously made a friend for life and he was too busy rambling in deluded hope to hear anything she had to say. Especially the part where she repeated, “Aren’t I old enough to be your mother?”

As the man serving handed a disposable plate to her, foam plate, she heard a deep voice boom, ‘Trevor, I hope you are not bothering the lady.’

Letitia knew that voice. She scrutinized the four servers, but no one there seemed even remotely recognizable. A young man bronzed by surfing in the sun, aged somewhere in his mid to late teens, spoke again as he delivered a sliver of white meat to her waiting plate. ‘You will have to excuse Trevor here, he chats up all the girls.’

‘You mean I’m not special?’ Letitia jested.

‘Not unless you’re interested,’ the lad laughed. His joke and accent belied that a particular brand of Bavarian dry humour. His teeth were large, white and well-preserved.

‘You’re not from Bavaria, are you?’ Letitia ventured. She had nothing to lose from venturing. And he definitely looked like someone she should know. But, she dared not jump in boots and all and make a fool of herself.

‘Why, yes. How perceptive of you.’ The young man looked down at her over his large nose.

 ‘Hey, who’s holding up the traffic?’ The natives were getting restless. ‘Hey, what’s going on up there? We’re getting hungry,’ a voice at the end of the queue complained.

‘You keep your hands off of her.’ Trevor behind Letitia warned. He nudged her and remarked, ‘You gotta watch Ferro, he’s a lady’s man, he is.’

‘You behave yourself, Trevor. Hey, isn’t that your second serve?’ Ferro replied with authority.

‘Yes, Mr. Fahrer,’ Trevor replied, eyes downcast with respect.

Letitia’s heart stopped. She gasped. And turning her head left and right, hunted for evidence of Boris behind the caravan.

All the while, the banter between Trevor and who she now knew was Gunter, continued.

‘I think you better wait until everyone has had firsts don’t you think,’ Trevor’s superior advised.

‘Yes, Mr. Fahrer. Sorry Mr. Fahrer.’ Trevor mumbled monotonously and exited the line.

Before she had a chance to say something meaningful to her half-brother, the crowd in the line had surged forward and propelled her to the carrots and peas server and onto the mashed potatoes.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Memories of Bavaria and the Snow Balls in Rothenburg ob der Tauber © L.M. Kling 2014


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my latest novel, The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (9.1)

Plenty of Cakes, Plenty of Time

Part 1

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia… In this episode (9.1) In Melbourne, Letitia looks up her sister, Doris …]

Letitia had intended to stay only one day in Melbourne, but somehow, that one day stretched into eleven days. The time warp of good intentions began with her well-intentioned plans to look up her sister Doris in the white pages. Two thick wads of telephone directory, now that was a novelty. She hadn’t used one of those since Boris exiled her to Mirror World in 1962. Her eyes found the teeny-weeny letters most challenging. Finally, she located Fahrer which was the family name. But out of all the Fahrers there were none beginning with the letter “D”; or perhaps it was that her weary eyes had trouble deciphering any letters “D” or otherwise. She realized that there were disadvantages to having short-sightedness corrected after the unfortunate encounter with the blast that propelled her into Mirror World. Now that she was in her late forties, she had become long-sighted. The thought of wearing spectacles, did not enthuse her. Here she was, in the dimly lit St Kilda Post Office, and she could not even take the bulky book out into the strong sunlight, even for a second. The staff kept glancing and narrowing their eyes at her.

She decided to abandon the pursuit of her sister and stroll casually up Acland Street. She was hungry. One piece of vegemite toast and a small orange juice simply did not cut it to stave off the hunger pains much past lunchtime. She knew that she should save the money for the bus fare, but she was ravenous. She had never seen so many cake shops in one street in all her life. Even in Mirror. Every second shop front threw before her sweets, pastries, and lashings of cream on display. They all looked so inviting, so delicious, so wanting her to eat them.

She stopped by the narrow shop with the towers of mille-feuille which were labelled in this world’s café as “vanilla slices”. She hadn’t eaten an Australian “vanilla slice” in decades. For all she knew, vanilla slices with their crunchy biscuit base, smooth sweet lemon custard cream and rich hard coconut icing, had not existed for decades; not in Mirror, they hadn’t. In Mirror, the mille-feuille were slightly different, more pastry and whipped cream. She wasn’t keen on cream. Cream tended to make her nose all stuffy and cause her to sneeze.

The Australian variation, she recalled used a biscuit base and custard as the filling. Ah, memories of high school lunches of meat pies with slathers of sauce, milk chocolate and the final satisfying touch of vanilla slices came flooding back to her. She sighed and followed the glass-case parade of sweet slices of vanilla into the tiny cake shop. There was barely room for the two sets of tables and chairs that were squeezed against the baby-blue wall. Black and white checked tiles cowered under a streaky film of dirt caught under a careless attempt at mopping. Or perhaps it was her sunglasses that made the floor, as well as the general atmosphere of the shop darker and dingier than it would have been otherwise.

Letitia ordered the vanilla slice and a hot chocolate to accompany it. The shop did not serve pies, only cakes. A complimentary newspaper served as entertainment for one. She sipped her coffee, ate delicate savouring portions of cake, and picked at the paper’s headlines to read. All the while she remained under the watchful eye of the bored shop assistant and the blaring of talk radio from the back room. The vanilla slice was a disappointment, but she thanked the dark-haired lady, saying that she enjoyed her meal (Ha! What meal?), and politely left the establishment. The overload of sugary sweetness made her dizzy and propelled her back to the seashore.

Letitia dabbled her feet in the cool kelp laden salt water and lay on the damp gravely sand to recover. She intended having a little sunbake, a little closing of the eyes, a brief nap, before making her way to the city to book the bus to Adelaide. She had plenty of time. The bus wouldn’t leave before nine or ten o’clock that evening. That’s what someone had said. She was sure. Plenty of time. Plenty of time. Plenty…Plenty…

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Melbourne skyline from Spirit of Tasmania, 2001 © L.M. Kling 2001


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

He Wanted us to Know God’s Love

In Memory and celebration of my father’s life…

Remembering his passing 9 years ago this week…


Ron and Lina Trudinger’s third child was born in Adelaide on January 13, 1928. His parents named him Clement David Trudinger. He was a much longed for child as he arrived eight years after his older sister, Agnes.

[Photo 1: Growing family with Clement David baby no. 3 © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection circa 1928]

“Clement?” his aunts cried. “We don’t like the name Clement.”

So they called the babe by his second name, David, and David he has been ever since. Except, of course when he goes to hospital, then he’s Clement, officially.

Throughout his life, God watched over David who has shared many stories of how he showed His love towards him, protecting, and providing for him and his family. He shared how he felt he didn’t deserve God’s love; he wasn’t perfect, yet God loved him. It is this love that David would want all of you to know.

[Photo 2: David, the boy © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection circa 1930]

He began to write down his life-story, and in the last few weeks began to tell all, especially his grandchildren, how God worked in his life and how his Heavenly Father protected him.

When he was two years old, his missionary parents took David and his younger brother Paul to Sudan, in Africa. Not the kind of place to take small children. But God protected David and his brother from a hippopotamus, cobras, car accidents, and mad men. (He’s written in more detail about these incidents and I will share these in the future.)

[Photo 3: David and his brother on the Nile © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection 1932]

God also blessed him with a loving and God-fearing family. Some may say, too God-fearing, for his parents continued their mission work in Sudan while David from the age of seven, and Paul from five, commenced their schooling in Adelaide. As a student, David only saw his parents every five years when they returned home on furlough. He shared how despite missing his parents, he enjoyed his childhood, with so many aunts doting on him, and the game afternoons they had. I think his love of games started there in the Northumberland Street parlour. He’d even created a few games in his latter years.

[Photo 4: With siblings in Adelaide © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection 1940]

His other great love was sport, especially football. God blessed David with fitness, agility, and a few trophies along the way. In retirement, he played golf, and when his legs couldn’t keep up trekking the 18 holes, he took up table tennis instead. He was still playing table tennis up until a few months ago. Sport kept his body and mind young.

David also enjoyed hiking and exploring. During school holidays he’d visit his older brother Ron, a teacher at Ernabella. While there, he made friends with the Pitjantjatjara children and go into the Musgrave Ranges on hiking expeditions. One hot day, David and a friend became lost in the ranges without water, or salt. They wandered for hours parched and at the point of dehydration, before coming across a waterhole, the most welcome sight David had ever seen. I’m sure God protected and guided them back home. I’m also sure that’s when David’s love of salt began.

[Photo 5: Younger Brothers in Ernabella © courtesy C.D. Trudinger collection circa 1940]

David progressed through his schooling, and gifted in art, he trained to be an art and woodwork teacher. After a couple of years at Lameroo, he won a position at Hermannsburg Mission as headmaster.

He taught at Hermannsburg for five years. In that time, he became close to the Aranda people, especially the students he taught. They took him on expeditions into the MacDonnell Ranges, Palm Valley, and gorges and beauty spots along the Finke River. David also became close to Pastor Gross’ daughter, Marie.

[Photo 6: Teacher in Hermannsburg (David far right) © S.O. Gross circa 1955]

On January 23, 1958, he married Marie in Hermannsburg.

However, his romance with Central Australia was cut short, when, for health reasons, he and Marie had to move down to Adelaide. On October 30, his first child, Richard was born.

David continued teaching, first at Ridley Grove Primary School, and then St. Leonards P.S. The little Trudinger family moved from schoolhouse to schoolhouse.

May 3, 1963, his daughter, Lee-Anne was born. By this time, Glenelg Primary School planned to convert their little rented home into a library. As his family grew and Marie grew more unsettled with the constant shifting, David faced the challenge to buy a house. But how could he on a teacher’s wage? He looked at his lovely stamp collection of rare Sudanese stamps. Could he trade them in to help pay for a deposit?

[Photo 7: David and Marie’s first own home © L.M. KLing 2005]

They looked at a few homes. A bungalow on Cross Road appealed to him, but not Marie. His father wasn’t impressed either. Marie didn’t like that pokey little home on the main road with no back yard at all and the property was right next to the rail line. Then a trust home at Gilbert Road Somerton Park came up for sale, and the deal was done. David regretted selling his stamp collection but reasoned that this was an investment for the children. And, many years down the track, it was, especially with the two lovely court yard homes, one of which David and Marie have lived in from 2006.

[Photo 8: New and improved courtyard home © L.M. King 2021]

God blessed David’s career. He taught at Port Adelaide Primary School from the late 1960’s until he retired in 1985 at the age of 57. In that time he studied to teach Indonesian, became Deputy Principal, and won a government research grant to go to Indonesia. He became interested in the Indonesian musical instrument, the Anklung. He brought a set home and proceeded to teach pupils how to play. He had bands of students playing in the Festival of Music until 2010. He continued to visit the school now LeFever Primary and train students to play the Anklung, right up till the beginning of this year. He also tutored indigenous students.

David lived life to the full and grasped every opportunity to explore the wild and untouched land God has created, especially Central Australia. With his long service leave, and then time in his early retirement, he made regular pilgrimages to the Centre. And God protected him. I like to think that now he is with the Lord, his guardian angel is enjoying a well-deserved rest.

[Photo 9: Dad having a well-deserved Sunday afternoon rest © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1983]

One example he gave of God’s protection was on a hiking trip in the Western Wilderness of Tasmania with a friend. On one narrow path climbing around a cliff-face, he felt his heavy pack over-balance and he began to fall. “This is it,” he thought. Then he felt the pressure of someone pushing him back against the rock and he was able to step two metres further to a wider path. He knew an angel of the Lord rescued him, preserving his life, not just for his sake, but for his friend’s sake, and also because his work on earth was not complete.

[Photo 10: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania © L.M. Kling 2009]

But on August 25, 2012, David’s work on earth was done. There are probably many things he has done that will be remembered as a blessing and encouragement to all who knew him. He was a regular member of Faith Lutheran Warradale church; he took an active role, and was a vital member of the congregation for over 54 years. He was a Sunday School teacher, an elder, and a Bible Study leader.

We will miss his cheerful nature, how he grasped life, lived it to the full and shared God’s love with all he came across.

He may have been David by name, but he was Clement by nature.

[Photo 11: The original men of the T-Team, David (3rd from left) and his father and brothers © C.D. Trudinger collection 1967]

First published as a eulogy to Clement David Trudinger by Lee-Anne Marie Kling ©2012

Revised © 2016; 2021

 Feature  photo: Central Australian sunrise © C.D. Trudinger 1977


More of my dad’s intrepid adventures in Central Australia in my memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

Out of Time (7.1)


Part 1

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…In this episode (7.1) Letitia and Wilhelm board the Princess of Tasmania bound for Melbourne.]


The Princess of Tasmania towered over the tedious queue of cars. Cars and some trucks, flanked one side of the Mersey River, waiting patiently to be uploaded. Not one vehicle seemed to be moving, and the long line just seemed to be getting longer, stretching into the distant blur on the horizon. The faces of the unfortunate occupants were gridlocked into grim expressions of determination or abject resignation that the next few hours of their lives would be spent sitting in the car and waiting for the ferry to swallow them up. There were, some enterprising fellows who reclined against their Holden or Ford Utes and puffed on their cigarettes.

From the vantage point of the deck, Letitia and Wilhelm cast pitying glances down upon their fellow car-jammed passengers. Boarding was a simple affair in the company of Wilhelm. After disposing of his Aston Martin in the care of a steward who looked after cars belonging to the rich and privileged, Wilhelm and Letitia presented their tickets to the ticket officer, and then simply walked onto the boat via a firmly fixed wooden slatted plank. While the masses languished in the linear car park below, the few car-free passengers scattered themselves sparsely around the sunny edges of the ferry or sought their cabins for comfort.

Letitia leaned on the thick metal white rail and basked in the soft southerly breeze that took the sting out of the late afternoon summer sun. The cavernous mouth of the ferry had not opened yet and the queue of vehicles kept piling along the side of the river far, far into the distance.

Directly below her, sat a Kombi Volkswagon housing a hippie couple and a pair of feral children. Well, they certainly were acting feral. Letitia reckoned to Wilhelm that waiting in a traffic line for hours on end would do that to anyone, especially kids. One of the dirt-smeared youngsters had climbed on top of the van with the family’s pet dog, a Jack Russel, and was attempting to tan himself. The problem was that the boy could not lie still long enough for the sun’s rays to catch the patches of skin that weren’t dirt blocked. A small girl in little more than grubby shorts and a singlet joined her brother on the roof and a tussle on the hot tin roof ensued. The mum, head clad with a brightly coloured beanie risked creeping forward the van to sort out her charges. Letitia tried not to stare directly at them from the deck in case she embarrassed the family. But she just had to point at the van and laugh, ‘What has become of the dog, Wilhelm? I wonder if dogs are even allowed on the ferry. How do you reckon the Kombi crowd have advanced this far with the dog in tow?’

Then she spotted the dog a few car lengths closer to-the-yet-to-be-opened opening of the boat and peeing with much satisfaction on some unsuspecting victim’s car tyre. Letitia looked back to the van. The kids were off the roof and squirming discontentedly in the hot car with only natural air-conditioning (open windows) to keep them cool. An older emissary, flowing long brown hair adorned with a red and brown headband and John Lennon glasses, hopped out the olive-green Kombi, and then wended his way in and out of the car jam in search of the dog.

Letitia never did find out the end of the hippie family’s story. After Will had excused himself in search of a toilet, a blonde girl with more make-up than sense began sneering at her.

Letitia locked eyes with the girl and pointed at herself. ‘Me? What did I ever do to you?’

But, she knew. Her dark skin tones marked her. Alien.

 A midget-sized freckle-faced boy had sided with the blonde girl and together they made a formidable team ganging up against Letitia. She had never heard so much colourful language in her life, except perhaps when Jemima was asked to grow her shaved head of hair in Year 7 when she was thirteen. By 2017, in Mirror, shaved heads were the norm. Oh, that’s right! It’s not 2017, apparently; the date is sometime in January 1967. Letitia sighed and murmured to anyone near who would listen, ‘I didn’t realize how rude children can be, even in 1967.’

The evil duo were doing their worst to get a reaction out of her. She was almost embarrassed for them as they began cavorting before her, for her exclusive benefit with suggestive, rude gestures. Letitia thought, Are they for real? I cannot repeat what foul words are coming from their mouths.

The girl proceeded to hold up her cheap plastic camera, aiming it in Letitia’s general direction. Then she screeched, ‘Get out of my way! You’re ruining my picture!’ Followed by a barrage of insults aimed at Letitia.

The boy then raised his voice above the profanities. ‘Nice dress, Miss Fahrer, did you get it at an Op shop?’

‘What?’ Letitia glared at this menacing midget. ‘How did you know…’

The tart of a teenage girl minced up to her, still holding up the camera, and spat out the threat, ‘My mum’s going to get you for failing me in Science, Miss Fahrer!’

‘What? You must have the wrong person—I mean, teacher,’ she said. Me, teach science? Now that’s a joke! Or, is this what this world’s Letitia did? Teach bratty kids?

‘You can’t get out of it that easily!’ the boy sneered fiercely. ‘There’s only one Miss. F ‘n that’s you! ‘n you know it.’

‘They should sack you, Miss F. My mum is going to get you sacked for – for – for—how come youse are so dark?’ The girl bared her buck teeth as she poked Letitia’s shoulder. ‘Too much baby oil and suntanning, eh?’

‘Yeah, right,’ Letitia replied. ‘The sun’s strong down south in Tasmania.’

‘Yeah, sure,’ she snorted. ‘What give’s you the right to give me a detention for my skirt being too short? Huh?’

‘You’re just a perve!’ the cheeky boy added.

‘Yeah! Perve!’ the girl repeated. ‘And, what’s with the French accent? Why are you putting on a French accent? You sound so stupid!’

‘Er, I think you’ve mixed me up with someone else. I’ve never taught in my life.’ Letitia began to back away from this troublesome pair, searching for an escape.

A woman’s sharp voice stabbed Letitia verbally in the back. ‘That much is obvious.’

‘Yeah, I was just, just telling them, that they, that they have the wrong…’ Letitia turned and stammered to a grown up and more weathered version of the teenage vixen.

A cigarette hung precipitously from the stale yellow fingers, and the rotting plaque covered teeth ground angrily at her. ‘No, we have the right ‘un. My daughter worked bleeding ‘ard and what did you do? But fail ‘er!’ The woman with straw hair dark roots showing, jabbed the air with the cigarette butt and ash fell onto Letitia’s dress.

‘I’m very sorry for your daughter’s misfortune – but, but I – I mean – you’ve got the wrong person. I’m not a teacher. I never have been. I’ve been living in France.’

‘I’m goin’ to get you sacked! You’ll never teach again.’ The mother aged beyond her years to even be a mother of this teenage girl, hammered her fist at Letitia.

‘Fine. Go ahead. See if I care!’ Letitia replied and then darted past the wheezing woman. Before they could again accost her, she ducked through the nearest door, climbed several sets of stairs and raced along the narrow maze of cabin passages.

Finally, Letitia had found her cabin. After several nervous jabs at the hole with her key, she unlocked the door and bolted into her room. There she sat on the edge of the bunk in an effort to regroup her thoughts. She trembled. A rising sense of nausea overwhelmed her.

She rifled through her purse and popped a couple of travel-sickness pills Will had bought her at the local chemist in Devonport. Then she lay on the bed. The heat of the sun through the salt encrusted porthole made her stuffy and ill. She closed her eyes to ward off the urge for the complimentary paper bag.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: On Deck, view of Mersey River, Devonport © L.M. Kling 1998


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends


Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out Of Time (6.2.1)

Lunch in Launceston

Part 1

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…In this episode (6.2.1) while lunching in Launceston’s Cataract Gorge, Will and Letitia witness the harassment of peacocks.]

  1. Pride and peacocks

The ensuing half hour whizzed past in a blur and soon they slowed and crawled through the weatherboard suburbs of Launceston. After travelling at the speed of Wilhelm’s light, they seemed to be standing still in the city. A massive rock wall loomed up beside the Aston Martin with only a thin strip of oncoming traffic between them and its rocky surface glistening with escaping subterranean water.

Wilhelm turned abruptly into a narrow road that squeezed through a gap in the rock and followed a creek embedded with lush eucalyptus green foliage to the concrete expanse that served as the park for cars. For all the recent minutes of agonising slowness, Wilhelm still managed to bring the car to a jerking halt. A stately structure towered before them.

Letitia carefully opened the door, mindful not to hit the gleaming chassis of a brown HR Holden Premier to her left. Wilhelm stood, key poised, waiting as she prised her body through the narrow gap left to get out of the car. Once she had nudged the door shut, Wilhelm twisted the key in the lock in the driver’s side door and all the doors locked with a satisfying click.

Letitia and Wilhelm watched the peacocks strut over the rolling green slopes as they supped on Wilhelm’s recommended Steak and chips. They admired the serene scenery and botanical beauty of the gorge and Letitia wished that she had time to traverse the suspension bridge. Wilhelm scorned the bus loads of tourists who littered the lawns, chased the peacocks with their Instamatic cameras, and swamped the gorge.

Wilhelm pointed at a pair of primary-school aged boys in Batman and Robin costumes. ‘Some parents have no control over their children.’

Letitia registered the avid foul harassment by a couple of cheeky boys clothed in red and armed with sticks. The cock darted to and fro and away from them, but the children remained in hot pursuit. The bird lurched in attack and fanned its magnificent plumage.

‘I wouldn’t get too close if I was them,’ Letitia muttered dryly. ‘You wouldn’t allow Johnny to get up to such mischief, would you, now, Dr. Thumm?’

Wilhelm pouted. ‘Of course not. I’ve never allowed my children to do such things.’

‘Children? Dr. Thumm?’

‘Pff! My patients, I mean.’ Wilhelm again blushed and then dismissed the naughty boy antics with a royal wave of his psychiatrist’s hand. ‘That’s nothing! I’ve had poo thrown at me by mad men, urinated upon by loonies, and exploded upon with blood and guts by constipated patients. This,’ he indicated with his pale doctor’s finger to the boys on the expanse of lawn, ‘is nothing! Why only the other day we had an illegal immigrant stowaway to Antarctica, escape from my very own hospital. Have you any idea how embarrassing that was for the management?’ Wilhelm’s knee bobbed up and down with agitation. ‘Parents have it easy, don’t they, Letitia?’

‘I suppose,’ Letitia replied, but kept wondering what Wilhelm must be hiding from his past.

‘I mean, you said you had a grown-up daughter. I’m sure, you didn’t allow her to chase after peacocks, did you, Letitia.’ Wilhelm swallowed the last dregs of coffee and wiped his upper lip with the back of his hand.

‘No,’ Letitia said, though remembering the time Jemima was abducted after answering an online dating ad. In an instant, boys poking a peacock seemed to pale into insignificance. How wrong I’ve been in my naivety of this time and universe. But Wilhelm what’s your story? I must ask my father when I catch up with him.

Lunch done, Wilhelm was desperate for Davenport. They had barely sucked down their concluding cup of tea, than this blonde lord of a doctor was eagerly paying the bill and hustling Letitia from the restaurant and herding her into the Aston Martin. Literally minutes later, before the steak and chips had digested, they were once again on the open road bouncing around in the cabin between fresh green hills as Wilhelm flew the car Davenport-wards.

‘Slow down, you are making me sick,’ Letitia cried.

But Wilhelm did not slow down. ‘We have a boat to catch,’ he said.

If Letitia had any idea what awaited her in Adelaide, she would have happily alighted, escaped to obscurity in the Southwestern wilderness and continued the pretence that she had expired in the South Pole. However, as the Aston Martin spirited them north-westwards, she was lulled into blissful complacency. After all, she missed Nathan. Missed her mother and father. Missed the challenge of another mission. Most of all, she missed her tranquil and complete life in Adelaide. And soon, out of time, she would miss out on the mystery surrounding Dr. Wilhelm Thumm.

She remembered her sister. Doris. Did she miss Doris? She didn’t miss the competition, that’s for sure. She murmured, ‘Doris, I wonder what became of Doris?’

Wilhelm chuckled, ‘Doris? Your sister is busy around the place tidying up your mess.’

‘My mess? What do you mean? I didn’t…’

 ‘Oh, you’re right. I guess, at the end of the day, your disappearance is down to Frieda.’ Wilhelm sniffed. ‘And you are aware that Gunter absconded? Straight into the arms of Boris, we believe.’

Letitia shook her head. ‘Now, there’s a surprise. Not.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Power Rangers in pursuit of Peacock, Cataract Gorge © L.M. Kling 1995


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends


Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Out of Time (5.4)

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…

In this episode (5.4) Celebration as Letitia fixes the computer… But is it all just a bit too easy?]

A Computer Called Clarke

Part 4

In the spacious cabin, spacious for a yacht that is, which Wilhelm had dubbed the “Phone box” as it appeared larger on the inside than it seemed on the outside, the computer blinked, goading Letitia. The inane IGSF symbol menaced the screen a touch longer than it ought to. Letitia shuddered. She had never contended with a computer of this particular vintage.

When she first arrived in the Mirror Universe of 1986, she had toyed with a Commodore computer, a deceptively simple machine Frieda had given her to play games of story puzzles and space invaders; a sort of easing into the digital world. The computers on the Mother Ship had admittedly been constructed centuries ago and modified by a computer engineer named Clarke and his protégé, John, Frieda’s son. But on Mirror, by 2015, the prevailing Mirror Computer monopoly had been dismantled and thrown to the four or more existing richest multinationals to encourage competition. It had long been established that Mirrorsoft Works (as it was known on Mirror World) was a conundrum, an irony, as in most cases the system did not work. The same problems seemed to be manifesting with the IGSF programming in 1967. Had Boris hacked into the system and sabotaged it?

She fiddled around the edges of the system wishing that she could get her mind grafted into it and pretend that she had her head around the problem at hand. Meanwhile Wilhelm disappeared to the deck for the purpose of tightening ropes and fixing sails ready to sail. His parting words to her before rising to the deck were, ‘We acquired this computer six months ago, it was state of the art, it had all the bells and whistles, how could it? I can’t understand how it could break down like this.’

‘Boris, I reckon,’ she mumbled to the obnoxious piece of useless circuitry and the screen that stared back at her, blank and prehistoric. There it was, that stupid blue screen and mindless blathering of words and formulas scrawled across the window.

‘Fatal error!’ she exclaimed. ‘I haven’t seen anything so ridiculous in all my years of programming and managing Mirror’s networks. Oh, what’s this sinister box announcing that I have made a “fatal error” and that the computer must shut down immediately and all my information lost? If the threat wasn’t so ridiculous, it would be pathetic. Wilhelm, my friend, you have been ripped off. You have a lemon!’

Once more, she glared at the blue screen of death. ‘Probably is sabotage by Boris.’ She hurled her hands in the air. ‘Wipe it out and start again. That’s all I can do,’ she hissed at the screen spraying droplets over the LCD screen.

‘How are you going there?’ Wilhelm poked his head down the ladder from above.

‘Do you mind if I wipe everything out and start again?’ Letitia scoffed as she dabbed the screen with a tissue.

‘Yeah, that’s alright,’ Wilhelm replied. ‘Go ahead, if that solves the problem.’

A pale blue Cradle Mountain and cartoon caricatures of icons winked at her, daring her to programme them out of existence. She began the process. Pressed “start”, clicked “control panel” and paused to begin the road to computer condemnation.

With finger poised over the delete key, she breathed, ‘Say your prayers, Clarke!’ Then, she remembered. Always save data, files…anything. While this archaic monstrosity had some glimmer of life in it, she must endeavour to save what she could. She fished out a USB stick stored in the tin box below the screen. In the side of Clarke’s box-like body, a quartet of receptacles where these vintage sticks could be plugged. She again paused the execution process.

‘Will, have you saved all your data?’ she asked.

‘Save? Save? Do I have to save something?’ Wilhelm called from above through the floorboards.

‘Um, I’m just wondering if it isn’t a good idea – I don’t think I would have time to programme it all back in. It’s like spaghetti code,’ she said trying to sound as in control as possible. After the computer had consumed the whole morning, Letitia was ready to eat this computer like pasta.

 Wilhelm’s voice floated in from above. ‘Can those little sticky things I have in the tin box, will they be able to hold all the information?’

‘Only one way to find out.’

Letitia examined the tube. She pulled off the top and matched the probe to the plug on the box that held the menacing machine and proceeded to insert the device into the slot. ‘Do not crash! Do not crash!’ she commanded the computer as a mantra. It seemed to work. The computer obeyed and did not crash.

Several more hours dragged by. Saving. Wiping. Back to factory settings. And then finally, loading the multitudes of programmes back onto the device. She had discovered that to a certain extent she had picked up all the old IGSF computer system’s quirks and nuances. The basics of Clarke’s system were not vastly different from what she had managed on Mirror and was able to adapt to working and wrestling with this computer. Perhaps in hindsight, she should have been suspicious that she had become so adept controlling this yacht’s computer in such a short amount of time, but in the moment, it was an enemy that had to be subdued. After all, the system she had managed on Mirror, had been designed and run essentially, by Boris.

By four o’clock in the afternoon, with sweat dripping from Letitia’s forehead and soaking her back, she presented Wilhelm with a computer, baptised, cleansed from any Boris-contamination, and reborn to be fully IGSF-functional.

Wilhelm marvelled at the speedy IGSF satellite connection and lightning-fast processing.

Letitia mentioned in passing, ‘Oh, by the way, Clarke does not like the heat.’

‘You speak as if the computer is a person.’ Wilhelm remarked with mock surprise as he viewed a satellite image of Melbourne.

‘But, Wilhelm, he is,’ Letitia jested with only half her tongue in her cheek. She did not share with Wilhelm that she had put some of her mind and soul into the very core of the computer’s hard drive to stabilise it from further Boris attacks, and to cause it to run more efficiently. She wasn’t going to divulge to Wilhelm that she had ordered the computer to obey only her and Will’s command. After all, in Wilhelm’s early twentieth-century mind, computers were merely machines. She did not want to spoil for Will or anyone else in this time and place, any illusion that they were not.


Upon the triumph of Letitia over the computer, they spent one last night on shore celebrating. Wilhelm invited Letitia to join him for a function at the Cascade Brewery. Wilhelm was immensely popular and there was always a party in need of his presence. In that way, John, as Letitia remembered Mirror John, and Wilhelm were similar. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Letitia mused as she watched Wilhelm entertain the other guests with his exploits as head psychiatrist at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Another old adage surfaced to describe both John and Wilhelm. She smiled remembering, You can’t have a party without them. After all, John is Wilhelm’s son on this Earth as well as Mirror World.

A different story for Frieda, though. Her absence was fobbed off as “not well”, “migraine” and actually, trouble finding a babysitter for Johnny. Although Wilhelm had confided in her that Frieda had been rather tired and sick in the mornings lately…

‘Here’s to Letitia, the Legend,’ Wilhelm toasted Letitia as they stood by the nineteenth century sculptured fountain in the middle of the lush green lawn.

‘Hmm!’ Letitia raised her glass of claret. If they only knew, she thought. If this is real Earth, my Earth in 1967, if only they knew what the next fifty years have in store for them…

Over by the wall of window that spanned one side of the historic building, Wilhelm entertained the cluster of elites from the hospital. They seemed perfectly at ease, perfectly comfortable in their space, time, and important positions. It was as if the plane crash in Antarctica had never happened; as if there were no terrorists; as if there never had been nor will be any nuclear attacks. As if Boris himself was null and void.

‘If they only knew,’ Letitia repeated.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo (artistically enhanced): Memories of Cascade Brewery © L.M. Kling 1995


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends


Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling