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Parousia Is A Bust - Panflick Excerpt Early 1940s (Kindle)


The Complete History if Adam Panflick is a work in progress. Eight books of ten to fifteen chapters each have been completed, covering 19th Century and early 20th century suppositions up through the tumultuous 1960s. These are Kindle books. I create them solo. Inevitably, they lack the final polish one might expect in a completed work. But they also are free of the constraints of editorial interference. The following is an excerpt from Chapter One of Book Three. It is set in Manhattan in the early 1940s. It is self-explanatory.

Book Three — Chapter One Parousia is a Bust, Adam Is Scarred for Life , Manhattan is Adam’s Oyster

Were this a symphony, I think it would have two themes when it reached the period covered by the present book. It would have a dogged theme, almost Stakhanovite, a Moldau shorn of trills and evocations of sweetness, fluidity and light. That would be Mildred and Melchezedek forging ahead in the realm of acquisitions, building and generally doing their thing, if one may borrow a phrase from a later generation. Then there would be something from Beethoven, dark, ominous, yet beautiful in its pathos and infused by moments of hope and peace. Dark and ominous would apply to Parousia Academy. Life outside the school was brighter but not without moments of pathos.

While this does not explain all of Adam’s difficulties, Parousia was nothing like Quincy. Quincy was small and intimate, boys and girls. Parousia was large with boys only. Quincy was a walk from home. Parousia was a bus ride or long walk across town. Quincy was small classes and a snack mid-morning, then home. Parousia was large classes and a noisy cafeteria and home after 5:00 PM. Quincy was religion-free. Parousia was religion-drenched, with a required chapel dominated by readings from the Apostle Paul. Quincy was pacific. Parousia had bullies. Two of the worst were in Adam’s class.

I will not burden you with an extended narrative. Let it simply be said that Parousia and Adam did not agree. And his response was not optimal. He did not respond much at all. He was an Oblomov-like presence whose preference needed no voice. Under the eyes of various teachers, his penmanship declined from adequate to abysmal. His aptitude for mathematics went from barely present to nonexistent. It was many decades before Adam conceded that mathematics is finite, a language only and therefore something to be played with. He never ceased to believe that two and two do not always equal four.

Some may think Adam had a learning disorder. But I conclude that he was in fact a stellar learner. He simply could not concentrate on processes and procedures that made no immediate sense to him. He would commence an exercise involving the use of his pencil to write words and become engrossed in eating the pencil point. He would be asked to listen to a disquisition and end up looking at the teachers’ facial expressions. Instead of listening to what was being said, he would listen to sounds of heating systems, distant horns, far off voices. Instead of looking at the blackboard, he would bring up images of Sinicock or the long road up the hill to the Panflick’s half-built home in Pickinsboro. Instead of looking at the open book underneath his nose, his inner eye would settle on the corner of the maid’s room where he lived, with its little sink and single window looking out into a gray gloom.
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