April's Real Blog

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Susan Dokis Arrives and Blinks

Liz was (still) packing, when there was a knock on the door. It was Susan Dokis, the Ojibway teacher who'z going 2 take over Liz's job in the fall. Liz told Susan she wasn't xpecting 2 C her, and Susan told her, "Mr. Crane invited me here 4 a few dayz ....Cd I come in?" Poor Susan was standing out in the doorway, probably thinking Liz wd never ask her in if she didn't prompt her. Liz told her abt having heard she was going 2 take her position, and Susan mentioned she didn't think there'd B an opening in a Northern school so soon. Awwwww, C ppl, we're supposta feel, like, heartwarmed that Liz's "I'm so hooooomesick" stuff is making sum1's dreamz come true! Then Susan was all, "This will be my 1st job, Elizabeth--and I have 2 say--I'm quite nervous!" Liz was, like, "Don't worry... The kids will teach U everything U need 2 know!" Hmm, this sorta remindz me of when Dee was preg w/Merrie and went 2 Tracey Mayes 4 advice, an' Tracey saying she didn't know NEthing when she 1st had the kidz, but that they, the kidz, taut her everything. Hm, did Liz take notes on that lil xchange?

Liz sez she noticed Susan was blinking sorta oddly, and that it reminded her that every1 in town, including herself, seemz 2 B blinking oddly l8ly. Like staring unblinking 4 a long time, then, ::BLINK::. Then ::STARE::. Then, ::BLINK::. She also sez Susan had a v. v. tite bun an' Mom wd adopt her in a heartbeat!

Dunc that Razr fone yr Aunt Perdita gave U soundz v. cube. MayB U shd start thinking abt 4giving her 4 bygones B-ing bygones an' all the usual stuff the g'upz say abt theze thingz?



  • At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…


    Little sis. Good advice is good advice, no matter where it comes from. Of course if it comes from a Patterson or a friend of a Patterson, it is better advice than the average advice. I have never considered my kids to be very good instructors, but they have reminded me from time to time of common sense things like, “If you hand a kid a yo-yo, give them plenty of room.” Or “If you want to show your daughter how to make a sandcastle, she may be thinking more of a one-level suburban sand home.” Or “No matter how many snowballs your child throws at you, never throw one at her.” or “No matter how many times your daughter begs you, don’t try to trade in your son for something better.” Or “Little girls don’t play with cars the same way little boys do.” I rarely use those techniques for managing people at Portrait magazine, but they have made for some nice slice-of-life weekly columns. You know, the kind of columns no one seems to do anymore.

    Tracey Mayes has done very well with her children, so it’s good to know that Lizardbreath is taking an opportunity to pass on that success to her successor. Get it? Success / Successor?

    Michael Patterson

  • At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Shannon Lake said…


    Your sister is not going to be teaching in Milborough, is she? I like my teachers to know more than I do. If my teacher said to me, “Shannon, I want you to teach me instead of me teaching you,” I don’t think I would like it. It makes me nervous when the teachers don’t know what they are doing. Your sister doesn’t teach special needs, does she? From some of your stories, it sounded like she did, but I was not sure. If you could let me know she is not going to be teaching in Milborough, I would feel better.

    Shannon Lake

  • At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Maybe Susan Dokis can take over for Liz with Paul, too. ;-)

  • At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Constable Paul Wright said…


    Boozhoo (Hello).

    I read your writings about your sister talking to Susan Dokis. My relatives in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) tell me Susan Dokis looks like a completely different person. They tell me, “If we showed you a picture of Susan Dokis the way she looked today, you would probably travel to Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) to return her mother’s sunglasses to her.” That is one of the native ways of poking fun at someone. My relatives have told me many times, that I only like girls with “white” features, and that I think I am too good for native girls. I would get mad, but they are using native humour, and do not mean any harm.

    Your sister told me she was not expecting Susan Dokis to be there. My relatives in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) told me Gary Crane wanted Susan and my sweet girl to discuss where she had gotten to for lessons with each child, and any special issues that each child may have, like she did with Gary when she moved to Mtigwaki (Land of Trees). I don’t think your sister understood that was the reason, when she said the kids would teach her everything she needs to know. At my detachment, when I thought I would be going to Spruce Narrows, I spent some time with my replacement to let him know where things were and some of the unique things about the part of Otter County I usually handle. That preparation will still be good, when I get my transfer to Toronto. I am sure that Susan and your sister will have had that conversation. Susan may have to drag it out of your sister. It is difficult to get her to talk about important things sometimes.

    Your sister’s farewell feast is coming up. I would like to be there, but I do not know if my work will let me go, yet. I would like to see your sister in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) one last time; even though I will be sad to think of the life we could have had there. Now I think about that, I am not sure I want to go.

    Gi'-ga-wa-ba-min' na-gutch! (See you later!)
    Constable Paul Wright

  • At 12:28 PM, Blogger howard said…


    I read your story today and I just couldn’t believe it. I am so glad your sister is getting out of that hellhole. Her boss is so obviously prejudiced against people from the south. Gary and Vivian Crane practically strong arm her into leaving so they can make a place for her replacement and this girl has the nerve to say she is surprised a Northern school has a vacancy? Give me a break! When I worked with your sister last summer, I remember her going on and on talking about how working for Lawrence and Nick was so different from working in Mtigwaki, because they didn’t have contracts and the reason they didn’t have contracts was because it was so hard for them to get a qualified teacher (i.e., one with a degree) to come and teach there. Their need was so desperate, the job was guaranteed and no contract was necessary. Then there was the whole business of how she had to move out of her apartment every summer and work for Lawrence and Nick, because Gary needed to rent the apartment out for tourists for big dollars during the tourist season. Blah-de-blah-de-blah. Mtigwaki. Mtigwaki. Mtigwaki. Your sister could be so boring sometimes.

    But now, according to your story, your sister’s replacement has suddenly shown up, just as she is about to move out, and you want to bet where she is going to be living until school starts? I would bet an apartment that is supposedly leased in the summer to tourists. And you want to bet she has a nice contract all signed? I wouldn’t take that bet. It is only when you see how people are treated differently in the same situation, that you realize the regional prejudice. Your sister put up with a lot of BS from her employer. I would be angry, if I were her, and had all that stuff being thrown in my face, just as I was about to leave. However, the smart thing to do would be to get out of that xenophobic, racist hellhole, and never come back. Thanks for another story reminding me how much I hate Mtigwaki. Please give me another one tomorrow.

    Howard K.

  • At 12:39 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, duncan iz drivin’ me crayzee w/that razr v3 fone w/ a wireless headset, mpeg4 video playback & a digital camera. i wish my aunt wud throw me n a goat pen, if i cud get 1 like it.

    ur story ‘bout ur sis & blinkin’ iz really strange. ur sis haz gotta b a little whacked. y duz she keep tellin’ u theze storiez ‘bout her life, that make her sound so st00pid? she can’t rilly b sayin’ that “the kidz will teach u” 2 anothah teacher? lemme think of all the teacherz i have evah had or evn just talked 2 a little, & how many of them wud say sumthin’ like that 2 anothah teach. i am countin’ a big, fat zero. iz it 1 of thingz where she tellz u a lotta stuff, but u only put the st00pid part n ur blog? cuz u know, mosta the tyme ur blog iz not xxactly sunshine & lite wen it comez 2 ur rellies. not b-ing critical, just curious.

  • At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Susan Dokis said…


    I don’t believe we have met. I am going to be teaching in Mtigwaki next year in the same school where your sister, Elizabeth Patterson, finished teaching. Your sister showed me your mother put my name and picture on her website today.

    I wonder if you could pass on some corrections to your mother for me. I have not been able to contact her personally.

    The biography part says:

    About Susan: Susan Dokis is a Native teacher who first came to assist Liz in her Mtigwaki classroom and later decided to take over for Liz, who opted to leave Mtigwaki after the 2005-2006 school year.

    I would like your mother to know that although I am a member of the First Nations and a Native American, I do have a degree from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. It was a part of the Native Teacher Education Program and the Native Language Instructors Program, which granted me a Bachelor of Education Indigenous Learning. Sometimes “native teacher” means the teacher has completed a 2-year degree which certifies them to teach in native schools. My degree would allow me to teach in any school in Ontario, even though it was specialized for Indigenous Learning.

    I would also like your mother to know that while I did “assist Liz in her Mtigwaki classroom”, I was actually practice teaching and I had a number of days in which I handled the class by myself, where your sister observed me.

    One more thing I would like your mother to know is that I did not decide to take the job in Mtigwaki because I “decided to take over for Liz”. I have wanted to teach in Northern schools ever since I decided to get my degree in Indigenous Learning. I would have taken a vacant position anywhere in Northwest Ontario. There was no loyalty to your sister involved in my decision.

    I was a little surprised your mother had a picture of me and the biography on her website, but I don’t mind, so long as she puts in those corrections.

    Miigwech / Thank you,
    Susan Dokis

  • At 6:55 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    mike, apparently liz deniez that tracey's advice 2 dee had nething 2 do w/what she told susan dokis. she sez she came up with those "pearls of wisdom" on her own.

    shannon, my sister has not been offered a job in milborough. she also does not teach special-needs classes.

    anon, i have no idea if that'll happen, but apparently paul's mtig relliez r teasing him abt the poss.

    paul, sorry 2 hear yr relliez r teasing u so much! but i guess u r used 2 their "very specific sense of humour", eh?

    howard, i agree w/all the stuff u sed abt mtig. i'm halfway xpecting 2 hear that susan was all, "so, i'll b moving in2 yr apartment once u vacate", and that liz was like, "i thot gary used the place 4 guests during the summer", and that susan went, "oh, that xplains y gary told me, 'be my guest' when i asked if i cd move in rite away."

    jeremy, nope i didn't leave nething out fr. what liz told me.

    susan, i told my mom all that stuff u wrote, an' she kinda rolled her eyes and sed, "unimportant details. nitpickery." sorry, susan, i did try.


  • At 7:30 PM, Anonymous shannon lake said…


    That's a relief about your sister. I have been nervous all day. Where is she going to teach? I think I need to send the students there a present. Do you know if there is a book called, "Teaching Your Teacher, When Your Teacher Doesn't Know How to Teach"?

    Shannon Lake

  • At 7:46 PM, Blogger howard said…


    I wouldn’t be surprised if Susan said something like that to your sister. That would just the kind of rude thing someone would say in Mtigwaki.

    By the by, I got a visit from one Melanie Forsythe. Apparently, some group of teenagers had a party at Becky’s house and threw empty "Naked Juice" plastic bottles over the fence into her azaleas. I have spent the afternoon picking through her garden and removing anything and everything that she considers trash from her yard and gardens. I guess some people got a little excited during the band practice at Becky’s house the other night, eh? During the next practice, use the recycling bins I have so nicely placed out for the "Naked Juice" plastic bottles, eh? I even labeled them as "Naked Juice empties" and put a little pink ribbon around them, so you wouldn’t miss them. I really do not want to be cleaning up again with Melanie Forsythe watching me like a hawk and using those opera glasses she has to find trash I missed.

    Howard K.

  • At 8:33 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    omg, howard, i think sum of the boyz got in2 a bottle-throwing contest after the cup finalz. an' since ger knowz his yard so well, he was goadin' ppl on, all, "i bet u can't hit the garden gnome by the hydrangeaz", or, "i'll bet u can't hit the white-brick path by the lilies of the valleys!" an' u know how competitive boyz get when sum1 challengez them like that!

    shan, i haven't heard of a book like that, but i can check when i'm @ work 2morrow afternoon.


  • At 9:05 PM, Blogger howard said…


    Have you heard anything about another teenaged couple that looks like Becky and Luis? Mrs. Forsythe also told me that just yesterday, she found two teenagers "humping frantically" behind her peonies. She wasn't sure, but she thought it was Becky and a Latino boy that she knew Gerald had been hanging around. I know it wouldn't be Becky since she pinky swore with you, unless Mrs. Forsythe does not actually know what "humping" looks like and mistook Luis giving Becky artistic hickeys with "humping." The other possibility is that it was another couple that looked enough like Becky and Luis to fool Mrs. Forsythe. I would like to correct Mrs. Forsythe, so she doesn't spread any rumours about Becky.

    Howard K.

  • At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Shannon Lake said…


    Thanks for looking. You are the nicest girl I know. I think I write this down in my regular, everyday diary, the one with the big "A" on it.

    Shannon Lake

  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    howard, i'm not sure, but i heard marcia o'toole, who is blonde and has freckles, has been d8ing juan esperanza, an' mrs. hortensen supposedly chased them out of her bushes by turning her garden hose on 'em. so mayB it's poss that mrs. f. mixed up becky/luis w/marcia/juan.

    or mayB mrs. f confuses the creative hickey-making w/humping. ger sez he totally wdn't b surprised.

    shan, no prob abt checking on the book.


  • At 9:58 PM, Blogger howard said…


    Thanks for the warning about Marcia O'Toole and Juan Esperanza. I will keep my eye out for them, in case they decide to invade the bushes in Becky's house.

    I am between shows at the Valhalla currently. Apparently something happened to Arne the magician yesterday with Officer Luggsworth. Thorvald agreed to be his surety with the hope that this would mean Arne would be a more regular performer, but Arne said he was too shaken up by the fact he was unable to escape from jail to perform tonight. All Thorvald would say is "Hoskuld. I am greatly relieved that you are not a fan of the World Cup." I had no idea what he was talking about, but I said thanks anyway.

    Howard K.


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