April's Real Blog

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How Mom and Dad Supposedly Met

Mike had sum more 2 say abt his recent photo-album/reminiscing session w/Meredith:


Formerly little sis. As you may recollect from yesterday, I had settled into my invisible chair (my daughter’s favourite sight gag), and started turning pages through a photo album to attempt to answer her question from yesterday, “Why did they move so far away?” She was asking this question about Grandpa Jim and Grandma Marian living in Vancouver instead of Milborough, but the real answer was that her Grandma Elly moved to Milborough from Vancouver. While mom “found” some pictures to illustrate this story, my daughter propped her head in her hand, rested both her elbows on the table, and settled down for a long story, with all the enthusiasm of a little girl being tortured. Mom eventually came by with the pictures and a little script for me to follow. So, I did.

The first line was, “When your Grandma Elly was 18, she applied to several universities, and was accepted at the University of Toronto.” Now you may be thinking, formerly little sis, how did that happen? Mom is from Vancouver and going to Vancouver University or Washington State University Vancouver had to be a lot easier. I couldn’t get a straight answer out of mom on this matter. Nevertheless, it appears that mom went to a university about as far as she could get from Grandpa Jim and Grandma Marian and still be in Canada, and you can draw your own conclusions from that, eh? Naturally, I didn’t bring any of this up to my daughter.

Then I turned to the first picture mom gave me and it was a picture of a big-nosed girl, with her hair in a bun, and she had rolled-up sleeves in a plain long-sleeved shirt, she was eating a pencil, while looking at a book in a library. Behind her to her right was a stalker, skulking behind a library stack, staring around the corner at her. I had to stop right then and there and got up to talk to mom. I said, “Mom. What is going on here? When you were 18 years old, it was 1969. These people aren’t wearing 60s fashions or even 1970s fashions. And I know from when I was little, that you only wore your hair up for special occasions. Plus you had a petite nose. The only thing right is how you eat pencils. What is going on?

Mom just said, “It was just too much of a change to match the art style back in those days.” Well, that was hardly an answer. So I went back to my daughter and I pointed to the picture and said, “She moved from her home in Vancouver, got an apartment in Toronto and was studying English when she met my dad.” I was about to explain to my daughter that my dad was her Grandpa John, when it hit me like a ton of bricks, the stalker was dad. I said my pardons to my daughter and ran back to mom. I said, “Mom. These pictures make it look like you met dad when he was stalking you in university.” Mom said, “Well he did. It was so sweet.” I said, “But mom, remember Elizabeth was attacked by that Howard Bunt guy who was stalking her. How can you think stalking is sweet?” Mom said, “Times were different back then. If a girl was looking for a husband, you couldn’t afford to ignore a man, just because he was stalking you. Besides, it’s not really stalking, if the girl wants to be stalked.” I knew mom and dad’s love story would make me squeamish, and it was coming true faster than I could have imagined.

So I went back to my daughter and pulled out the next picture. There was “dad” walking slightly behind “mom” to her left on the university campus. He was looking at her out of his right eye, and she looked back at him. I said to my daughter, “He was in dental school. He saw her on campus, and I guess something told him she was special.” My initial thought was, “Special because she was friendly to stalkers,” but I didn’t say that to my daughter. After all, when you get right down to it, the dental school at University of Toronto is not near the English department. Cheese and rice! Thinking about dad this way is really disturbing.

The next picture was of “mom” with giant lips and “dad” looking at her, and the script said, “John was thinking, ‘Nice teeth!’” I had to get up and talk to mom again. I said, “Mom. This isn’t dad. This is Anthony Caine in a brown-haired toupee, and he doesn’t even have Dad’s old sideburns on the toupee. Not only that but “Nice teeth!” is the joke dad used in one of his favourite old stories about how he used to get away with looking at other women’s breasts, when you were around. I really hope you are saying your special feature is your teeth and not that other part! Please tell me 'teeth'!” Mom just giggled. I started to feel real nausea.

Then I said, “Where are the real pictures from when you in university?” Then mom sobbed about how she couldn’t find the photo albums from then, and she had to make some, so my daughter would understand why she should never marry a guy you meet in university and marry him before you finish your degree in English. I tried not to think about how mom’s message to my daughter was she shouldn’t have married dad.

I am two days into this thing mom calls “High brid” and already I wish you were doing this instead of me.

Michael Patterson

Mike, U know I don't often agree w/U, but I agree on the horror of Mom an' Dad's "courting" story. And if it helps NE, Mom pressed me in2 service as her "Photoshop flunky" 2 fill in these gaps she doesn't have pics 4. U R rite that the one pic U were talking abt was actually based on an Anthony pic instead of a Dad pic. Mom insisted that Anthony looked more like "early John" than NE other source material--even when I suggested using actual early pics of Dad and just sticking 'em in the rite settings and making small adjustments. I suggested the same kinda thing 4 Mom, like using sum pics from that early, early series U linked 2 and mayB just put her in casual "uni" clothes. But Mom insisted that she knew best, and she had me use current pics of her scanned in2 this weird "age regression" software that she got Steph 2 buy. It's like they're sum weird version of a young Mom that ppl who have only ever seen Mom as she is now mite imagine. And in that group of pics Mom gave U 4 today's installment, I'm especially squicked by her face in that last shot, where Dad is supposta B thinkin' abt her teeth. She loox like she has sum weird kinda kabuki mask on. I wanted 2 redo that one, but Mom insisted she luvved it the way it is.

BTW, Mom had told me that the way she an' Dad 1st met was that he'd fallen asleep in her favourite studying spot in the library. And when he woke up, he didn't think "nice teeth," but instead noticed sum dental work she needed. I wonder Y Mom is changing this up!

NEhoodles, school starts 2day. Grade 11, yo! Woot!


Labels: , , , , ,


  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Stephen J Toope, President University of British Columbia said…

    One very good reason Elly never attended "Vancouver University" is that no such place exists. Any literate Canadian (which appears to be a group that does not include Michael Patterson) would be aware of this.

    There are two Universities in the Greater Vancouver area of Canada. The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

    I could understand a Vancouverite chosing to go to the University of Toronto. It is the largest (and in many faculties most respected) university in Canada. I know many who decided to take that route.

    Now as to why Elly might not attend an American university such as Washington State, its because its an American school and she is Canadian. Very few Canadians attend American schools unless they offer something not available in Canada (ie. Ivy League, certain graduate programs). The University of Toronto is a fine school and would have a higher reputation internationally than a better American state school.

    If I didn't know better I would think Michael Patterson might be an American with limited knowledge of Canada and its academic traditions.

  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    dr. toope, mike tends not 2 pay much attention 2 nething outside of the greater toronto area, and now that he's living in milborough again, he mostly pays no attention 2 nething outside of the milborough borders. that wd prolly account 4 his ignorance abt higher ed in the vancouver area. i've been told that back when he was in high school, he never even considered leaving ontario.


  • At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Michael Patterson, literate man said…

    Mr. Toope,

    I will have you know that I am a literate Canadian, and I know enough about the word “literate” to know it doesn’t mean having to know things about Vancouver. However, I do know something you apparently do not know, which is there is too a Vancouver University and here is the website to prove it:


    The place where you work, the University of British Columbia, must be a terrible place to be. For one thing, it has to take the name of a whole province in order to get students to come to it. I went to Western (The University of Western Ontario) and it was such a good university, it only needed to take the name of ¼ of Ontario to get students. For the second thing, the university president (that’s you) is telling me what a great place the University of Toronto is. You know a school must be bad, if the university president is saying good things about other universities and not their own. However, I can understand the prestige aspect of praising the University of Toronto---it only has to take the name of a single city to get students to come to it. I suppose this lack of pride in your own school is probably the reason why I ran into so many people from British Columbia, back when I worked at Portrait Magazine in Toronto.

    On the other hand, I can see how the problem may be more of a personal one. My new book Stone Season, publisher Reiner and Browne, should be printed and in the stores any day, now; so you have no evidence I am “literate.” You have not had the opportunity to read it or appreciate the meticulous research I put into the harsh life of sod farming in Bodner Saskatchewan from 1945 to 1963, or even to have heard of how it will be declared the great Canadian novel as well as a best-seller. You cannot even imagine how enormously “literate” is the tale I am currently concocting about the life of a young sailor on a windjammer, and the treasure of informational facts I got from when I toured a windjammer on display in Halifax a few years ago for my upcoming novel Breaking the Windjammer. For example, did you know that windjammers do not actually have anything to do with jam? It’s true.

    If I didn't know better I would think you, Stephen J Toope, President University of British Columbia, might have gotten his education in Québec, or maybe one of those awful Ivy League American schools you like so well. If that were true, it would explain a lot of things.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 1:27 PM, Blogger howard said…


    It may sound odd, but I think I understand why it is your mom is trying to change her history. It is the Patterson allure (or in your mom’s case, the Richards allure), that aspect of the women in your family which causes men to be attracted to them without due cause.

    I have not seen pictures of your mom when she was in university, but the ones I have seen from 1979, when she was 28 years old, show that your mother was quite attractive at that age. If she looked that good at 28, imagine how “alluring” she must have looked 10 years earlier. More importantly, imagine how your mother’s story with your father must have been, with her “allure” at the height of its powers. Either story you have been told, with your dad noticing she needed dental work, or your dad proclaiming she had
    “nice teeth” doesn’t exactly fit the profile of someone under the influence of the Patterson/Richards allure, even your dad. I know this personally from the way your sister affected me. Frankly, at 24 years old when I first met your sister, she was not as pretty as the pictures I saw of your mom at 28 years old. My guess is that the “real” story about your mom and dad in university is very, very different from the one you are being told.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 2:18 PM, Anonymous liz patterson said…


    Mom was right not to ignore a man as a potential husband just because he was stalking her, if I had not rejected Howard for stalking me, I would probably be married now, with a baby and another on the way, he was my "fast stalker," instead I had to settle for my "slow stalker," Anthony, who is nicer in some ways but who also does courting at a glacial pace, I expected to be married and pregnant by September, and here we are, only still having polite dates, and that brat Frenchy still is at home instead of a proper boarding-prekindergarten, Mom was smart to let Dad stalk her right into marriage that did not wait until she had a degree, believe me, I have a degree and no marriage and that alternative is a living hell.


  • At 2:19 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    howard, i wdn't b surprised if that's true, and this version that mom is spreading via mike is entirely fictional.


  • At 2:21 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    liz, the weird thing is that mom useta tell a different, non-stalkery version of how she and dad fell in luv. y do u suppose she might revise the story?


  • At 3:02 PM, Anonymous stephen j toope said…

    Were Michale Patterson literate enough to read the website he found, he would see that (quoting from the website)

    Vancouver University Worldwide is (1) a consortium of globally-dispersed constituent and affiliate member colleges and programs, and (2) conducts a collateral 'external' aggregate-learning degrees process.

    In otherwords, Vancouver Univeristy is NOT a university. It is a best an affiliation of several small colleges throughout the world that conduct distance learning through a common program. At worst, it is a diploma mill which is unaccredited. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_University_Worldwide It did not exist when your mother went to university.

    There would have been few worse choices for one to "attend" than this "institution".

    Once again, I must infer that Michael Patterson is very poorly informed about the country he lives in or its higher education choices.

  • At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Stephen J Toope said…

    is the wikipedia entry for this "institution" that did not come out properly in the last message

  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    one of my bro's big probs is he has a huge amt of trub admitting he is wrong abt nething, dr. toope!


  • At 4:59 PM, Anonymous michael patterson, "inform"-al man said…

    Mr. Toope,

    Whereas I will grant the possibility that my dear mother may have decided against going to Vancouver University back in 1969 because it had a poor academic reputation and did not exist, I am “literate” enough to know that Vancouver University does currently exist, a fact of which you seemed to be unaware until I so “literate”-ly informed you. So, if I am very poorly informed about the country I live in or its higher education choices, then what does that make you, Mr. University President?

    On the other hand, it may simply be your own abilities which limit your understanding about my “literate”-ability and my “inform”ingness. As they say in university circles, those who can, teach; and those who can’t, are university presidents.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 8:19 PM, Blogger howard said…


    My wife, Beatrice Alfarero, read the post from your sister and has informed me she is quite happy that I am a fast stalker. Then she made a bad joke about my "stalk" which I won't share with you, but I am sure you can guess the meaning.

    I did read your family’s monthly letters and in honour of the late Jeremy Jones, I must say I am glad no one in your family mentioned me or Beatrice and especially not Jeremy.

    Let’s see. Your sister talked about how her brother used to wear sweaters at Portrait Magazine in the summer because of the air conditioning. That is true. My boss and the owner of the magazine, Mr. Gluttson is a big man, and he likes the temperature to be cooler so he doesn’t sweat. If you ever saw Mr. Gluttson sweat, you would be willing to make the sacrifice of a little coolness too. My assistant, Francine doesn’t like it, because she is very thin and prefers things to be warmer. When I took over your brother’s job, I found he left in such a hurry that he didn’t take everything with him, and that included his sweaters. Now Francine has most of his old sweaters. They fit her pretty well, and the colour choices are ones which would be typical for the men in your family, but very feminine for anyone else.

    Thanks for coming over last night for dinner with your boyfriend and showing off your pipes to Gerald. My daughters, María and Ana, were delighted you were able to out arm-wrestle him. It looks like you got a good workout at the farm, while Gerald appears to have lost a little of his muscle. Beatrice said I better get back into shape myself, or you may be able to out arm-wrestle me next.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Constable Paul Wright said…


    Boozhoo (Hello).

    Miigwetch (Thank you) for the phone message asking me to comment on your family’s monthly letters. In the letters, only your sister talks about things important to me.

    I notice your sister compares her life in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) to her life in Milborough. Your sister says she expects new faces in her classroom, and she did not expect this in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees). It was confusing to me. Your sister taught Grades 1 to 5. She should have had new children in Grade 1 her second year. I asked the current teacher, my girlfriend Susan Dokis (whom I call Chipper) about it. She said to me, “Suds (her nickname for me), the Grade 1 children that year went to the school in Spruce Narrows.” This was also confusing to me. Spruce Narrows is 60 km away. It is a long way to travel when the Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) School is so close.

    Chipper said after your sister’s first year, some parents did not want their children to go to the Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) School anymore. They did not want their children to be taught by someone who thought their children’s nandagikendan (learning) was a big adventure and not serious. There is a truck which takes the high school students to Spruce Narrows every day. This is because there is no high school in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees). After your sister’s first year, the truck took some students of the other grades. Since Chipper has started teaching, the only students who go to Spruce Narrows every day go to high school. Everyone is happier.

    Your sister talks about the way the children in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) were dressed. She says they did not wear miniskirts and belly tops. There are some girls in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) who do not giizhoo'ohe (dress warmly) in the summer. Your sister has forgotten she was never in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) in the summer. She has also forgotten Binesiiwaaninigamaang (Thunder Bay) is not far away. There are malls and clothing stores there. Some people in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) go on a weekend to Binesiiwaaninigamaang (Thunder Bay) and buy clothes in person. When you buy in catalogs or online, you do not know if the clothes will fit you right. You cannot look at them. An Ojibway likes to see if something is made well before they buy.

    Your sister has also forgotten she taught Grades 1-5. Most of the girls, who would wear a miniskirt or a belly top, are older. I do not know why your sister does not remember these things. Chipper said it was because your sister never talked to the older children. When I think back on when I visited your sister when she lived in Mtigwaki (Land of Trees), I believe that is right. I do not remember your sister talking to a child she did not teach.

    Your sister is right the Mtigwaki (Land of Trees) children do not have many cellphones. The reception for them is poor. It does not have to do with the size of Mtigwaki (Land of Trees). If we had good reception, we would use them. They are valuable tools.

    That is all I have to say. Miigwetch (thank you) for calling me. Chipper says Miigwetch (thank you) also.

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

  • At 1:57 AM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. Well, mom had some more “pictures of her past” for me about the time when she and dad met, and a little script to go along with them. I was trying to show them to my daughter, but I found she was nearly unconscious after yesterday. I decided I would just read the script and look at the pictures to fulfill my obligation to mom.

    The first picture showed a 3-story building with no windows on the lower floor. On top was a sign which said, “Toronto School of Dentistry.” Then there was a huge sign about head-level with the silhouetted persons walking beside the building, which had a lot of words which were too small to read, except for “Free Dentistry”. Mom’s script said, “Every Thursday night, there was a free clinic at the dental school.” I went to mom and said, “What is this picture? I used to live in Toronto. The dentistry school is called the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry. It’s on Edward Street. The building has been there at least since 1958 and it looks the same way today as it did then. It does not look like this building. This looks like the Milborough School of Dentistry, with Toronto over the part where it says Milborough.” Mom said, “Goodness, Michael. Why are you so picky?” I said, “My daughter has seen the real building before. She will know this picture is a fake.” Mom said, “Accuracy is not important, when it comes to telling a story of love. What is important is letting your daughter know that back when I was in university I was frugal. I didn’t spend any money on my dental work, because I used a free clinic.” I said, “About that free clinic….” But then mom interrupted me and said, “Get back to your daughter and finish the story, Michael.”

    So I went back to my daughter and I pulled out the second picture. It had a picture of a man looking through a door at a line of people in a long hallway sitting in chairs. Behind them on the wall, was a sign asking people to vote for someone. The script said, “And one evening, my mom went in for a checkup. My dad saw her waiting in line and asked the prof to let her be his patient.” My daughter said, “Client. Grandpa John calls them clients.” I said, “Back then they called them patients.” My daughter said, “Which one of those people on the wall is Grandma Elly?” I said I thought it was the one with her legs crossed. My daughter said, “That person has a turban on her head.” I said, “I think it’s her hair in a bun.” My daughter said, “Who is the person hiding behind the door?” I said, “That’s Grandpa John.” My daughter said, “He likes to hide behind things and look at Grandpa Elly, doesn’t he?” I said, “It certainly seems that way.”

    Then I went to the next picture. It was a picture of inside the clinic. There was a nice reclining office chair. Someone who looked kind of like dad was standing beside it motioning to the person who kind of looked like mom to sit down. There were these extended track lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling and a table full of dental instruments beside the chair. My daughter said, “Where’s the equipment?” I said, “What equipment?” My daughter said, “Like Grandpa John has in his office.” I looked and sure enough, there was no equipment there aside from what was on the table. The picture did not even have the old spittoon, I remembered when I was growing up. I got up and went to mom. I said, “Track lighting. No spittoon. Where was this picture taken?” Mom said, “We got a good picture in a furniture and lighting store. It looks just like a dentistry place.” I said, “My daughter spotted it right away. Mom. If you don’t have the right pictures, if the persons who are supposed to be you and dad don’t look like you did in those days, then why not let me tell the story? I am a professional writer, you know.” Mom said, “Today’s audience needs something visual. Did you tell your daughter the joke yet?” I said, “No, mom. She’s not going to get a pun based on ‘I’m just a girl who can’t say “No!”. Mom said, “No. It’s based on ‘I’m gonna make you an offer you no canna refuse.’ Young people are smarter than you think. Try it.”

    So I went back to my daughter and showed her the final picture. It was picture of “mom” with a facial mask, and a dental bib and “dad” standing behind her looking in her mouth through a hand-held mirror and some other dental instrument. “Dad” had on gloves, but was not wearing a mask himself. My daughter said, “Why is Grandma Elly wearing that mask?” I didn’t know so I got up and went to dad. I said, “Dad. Why do you put a facial mask on a patient?’ Dad said, “Are we talking about trains or dentistry?” I said, “Dentistry.” Dad said, “First of all, we call them clients now. The masks could be used to prevent harm to the patient from the emitted light of the dental procedure. We use them for our clients who are too bright. Get it?” I said, “Funny one dad. What if the eyes and nose are uncovered, and only the lower part of the head is covered, except for the mouth?” Dad said, “That dental patient face mask protects the patient from projected liquid and solid materials often encountered during the administration of dental procedures. It’s so if I spit or slip, it doesn’t drip or rip their lip. That one rhymes, you see?” I told dad I saw it. I went back and told my daughter. She said, “Just read the script dad.” I said, “I guess mom was really impressed, because when he asked for a date…she couldn’t say ‘No’!” Then in the picture there was a word balloon coming out of mom saying, “Yrgl.” My daughter said, “What does Yrgl mean, dad?” I said, “You Read Good Lips.” My daughter said, “It does not. That’s silly.” I said, “You win. All it means is dad asked mom a question she couldn’t answer because he put something in her mouth.” My daughter said, “So Grandma Elly wanted to say 'No,' but Grandpa John wouldn’t let her. Is that allowed?” I said, “For Grandpa John it was.”

    That was it for this session, formerly little sis. I hope that tomorrow at least, some part of this story is going to make some kind of sense. After all, if you think about it carefully, you will realize that yesterday ended with mom and dad staring at each other saying nothing, but dad thought-ballooning about her. I refuse to believe that mom and dad’s romance is this similar to Elizabeth and Anthony’s romance.

    Michael Patterson


Post a Comment

<< Home