April's Real Blog

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More on Mom an' Dad's Retcon Romance

Mike had another installment 2 the story he was telling Merrie abt Mom an' Dad when they 1st met:

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
Yeah, I don't want Mom an' Dad's luv story 2 B NEthing like Liz/Anthony either. Blecch. U prolly can't tell from how bad thoze pix R, but it took 4EVS 2 assemble them in Photoshop. And Mom w/her head over my shoulder commenting on everything I did. Yeah, I totally sed we shd use a real pic of that dental building in TO, but Mom insisted the Milborough bldg w/"Toronto" pasted in wd look more "authentic." I really hope Mom isn't gonna make me retouch the real fotos of her and Dad when they were yung, like to put a bun on her hair or erase Dad's sideburns. That wd B way lame.

Paul, thanx 4 checking in w/yr comment last nite and xxplaining sum of the stuff that didn't sound rite in Liz's Sept. 2007 monthly letter.

So, school started yesterday. I was sad 2 hafta start w/out Dunc. I think I'll like my classes, tho they're gonna B challenging, 2. I wanna do well so I can get in2 a gd pre-vet programme.


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  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger howard said…


    Your brother's story of your mother and father's romance is interesting. I never realized that your father's attraction to your mother was based on his obsession with her teeth, that she was some sort of dental fetish. I can honestly say, I have never heard of a relationship based on that kind of beginning before. I also never would have suspected that the only reason your mother agreed to go out with him was because she was incapacitated and vulnerable during a dental examination. I hope your brother's story eventually gets to the point where your father gets to hear your mother talk for the first time. As near as I can tell, he has followed her around the U of T campus, given her a dental examination, and not once heard her voice.

    Just out of curiosity, since your father does have this teeth obsession, is he familiar with , the toy trains which have faces and some have teeth. If not, I bet he would love them.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 2:54 PM, Anonymous liz patterson said…


    I'll tell you what's wrong with my monthly letter, Mom came to my house and said that all my eagerness to hurry up and just get married was unseemly and that I needed to write a letter that sounded more like my old non-committal self, so I did, and as for why some of the stuff about Mtigwaki might not be totally right, well, my memories of that are kind of fading now since I have lots more important things to think about, like my eggs drying up.


  • At 3:44 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    something freaky-deaky was happening w/the html betw howard's post an' liz's. i have tried 2 fix it. we'll c, eh?

    howard, i think dad has tried 2 steal sum of those thomas trains from merrie and robin, unfortch.

    liz, just 2 give u a head's up, i think mom has signed u up 4 sum kinda class on howta seem less eager.


  • At 11:21 PM, Blogger duncan anderson said…

    Apes, I miss u 2. I started my classes on the 'puter 2day, 1 day l8, oh well, Im l8 evry year. Perdita loaned me her laptop 4 classes, oh crap now shes here @ hospital 2 pick it up. I hafta tell u abt weird sh

  • At 2:00 AM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. After a whole series of mom’s fake “pictures of her past”, she finally relented and let me tell the story, so long as I followed the basic outline of her script. My daughter and I still had the photo album in front of us and we still looked at pictures. Following up from yesterday, I said to my daughter, “And that’s how dad got mom to agree to go on their first date, by asking her when he was working on her teeth.”

    My daughter said, “So Gramma Elly and Grampa John got married?” The question took me a little aback and yet there in the photo album were pictures of mom and dad obviously living in an apartment together and looking very married. Now here’s the tricky part. Do I explain to my daughter that mom and dad started living with each other almost immediately after that first date, or do I say they were married in those pictures? I could probably get away with saying they were married. After all, no one in our family wears a wedding ring; so my daughter might not be able to tell the difference. Just be safe I said, “After a while they did.” I don’t want my daughter to get the idea she should get married, just because she went on one date with someone.

    I read mom’s script and it said, “Dad had a couple more years to go before he graduated, and mom was only in first year. After a few months, mom left school and started working so they could save some money.” Now, here’s a funny thing. For years mom has told us she had to drop out of school because she got married and had kids. Yet, mom was born August 26, 1951 and dad was born in February 17, 1949. They are separated by 2 years in age. So, when mom started at the University of Toronto, dad would have been starting his third year of his 4-year program for a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Even if dad went to Grade 13 before university, he still would have graduated by 1972 and mom would have graduated in 1974. I was born in 1976, 2 years later. Mom didn’t have to quit school for me.

    Sometimes mom says she had to drop out of school to support dad through dental school. That doesn’t make much sense either. Dad had already been there 2 years, and when he met mom he wasn’t expecting her to pay for his school. His third year was already paid for. Her first year was already paid for, and she knew she had enough money for her to go to school for 4 years. Why did mom need to save some money? Then it occurred to me the real reason why mom quit school. She was living in an apartment with a man who was going to be a dentist, so there was no need for her to stay in school. I was in the middle of this revelation, when my daughter interrupted my thoughts in silhouette and said, “And then they had you?” I really did not want to get into a discussion of how mom and dad “had me” with my almost 5-year-old daughter. So, I said, “No! They got married first…”

    Then I looked down at mom’s notes and it said, “Mike was a bit of a surprise (see picture)”. I thought, “No I wasn’t!! I was born when mom was 24.” But then I was filled with dread. How am I going to explain this one to my daughter? I looked at the picture. It was a picture of dad wearing his dentist outfit looking like someone knocked the breath out of him. He was in an apartment decorated with a chesterfield, a bowl of popcorn, a dead potted plant, a can of beer, an extendable floor lamp, and a pointing hand hanging down from the ceiling. My initial thought was “Hand of Fatima,” but the hand didn’t look right. Mom was there holding some sheet of paper and saying to dad in a speech balloon, “Honestly, I don’t know HOW it happened!!”

    I thought, “Perfect. If my daughter asks me what Gramma Elly means by a surprise, I can say, ‘A surprise is when you don’t know how it happened!’” But then, April, I thought about it some more, and I felt this terrible sense of déja vu. After all, didn’t my lovely Deanna pull the same trick with me back in 2002? Initially I thought it had to be a coincidence, but the more I thought about it, I realized what had actually happened. I showed the picture and the speech balloon to Deanna and said, “This seems awfully familiar, doesn’t it?” Deanna said, “I guess you and your daughter have something else in common.” My daughter said, “What?! What are you talking about?”

    I said to my daughter, “We were both big surprises to our daddies, but not to our mommies.” Then I thought some very bad thoughts about my mother I never thought I would ever think about her.

    Formerly little sis. Sometimes it is better for the past to stay in the past. I have been doing this for only 4 days, and I never imagined it would make me feel this bad.

    Michael Patterson


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