April's Real Blog

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Reminiscing Begins

So, rite on sked, Mike an' Merrie have started w/the lookin' @ foto albums and reminiscing. Mike has posted this:
April,

Formerly little sis. Mom and I were looking all around for that old picture album and guess who had it? It was my daughter. I found her sitting at our dining room table looking at the album. At first I was relieved she had the album, but then I was a little startled at my daughter’s height. Her little body towered over the table. I went and asked my lovely wife Deanna when our daughter stopped using booster seats in the dining room chairs, and Deanna told me we don’t use them, even for my son. You see, I could have sworn that just back in July, my daughter had to sit in my lap to see above the table, and yet there she was. Children grow up too fast, April.

As a good father you have to learn to adapt. So I went back to my daughter, who pointed to a picture and said, “Daddy, who’s this?” I said, “That’s Grandpa Jim, your great-grandfather.” I was lucky to recognize him at all, because for some reason, this album had a lot of pictures that seemed to be negatives, where the humans appear like white silhouettes and the background appears like it is completely black. I don’t think I would have recognized Grandpa Jim at all, except for the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. It was back in the days when Grandpa Jim was with Grandma Marian, and he had dark hair and chain-smoked. Naturally my daughter would not equate him with the old, white-haired guy they don’t see very often any more thanks to his salty language, from whatever that talking disease is he has which makes him curse all the time.

Then my daughter pointed to the lady standing beside Grandpa Jim in the picture and said, “And who’s this lady?” Thank goodness it was Grandma Marian, and not that woman whom Grandpa used to…I think I remember mom asked me not to tell you that story. It was Grandma Marian so I said, “Grandma Marian. She died before you were born.” I mentioned the part about dying, in order to provide my daughter a little relief from the embarrassment of not having recognized Grandpa Jim, whom she saw just last month at the picnic at our house. When it comes to recognizing people in pictures, you don’t want to be critical of the young. Otherwise, they will lose all interest in looking at pictures.

My daughter does not have an understanding of dying yet. She’s never killed an animal like the two you did, which helped you learn about death at a very early age. So she said, “I never saw her?” Like I said before, you don’t want to be too critical of the young, so after I sat down in my imaginary chair (my daughter’s favourite trick of mine), I answered her question with “No—and I didn’t see her much, either. She and Grandpa Jim lived on the other side of the country.” You see what I did there? My daughter could never see Grandma Marian since she was dead, unless my daughter has been participating in some of those séances to contact the dead. At least I hope she hasn’t been doing that. There was one day when it took me about an hour to find her, and it ended up she was hiding in our closet, and that would have been an opportunity for a séance. I don’t think she has the right tools to do one. I didn’t find any candles or weejee cushions in the closet. In any case, I told my daughter I was like her, and I didn’t get to see Grandma Marian much either. Her daddy is just she is, with a distance between her and her great grandma Marian, except the distance between her and our Grandma Marian includes the barrier to the afterlife.

The next question my daughter asked me made me smile. She said, “Why did they move so far away?” You see, formerly little sis. My daughter has lived in Milborough for just 9 months, and already she thinks of it as home, and she questions why anyone would want to live far away from Milborough. She is going to make such a great Patterson someday. However, since she did ask a real question, I had to answer, “They didn’t. Their daughter-your Grandma Elly-moved here to go to school.” Now you may find this a little confusing. After all, mom did not actually move to Milborough to go to school. I tried to simplify things for my daughter to understand it. I felt the story was getting too complicated for her tiny little brain to comprehend.

I decided that was probably enough for tonight and said, “It’s sort of a long story!” My daughter looked into my eyes, and touched my arm, and I could swear she had my lovely wife Deanna’s face, except with her little girl hair style and not Deanna’s bowl cut. It was freaking me out, especially when she said, “That’s OK, daddy….I’ve got time.” That’s probably true. The notice I got from the Johnston Institute for Better Learning said I should expect to be having this conversation about albums with my daughter until early next year. So, it would be about a 6-month long conversation. I am not sure I can maintain this for 6 months. That invisible chair thing is really rough on my back.

Love,
Michael Patterson
OMG, Mike, I did NOT kill NE animals! I thought I got U 2 admit this the last time this horrible topic came up. Y R U back 2 accusing me of killing them? U know what, there R ppl who say that if NE1 killed Farley, it was MOM, and that MOM also almost killed ME. By noticing that I knew how 2 let myself out that back g8 and never doing NEthing 2 secure it. By being oblivious abt me going out back on my own, cuz she was so, so pre-occupied w/showing off her cruise pics 2 Grandma Carrie. Since U R lookin' @ old pics NEway, U shd prolly review this, this, this, this, and this. U C ME almost drowning, U C Farley rescuing me, and U C that Farley was still alive when I was pulled outta the water. U can also C that Liz was the last one 2 C him alive!

And speaking of Liz, mayB I need 2 remind U that the only reason that Mr. B b-came "my" bunny was that LIZ decided she didn't feel like taking care of him NEmore. So she "gave" him 2 me, which was really her way of passing on the responsibility while still having the option 2 play w/him when she felt like it. And she even tried 2 get me 2 change his name 2 Mr. Furgus, the name Becky decided 2 give him when she bunny-sat. And she got all pissy when Dad reminded her that she'd given the bunny 2 me. She yelled that Dad always took my side and he liked me best. As if. And try 2 keep in mind that I was only five when Liz brought that bunny home, and only 11 when he died. Considering how young I was, and that I had all the responsibility dumped on me so early, it's a wonder I kept him alive as long as I did. I think I can B 4given 4 not recognizing that he was ill B4 I did. I WAS 11 YEARS OLD!

Well, have fun reminiscing 4 the duration.

Apes

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11 Comments:

  • At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…

    April,

    Formerly little sis. You missed my entire point, which was: My daughter has not witnessed death, but you have, thanks to those pets and their timely, life-lesson learning, deaths. Try to remember, this story is not about you. It’s about me taking the time out to explain to my daughter how it is that mom and dad met and married, and in particular using the photo album that mom put together especially for this purpose. I’m sure if my daughter and I look at pictures long enough, we will eventually run into a picture of you and then you can tell “little Aypo” stories to your heart’s content.

    Love,
    Michael Patterson

     
  • At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Honoria Delaney-Forsythe said…

    April,

    Dearest future sister. If your brother’s comments are so upsetting to you, I would suggest you not put them in your Blog. I know if my brother Gerald wrote a letter talking about how I killed my pet hamster, little Fluffykins, when I was 5 years old, I certainly would not print such a horrid thing. I fear you are in for a long series of your brother’s writings and frankly the topics your brother chooses to share with his daughter are probably not topics I would want to share with you, my dearest, dearest future sister. This seems like an appropriate time to leave, and coincidentally, I am leaving.

    I am at the bus station to take the bus to Cashwell Day School, and I don’t know if I will be back. If you would be a dear and remind my parents I exist from time-to-time, that would be very nice of you. Maybe we could get together over holiday. If not, then I still plan to send you a wedding invitation when I graduate in 4 years.

    Love,
    Honoria Delaney-Forsythe

     
  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger howard said…

    April,

    I found a wedding album for when Beatrice Alfarero and I got married, and I find that it has been really helpful for me to remember the wedding and all things which happened in it, since my memory about that event is sometimes vague. It has pictures of you singing at the wedding, which I didn’t really remember until I saw the picture. Since I am using this album to help me remember, it occurred to me that there may be things which you remember or know about your mother’s courtship with your father that you could fill in, sort of like a “Lives Between the Lines” your brother is spouting, since I have a feeling your brother’s description is going to be sparse and possibly inaccurate.

    Just a thought. We are grilling fish tonight and you and Gerald are welcome to come over, as long as you don’t bring your mom and dad. I don’t have that much food.

    Love,
    Howard Bunt

     
  • At 4:08 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    Formerly little sis. You missed my entire point, which was: My daughter has not witnessed death, but you have, thanks to those pets and their timely, life-lesson learning, deaths.

    mike if that was yr "point," y didn't u just say that, instead of going back 2 yr libel of saying i killed those poor pets? how 'bout u come rite out and say that i did NOT kill them, and then promise me u will never, ever again say that i DID kill them?

    honoria, bye. have a nice life.

    howard, u know, until i saw yr reference 2 me singing @ yr wedding, i had 4gotten all abt that, 2. now it's starting 2 ocme back 2 me. i remember singing "i can't help falling in luv w/u," and u got all teary.

    thanx 4 the invite, btw. ger and i will def. come by. can we bring nething? my mom's been having a labour-day cookout 2day, but it's totally gross.

    apes

     
  • At 6:25 PM, Blogger howard said…

    April,

    No need to bring anything, and I especially would prefer it if Gerald did not bring any alcohol for around the girls. I have the food all planned, and you know how fussy I am. The only thing to bring is good conversation. The girls tell me you have some good "gross" stories about animal surgeries, and you can tell us all about your summer. I only have a vague recollection about what I did this summer, but Beatrice tells me it was mainly work around the garden.

    Love,
    Howard Bunt

     
  • At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…

    April,

    Formerly little sis. Mom has been running around trying to find an album with fewer white silhouettes in it, but so far no luck. If you see one, let her know.

    I asked her about whether or not it was her fault Farley died, as you suggested, and she just shook her head and said, “Whenever an animal dies, April is there.” It’s difficult to disagree with that logic. If you find a non-silhouetted album, let mom know.

    Love,
    Michael Patterson

     
  • At 6:40 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    whenever an animal dies, mom is there, 2. same logic, only moreso.

    apes

     
  • At 6:42 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    howard, ger an i r on our way. i searched him 2 make sure he isn't concealing ne alcohol. ;)

    apes

     
  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger duncan anderson said…

    OMG, Apes, Arnie just performed his illusion. I think.

    Ill tell u all abt it 2morrow, my mom is taking me 2 hospital now & says if I dont stop texting shell rip the fone outta ofgnk

     
  • At 9:15 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    omg, dunc! that arne guy is such a hazard. write when u can. i hope u r not badly hurt!

    apes

     
  • At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…

    April,

    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, “I 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.

    Love,
    Michael Patterson

     

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