April's Real Blog

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Stuff we didn't wanna know, w/revisions

Mike had another installment 2 what he told Merrie abt Mom an' Dad when they 1st met:

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 déjà 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
Ew, yeah. Mom shd keep the past in the past AND stop rewriting it. I remember Mom telling me that she'd completed 2 yrs of uni B4 dropping out. Y wd she change her story 2 this? I think it sounds worse. And I agree that her reasons 4 dropping out don't make NE sense and she just doesn't wanna admit she didn't feel like doing schoolwork NEmore once she felt she'd secured a hubby w/earning potential.

But I also don't understand if Dad was supposta B only 20 yrs old (2 yrs older than Mom, who was supposedly only 18 when all this happened), how he cd even B in dental school yet. Wdn't he hafta do 4 yrs of undergrad 1st, and THEN dental school? I'm confused.

And OMG, Perdita, U've gotta get that lappy back 2 Dunc so he can finish telling me his story. So, Dunc, U R OK?


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  • At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. You are absolutely right about that timing of dental school. According to this document, 3 years of undergraduate work in the specified courses have to be completed before you can even apply for the Doctors of Dental Surgery program at the University of Toronto. It would be 4 years of undergraduate work, 4 years of dental school and then 1 year residency.

    I showed it to mom. I said to mom, “Mom. How could dad have been working on your teeth when he asked you out? When you were 18 years old and a first year at university, dad would have been an undergraduate and not in dental school?” She said to me, “Mike. You are a writer. You, of all the people in our family, should understand that you should not let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

    I said to mom, “Will we ever get to hear the real story about how you and dad met?” Mom said, “Dating, seeing movies or theatre together, breaking up and getting back together, dealing with that other girl who decided she liked him, meeting each other’s families for the first time, taking a vacation during March break with him, etc., etc. That kind of thing is dull, boring, and not even worth telling. Let me tell you Michael, a real romantic story is girl meets boy in a cute kind of way, then they are married and having children. Marriage and kids are how you can see true love and romance.”

    I said to mom, “Most romance stories don’t work like that.” Mom said, “You are telling my romance story for me to my granddaughter and it is the way I want it. Don’t try to disturb it with things like facts.”

    There you have it, formerly little sis. Just think of this as a story being told about someone who is similar to, but not actually like, our mother and father.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Weed said…

    I can't believe Mike didn't recognize the Hand!

  • At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello, April! How are you adjusting to comic strip limbo? Wanna go to the mall?

    Anyway, those strips your brother linked to are both kind of weird. In the first one, your mom says she never finished college because she got married and had TWO kids. But Mike and Liz are not twins, so what does she mean that two kids stopped her from going back to college? She had Mike first, but Liz was five years later. If she wanted to go back to school, why did she have another kid after Mike? AAAAA! This is so confusing!

    And in the second strip, your sister-in-law is talking about her birth control, but she and your brother are in the background, and the focus is on Weed eating his fried-egg sandwich. First of all, fried-egg sandwiches are pretty gross, but then Weed is always eating, just like my brother. But I wonder why he's in the foreground? Is that supposed to be some kind of symbolism, with the egg meaning fertility?

    This is giving me a headache. I'm gonna go watch "Dancing With the Stars." Laters!

    Paige Fox

  • At 8:48 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    how bizarre that mom thinks this stuff she told u 2 say 2 meredith is a "good story," mike! so doubleplus ungood!

    weed, mike is so fix8ed on ned as the big relic from his uni dayz w/u that i think the hand got wiped from him consciousness.

    paige, i'm not sure what sum of that stuff u sed means, but i hope u had fun watching "dancing w/the stars." i'm up 4 going 2 the mall sumtyme.


  • At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Michael Patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. As you may recollect, I had been going through the photo album mom made up for me to tell my daughter about mom and dad’s romance. Finally, we got to the point where I was born, and I had the chance to talk about things I actually remembered, instead of having to follow mom’s bizarre script of what happened.

    I looked wistfully outward, and I could tell my daughter was getting sleepy again, because she had to support her head on her hand. I said, “For a while, we lived in the apartment in Toronto. Then, dad got a job with another dentist in Milborough, and we moved here.” My daughter said, “You didn’t tell about what Grampa John did when Gramma Elly told him her surprise about you.” I said, “I wasn’t there at the time, but speaking as one who has been through that kind of experience I am sure Grampa John felt like Gramma Elly betrayed him on the most basic of levels and realized he would never be able to fully trust her again.” My daughter said, “Doesn’t Grampa John like surprises?” I said, “No. Not really.”

    My daughter said, “Was Grampa John still in school when you came?” I said, “No. He was out of school and working for a dentist outside of Toronto. That’s when we lived in that apartment.” My daughter said, “You leave out a lot of stuff, dad.” I said, “I’m on a schedule. I have to take the story all the way to Lizzie being 3 years-old by Saturday.” My daughter said, “Why?” I said, “Sometimes, things have to be done in a week, even though they would be much better if they were done over a few weeks.”

    Then my daughter said, “Can I go outside?” I said, “As long as you don’t mind me following you.” My daughter went outside and hid under a bush. It was a little difficult to get under the bush with her, but I managed. While we were both in the bushes I said, “When that dentist retired, dad bought his practice, and eventually they were able to buy this house on Sharon Park Drive.” My daughter said, “What does ‘bought his practice’ mean?” I said, “He gave him a lot of money, so all his tooth equipment would belong to him.” My daughter said, “No. Practice. Isn’t the word ‘practise’?” I said, “Oh right. Practise. Dad bought the other dentist’s practise.” My daughter said, “You mean like Grampa John and Dr. Callahan? Auntie April calls him a morsel.” I said, “Sort of. Except in dad’s case, the other doctor took the money and actually left and stopped working there. If you read our family monthly letters, you might think dad sold his practice, I mean practise, to Dr. Callahan, but in reality, I don’t think dad will ever truly sell.” My daughter said, “You mean like Gramma Elly and the book store?” I said, “Exactly. Just like mom and the bookstore.”

    Then I got a few bush branches sticking in tender parts on my body and I said, “Can we go back in the house now?” My daughter said, “OK.” When we got back in I said to my daughter, “This next part I will tell you with my eyes crossed.” I said, “Elizabeth was born after we moved here. I remember when my mom was pregnant.” My daughter laughed and said, “You crossed your eyes talking about Auntie Liz. Auntie April says I should call her Auntie Liz, and not Auntie Elizabeth.” I said, “Well she’s not married and she doesn’t have a baby yet, so Auntie Liz is still good.” My daughter said, “You crossed your eyes again.” I said, “I did? Well Auntie Liz just makes my eyes cross.” My daughter said, “Mine too. Her breath stinks.” I said, “That’s why I call her Lizardbreath. I think I am supposed to tell that joke tomorrow.” My daughter said, “Do you have pictures?”

    I opened up the photo album and sure enough there was a picture of mom, looking like I remembered her, with her hair down, and her nose small, and her hands across her belly like she was pregnant. Then there was little me and I had a word balloon saying, “Honest? You have a baby in your tummy?!” My daughter said, “Gramma Elly was pretty. Why was she so ugly in the other pictures?” I said, “That’s a very good question.” My daughter said, “This next picture is funny, daddy. Did you really look down Gramma Elly’s mouth to see if you could see the baby?” I said, “I sure did.” My daughter said, “Did you see the baby?” I said, “I couldn’t see her, but I could smell her.” My daughter said, “Eww! Daddy. I like these pictures. I hope you have a lot more like these pictures and not like those bad pictures you showed me before.” I said to my daughter, “I hope so too. I really hope so.”

    Michael Patterson


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