April's Real Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mike does flashbacks so I don't have 2

So, I'm boycotting these flashbacks, but Mike isn't. U will C the next one goes with the "Dad" and "dishes" theme:

Formerly little sis. Well, I wandered by your house to check and see if there was any good food running about in mom’s refrigerator. As I was chomping down a bit of leftover meatloaf, I looked up and saw one of the strangest sights I think I have ever seen. Mom was standing there, glassy-eyed as usual when she is thinking about how life was back in 1979, but her face startled me. Instead of her usual appearance; her mouth was twisted, distorted and contorted and her eyes had an expression on them almost as if she were disfigured and warped from all that was natural. I said to Dad, “What’s wrong with mom? Do we need to take her to hospital?” Dad said, “No, Mike. You are witness to a rare occurrence, not often seen around here.” I said, “What? What is it? What’s wrong with mom?” Dad said, “There’s nothing wrong with mom. That’s how she looks when she is happy.” I said, “I can’t stand to look at her like this. It’s like my whole world has turned upside down. Make it stop. Make it stop.” Dad said, “Give it a rest, Mike. Elly has been happy before.”

Tenuously I said to him, “Dad. What story could she possibly be thinking of to bring this misshapen look to her face?” Dad said, “It was one of the stories from 1979 again.” I said, “What happened?”

Dad said, “Back in 1979, Elly and I would actually entertain and have parties in our house.” I said, “Like Christmas dinner?” Dad said, “No. With friends and not relatives.” I said, “Go on, you kidder. You didn’t do that. I would remember.” Dad said, “It was at night after you and your sister were asleep. Elly would put on one of her dresses that showed off her figure and that neck choker and hair ribbon combination she loved.” I said, “The one where she tied her pony tail to her neck choker?” Dad said, “That’s the one. Well, on this particular occasion we were saying goodbye to the people who we invited over the party and let them out our door which looked more like an undecorated piece of wood.” I said, “I remember that door. No handles and it went all the way to the ceiling. I remember when you first put it in, it took us a whole day to find a way out of the house, and we had to climb out onto the roof and jump off to go to school.” Dad said, “Well excuse me. Who would think a door had to have handles on it to be opened? Your mom and I managed all right at this party.”

Dad said, “After the party was over, she and I were holding big stacks of dirty dishes. As we were carrying them, 1979 Elly said, ‘I Ioved the way you told them the dishes were your job!’” I said, “Dad! You didn’t say such a thing as that in front of other people, did you? Where’s your family pride?” Dad said, “Tut. Tut. Michael. I didn’t say, ‘Washing the dishes.’ I said, ‘The dishes were my job.’” I said, “Dad. That sort of subtle difference in language is the reason I became a writer.” Dad said, “Hey! Don’t blame me for that.”

Dad continued, “Then 1979 Elly was putting up dishes while I washed them, and she said, ‘And how you feel it’s only fair that the man do half the chores…’” I said, “You said that in front of other people? Is this something you believe? I feel as though I don’t know you any more.” Dad said, “Calm down, Mike. The quote is taken out of context. There should be an equal division of household labour in theory; but from a practical standpoint, while I was working in my dental practise all day, naturally I could not match your mother working on chores at home at the same time.”

I said, ‘If we both were not working, it’s only fair that the man do half the chores.’ Your mother didn’t pick up on that crucial ‘if’.” I said, “Are you saying mom was ‘if”-less?” Dad said, “Exactly.” I said, “But even if both the man and woman were not working, you don’t believe the man should do half the chores. I can’t believe you would lie like that!” Dad said, “It was the 70s. It was a different time. Women’s liberation was at its height and men found themselves having to say things they didn’t believe, in order to get along at parties and to appear ‘with it’ and ‘cool’” I said, “Well, mom knew it was a lie.” Dad said, “I know. That’s why I said to her, “Thanks for not telling them the truth!”

I said, “I don’t understand this whole thing. Are you saying if all your friends were to jump off a bridge while shouting, ‘Women and men should share the chores 50-50’, you would do the same thing?” Dad said, “In the 1970s I would.” I said, “That must have been a sad, sad time; if it makes mom look happy to think about it.”

Michael Patterson
Well, it's kinda sad U find it so disturbing 2 C Mom looking happy, Mike. Tho since she is imposing all these ptless flashbacks on the world, I M not gonna stick up 4 her.

Here is a self-portrait where I am thinking, "Why must we be trapped in these endless digressions into the past?"

Mom actually found me thinking this, read my thot bubble, and sed, "It frees up time." I was like, "Bwuh?" And she sed, "New stories take a lot of time." And I sed, "U're retired. U've got lots of time." She sed, "I need more vacations." I asked, "From what?" Mom sed, "U're such a teenager. U cdn't possibly understand." And stomped off.


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  • At 9:00 AM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, is that the drawin' u did aftah we were...um..u know? cuz ur hair @the tops looks a little like it duz aftah i have had my hands runnin' thru it & ur lipstick is kinda gone frum 1 side of ur mouth like it wuz aftah we were...um...doin' that thing which can kinda mess up sum1's lipstick

  • At 9:10 AM, Blogger howard said…


    I read your brother's message about your dad's story from 1979 and I find it to be somewhat depressing. Imagine a party where the people talk about the division of household labour as a topic of conversation and where a man would say things like "The dishes are my job." I feel sorry for any of the party guests at your parents' house. I hope when they left, they went to a better party.

    It's before my time, but I thought the 1970s were full of those parties with partner-swapping and heavy psychadelic drug use. At least that's the way it looks in the movies about the 1970s. Of course, I wouldn't expect your parents to participate in that kind of party, especially with kids in the house.

    Still, division of household labour. Even Charades would be better.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 9:24 AM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    jeremy, yeah, 4 sum reason when we, well, u know, the other day, it kinda put me in a drawing mood. also, since i can't beat my hair curse, i d-cided 2 make fun of it by kind of xxagger8ing my 'do in the drawing.

    howard, yeah, mayB the real reason my 'rents stopped having parties was cuz peeps were so bored they stopped accepting their invites, eh?


  • At 10:39 AM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, ok. just az long az ur not gonna post that drawin' u did of me, aftah we were doin' that...um...u know. i wud kinda like that drawin' 2 stay just between us, eh?

  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger howard said…


    Although people refusing to go to parties your parents held for fear of boredom sounds like a likely reason for them to stop having them, I suspect there is something else to it. If there is anything the last several months since September have taught me about your mother, it is that the idea she is boring people will not stop her from doing something she wants to do.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    but howard, if u schedule a party and no1 shows up, there's no party, rite?


  • At 11:19 AM, Anonymous liz patterson said…


    This morning, Mom popped over to Anthony's house just as I was cleaning up after breakfast, well that surprised me, Anthony had his feet up reading the paper and Frenchy was doing god knows what, anyway, I was doing the dishes and Mom started in on Anthony, asking him, "Did you tell Liz that the dishes were your job?" and Anthony was like, "Huh? A man shouldn't do dishes. That's why I got Liz.", and Mom said, "A man your age should at least lie about doing them!" and Anthony was like, "Why?" and Mom screamed, "A GOOD MAN PRETENDS TO DO HALF THE CHORES!" and Anthony was like, "Oh, well, Mrs. P, I don't have any time," and Mom yelled, "It sounds to me like you have time to make some excuses, so you must have time to tell a little white lie!" and I was like, "Mom, it's okay, chill, Anthony says if I do all the chores, he might actually marry me someday," and Mom bellered, "YOU CAN'T MARRY A MAN WHO WON'T LIE ABOUT HELPING WITH THE CHORES!" and I asked, "why?" and Mom said, "SO YOU CAN TURN INTO A BITTER, SEETHING BALL OF RESENTMENT!" and then it all made sense, Anthony got up and said, "Well, hon, you know the dishes are my job, but I'm late to work," and waved goodbye, and Mom was satisfied, but just as his car was going down the driveway, she leaned out the door and yelled something about how the rules will all change when he retires in a few years, if he lives that long.

    I'm so confused, I mean, I would like help with the dishes, but what does Anthony lying about it do to help me?, but Mom thinks I should be thrilled Anthony is lying about helping in the kitchen, it's so strange.


  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger howard said…


    If you schedule a party and no one shows up, is there no party? I think that’s kind of like the question of “If a tree falls in the woods, and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?” The difference in the case of your parents is that it sounds like even when people showed up, there wasn’t really a party.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Gladys Thornapple said…


    There is no reason to be confused. Men are naturally born liars, just as women are naturally born to point out their defects and uncover their lies. Just take my Brutus. Really just take him. He can’t do anything right, and it is my position, as his wife, to let him know it, as I have been since 1965. When your mother got started she called me up and said, “Gladys, what is a wife supposed to do? What is her wifely duty?” I said, “Elly. First of all, you should know next to nothing about popular culture or technology; so your husband has some area to shine. Next, never let your husband ever win a fight, ever. Last of all, remind your husband at every opportunity of his failings, his shortcomings and the fact he is a born loser.” I told it to your mother, and she has obviously been very successful at marriage. Now I tell it to you too. Never give your husband a break, and you will be happily married for as long as Brutus and I have been.

    Gladys Thornapple

  • At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Maggie said…


    When a man doesn’t do want you want, the best thing for a woman is a good rolling pin. There is nothing like a black eye to get my Jiggs going. I think you are going to have your hands full with Anthony Caine. He is too much like my Jiggs, who never wanted to get anything better in life. He would say he is happy where he is, when where he is was going to Dinty Moore’s for some corned beef and cabbage. He doesn’t know how to dress, how to eat, how to talk right; and you can’t mix with the right people until you do.

    My advice is rolling pin.


  • At 2:05 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. Dad may have not been a good dishwasher back in the old days of 1979, but he was a quick observer of the human condition. I remember on one occasion where mom was complaining that he didn’t appreciate what she did around the house, and he presented a cogent argument.

    First of all, he told mom that he did appreciate what she did around the house. Mom gave him an unusual reaction even for those days by causing her eyes to go crooked on her head, her mouth to go lopsided on her face, and one of her breasts to disappear (I don’t want to think about that last one too long).

    Then I remember dad telling us that he was glad he came home to a clean house, good food, well-managed finances & happy kids… He usually said this to Elizabeth and me while he demonstrated his ability to stack and balance our building blocks together in so precarious a method, I wonder even to this day, why the thing didn’t topple. Of course, he was just saying this for our benefit, because mom was almost always in another room when he said it. When I wasn’t in school, I was in the house and I knew better. The house was seldom clean, the food was…well, formerly little sis, let’s just say I really liked the good old days when we used to have Kraft dinner and sandwiches every night. Mom would make up a big batch of Kraft Dinner family size and put it in a giant bowl on the table alongside her tea pot, and we would wolf down our food, eating it in our typical, slobbering Patterson style. Those were good times!

    Deep down inside, dad knew that with the quality of the dinner, and the dirtiness of the house, mom was doing other things, which later on he discovered was job-hunting. But it was a difficult topic to broach. Dad would just say something like, “But I admit that I find it hard to see how the house & kids can occupy your every waking minute.” I think he said this with the hope that mom would talk to him about what she was doing. He would say, “What Do you do all day, Elly?” This never worked. Mom would rather go face first into a plate of Kraft dinner than answer that question, and she often did. She did it often enough, if I were sitting across the table from her, I would just roll my eyes and think, “Not Again.”

    Sometimes it was hard to talk to mom back then, but I think my dad did it especially well. I emulate his style with my lovely wife Deanna, and I cannot help but think that it has been one of the reasons our marriage has been such a success.

    Michael Patterson


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