April's Real Blog

Friday, February 01, 2008

No1's keeping up nemore

Mike's keeping rite up w/Mom's decree that we R in reminiscing mode:


Formerly little sis. Do you remember a few weeks ago when mom decided to remember a story from 1979 involving her sewing machine and an ornamented box of sewing supplies which was taller than it was wider? Well, there were moments in my youth, when mom would decide that having a sewing machine and a tall sewing supply box was too impersonal and too easy for her. So she would take her short sewing supply box and try sewing by hand.

To make sure Elizabeth didn’t get into any trouble she would strap her into one of those old “baby bungee jumpers in the doorways” devices which I remember was supposedly to encourage babies to bounce. I wanted one of those for my children like Elizabeth had when she was growing up, but my wife Deanna was all about safety or some crazy thing like that. I swear that Lizzie only snapped out of those thing maybe 4 or 5 times when she was growing up and she would cry a bit when her head hit the floor; but that’s just a part of growing up I think. So, it is one area where my children do not get to exactly imitate my life growing up; but that is a sacrifice you make when the times change and the things which were perfectly safe for you are thought to be dangerous to others.

One of the things I loved when Lizzie was all bungeed up, was her propensity for making noises and spitting, especially the spitting. So, I would sit beside her on the floor, with my tongue lolling out of my mouth, like old Farley used to do, and we would just make big puddles of drool. Lizzie would say, “Blfff Gooooo Kttl Gllaaaa Blk OO” and I would say, “Blaaa Blaaa Dooo Dooo- Say Blaaa, ‘lizabeth! Blaaa Blaaa” The spit was flying everywhere and we had a great old time.

Mom however, jumped up from her sewing at every opportunity because, as you know April, mom likes to suffer, but she really doesn’t like to suffer while she’s suffering. The phone would ring and she would be up in a shot to get it.

We had one of those old rotary phones with the cord attached. You know the ones where, when you put down the receiver of the phone, it would depress these little buttons on the top, to disconnect the phone. Well, at some point, those little buttons on the phone disappeared, so I am not really sure how the phone ever got disconnected. I will have to ask mom about that sometime, although I expect it is a waste of time to do so, because she will just say what she always says when I ask her questions about that time --- “Michael. Things just weren’t as detailed then as they are now!”

Well, mom loved it when the phone rang. She would run to it every time. Sometimes it would be Annie Nichols from next door. Or sometimes it would be a wrong number or a salesman. It really didn’t matter. Mom always said the same thing every time she picked up the phone, “Thank God!—A grownup!” Then she would get a delirious look on her face and she would often talk on the phone so long, it would send up a series of sparks out of the top.

I didn’t really pay that much attention to mom on the phone. Lizzie and I would just keep going “Blaaaa Pfft Gooo Googl Dooo Blaa” and let the spit fly. If things went really well, mom would have a really long phone call and we would have a couple of good pools of drool on the floor.

I know I have diverted from our prior conversational topic about how dad doesn’t do dishes, with these old story recollections; but as you know, I don’t think we have kept on topic for any of these recollections so far. Besides, who’s keeping up with it, anyway?

Michael Patterson
OMG, these flashbacks serve no purpose whatsoever. BTW, Jeremy an' I R gonna B doing sum interior house painting @ the Pattermanse after school 2day. In case, U know, NE1 wants 2 come by afterwards and watch paint dry, since that wd B more interesting than these endless flashbacks.

Mike, if U had been paying attention 2 other ppl's posts at around the time Liz and Paul broke up, U'd know that Paul stayed loyal 2 Liz until after the intervention the Mtig peeps staged showed him that Liz had jerked him around by getting him 2 do 2 transfer requests, moving down here (only telling him cuz Viv made her), holding him at arm's length, and mooning over Anthony. If Liz had not dun those things, Paul wd have remained loyal and they'd B together.


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  • At 11:40 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. You and Jeremy are painting the interiour of our house? I thought we asked you to wallpaper, when you were babysitting tonight.

    As for your protestations about Elizabeth and the constable, I would tell you that if you had been paying attention to your sister’s love life at all over the years, you would realize that it doesn’t matter how nice or loyal the guys she dates may seem to be, they all eventually will cheat on her. Anthony Caine is the only one Elizabeth dated who was decent enough to break up with her before he went off with another woman.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 11:41 AM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, r we rilly gonna b paintin’ aftah skool, or wuz that sum kinda joke w/ur bro? i thot we were gonna go w/eva 2c her bf duncan’s silhouette play basketball on the r.p. boire team against sir robert l borden BTI 2day aftah skool.

  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    mike, anthony was not "decent" enuf 2 break up w/thérèse b4 asking liz 2 "w8" 4 him, tho. what's 2 stop him from doing the same thing when he's married 2 liz and d-cides she doesn't meet the ideal of the liz he cre8ed in his imagination? how do w know he won't ask sum other woman 2 "w8" and then pine after her openly until liz gets fed up and leaves him? ppl repeat their behaviours, after all.

    jeremy, totally a joke. i'll c u @ the bball game.


  • At 6:26 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. You don’t have to worry about Anthony cheating on Liz. He’s her childhood sweetheart and she is a Patterson. You can’t find a foundation much firmer than that.

    Anthony will probably ogle the occasional woman right in front of the Lizardbreath, the same as dad and Grandpa Jim do (or rather Grandpa Jim did before he went crazy). However, Anthony will be in all other respects as true as and as faithful as dad and Grandpa Jim are.

    By the way, you will never guess who I ran into today. It was old friend of mine from way back when Lawrence and I were little, Janice Madigan. You probably don’t remember her because it was before your time and she was really barely a part of my life at all, and yet for some inexplicable reason, there she was in the Country Kitchen having lunch with Anthony Caine. Anthony seemed a little surprised to see me there. I sometimes get that reaction from Anthony because, as you know, April, sometimes I look a lot like Elizabeth and it can be confusing to Anthony. I expect this may have been one of those days. However, Anthony recovered quickly when he realized it was me. He introduced me to her and I said, “Janice Madigan. I would recognize you anywhere. You still have the same prominent overbite, your parents would never let me dad fix.”

    Janice said, “Michael Patterson. It’s been years since I kicked your ass up and down the old neighbourhood. Good to see you. Are you still hanging around with your boyfriend, Lawrence?” I said, “Oh no. Lawrence has a significant other named Nicholas Browne these days. I only see Lawrence when I want him to repair something for me.” Janice said, “Well that’s too bad. I always thought the two of you were perfect for each other.”

    I said, “Janice, I’m not gay, even though there is nothing wrong with that. I married a girl, who went to the same school we did.” Janice said, “Oh, right. That Pattersons marry a childhood sweetheart thing. It comes back to me now. I’m sure she’s a nice girl, as long as it wasn’t that manipulative bitch, Deanna Sobinski, then you’re screwed. That girl was whacked. She had all kinds of just crazy ideas. Can you believe this? She said when she got married; she wanted her life to be as much like her mother-in-law’s as possible, just so she could put the screws to her own mother about how she raised her.” I said, “Well, actually…” Janice said, “Oh my God, Mike. I am so sorry.” I said, “Nothing to be sorry for. Deanna and I couldn’t be happier. We even live in the old house I was brought up in and my kids go to H.G. Davis Public School, the same as we did.” Janice laughed for quite a while after I said that for some reason.

    Then I said, “So, why are you in town, Janice? I notice you are wearing a Canadian Armed Forces uniform, but I can’t tell which branch.” Janice said, “The branch isn’t important, unless you are writing some kind of posthumous biography of me. Let’s just say I am an equipment operator and leave it at that.” I said, “And you’re here because?”

    Janice said, “Well, I just signed up for a third tour of duty in Afghanistan and we are shipping out from Toronto, tomorrow. I decided to stop into Milborough to see the old home town, but I had some car trouble and that’s when I ran into Anthony here, who said he would fix me right up. He even got me a hotel room to stay in overnight, while my car is being repaired, and offered to take me out to dinner this evening. Said it was his patriotic duty. He’s a really nice guy.” I said, “They don’t come much better than Anthony.”

    I said, “Well how do you like being a soldier, Janice?” Janice said, “You know, Mike. When I did my tour of duty in Bosnia, I suddenly realized that being a soldier no longer seemed heroic and exciting, and certainly not the slightest bit glamorous. It was dangerous, dirty, back-breaking work; sometimes gut-wrenchingly frightening and far too often mind-numbingly boring. I was surprised to find out there were no simple rights and wrongs to it, as I had once assumed.”

    I said, “So what happened to change your mind about being a soldier? Did you have a heart-warming talk with an aged veteran in your family, possibly your father, who advised you to go back and see how you like the work now that the shock of this discovery was no longer new to you?”

    Janice said, “No, Mike. I was just pulling your leg. I knew what to expect. I had to crawl on my belly in the mud over barbed wire with people shooting around me in boot camp. Also, both my parents, and my grandfather, and my great aunt were in the Canadian Armed Forces. Not only that, but I had been reading war books all growing up. I already had a pretty good idea what it was going to be like---a lot more than the other women who shipped in with me did.”

    After a nice conversation with Janice, Anthony reminded me I might need to pick my daughter up from school. So I bid farewell to Janice Madigan. It was good to see her again. Also, I’m supposed to call Elizabeth and tell her that Anthony may not be getting home until late tonight and that it was OK, since he was performing a patriotic duty in service to his country.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Janice Madigan said…

    Oh, hello Michael! So you got a new sister back in 1991, eh?

    Anthony Caine, what an odd guy. He keeps saying, "Wait for me! Tell me you'll wait for me!" I said, "Sure, did you need to make a phone call? I'll be right here if you need to move closer to a window to get better reception." Then he throws his head back and says, "No, I mean wait for me." This was kind of wacky.


  • At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Shelagh (Jensen) Campbell said…

    Michael Patterson,

    Your publicist at Reiner and Browne said I could reach you on this Blog, so that is why I am writing here.

    First of all, I want you to know how touched I was to pick up a copy of your book Stone Season and find that in addition to the 5-page dedication that you made in the book to your mother, there was a line in there about me.

    To my Grade 1 teacher Sheilagh (Germson) Campbellsoup, the real life Sheilagh Shaughnessy

    Of course, my actual name is Shelagh (Jensen) Campbell, but it has been a long time since we last saw each other, since you left Grade 1 in 1982. I remember well, a young boy, whose boundless creativity and rebellious streak did not make him an easy fit into the structured classroom setting. I am quite pleased to see how well that young boy has done for himself, with a best-selling book on your first outing as a novelist. My sincere congratulations to you, Michael.

    I enjoyed the book very much. Of course, I was never on a sod farm in Bodner, Saskatchewan, and I am not from Devon, England; but I have seen the movie War Bride, which reminded me very much of the things that went on in your book. I was quite gratified to see that in your book, the lead character was very concerned about the education of her children, and I find that is a redeeming message, no matter in what context it may have been placed.

    As a teacher, I do have just one minor quibble with your writing, and it’s not really with you, but with your editor. The lead character’s last name is not spelled the same from place to place and often not in the same paragraph. Sometimes it’s Shaughnessy or Shaugnessey or Shaunessy. You might want to ask your publisher to assign a different editor for your next novel, which I know will also be a great success.

    I am now a Resource Teacher in an elementary school in Fredericton, New Brunswick. If you are ever up there, please be sure to look me up.

    Educationally yours,
    Shelagh (Jensen) Campbell

  • At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Bill Patterson said…

    April! Did you know you have an Uncle Bill? I'm your father's baby brother, the one who made a funny speech at your parents' wedding and has barely been mentioned since. It turns out that the reason no one ever sees or speaks of me anymore is I live in Australia, where I work in a management position with Greenpeace, with my Indonesian wife who shares my radical views. We've settled happily to a life dedicated to disturbing the complacent.

    Well, if you ever get a chance to travel to Australia, please know you are welcome to stay with your Aussie uncle and auntie!

    Bill Patterson

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    wow, uncle bill, that's awesome. i wasn't sure if u still xxisted. r u out of touch w/the whole fam?


  • At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Bill Patterson said…

    No, just your dad. We had an argument where I told him that putting up "this house saves water" signs and occasionally recycling doesn't make a huge impact in reducing a suburban family's environmental footprint. I've been "dead" to him every since. I'm in touch with your Auntie Bev, Uncle Danny, and your Grandma Carrie and Grandpa Will all the time.

    Call your Aunt Bev if you'd like my address. And phone number.

    Bill Patterson

  • At 9:54 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    gr8, unk bill, i'll do that!


  • At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Laura Cruikshank said…

    You know, April, just when I'd gotten fully accustomed to being the same age as Liz, I got a memo from the Johnston Institute telling me I am now only two years younger than Mike. Suddenly, I have to face turning 30 this year. That is so unfair!


  • At 12:52 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. You may not be aware of this, but one of the benefits to being smart and inquisitive; emotional, sensitive and theatrical, is that sometimes when you went to stores, your parents would bribe you with a toy to be good. In fact, I was so smart and inquisitive; emotional, sensitive and theatrical, I was able to ask for a toy as a matter of going to a store without too much trouble. The negotiation was mainly on the quality of the toy I would get.

    For example, I remember on one occasion saying to mom, “If I’m good…can I have a toy?” I was walking beside mom and holding her hand, with my other hand in my pocket (a habit which we Pattersons have to this very day). If I think back hard enough I can actually see myself there walking, with what appears on my head to be an early stage of Proteus syndrome which, as you know, comes and goes in our family. Little Lizzie is there in her stroller not strapped in, as was the standard for strollers in the day. Mom has on this jacket with an odd belt that goes all the way around her body except for on her left side. It’s an odd sort of fashion statement that kind of says, “I have a nice belt, but imagine something from my left.” I suppose the important part is that when I asked for a toy, mom doesn’t shut me down and say something like, “I am not going to buy your good behaviour Michael.”, but says, “We’ll see…” which was her way of saying, “Yes.”

    I decided to go with that positive affirmation and run with it. I said, “If I’m really good—can I have a BIG toy?” Most times, this tactic worked. On this particular occasion, it didn’t.

    Mom responded, “You may have a little toy!” I decided to fake nausea and crying from the rejection of the big toy and doubled over, but it didn’t work very well. Mom usually says something like, “Are you feeling sick? Let’s get you that big toy so you feel better.” I guess I had pulled that trick one too many times, because she didn’t say anything.

    So, I decided that mom needed to be reminded of how smart and inquisitive; emotional, sensitive and theatrical I could be. If I got a little toy, I thought to myself, “Then I only hafta be a little good…” Aside from finding a way to focus my energy, I had also found a valid means by which I could measure proportion.

    Michael Patterson


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