April's Real Blog

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mike reminisces on the grim past

Mike wrote a comment last nite abt the bad old days:

Formerly little sis. Just the other day, my wife, the lovely Deanna and I were discussing the role of parents in disciplining our children. My daughter and son were not paying attention to their mother as they often do, and Deanna turned to me and said, “Why don’t you get off your bottom and help?” We have had this discussion before and I had to say again, “But, honey, mom showed you exactly what you had to do to keep children in line. This is a good opportunity for you to practise that good advice.” Deanna just glared at me and went back to her usual, ineffective method, no doubt taught to her by her imbecilic mother.

The method mom used, as you are no doubt well aware from having the same mother, is the fine art of raising your voice to that level which is above the level of stern, above the level of threatening, above the level of angry, and right to the point where a young child might think that their mother is on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. As a young child, I learned to ignore stern, threatening, and angry; because mom was never very good at any of those kinds of emotions. However, I never got used to nervous breakdown mom, where you weren’t quite sure if she was going to pull out a wire hangar as a disciplining tool and not stop beating you until the police pried you out of her hands. Needless to say, when mom put on this voice, Elizabeth and I obeyed mom immediately.

I remember one occasion in particular, and if you ask Elizabeth she will remember it too. Mom had asked me to pick up my toys. And I asked mom why I had to pick them up, since I was just going to put them on the floor again the next day. Mom was holding Elizabeth and she put on that nervous breakdown tone of voice and said, “Because I SAID to pick up your toys THAT’S why!” I know that when Elizabeth heard the voice, she was probably panic-stricken to actually be in mom’s arms at that moment. Elizabeth told me she was in fear for her life, but fortunately for her, mom used a one-handed toss to throw her in her crib and said, “Then you get into your pyjamas OR ELSE!” I believe Elizabeth was quite grateful it was only a one-handed toss, and she said to mom, “Mama?” However, mom replied back to her, “Be quiet and go to sleep, Lizzie!” Needless to say, that is what Lizzie tried to do. Most children the age of Lizzie when she was in a crib, have a long drawn-out bed time routine before they can go to sleep. I know that my kids did, and there were many nights when I wondered what my mother would think if she saw me rocking my son or my daughter to sleep, instead of slinging them into their beds and giving them a good night bellow. However, sometimes as a parent you have to do the things your wife tells you to do and if she says, “Don’t scream your children to sleep,” then you don’t, even if you want to.

On this particular occasion with mom, I heard her yelling at Lizzie and I leapt into bed with my Super Teddy and tried to get to sleep as quickly as possible, Unfortunately, mom SLAMmed the door, and it woke me up. Then mom pointed a finger and me and said (as if the SLAM was the first part of her sentence) “…and I don’t want to hear a peep from you all night, understand?”

Nights after mom shrieked me and Elizabeth to bed were difficult. I had nightmares, terrible nightmares. I would dream that mom would go to the kitchen, and drink a hot beverage out of a wine glass and think, “SIGH” with the letters melting off. I dreamt she would go into Lizzie’s bedroom with a wild and crazed look on her face, and sometimes in mine the same way. I dreamt she would lean over Lizzie’s crib and look at her sleeping with her bunny and her pillow and her sheets pulled over her, like she had been put to bed by an actual parent, and mom’s face would somehow be able to occupy the same space as the crib railing, as mom would think, “You and Michael are such beautiful kids, Elizabeth…” and then she would say out loud, while crying, “How did you end up with a mother like me?” Those were frightening dreams, and Elizabeth tells me sometimes, she had the same nightmares.

However, I know they were just dreams. After all, there is no correlation between the beauty of a child and their mother’s near nervous breakdown. Not only that, I am sure you know that the mom who raised us has no regrets about her shrieking and screaming method of discipline. Otherwise she would have changed over the last 30 years she has had kids in the house. No, formerly little sis, mom loves her screaming style. One of these days, she is going to convince Deanna we should go to yelling at our kids. It may be soon. I can hardly wait.

Michael Patterson
Mike, what a horrible, awful, depressing story! I don't know how U can share the story, including how terrified Mom made U and Lizzie feel, and then get all warm and glowy about this being a good way 2 treat children. I M so glad Dee doesn't let this kind of thing happen w/Merrie and Robin (in case U R blanking on those names, Mike, they're yr kids!).

BTW, this morning @ brekky I asked Mom abt that dream U shared. She got tears in her eyes and said, "It's true, April. That really happened. I don't know how Mike and Liz picked that up in their dreams. I had behaved awfully with Mike and Liz. I don't know why I was like that." She looked at me and said, "Please tell me I'd mellowed a bit by the time U came along." I sed, "U'd mellowed a bit by the time I came along." She sed "good girl" and gave me sum $$ to spend at the mall. Hey, Jeremy, U wanna go 2 the mall 2day?

Speaking of dreams, I had that weird one abt being a woman in Albany, NY again. In the dream, it was my 41st birthday, and my five-year-old son told me, about the pic of Farley on Mom's website (in the Victoria Day splash image), "The doggie is squeeking a blue thing because it's yr birthday!" Weird.


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  • At 11:17 AM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, sure i can go 2 the mall. i’m glad ur not mad @me nemore frum last friday. ur not mad rite?

    yesterday wuz tuff goin’ 2 wonderland w/o u. i thot it wud b fun w/u & duncan & eva; but then u got mad @me on friday & then duncan didn’t show cuz he wuz doin’ 1 of thoze whacked out thingz he duz where he chases aftah 1 of thoze girlz that won’t have nething 2 do w/him. i 4get if it wuz zandra or bambi this tyme.

    that put eva in a rilly bad mood & i spent mosta the tyme havin’ 2 lissen 2 eva redefine love. u know kinda like, “i thot i wuz in luv w/so & so, but it wuzn’t luv. it wuz like wen ur ridin’ ur horse all day & u don’t fall off. i thot i wuz in luv w/that guy, but it wuzn’t luv. it wuz like a plate of cold beans on the trail, wen ur expectin’ a juicy steak.”

    i wuz rilly glad eva cudn’t talk wen she rode roller coasters tho. we rode a lotta roller coasters, especially the behemoth, the roller coaster. if eva tells u she rode the behemoth w/me, it wuz a roller coaster, not nething else that sum peeps like 2 call behemoth.

    aside frum that, the victoria day fireworks weren’t 2 bad at the park. it wud’ve been a lot better w/u tho, & i’m not sayin’ that just cuz eva wud’ve spent mosta the tyme talkin’ 2u insteada me.

    neway, i’m glad ur not mad @me nemore. wen do u wanna go 2 the mall?

  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger howard said…


    I had a weird dream last night about a man living in Oro Valley, Arizona, who was wishing a woman who lived in Albany, NY happy birthday. It was an odd subject for a dream, but when I read your Blog entry today, it almost made sense.

    My wife Beatrice was pretty excited about your Blog entry today because, as Beatrice put it, “Ah ha! She can feel guilt!” As you know, Beatrice got hired at Lilliput’s to replace Kortney Krelbutz, after she was caught in some kind check-forging scheme at the store. However, it was not too long into it, I think there was some incident where you and your mother had some tiff over something, where Moira Kinney took Beatrice aside and told her the whole awful story about you and Kortney and exactly how she got fired.

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Beatrice and Moira have been very careful to consider your feelings whenever you work at Lilliput’s, especially after Kortney threatened to beat you up, and your mother refused accept your word about that. More importantly, how your mother felt no guilt about it, when she found out you were right about Kortney. Well, Moira Kinney did feel guilt about it, and fired Kortney as soon as your mother went on vacation and she was put in charge of the store. Since then, Beatrice has been waiting for your mother to show remorse about something. According to Beatrice, today was the first time over 5 years, your mother has admitted she was wrong about something. I suspect there must have been some time she missed somewhere in there, but Beatrice says that buyers’ remorse does not count.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 11:46 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. I don’t know why you would be surprised I would want to emulate the fine parenting techniques of our mother in raising my children. When I think about the nightmare parents I could have had like Gordon Mayes’ dad, who used to get drunk and beat him; or Lawrence Poirier’s parents, who threw him out of the house; or Brian Enjo’s parents, who have all that old Japanese stuff in their house; I am grateful to have been raised by the best parents in Milborough, and you should too. I would go into it more, but I am on the verge of completing novel #2, which I will probably tell you more about much later today. I am afraid my publisher had some issue with my proposed title of Breaking the Windjammer, so the final title is a little up in the air. It’s too bad. There was something about my title that just had a great smell about it.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 12:34 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    after i convinced jeremy that i'm not mad @ him, we went out 2 the mall. we're in the music store now and jeremy's telling a sales clerk what's wrong w/the way they've got a sound-system display set up.

    howard, i'll bet my dream self really wda liked the b-day wishes from yr dream self. it seems like sumthing she'd appreciate v. much!

    and i have noticed that moira and bea are v. careful abt my feelings. that means a lot 2 me!

    mike, i wd try 2 xxplain y u r wrong, but u never listen 2 me, so y even try?


  • At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Brian Enjo said…

    Michael. "Old Japanese stuff"? Is that some kind of racial slur? Of course I grew up with "old Japanese stuff" in my house. We're Japanese! Though we prefer to characterize those objects as "priceless antiques" and "treasured family heirlooms." Considering the tacky, trashy stuff you grew up with in your house, Michael Patterson, I wouldn't be casting aspersions about my having to grow up in a home with "old Japanese stuff" in it.


    Brian Enjo

  • At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Lawrence Poirier said…

    While it's true that my step-father, Greg Thomas, did kick me out of the house when I first came out of the closet, he was terribly remorseful and never did anything like that ever again. Elly Patterson, on the other hand, continuously terrorized her children with her over-the-top shrieking and on-the-verge-of-insanity over-reacting. And with the exception of that moment of self-awareness recounted today, she never showed the slightest bit of remorse for her parenting missteps.

    I'll take my folks over yours any day.

    Lawrence Poirier

  • At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Gordon Mayes said…

    It's true that my father was an alcoholic and a mean drunk. Fortunately, although I became hugely successful, I am wise enough to recognize that I did so in spite of rather than because of my crappy upbringing. So I won't drink to excess and beat my children because "Oh, look, I came out fine! My ol' man musta done something right! Might as well treat my kids the same messed-up way!"

    Too bad Michael Patterson lacks the wisdom to reach that sort of conclusion about his parents' missteps. I am also grateful that my father eventually went to AA and made amends for his past behaviour. He has apologized again and again for the ways he brutalized me and my mother. I'll bet none of the Patterson kids will ever get an apology like that from Elly.

    Gordon Mayes

  • At 4:59 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. I am too busy with my novel to spend much time on an extended response to Gordon, Brian, and Lawrence. However, mom has taken note they were critical of her mothering techniques, and she said she would deal with the problem in her own inimitable way. If I were you, I would stay out of mom's way for a little bit, eh?

    Michael Patterson

  • At 5:00 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, success! the musick store wunts 2 hire me & supposedly cuz there iz a new standard 4 givin’ out unusually large & undeserved bonuses 4 job hires theze days. i got 2 pick out a sound system of my choice 4 my bonus. by the way, i alreddy have a better sound system in my house so it’s going 2 ur house. i hope thass ok, cuz wen they deliver, i told them we live 2gethah in a basement apartment @ur mom’s house. that way they wud deliver it 2u, evn tho it’s my bonus. i thot they wud be more shocked cuz ur a patterson & stuff, but i guess every1 knows ‘bout ur sis & anthony caine livin’ 2gethah (xxcept mebbe ur fam & ur sis), so that kinda stuff duzn’t shock them nemore. thass 1 good thing ‘bout ur sis’ wedding, i suppose.

    they shud deliver 2 the basement & not the front door. i’ll b able 2 set it up 4u az a new employee & stuff, cuz these guys don’t know hardly nethin’. also i will set it up high enuff off the ground so ur dogz won’t destroy it. i know u were worried ur dad wuz gonna start renov8in’ the basement wen he retires in september, but u & i both know ur ‘rents aren’t gonna touch the basement till after u leave 4 uni, so they can rent the place out. then wen that happs, i can just move the sound system 2 our place near u of guelph. or if u like u of manitoba, wen u visit ur auntie in august, then i will try 2 get n2 there also. i like guelph tho. it wuz nice.

  • At 7:33 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    i m so xxcited abt the sound system! jeremy is setting it up now. he looks v. good when he's setting up a sound sys!


  • At 10:16 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, i gotta say it's a challenge 2 set up a sound system 4u, cuz of the distractions & u wanna do wut? & u wanna do that while i am connectin' the speakers? & yes, i think i am sound system man enuff 2 do that. it's a good thing you don't weigh very much.

  • At 1:52 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. Do you remember Carleen Stein, Josef Weeder’s assistant? I certainly thought I did until I went by Josef Weeder’s studio to show him my second book Blood Cargo. Josef was there setting up a screen for his studio and there was a sort of mannish woman there in a short skirt motioning for me to sit by her on the chesterfield. I said to Josef, “Who’s this?” and he said, “Mike, man. Don’t be an idiot. That’s Carleen.” It was very confusing to me; but I sat down on the chesterfield anyway.

    Carleen(?) said to me, “Book two, Mike! I’m so impressed!” Then Jo said, “Great read, man. A real thriller.” This told me that Josef had read my book and this so-called Carleen was just trying to make conversation. She continued, “How do you think of this stuff? I mean, you look like a normal guy—but you come up with all these ideas!” I did not like what she was saying. It was almost as if she were saying that a normal guy would not come up with an idea to write a thriller about life on a windjammer. Or perhaps she was saying that normal guys don’t have any ideas. I am not sure which one, but either way it was a little insulting. It’s hard to answer a question that’s also an insult, so I said, “I dunno, Carleen.”

    Then she prattled on, “You must go nuts with all this material, all these images, all this dialogue pounding around inside your mind!” Again, this Carleen was yammering about my mental instability. I think it was around than that I thought about all the other times I had heard Carleen talk, and I realized she had never said so much to me ever before as she said right there on the chesterfield.

    It was then I knew it wasn’t really Carleen. The only things that were the same were her two dimples which move around her face, her hair colour, and her gender. Now that I think about it, I am not so sure on the gender part. It was disturbing. All I could do was to say, “Yeah…” and tried to think of a way to answer her question; but all I could think was “and sometimes it’s totally empty” as I imagined myself sitting in front of my computer with sweat running down my face. Everyone knows that when a writer can’t come up with ideas, he sweats profusely. OK. Writers don’t really sweat like that, except for the really fat ones, and they are sweaty all the time, regardless of writer’s block. I like to imagine myself sitting in front of a black computer, even though mine is white, with a big white empty thought balloon beside me for colour contrast. It is a very satisfying experience, and oftentimes can help me forget very stressful things like why Carleen Stein doesn’t look even remotely the same as she used to.

    That’s all for now on my novel and this bizarre person trying to pass for Carleen Stein. Maybe more tomorrow.

    Michael Patterson


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