(Strip Number 7259, Original Publication Date, 03 July 1988)
Panel 1: Young Elizabeth in her bare feet has found the hose. It used to be wound up and hanging on the side of the house the last time it was used to wash John’s car a few weeks back. The sharp-eyed reader will notice that possibly the reason Elizabeth has to move the hose is because the outdoor faucet is no longer in the same place on the house or has the same shape as the one John used. Elizabeth carries the whole hose to the outdoor faucet, which is literally dripping in anticipation.
Panel 2: I do love it when Lynn Johnston draws body parts as if they were not attached to the body. She does that here with Elizabeth’s arms as her right arm appears to be attached to her chest. Drawing Elizabeth’s body in profile would have solved the problem, but that would mean erasing and we know how much Lynn Johnston hates doing that.
Panel 3: Elizabeth’s romper shows that it goes backless almost the whole way down to showing off her butt cheeks. The romper will show less of Elizabeth’s back in every single panel it appears. My sisters used to wear rompers when they were Elizabeth’s age and none of them were this revealing. What was Lynn thinking?
Here we see the front of the Patterson house and what you should get is that there are 3 windows on the front of the house because that is actually important to this story. For some reason, Lynn Johnston chose to show only the shutter of the window to the left of the door. That one has to be the open window, because we see light reflection in the other 2 windows.
What you have to ignore in the picture is the massive green growth that is up the side of the house to the windows and climbs the tree behind Elizabeth. What is up with that? It’s like Lynn Johnston took gardening lessons from Dr. Suess.
Panel 4: Elizabeth sprays window #1 and I will try to ignore the fact that the giant splash on the window leads to a very tight line of water coming off the window sill. Clearly the Patterson windows have been made to funnel water off them very efficiently.
Panel 5: Elizabeth sprays window #2, which we view from around the corner so this is the window near the edge of the house.
Panel 6: Elizabeth sprays window #3 and from inside the house we hear an “AAAAGH!” as someone has been hit with the water. At this point I digress and reveal that I have accidentally sprayed water in a window before, but it was because each window had a screen on it which made seeing the state of the glass part of the window difficult. We have no evidence of that in this case, so I will simply attribute this to a young, enthusiastic Elizabeth, who will need glasses some day.
Panel 7: Now here’s where things get interesting. Elizabeth does the standard Patterson hover-running complete with dirt clouds and motion lines as we see the signs of cursing jumping in the air behind her. The sound of the cursing has unified her hair into a ponytail for this one panel and it appears Elizabeth has abandoned the hose, which will now be on the ground just running water.
Panel 8: We see now Elly Patterson is the source of the cursing as she stands near the giant greenery that literally is taller than Elly herself. What is going on with this? Does Lynn just think to herself, “Well I could draw the rest of the yard, but why do that? I will just draw more greenery.”
There are two very different things to look at this panel:
1. Elizabeth is so frightened of Elly’s wrath that it did not even occur to her to just say, “Oops! Sorry. I’ll be right in and clean up that water, mum.” Instead she is cowering in fear of her mother behind some trellis, so nervous that she is chewing on her knuckle. Holy carp! What kind of beatings does Elly administer to get this kind of fear response from her 7-year-old?
2. Elizabeth recounts her new lesson that when you wash windows you “gotta make sure they’re closed.” Well, Elizabeth, when you wash windows you also gotta do this nifty thing called using soap and maybe a sponge or a squeegee. You don’t just wash windows by spraying them with water unless…your parents have only told you to wash the windows but never explained how to do it beyond saying it involves spraying a hose at a window. If Elly was truly involved in this process, she would have made sure all the windows were closed as she was explaining it to Elizabeth and she would have given her something to stand on to get to the windows over that enormous greenery.
Summary: Another round of bad parenting by Elly Patterson. Hopefully Lynn does not launch into a Lynn’s Notes talking about the lessons she learned about washing windows in her youth, because we already know she doesn’t know a darn thing about washing windows.