Hello from Vancouver, everyone. I'd like to apologize in advance for the twenty megaton bomb I'm going to have to drop on you at the end of the letter but "it" (or, rather "she") was released about an hour before I was goiung to complete the letter I was going to send.
First, the news from here. Anthony seems to be fitting in fairly well at his new job. It's kind of sad but he's like the woman who writes the comic strip 'Cathy' in that the economic slowdown is actually working in his favor. Frank Day says it's because he embodies the death of childhood dreams; according to him, Anthony makes the ideal person to tell people that their lives are messed up. This is, of course, because (to use Frank's words) he looks and acts like the soulless adjunct of his workstation so people aren't going to get angry at him; they might as well yell at a coatrack or water cooler. (Just between you and me, I wish he wouldn't say things like that in Anthony's presence. Anthony might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but even he deserves a little dignity.)
In any event, being treated like a utilitarian object seems to not matter to Anthony much; it's sad to say but, according to the family he has here, he aimed low and shot for lower. (That's not a reassuring thing to be told when you're one of the targets but I can take that left-handed compliment. I've been called worse things by worse people.) Since he seems to live a life where he's always the victim, one more slight isn't gonna matter. That means that he's not getting underfoot in this, the last few weeks before James Allen makes the scene. It certainly made organizng the babvy shower easier. I remember the huffy, passive-aggressive e-mail April sent me about Thérèse's baby shower; you see, the participants were told to kick in some dough as seed money for Françoise's RESP. It makes more sense to do something useful in the long term like that than to do what Mom said she should have done: accept a bunch of toys and clothes that'll moulder away in a crawl space forever. Talking sentimental-as-a-block-of-wood Anthony into doing the same thing she did was a breeze so my son has an edge Mom and Dad didn't see fit to give me.
This, of course, leads us to Françoise; she's looking forward to being a big sister a little more each day. It's kind of refreshing to see someone buck the trend I've noticed all my life; growing up in my house, though, with the utter lack of sympathy from Mom and Dad, it's easy to feel that change is always going to be bad. Even when she was lucid, Mom never quite got that she had to be there emotionally as well as physically; involving Francie in the process like I'm doing (explaining who does what, what goes where and so on and so forth) would frighten and revolt Mom and Dad. That means it's a good idea.
Speaking of life in Milborough, Mom continues to deteriorate. Instead of celebrating April's birthday, she wore a hole in the carpets with a bottle of Whiffex trying to clean imaginary stains Why-are-you-calling-him-Edgar-his-name's-F
It's sort of too bad, then, that Mom's past is about to drop in their laps like a scalding bowl of drama. I just found out about this just now so forgive me if I'm a bit on the testy side. It all started this morning when Frank phoned me and Anthony up to have lunch with a "friend" of his. Said "friend" was a forty year old (she'd just turned the big four-oh April the first) woman named Claire Thompson; when Anthony said she could be my sister, Frank said that was for a good reason: she was!! It seems that back in high school, he got Mom pregnant. This, of course, led to Jim and Marian packing her off to family on Toronto to finish high school at Saint Theresa's Girls Academy: a church-run dumping ground for unwed mothers who were practically disowned. After Claire was born, she was put up for adoption; as near as we can tell, Mom doesn't know the gender of her first child. It's only been till now that she got to find out her birth parents were so she's as freaked out by this as we are. I gotta tell you, this explains so much about my life that I couldn't explain before. (As a long-term correspondent, you know what those things are already so you'll be as glad to have that itch scratched as I am.) I hope that Mike and April's computers are virus free now; I have to tell them the news so they can batten down the hatches. Good thing I got her to delay her arrival a week. First off, she won't steal the spotlight away from Lawrence's wedding and second it'll give Mike time to prepare for what the "oral historian" who was "just curious" about Jim and Elly Richards is really curious about: why her biological family is loaded with crazy people.
I'll tell you about the drama in the survivor's own words next month. Until then, duck and cover.