As you know, the Elly of the current letters has a more interesting and coherent past than the one Lynn supplied her; to that end, I'd like to present this bare-bones account of what I think most likely to have happened and would appreciate any comments that would make it more plausible.
If you were to have met the Elly Richards of 1968, you'd assume that the rather dull young woman that you saw was a walking, talking cliché: a boring lower-middle class type who 'rebelled' in unison with like-minded pseudo-hippies. The fate you and most everyone else would assign her was that she would grow up and become a placid matron in a flaccid suburb of her home town of Vancouver after a life of superlative blandness; you'd think this because, while she did fairly well in school when she bothered to apply herself, she was less willing to try new things and think new thoughts than her parents and younger brother. The only reason that she waved her placards, wore the official hippie uniform and sang the hippie songs was that everyone else was doing it; sadly, this need to stick to the man so as to fit in with the crowd also meant experimenting with unprotected sex with the results one would expect of someone who didn't have access to the Pill. Upon discovering that a man named Frank Day had gotten her pregnant and fearing for her well-being owing to their knowledge that their community was less broad-minded than they were, her parents, Jim and Marian, arranged to have her spend her senior year in High School at a church-run school for unwed mothers in the Toronto area. In late April 1969, she'd given birth to a healthy baby girl who came to be known as Claire Thompson. Having said goodbye to the baby girl that made her dirty and unfit to be married in her Grandma Elizabeth's eyes, Elly had hoped that she'd never return to destroy her life; unlike her parents and younger brother, she feared that people would treat her as a pariah if they discovered the truth so she pretended that the last year never happened.
Upon entering University, she soon found herself overwhelmed; not only was she no longer the brightest person in the room, she was challenged in a way that she never was before. This was where a sinister pattern that would afflict her for years to come first manifested itself; simply put, working towards the English Lit degree she boasted about as a teenager became an agonizing burden because it required an attention to detail and dedication to craft that she lacked. She spent most of her free time in the library reading the sort of books that irritated her teachers owing to their utter lack of realism while hoping that a white knight would appear on a steed and rescue a damsel like her from the dreary towers of Academia; her salvation came in the form of theatre major Stan Watson. After a brief but torrid courtship, they were married on 1 January 1971; Elly's wedding gift to her new husband was to drop out of University to support him in his artistic endeavors. She did so by becoming a cashier at one of the first McDonalds in Canada; this job, combined with the fact that her own artistic endeavors proved fruitless, left her with an abiding hatred of fast food restaurants. Sadly, the happiness did not last long; the long hours he put in and her 'wasted potential' hawking what she called sawdust burgers soon convinced her that he was making a fool of her while her back was turned. Seeking to keep him home, she flushed the birth control pills she was taking at the time down the toilet and soon became pregnant for a second time; in the later part of April 1976, their son Michael was born. Unfortunately for all concerned, not only was he not prepared to be a father, he correctly assumed that she manipulated him and divorced her in short order. He currently headlines at a dinner theater in Regina, Saskatchewan.
This, of course, left her in a state of panic; she had no job, no husband, she'd somehow convinced herself that the parents who wanted her to come home only did so so they could treat her like garbage owing to her belief that she'd always be unhappy because she was, as her late grandmother said, tainted (Watson's departure being 'proof'), and she had a baby boy she didn't know what to do with; this is when her old room-mate, a Connie Poirier, stepped into the picture; she managed to get Elly work as a receptionist in a medical building in the town of Milborough, Ontario. It was there that she met newly-minted dentist John Patterson for the first time. The people in his home town of Aberdeen, Manitoba remember him as being physically awkward, stubborn, somewhat arrogant, slow on the uptake and, above all, obsessed with the enforcement of social conventions that his own parents questioned. Adding that to his tendency to get into a tearing rage when his narrow preconceptions are challenged, and the fact that he smilingly ignored an implied promise he'd made to become the local dentist and you'll realize why he's something of a local joke. The funniest part to the inhabitants that didn't involve mocking his whining that no woman would have him is that he thinks that they're all impressed by him when they know for a fact, owing to their having asked relatives who live near him, that he's regarded as something of an incompetent. This, of course, gladdened the locals when his attempt to come back home to mangle their teeth fell through. It would be something of a kindness to say that romance inspired his wanting to marry her; he told his parents he did so to make an 'honest woman' of her and give the son he thought she was spoiling to death well-needed structure; they correctly interpreted his high-sounding (to him) but deeply creepy (to them and and their daughter Beth) statement to mean that he was rescuing himself from bachelorhood by marrying a live-in maid. Being an instant dad was simply a bonus. It should also be noted that she, as was the case with Watson, gratuitously misrepresented herself; the same woman who posed an easy-going folkie to attract her first husband projected a false image of herself as the very model of the modern suburban housewife who'd gladly pick up socks, bake cookies and raise his children. Not knowing about Claire and the feelings of self-loathing she inspired in his fiancee, Patterson never actually questioned why she was so obsessed with the eradication of dirt and filth and simply thought that after years of striking out with every female he'd ever come into contact with, he'd hit gold. After about two years of false starts, pointless arguments and all-around inertia, they were married on 9 September 1979. Shortly afterward, Patterson insisted on adopting Michael to avoid having to answer the question "Why do I have a different last name?" and convinced Elly that it would be best to tell him about his real background at such time as they thought he could handle it; given that it took Michael until he was in his early thirties after some unpleasantness with his younger sister and her husband to start to question his real origins, it's sort of obvious that they made the promise in vain. Equally obviously, the only reason that it would take a real trauma to break their marriage apart was that they'd developed a mild affection towards each other and would rather not admit to the world they'd made a mistake getting married.
Life went on in its own tawdry little way in the Patterson household; Elly, easily overwhelmed by housework and parenthood, succumbed to the temptation of doing non-productive busywork and John was miffed that he didn't get instant deference from the bored, confused and frightened little boy that fell into his life. Roughly a year after their honeymoon, things changed in their lives as Elly was again pregnant; on 26 June 1981, she gave birth to her third child, Elizabeth. This forced them to move from their apartment to a split-level that Connie Poirier had mentioned was available; the only selling point for young Michael was that he'd be able to spend more time with his sometimes-playmate Lawrence. Everything else in his life was fairly disappointing; the mother he trusted brought the big mean man with the glasses and the wailing lump in the pink onesie into his life and he had to move from the only home he'd known. Since his parents were sort of dim, they never bothered to connect their behavior to his being in a foul mood most of the time.
The rest of the story, of course, you know.