Demiurgent (demiurgent) wrote in binky_betsy,
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Clarice's Letter - November 2009

So Doctor Pierre Daigle has been working with my son and his wife -- and I guess with Thérèse who's my son's ex and Francie's mother, and anyway he says that everyone tries to get their feelings and thoughts out in these letters -- that it was about the only good idea the Patterson family ever had from a psychological standpoint, and what with everything going on it would be helpful to start getting more from Anthony's family since we've always been the silent side -- those were his words for it, 'the silent side,' which seems awfully poetic for a counselor don't you think -- and so maybe Gavin, Abbey and I should start writing these things. Well, Abbey doesn't have any idea why she would and Gavin just sort of snorts -- he's going through a 'thing' with Anthony right now anyway and I wouldn't expect much on that end of the bargain -- so it falls to me, like I have the time but on the other hand there's no harm in it, so why not?

Here goes, anyway. My name is Clarice Caine, and I'm Gavin's second wife and Anthony's stepmother, I suppose, but really as far as I'm concerned I'm his mother. I mean, honestly -- Anthony's mother wasn't around for very long and when she was here she wasn't exactly 'all here,' if you know what I mean. I guess she did a lot of screaming and crying and just wasn't very stable, and these days she'd be put on stabilizers or lithium or something but back then she pretty much medicated with chocolate and aquavit, and neither is exactly good for increasing stability, if you know what I mean. When Anthony was just starting middle school, I suggested to Gavin that we should get him tested because well let's face it his mother had troubles and they were clearly more chemical than anything else, and that could mean who knows what for Anthony -- but well, you know Gavin. He thinks an asprin's giving in to weakness.

It's funny -- Gavin and Anthony are so much alike and they're so different. Gavin spent years chasing after a dream of what he thought he wanted, and when she turned out to be a basket case he didn't know what to do. All through high school I worried that Anthony would turn Liz into another Hanneke. Though really that's more Liz's mother -- oh, there's a tragedy but I suppose that isn't anything you want to hear about. I'm supposed to be talking about 'what's going on,' as if that meant anything all by itself. Well, fine -- here we go!

Last month we flew out to Vancouver to have a lovely Thanksgiving with Anthony and Liz and the grandchildren. My parents flew back over themselves from Ottawa -- my father joking all the way about how they'd lived in Vancouver for decades and now that they've gone from the active living retirement community to the more sedate center back where my mother was from, now they have family in Vancouver. Dad thinks that's hilarious. Anyway, we had a wonderful time -- Anthony got a hotel suite and catered most of the meal, so we wouldn't have to worry about too much cooking or cleanup. I did a couple of Squash Pies and made some peas with onions that even Francie ate right up -- it's all in not overcooking them -- and Liz did fresh bread and rolls and cranberry sauce. I'm sort of glad Abbey decided to stay with friends because she was raised by me, and we never did 'cranberry sauce,' we did cranberry jelly and every year we joke that if there aren't 'ridges on the jelly' it's just not Thanksgiving, but she would have been okay.

ANYway after the big meal we had fun playing games and catching up. I really like Liz -- she seems like she's had a hard time but she wants to do the right thing, and that counts a lot in my book, I can tell you. And then Anthony pulled me aside and asked if Gav was going to ask about these plans that Gavin had for expanding his business, and I said that Gavin didn't talk about that sort of thing with me, but that I know he'd been talking these things over with Bob in his office -- and Anthony listened and nodded as he does and then asked if I'd make sure to go out with Liz and Francie and Jaime if Gav wanted to discuss it, and I said sure. And then wouldn't you know that's just what happened and of course it turned into an argument. Gavin has never wanted to listen to Anthony because Anthony -- well, Anthony doesn't have a lot of respect for the way things have always been done. He thinks that there's always a better way to do things, and honestly that seems to be the way the world is, but Gavin doesn't like to hear that. He's one of those folks who wants the world to stay the same -- he planned everything out, and he wants that plan to work, and changing it near the end -- well now that's just not how Gavin works.

So there was a huge row and when we got back to the Apartment Gavin had gone to the hotel and Anthony was cleaning scotch off the wall. I went back to the hotel and Gavin gave me an earful about how ungrateful Anthony was and always had been, and it was 'Mayes Motors all over again' and all sorts of other things, which is the kind of bluster Gavin puts up when he's feeling really hurt.

So now they're not talking, which would be fine except Liz has a brother named Mike and oh there's a young man who's had a terrible year -- makes my day to day look like paradise, and if you followed me around for a while you'd know that was saying something -- and his wife had a miscarriage with complications and that was an emergency. And of course he's right -- I met Mike and Dee a few times, and they're just the sweetest people. I even bought that book of Mike's. The first one -- the one they talked about on Sounds Like Canada that time, before they replaced it with that Jian Ghomeshi show. He's no Shelagh Rogers, I can tell you, but I guess it's popular with the kids and that's the important thing.

Anyway. Liz needed to fly down to the States to be with her brother and his wife, and Anthony was going to take care of a lot of things, but they're being so picky about flights out of the country right now and Passports and all -- the Americans had to make things more complicated again, I guess -- anyway, so Anthony was going to stay behind with Francie and Jamie Allen, and he called and I said of course I'd be happy to fly out and help, and Abbey asked if she could come along this time, since Gavin's been not so much fun right now anyway, and of course that's just fine. She's ahead in school anyway.

I asked Gavin what he thought, and he pursed his lips the way he did but of course he said "go, go. A miscarriage is a terrible thing, Clary. Just terrible." And he said he'd be fine on his own. Besides, with his expansion scuttled there was a lot to do. And I called Thérèse to see if she would rather be the one to head out, but she had business travel coming up and as it turned out Liz had already called her, so you know. There it is.

Anyway, I'm just rambling on, so I should wrap this up. The only other thing was we had the by-election and of course the Tories took it, because Heaven forfend the NDP make a gain and the Grits -- well, with all the talk about cancer rates and 'mutations' and all the rest, the Grits weren't about to mount a credible challenge, even though Ron Harvey was more to blame than anyone. Anyway, Gavin voted Conservative again -- I think in part because Tracey Mayes had done an independent run on the issue, raising awareness and all, and right now Gavin blames Mayes Motors for any number of things -- I think he simultaneously thinks that Gord and Trace used Anthony and tossed him aside, and that without Mayes Motors Anthony would have worked for him instead, and then approved his loan. Oh, how do I know how these things work.

I will say this -- back when Anthony was in middle school, I mentioned having him tested? Not because of the things Tracey is on about but -- well, let's face it, Hanneke probably didn't have the best genes to pass down to her son. But looking back... I have to wonder if all the dumping and whatnot had an effect. At least Anthony came out pretty well despite it all, but I worry about him.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one.

But that's foolish. Liz seems to love him and Franc-- oh, heavens. We're going to be late if I don't send this now and get it out the door. Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely autumn and I'll try to chime in later!

Yours on a plane!

Clarice Caine.
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  • 18 comments

  • Monday, 18 October 2021

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