Monday, March 15, 2010

Kids: The Dream Alarm

Today’s new-run in For Better or For Worse follows a typical theme with Elly and Anne’s socializing, i.e. they are regularly interrupted by the kids. For some reason, this is less of an issue when Elly socializes with Connie. The dream Elly talks about with taking a cruise is an unusual one for Elly. She doesn’t normally have these kind of fantasy dreams, especially when it comes to vacations. I think this is because, over the 30 years, the comic strip showed Elly and John regularly going on vacations without the kids. It’s difficult to fantasize about doing something you do on a regular basis. This was the only fantasy dream I could find with Elly.

As for a cruise, Elly and John did eventually take one in 1995. What I find amusing is to compare the list of activities proposed by 1995’s Elly vs. 2010’s Elly, who is supposed to be 14 years younger. In 1995, Elly said, “There’s dancing, casinos, games and nightly cabaret. There’s a gym and shops and pool and sauna and movies.” In contrast, 2010’s Elly’s list is “spa treatments, reading on the deck, a cold margarita served by a handsome waiter…sleeping late…” 2010 Elly’s cruise thoughts seem to match 2010 Lynn’s thoughts, while 1995 Elly’s cruise thoughts probably matched that of Lynn 15 years ago when she was in her 40s.

Another interesting part of this is that Elly is sewing while she talks to Anne. During this time period, what I remember with Elly and sewing involved a sewing machine. Ever since Deanna did the sewing for Elizabeth’s wedding, Lynn Johnston seems to be more concerned with seamstress Elly than she once was. I wonder where this is coming from. I don’t recollect seeing any reference to sewing in Lynn’s own life.

14 Comments:

Blogger forworse said...

Lynn Johnston seems to be more concerned with seamstress Elly than she once was. I wonder where this is coming from.

Could it be that Elly has taken to making all the clothing for her family? Just buying them from a store is obviously too fast: how would she fill those extra hours?

I don’t recollect seeing any reference to sewing in Lynn’s own life.

My guess is that mending would have been another chore for the nanny / housekeeper who raised her kids while Lynn worked on her strip. Lynn is struggling to remember what a SAHM is supposed to do and recollects seeing a sewing kit, but rather than understand it was for occasional mending of socks and torn trouser knees, has assumed that it was because her kids wore homemade clothing.

12:02 AM  
Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said...

The presence of a housekeeper in the Johnston home explains a lot of other things; not only do we have to deal with Lynn playing back the aggravation she felt on those rare occasions where her presence was required, we also see it in her odd vision of what housework entails. Not only does Elly look like the mother who sews all her kids' clothes, she also ends up doing far too much cleaning.

3:02 AM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

Elly forgot to tell Anne that they could wear Tilley hats. Maybe that's what she was about to say before they were so rudely interrupted. ;)

3:51 AM  
Blogger howard said...

forworse,

Could it be that Elly has taken to making all the clothing for her family? Just buying them from a store is obviously too fast: how would she fill those extra hours?

For a person who supposedly forced her family to move from Lynn Lake to Corbeil because of the shopping, this seems unlikely to me.

My guess is that mending would have been another chore for the nanny / housekeeper who raised her kids while Lynn worked on her strip.

That’s possible. Although the few nanny / housekeepers I know do not do sewing. Maybe things were different back in Lynn Lake.

Lynn is struggling to remember what a SAHM is supposed to do and recollects seeing a sewing kit, but rather than understand it was for occasional mending of socks and torn trouser knees, has assumed that it was because her kids wore homemade clothing.

She had Deanna move from pharmacy to sewing school, after showing her (not Elly) working on Elizabeth’s wedding dress. Somehow I have the feeling the motivation is less homemade clothing and more womanly art.

6:37 AM  
Blogger howard said...

DreadedCandiru2,

Not only does Elly look like the mother who sews all her kids' clothes, she also ends up doing far too much cleaning.

It is very specific cleaning which Elly does. We see her wash dishes. We see her running the washing machine and dryer and carrying clothes. We see her sweeping outdoors. We see her vacuuming. God only know where Lynn got that business with shaving sheets. I don’t know anyone who does that. In any case, those are chores which Lynn may have still carried out even with a housekeeper. It’s the ones we don’t see which are telling. We don’t see Elly scrubbing a bathroom, or washing windows, or mopping a floor.

6:37 AM  
Blogger howard said...

aprilp_katje,

Elly forgot to tell Anne that they could wear Tilley hats.

You are so right. The all-important vacationing item.

6:38 AM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

We don’t see Elly scrubbing a bathroom, or washing windows, or mopping a floor.

Elly is willing to wash windows, unless someone insults her arm flaps.

[verification word: "scroo"!]

7:02 AM  
Blogger howard said...

aprilp_katje,

Excellent find. Looking at the description, I can see why my keyword search on the Comic Catalog did not find it.

10:55 AM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

I can see why my keyword search on the Comic Catalog did not find it.

Good thing I knew to search "arm flaps," of all things. ;)

11:00 AM  
Blogger howard said...

I much prefer the AMU reprints keyword search, where they pick out every word of dialogue, and not just the last panel. The Comic Strip Catalog relies heavily on Stephanie's interpretation of the events of the strip.

12:07 PM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

The Comic Strip Catalog relies heavily on Stephanie's interpretation of the events of the strip.

Stephanie's interpretation and the interpretation of others, some of whom predated her. Apparently, the catalog result from merging a couple of Access databases that she inherited, and much of the bugginess comes from not having built it from the ground up.

And I agree about the AMU search interface. It's a shame that whoever set up the original databases at foob central didn't enter in the dialogue that way.

12:25 PM  
Blogger howard said...

I suppose this explains how Lynn had someone on staff back in the old days who was responsible for archiving the old strips, while at the same time Lynn always seemed to get her physical references wrong. If I were looking for a reference to something like Josef Weeder's apartment, with what is in the Description section, I couldn't find it. Of course, I don't know if Lynn even would have asked that question of the archivist; but if she did, you couldn't find it using the Comic Strip Catalog keywords, at least, not easily.

3:32 PM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

Of course, I don't know if Lynn even would have asked that question of the archivist; but if she did, you couldn't find it using the Comic Strip Catalog keywords, at least, not easily.

And if she did, you know it would be the vague leading the ill-equipped.

But probably she would just figure she remembers fine, and if she doesn't, then her fans shouldn't be such picky-faces and care about things like that.

5:05 PM  
Blogger howard said...

In one of her interviews, she specifically mentioned that her fans were picky-faces, I mean would be aware of every detail of the backgrounds. Although she talked about how her fans should read between the lines, I don't recollect her ever saying her fans should not pay attention to artistic details.

5:20 PM  

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