Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mathilda's Wedding--Discussion Thread

First things first. Matilda's father has a 'dicky' heart but he also, in the way of SO many Neels fathers, must have had an early-life undiagnosed stroke that took out his 'judgement' cortex. Nice guy. Nice life. Nice daughter. But the wife? A plague-bringer. And papa doesn't know? Or care? She's death to Matilda but Papa thinks she's jinky. Usually Neels would have killed him off long ago, leaving the widowed mother to wreak her merry mayhem as a solo act. But either way you slice it, it's bad news. Often The Venerable Neels thinks nothing of marrying off clueless parents to awful steps as well. Exit question: Who's more nuts? The awful person or the idiot that married the awful person? Discuss.[Betty Debbie] I don't get it either. While I find Matilda's dad charming and nice to her on the surface, I just have to ask myself whether he is really blind to his wife's faults, or just playing it safe (and cowardly) staying out of the mother/daughter relationship.

I am so proud of The Great Betty for giving Matilda a quiverfull of marketable skills. Recently, The Founding Bettys were talking about college. Dad was a industrial arts teacher at our high school and it was dinned into us that college isn't for everyone. And, though I loved my college years I can see the point. Even modest debt for a Humanities degree isn't al...ahem...point is that there's more than one road to financial independence and self-actualization. Anyway, we were thinking of careers/trades that would answer. I decided that I would go to phlebotomy school if I wanted to avoid college but have a real job. I'm pretty sure the sight of blood would freak me out less and less over time. What would you recommend to a bright young thing who wasn't interested in spending four years prostrate to the higher minds? I think I could have become a barber quite easily. Not a hairdresser, hairstylist, etc...After 30 years experience of cutting my husband and 5 boys hair, I think I have what it takes.

Matilda had gone to boarding school. Some days boarding school sounds like a marvelous idea. I fancy that it would be just up my alley to be a fantastic correspondence course parent. Dear Mini van Voorhees, How happy we are at Lesser Munchley this time of year. I spent six arduous hours reading in the garden before falling into a well-earned doze... I wonder how many haircuts I would have to give in order to afford boarding school for my youngest.

Matilda is a bit of an innovator in the offices of Dr. Lovell. She brings in small chamber pot for toddlers to go potty in. Anyone who has ever been to the doctor's office with a child (and their little sister while you're 8 months pregnant) understands that potty breaks come at the most inconvenient times--especially for those not perfectly trained. I remember once thrusting my infant at the pediatric nurse with an apologetic grimace as I led a dancing three-year-old off to the loo. What a joy a small pot would have been to me then.

Our hero has a dog named Sam! Sam the Dog was before this Betty's time but Betty Debbie has F.O.N.D. and nearly sacred memories of a beloved family pet with that name. I find that most people who own pets over a lifetime have ones that they treasure the memory of more than others. My mom has had a long string of Schnauzers but, though they all look similar, there's definitely a favorite. This is Betty Debbie's cue to shed a tear and talk about Sam: You're just jealous. Sam was more awesome than 10 Schnauzers put together.

Henry Lovell's fiancee's name is Lucille Armstrong. First, I am thinking about how jazzy a name it is. Second, I am thinking that her married name would be Lucille Lovell. Clearly, she wasn't in love with him as, clearly, she didn't spend hours and hours writing Mrs. Lucille Lovell over and over. This Betty spent some happy hours writing out her married name. How happy I was that it worked so nicely with Betty Keira.


  1. Ah, boarding school. The recurring fantasy.

    Actually, Day 1 of Summer Vacation, and life is good. I gave the boys their first lesson in how to clean the toilet before lunch (civilization, here we come)! Now they are playing quietly in their room. May this last, all summer long, followed by a generous school year with lots of education and no back talking.

  2. Stephanie: You do have a strong fantasy life, don't you?

  3. I pay No. 1 Son (10 yrs. old) 75 cents a toilet cleaning--I grouse a great deal about the cost, never revealing that I would pay mucho buckos in fact. He uses the money to feed his baseball card habit. The added benefit is that he is much more careful (as a male) about his business since he has to clean up the "gross stuff" that misses plus he gripes at his younger brother to be neater. HeeHee

  4. That is a very tricksy mommy you are, Betty JoDee. I love turning the oldest into apparatchiks of my benevolent dictatorship.