One of the things that I’ve noticed over the years is that Elly and John have the irritating habit of assuming that what we would see as children who are far too damned young to be given adult responsibility are really slackers denying their responsibility to their poor parents. This is, as you will no doubt recall, why I make that snotty comment about Trash Bag Johnny wondering why Mike is being a selfish little creep who wants to laze his life away playing when children his age in Lagos are actually earning their keep and notworrying about trivialities like “living to be thirteen.” While John’s problem is sadly easy to diagnose, it’s slightly more difficult to comprehend Elly’s need to shove children out the door too damned quick without remembering a sad fact about her: she married too damned young and doesn’t really want to admit it because it would tend to make her mother right.
Now, as any major dude will tell you, the very real need not to admit that she rushed into a foolish decision for a questionable reason always mutates into the need to convince ones’ self that said decision was not a mistake after all. This means that the Elly of 1979 who admitted to herself that she had to wait until her kids were no longer underfoot to do what she wanted has become the Elly of 2017 who insists that she and John were simply destined to be. The odd fact is not just that she almost fully believes that and wanted Liz to have the same ‘happy’ life she did; the odd fact is that just below the surface is the malicious old cow who delighted in the idea of her horrible children marrying the same sort of overweening asshole she was stuck with. Having Anthony be a dreary sack of shit whose idea of ‘humour’ is cutting everyone else off at the knees for kicksies is thus not a bug but a feature. The angry moron who scowled at a kindly lady for sticking up for the cruel, selfish child who dared to run away crying when she ‘knew’ that the point of Easter Parades was to show how well Mommy has got her kids trained somewhat loves the idea of her child having the same lousy life she did and would be revolted to see be ungrateful to poor mother by being happier.