dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

Thelma Baird: a closer look.....

Now that we're approaching what might actually be the end of the new-ruin era, I'd like to take this opportunity to start talking about the incidental characters who we had hoped would appear during the Settlepocalypse. The first subject for this is, oddly enough, the first second-tier character to pass on: Thelma Baird. Unlike the typical subject of a Liography, she seems to have had a fairly idyllic childhood in the Yorkshire dales and came to Canada to follow her husband's dreams of revolutionizing farming. Although sharing the same disappointment Phil and Georgia would later have when they learned that having children of their own was fairly unlikely, they had a pretty good marriage, a prosperous business selling farm equipment and a fairly happy life. This changed in the early 1950s when Mr Baird was diagnosed with inoperable cancer; after selling off their business, they moved to a small town on the outskirts of Toronto called Milborough. After he passed on, she'd thrown herself into raising show dogs to keep herself from sinking into depression. It seems obvious to me that she channeled the love that would have been lavished on the children biology denied her on the dogs she raised. Things went on more or less quietly until the year 1980 when a dentist and his family bought the house next door to her; according to the Liography, Thelma treated Elly like the daughter she always wanted. It would be closer to the truth, however, to assume that after inviting the mother of the little boy who'd raided her garden over to size her up and listening to her rattle on about how hard it was having to deal with an active son who seemed jealous of the child she was carrying for no reason she could see, her concerns about how she'd be able to deal with two children and her workaholic and emotionally absent husband that Thelma decided that Elly could use a fair bit of mothering herself. Granted, she had to deal with the young woman's pious commentary about how one had to have children to give advice but she thought that experience might convince her protegée that wisdom can come from any source. The first real sticking-point in their friendship was Elly's steadfast refusal to adopt the dog her husband and son wanted; having grown up with pets, she couldn't quite conceive of a family being complete without a dog. What must have really confused her and set her on the course to get Elly to act against her own convictions was the realization that instead of the rational objections Marian would have given, Elly was simply chanting slogans that she didn't know the meaning of; her response to this was to successfully deceive her into thinking that if she didn't adopt Farley, he'd be destroyed. To her relief, Elly never realized that in real life, there'd be about ten or fifteen people who'd gladly buy the runt of a champion dog's litter and pay top dollar to boot. Compared to that, her giving the kids ice cream on a hot day before Elly served her Yellow Surprise with carrot coins seemed a minor thing; it seems to me that since Elly thought that she had to serve pile-high helpings of food AND that plates had to be cleaned up, Thelma's dismissal of this and suggestion that she not serve more food than her children can eat did not go down well. This minor skirmish was the most she'd influenced things until she moved to the senior's home and made way for Connie to show up and move all her issues and stupidity next door to the Pattersons. Since this happened in the Middle Years, it was a fairly touching sequence about how people don't have to be related to be family. Every so often Elly would visit the woman she'd come to think of as being a kindly aunt so as to check up on her; one of the more amusing sequences was when she'd fallen in love with her friend Ed and more or less settled down. It was thus shocking that a woman they'd thought so full of life became the first minor character to die; while the children were coming to terms with how fragile life is, Elly had sort of kicked herself for not doing more for her when she was alive. It seemed as if she'd learned her lesson when she and Phil had been there for Marian's final days but as soon as Jim had his stroke, she forgot the lesson that Thelma's passing taught her. Either that or her misapprehension that she was a few months away from sitting in the home yelling BOXCAR herself got the better of her.

Tags: the incidentals.

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