I had to dress perfectly, act perfectly, have the "right" friends, and go to the "right" things. I took ballet and figure skating because mom wanted me to. They were "right" and beautiful and she wanted to tell people her daughter was a figure skater, or studying dance. It sounded good on her resume. I went to a different high school than my friends did, because mom wanted me to meet the right people. I remember bringing a girl home from the neighborhood we lived in and mom wouldn't let her in the house because she was from a poor family. From my point of view, she was clean, friendly, well mannered and fun to be with. Her family lived in the basement of a house two blocks down from us in a neighborhood a little older than ours, but not much different.
The reason that I'm reminded of this tendency Mira had to micromanage her children's lives for what she believed to be their own good is that she's depicted as being pure evil in those awful, awful bright colours pushy Ethnics like her like to wear because she's better at doing what Elly tried to do. Well, there's that and her evilly working towards a goal instead of passively waiting for miracles to drop things in her lap. You and I might think that her clear belief that she's got to work twice as hard to be thought of half as good as lazy, entitled idiots like that crazy dentist and his shrill nitwit of a wife who don't have the decency to acknowledge how doors just happen to open for them because they're WASPs makes her more tolerable company than the boring zombies we're expected to cheer on but that makes us evil too.
It's having to deal with idiocy like this that makes it seem to me that while Mike and Deanna fear and hate Mira because of the unspoken fear that she might after all be right, Elly hates her because she's better at making her children live the way she wanted them to. My guess is that Elly bitterly envies the way Mira was able to keep her children away from the 'wrong' sort. The problem is that where they part company is defining exactly what the wrong sort of person is. While it's fairly obvious that the porkier, more religious interfering idiot seems to have been oversold on the idea of equating "looks good on an application form" to "being morally good", Elly's criterion for unacceptability seems to relate directly to somehow 'ruining' her children's lives. Said 'ruin' seems to take the form of not seeing any real problem with profanity, bright colours, sex for something aside from outnumbering purposes, competitive sports and other things that terrify Elly because of the awful implication that this life is worth living. Instead of admitting that the people she looks down on know how to live, she whines about 'bad' influences and 'broken' homes.
Her whining about how Gordon was a bad influence because, as a child with poor grades, he HAD to come from a bad family seems thus to have been a trial run for stepping on Mike's on-again, off-again relationship with Martha because the girl threatened her by having the body and language she didn't. It didn't matter much to Ol'Flapandhonk that the little red-headed girl's folks were more opposed to her hooking up with Mike than vice versa, Martha was somehow a threat to Michael's future because she represented a life wherein sex was not thought of as a scary obligation that led to the heartache of raising ungrateful children.
Hmmmm. I just realized something else that might make Elly hate Mira. Remember how I said that Mira equates 'having a steady income' with 'being morally good'? Also, remember the arc in which she flat-out said that Deanna had stupidly married far beneath herself? Elly might remember this and be angered that a mere ethnic thinks of HER and her family as being white trash!!!!