A long time ago, I pointed out that most of what Elly currently thinks of Mrs Baird bears little to no relation to what she thought of the woman when she was actually alive. We remember that Elly saw Thelma as:
- The huckster who manipulated her into getting the puppy she never actually wanted by playing on her sympathies.
- An old biddy who had the inconvenient habit of dropping by to talk her ear off with boring stories of a by-gone and best forgotten world as if she had nothing better to do.
- A professional childless woman who felt it her duty to interfere with meal times and offer up unsolicited and useless advice about how her children are not actively engaged in trying to destroy her because they HAVE to hate her lest she look in the mirror and see a tetchy idiot over-reacting to not very much.
and saw her replacement as Next Door Neighbour by Connie Poirier as a wondrous thing because she could go next door and find someone who agrees with her about how children are all horror monsters that want to reduce her into a babbling idiot who serves them with mindless glee and never, ever expects any thanks.
The problem is that Elly is capable of feeling remorse when societal pressure is more powerful than her need to resent people. While she’ll always actively resent her mother for daring to ask “Why is it all right for you to withhold praise from your children because you fear that if they know you’re proud of them, they’ll just sit down in a puddle of their own wastes and die because ‘they don’t have to do anything any longer’ and not okay for me to do the same thing for much less apocalyptic reasons?”, the idea that she still actively resents someone who died makes her fear being regarded as not nice. Rather than do the smart thing and simply state that whatever animosity she might have felt has to be buried with Thelma, Elly wants to live in a world where she treated the old doll better and was a better neighbour. Thus do we have her telling people the same sort of bullshit story about a dead woman that she does about her record as a parent.