My favorite comic strip is Lynn Johnston's For Better or Worse. I have enjoyed it for twenty years or so, at least since our son grew up and moved us past the Calvin and Hobbes stage.
We have raised our family with John, Elly, Michael, Elizabeth, and April Patterson. I am saddened to know that the story-line, as I have loved it, will end this fall. In this TT, I want to list the things I like about For Better or Worse.
- John and Elly Patterson are about the same age as we are. He is a dentist; she, a book lover.
- Their two older children, Michael and Elizabeth, are about the same age as our children, but we had the girl first.
- The Patterson's have a later-in-life child, April, but we did not.
- John and Elly have maintained a very traditional home. John is the primary breadwinner, but Elly has worked much of the time. Ditto, here.
- The story-line included grandparents who are invloved with the family. Same here.
- Michael's friends when he was growing up had issues. Lawrence, born out-of-wedlock, revealed his homosexuality; Gordon, a victim of child abuse and neglect, couldn't go to college, but he has succeeded in his automobile business and with his family. We didn't deal with issues so difficult, but we learned along with the Pattersons.
- Elizabeth dealt with sexual harassment/attempted rape at her work. She grew into an independent young woman, which is how we wanted to raise our daughter.
- April is a teen now, with interests in music and preparing for college. She is a loyal friend to a diverse group, and she is not afraid to show her serious side.
- Gramma Marian died some years ago; Grampa Jim married Iris and is now recovering from a stroke. We have experienced declining health among our parents.
- Grampa Jim helped April discover her love of music. Our children didn't have grampas, but they had grammas who loved them fiercely.
- Elizabeth has exerted her independence by going away from home to teach. She has had several boyfriends as she has refined her qualification list, and she is now engaged to Anthony, her high school boyfriend who is divorced with a child.
- John has semi-retired from his dental practice, and he and Elly have bought a smaller house just down the street. We have a retirement looming in our house.
- Son Michael, a successful writer, has moved in the Patterson home with his own family. Like him, our children are now "happy, healthy, married, and employed with health insurance" for which we are grateful.
I amazed that a cartoonist can communicate so much information in only four frames per day. Ms. Johnston has managed to create characters with whom we can identify, and she has tapped social, personal, and communication problems with a tenderness touched with realism. My morning cup of coffee just won't be the same without the Pattersons.
Have any of you met them?
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