For Better or for Worse

Canadian comic strip

For Better or For Worse was a comic strip authored from 1979 to 2010 by Canadian cartoonist Lynn Johnston, and remains in syndication today with colorization and slight touch-ups to the originals. The strip centers on the Patterson family, who were inspired by the author's real-life husband and children. The strip's title is inspired by the wedding vows taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, "..for better or for worse.". It is a unusual strip in that the characters age in real-time, which is rare for cartoons.


Elly is vacuuming
Michael Patterson: Have you seen my Batman ring, Ma? It is about this big.
Elly holds up vacuum tube and looks in it
Elly Patterson: No wonder why the vacuum has not been picking up anything!
Elly puts vacuum tube to mouth in an effort to extract toy by blowing it out
Elly {thinking to herself}: Michael's $%&*% Batman ring! How I hate these little vacuum clogging toys!!
Later, Elly is putting on her coat and needs to grab Michael and Elizabeth for an errand
Elly: John's paycheck! I need to hurry and deposit this before the bank closes!
Bank Teller: Thanks,
Elly {thinking to herself}: I am not sure what is going on, but ever since I left the house people have been looking at me strangely.
Elly turns around to show her left eye and mouth are ringed with soot from the vacuum tube, akin to the old-fashioned shoe polish prank.

Elly is showering. During this she sings a classic Gene Kelly song, which she continues as she washes, dries off, dresses then applies makeup
Elly {singing to herself}: Just singing in the rain, oh I am singing in the rain!
Elly is fully dressed and ready to go out
Elly {singing}: What a glorious feeling, I am happy again!
As Elly approaches front door she hears a thundercrack then pouring rain. She walks outside grunting and miserable as it is raining

Dr. Patterson's office. John is struggling with his first patient, a difficult boy trying to resist having his teeth checked. After that he deals with his second patient, an obstinate girl who refuses to open her mouth. During both cases he maintains a cheerful expression
John: Are we not going to see that lovely smile, Melissa?
John's third patient is a rough-looking man with a buzz cut who grabs Dr. Patterson's tunic threateningly
John{nervous}: Certainly, all means let me know if you feel any pain!
John gets a report from Jean, his assistant and receptionist
Jean Baker: Those supplies you needed immediately have been backordered until next month, John.
John's fourth patient is an old lady with onion-smelling breath. John works diligently while still smiling. John's fifth and final patient is a toddler who may be too young for the dentist. John cheerfully bandages his left ring finger while talking to the toddler's mother
John: ...And let us keep him home until he is over his biting habit.
End of workday. John drives home whilst horns are blaring, air is stinking and cars are swerving, but still with a pleasant expression
Patterson residence. Michael looks out window
Michael: Mom. Mom! Daddy's home!!
John enters Patterson residence, whereupon he loses his forced cheerfulness at the office
Michael Good evening, Dad.

Elly is shopping with Elizabeth at the supermarket. Elizabeth points to blueberries
Elizabeth Patterson: Look Mama, boo!
Elly: Yes Elizabeth, they are boo.
As they go through various aisles, Elizabeth spots different blue products
Elizabeth: Dat's boo...and dat is boo too!
Bagboy: M'aam, which car did you say was yours?
Elly: The boo one.

Michael: Mom, Lizzie just locked herself into the bathroom.
Elly: Oh no, she is probably scared to death!
Elly{talking through door}: Lizzie, can you hear me? Just turn the knob, honey.
John is on a ladder
John: The stupid window is stuck!
Elly: John, do not worry, she got out.
John: Whew, that is a relief. So where is she?
Michael{shouting}: MOM! Lizzie just locked herself into the bathroom!

Master bedroom; middle of the night
Elizabeth{off-panel}: AUGH! WAAAAH!!
Elly{groggily}: John, wake up.
John{groggily}: Huh? Is Elizabeth crying?
Elly: Yes, she is hungry. Can you feed her?
A shirtless, stubbly John takes Elizabeth to kitchen, then places her in the high chair. Being dazed and confused, he pours himself a glass of milk, turns off light and goes back to bed. Elizabeth stares into a dark room alone

[Elly is at a cosmetics store]
Bottle label: Fountain of Youth moisturizer! Use this and no one will ever guess you are over 30. Fountain of Youth! Only you know the secret.
[Elly buys bottle]
Elly{talking to employee}: Uh, for a friend.

[Elly is pushing Elizabeth in the stroller]
Elly{talking to herself}: This is it. For the first time in two years I am going to willfully skip it.
[Elly checks her watch]
Elly{talking to herself}: There. 2 1/2 minutes to go before Sudden Illness comes on...Thirty seconds to go...I give up!
[Elly rushes home pushing the stroller]
Elly{thinking to herself}: No woman can withstand the agonies of soap opera withdrawal!
Reprinted April 9th, 2009
Elly{thinking to herself}: I have got to stop it. I have GOT to break the habit.
[Elly is watching a soap opera]
Elly{thinking to herself}: I spend one hour every day watching inane, repetitive drivel.
[Elly leaves TV set]
Elly{thinking to herself}: Soap operas are impossibly depressing, insulting and a waste of time..
[Elly returns to TV with a plate full of dounts]
Elly{thinking to herself}: ...they are also fattening.
Reprinted April 10th, 2009

Lawrence Poirier: Hey Mike, we are having fun.
Michael: I will bet you my mom yells "this is a house, not a playground".
Lawrence: I bet she won't.
Michael: OK, you are on!
Kids run around like wild Indians
Elly: MICHAEL AND LAWRENCE!! This is a house, not a playground!
Elly goes back to kitchen
Michael: OK, pay up.
Lawrence: No wait, let's make it double or nothing. Best two out of three!
Kids run around recklessly again
Elly{talking to herself}: Why do I get the feeling I have been had?

Lawrence: Hey Mike, check it out! There are construction-men on our street.
Michael and Lawrence go to where the construction-men are working. They watch a man load wet cement into a standing mixer and how it whirls the cement into concrete
Lawrence: Neat, huh?
Michael: Yeah...It is like watching my sister eat.

Michael: Ma, Lizzie just locked herself in the bathroom!
Elly: She is probably scared to death!
Lizzie is inside
Elly{spoken offscreen}: Can you hear me Lizzie? Just turn the doorknob, honey.
John is on a ladder
John: The stupid window is stuck!!
John puts away ladder
Elly: Don't worry John, she is out.
John: Whew, that is a relief. Where is Michael?

Elly{enraged}: I am not leaving this house with the same old hairstyle!
Elly tries several different ways to do her hair, but none suit her
Elly: AAUGH!
Elly{off-panel to John}: OK, OK, I am ready.
Elly emerges with the same long hair she has always had, worn down
John{thinking}: A smart man asks no questions.

Dr. Patterson's office. Jean is itemizing plaster casts
Jean: Are you sure these casts belong to Mrs. Bonyun?
John: Yes, I would know her smile anywhere!
Jean: Your next patient is ready for a tooth cleaning, John.
John looks into waiting room
John{thinking to himself}: Oh no, not HIM! Nothing ruins my day like a screaming kid.
John{talking to Jean}: I only need to look at him and he goes crazy! No matter how gentle and caring I am - it's a madhouse!
John: And they always send him to me, why me?!
Michael gets into dental chair
Michael{sullen}: Hi, Daddy.

Michael: Mom, Mrs. Baird's dog just had puppies!
Elly: That's nice.
Michael: Mrs. Baird said she we can have one if we want!
Elly: Forget it, Michael, I am not in the mood to have a pet.
Michael{talking to Elizabeth}: We are getting a dog.

[Elly is with Michael and Elizabeth on a plane flying to visit her family]
Elly: Ugh, no stop fidgeting Michael!
Stewardess: Put your trays down for dinner, please!
Michael: Ma, how come I gotta eat the vegetables first?
[Elizabeth tosses her broccoli in the way of a stern-looking businessman, who glances at the Pattersons]
Businessman: Pardon me, ma'am, but I see the little one is being rambunctious. If you like I could hold her in my lap while you eat.
Elly{thinking to herself}: Just when you least expect angel can be right next to you.

Michael: Here is my report card, Dad.
[John snorts as he reads it]
Michael: At least I passed. It could have been worse.
John: It could also be better! Look at this Michael, your grades went down in three subjects since your last report card!!
Michael{thinking to himself}: My parents never comment on the subjects my grades went UP in.

[Elly is reading Michael's report card]
Mrs. Salzilo{through writing}: Michael Patterson is an intuitive young man. However this same intuitness seems to make it hard for him to conform and follow group directions. Michael is willful, preferring to solve problems his way than do it by-the-book. His ways appear effective, as his math work rarely has errors. With a bit more emphasis on teamwork Michael could become a successful student. It is my relief pleasure to promote Michael to Grade 2.

[Elly is on phone]
Elly: Hi Mom, Phil just got Michael a trumpet, and I have hired him to give Michael lessons.
Marian Richards{over phone}: Oh dear, such great news! Is it possible my grandson is a future member of the [Guard]?
Michael is prancing around wearing the trumpet like a hat
Elly: It may not be wise to be thinking along those lines just yet.

[Michael and Lawrence are dressed like spacemen; albeit crudely with towels and boxes on their heads]
Michael: Give it up, Emperor Twirg! Your planet is blockaded by the Space Patrol!
[Elly is watching from living room window]
Elly: Oh John, it is so nice to know that kids still know how to fantasize. Too bad us adults have lost that. Uh, John?
[John is reading an adult-themed magazine]

Elizabeth: Nizzie want cookie!
Elly: Not now, Elizabeth. Let us have some bananas.
Elizabeth: NO!
Elly peels banana and places it on cutting board
Elly: Look! Mommy is cutting the banana into circles. See the circles?
Elizabeth: Gah?
Elly: Now we have a flower! Let us put sprinkles on the flower. Pink for the petals and brown in the middle.
Elizabeth: Yah!
Elly: Look! Pretty flower! Lizzie EAT pretty flower!
Elizabeth: Nizzie want cookie!
Reprinted June 30th, 2009

Baird residence
Elly: John! Dinner is ready! How come you did not bring Michael home?
John: Relax, El. We are just admiring the puppies. Michael likes the little one.
Thelma Baird: I know, he is the runt. Kind of looks like Farley Mowat, if you ask me. Here, hold him if you like.
Elly holds puppy
Mrs. Baird{talking to Elly}: This is the runt. He probably will not make it unless he is sheltered, fed and warm.
Mrs. Baird{whispering to John and Michael}: Allow me one more shot across the bow at her "motherly instincts" gentlemen, and you will have yourselves a dog!

[Alley. Elly looks around furtively as if she senses she is being spied upon. She is holding a large pot, then empties the pot into a garbage can]
Elly{on phone}: Hello Annie? You know those 24 loaves of bread that I was to bake for the church bazaar? Well, I had to throw it out and redo it!...Well, I forgot to add the salt, and it ruined the entire batch! Does John know? Are you kidding? If John found about this I would never live it down!
[Living room. John and Michael are watching TV]
TV Commercial: Scream now, while there is still room to breathe! Coming to a theatre near you, a re-release of the classic 1958 film, The Blob!
Michael: AUUGGH!
John: Michael, calm down! That is only a fantasy element.
Michael: I saw it for real!
John: Michael, just relax and do what I did when I was your age. Just tell yourself "It was a story. It was a fake and it will not happen".
Michael: I really did see it, I will show you!
Michael: Honest Dad, it has been growing in there since lunchtime!
[John looks at an ever expanding glob of dough now wearing the garbage can lid like a hat]

Elly is folding laundry while John just hung up the phone
John: That was your brother Phil on the phone. Remember when he said we should get together for "a bit of exercise" this week?
Elly continues doing the laundry, making no remark
John: He wants us to help him move a piano.
Elly's eyes open in surprise
Reprinted August 27th, 2012

[John and Phil are holding the piano]
John: UGH!
Phil Richards: GRUNT!
Elly: Why did you need the piano moved?
Phil: I am moving in with Georgia.
Elly: Does MOM know about this??!

[John sets down piano]
John: OOMF! There, all set. I officially declare you two "shacked up".
Phil: Elly, what are you so angry about? Geo and I are just giving it a trial run before making things legal. Many people do it!
Elly: If many people jumped off the cliffs into the Labrador Sea would you?
Phil: Didn't Mom and Dad speak to you about cohabiting with John?
Elly: Yes they did.
Phil: What did they say?
Elly: That if I slept with John before I married him, they would never again let me in the house!
Phil: Oh.

Michael is gluttonously enjoying a bag of Halloween candy
Michael: Munch, munch, grunch, grff, crunch, mff, mff...URBPP!
Elly: Michael, I would like to throw away the rest of that Halloween candy away, now.
Michael looks like he got notice that he is to be deported to the Soviet Union
Michael{mouth full}: Uh?! But I still WANT it!
Elly: Honey, you have eaten all the best stuff and you do not NEED any more sugar!
Michael{protesting}: AUGGH!
Elly: I will give you five minutes; then I am going to confiscate it.
Five minutes later
Elly: Time's up!
Michael surrenders a candy bag
Michael: Here.
Elly{proud}: Good boy. You know that throwing this bag of candy away is the right thing to do, isn't it?
Michael: Uh huh.
Michael{thinking}: It's my sister's!
Reprinted November 1st, 2009

Michael: Mom, Gordon just got a new pair of skates for his birthday. I want a pair too. When is my birthday?
Elly: Not for a long time.
Michael: OK, when is Christmas?
Elly: Not for a long time. Look Michael, if you want your own pair of skates, you need to find the money yourself.
Michael: Are you suggesting, I...I...get a JOB?!

Michael: Mom, I am a kid! Childhood is for fun, not work!
Elly: Michael, your father and I have to work for the things we want.
Michael: That's different.
Elly{annoyed}: How come?
Michael: That's what grownups are supposed to do!

Michael: Where did Lizzie get that toy?
Elly: I got it for her when I was at the mall.
Michael: Ma! What did you get me?
Elly: get an allowance...and, uh, it was small...
Elizabeth: She's trying to say "nothing".

Michael: I weeded the lawn, cleaned the rain gutters and brushed Mrs. Baird's dogs. All I was able to earn towards my roller skates are $12.
Gordon: Hey Mike, how about you rent my skates? You can have them for...say, $2 an hour.
Michael: How will I know when the hour is up?
Gordon: I will tell you.

Gordon: OK, Mike, the hour is up!
Michael: What are you talking about Gordon, I just laced them up.
Gordon: The hour is up because I said so. Want another hour, you got two more bucks?
Michael: Let me see your watch!
Gordon: Anyone who does not trust me cannot be my friend.

Gordon: OK Mike, that is enough. Want to rent for another hour?
Michael: No thank you; I need to get back home.
Gordon: OK, later Mike.
Michael proceeds home
Michael{talking to himself}: Oh man, I spent $4. What am I going to tell Mom? Oh well, I suppose I can tell her the truth...I was mugged!

Elly: No Michael, I am not upset. It was your money and you can spend it how you see fit. Maybe $4 was worth the lesson. For some reason, money just burns a hole in your pocket.
Michael and Elizabeth inspect Michael's pockets for burn marks, probably considering Elly's remark in a literal sense
Elizabeth: All I see are dustballs!

Gordon: Hey Mike, I need to refund your $4.00.
Michael: Thanks Gordon. How come, if I may ask?
Gordon: My mom wondered how I got so much money. When I told her I made it by renting my skates, she was cross with me. She ordered me to give the money back, and told me that only businesses are allowed to charge money for rentals, not friends. Therefore, I can let you borrow my skates, but I cannot charge you money.
Michael: Nice! So may I please borrow them now?
Gordon: Certainly...for the other half of your Whoopee bar.

Elly is doing laundry
Michael: Mom, I will be an old man before I have enough to buy those skates!
Elly: Michael, you just need to earn the money yourself. Welcome to the real world, where no one is going to be there to just give you money.
Elly hands Michael his trousers. Michael inspects pockets
Michael: Ma, there was sixteen dollars in my pocket. What happened?
Elly: I spent it.
Michael: Ma! Why did you do that?
Elly{mortified}: I thought it was your father's.

John is reading a newspaper
John: Hey El, I saw something in the newspaper.
Elly: What is it?
John: The classifieds! There is a pair of used roller skates for sale in Michael's size, and the asking price is only $20!
Elly: Oh, good! Call up that number and see if they are still unsold. Hopefully nobody else bought them yet!
John uses telephone
John: Hello, my name is John Patterson and I am responding to your ad in the paper...uh huh, yes...great!! Well, I will talk to my son about it. Thank you again, goodbye!
John hangs up
John: We are the first to consider the skates, and the woman says her son's skates are like new!
Elly: Did she say why she wanted to sell them?
John: Yes, her son sprained his ankle while roller skating and will probably outgrow that pair by the time his brace is off.
Elly reacts with similar concern for Michael

Michael is roller skating. John watches with pride whilst holding Elizabeth
John: Michael sure does appreciate having a pair of his own roller skates. He worked hard for them, Elizabeth, and one day you will learn that lesson too. Yes sir, in Canada if you want something there is only one way to get it!
Elizabeth{thinking}: Ask Grandma!

Bathroom. Farley has a drink at his private bar. Elizabeth sees this and baps Farley repeatedly with the toilet lid
Elizabeth: Bad doggie.
Farley is disoriented from being repeatedly hit on the head, as evidenced by stars and planets circling him. When he regains stability, he keeps away from bathroom commode, in a manner of aversion training
John: Elly! My weeks of dog training have finally paid off!!
Entire family looks at Farley staying away from commode
John: Farley has finally stopped drinking out of the toilet.

[John is doing laundry. Elly is wearing an aerobics getup like Olivia Newton-John's Physical music video]
John: I fail to understand why you need all those silly clothes just to perform a few simple exercises.
Elly: Listen, when you go to war, you wear a uniform.
John: Elly, I see nothing wrong with you.
Elly: Nothing wrong? Are you joking? I am shaped like a GOURD!!
John: Elly, the painter Rubens considered that a healthy shape. The ideal female form!
John: Most women were not stick figures in the 19th Century. So cheer up. There is nothing odd about your figure...
[John walks away while holding laundry]
John: were just born in the wrong century!
[A water cup is headed for the back of John's head]

Late at night. There is an electrical storm
Elly: John! Get up!
John{groggily}: Huh? Wuh? What is wrong? Do you need me to replace a fuse?
Elly: No, I just realized this is Elizabeth's first storm.
John: What are you talking about?
Elly: I realized when I was a kid being woken up by a lightning storm, I was scared out of my wits! I better go check on Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's room
Elly: Elizabeth, are you awake?
Lightning flashes near doorway, exposing a silouette of Elly with uncombed hair and her bathrobe, giving her the appearance of a witch
Elizabeth: AUGH!

Michael is seen with an Aero bar
Elly: Michael! I told you nothing before dinner! Where did you get that?
Michael: Mrs. Baird gave it to me.
Elly: Give that to me, you can have it later.
Elly confiscates candy bar; Michael goes inside
Elly{to Annie}: I have told Thelma not to give my kids treats before dinner.
Anne Nichols: I am sure she means well, Elly.
Elly: Probably, but I cannot sense she knows my kids hate my dinners. Anyway, I got to get the spinach-asparagus mengarie into the oven.

Anne: I make sure Christopher gets hand-strained baby food and cloth diapers. No processed baby food for me, no junk food either! I think mothers who buy prepackaged foods are ignoring...
Elly is holding Elizabeth, who in turn is holding a cookie
Elly{sheepishly}: It is from a reputable bakery.

[Dr. Patterson's office. Jean unlocks door and gets ready for work]
Answering Machine: Number of messages while you were out: One.
Message: Hi nerd head! ha ha Doot doot doot doot doot doot da looda doot!
[Jean rolls her eyes at having to hear a crank call]
Message: Woo woo woo O Africa!
[John enters office]
John: Good morning, Jean. Any messages?
Jean: Yes...Your kids called.

[Entire Patterson family attends a wedding. Bride and groom ride off in a limosine with the customary Just Married sign. Later that evening entire family is back home, where John is drinking tea and reading the sports page]
Michael: Thank you for taking Lizzie and I to the wedding. It was nice. I also liked the wedding cake!
John: You are welcome Michael. I am glad to hear that you appreciated it, and I liked that cake too.
Michael: What is the purpose of a wedding Dad?
John: It is a time-honored tradition. When a man and woman love each other they offer themselves to God, which is why weddings are often in a chapel. They are also telling the community about it, which is why weddings almost always have guests.
Michael: Neat! Did you and Mom have a wedding?
John: Yes we did. It was also a lovely time like what we saw today.
Michael: Were your friends there?
John: Yes, Elly invited some of her childhood friends, and some of my Army buddies did an arc of swords for Elly and I as we walked out the church.
Michael: Neat! Was Uncle Phil there?
John: Of course, also my brother was the best man.
Michael: How about Aunt Beverly and Uncle Daniel.
John: Yes, they also attended the wedding.
Michael: Were Grandma Marian and Grandpa Jim there?
John: Definately. It is a great honor for parents to see their little girl get married.
Michael: Grandma and Grandpa were there too?
John: Yes, my parents also were at our wedding.
Michael: Was I?
John: No, you were not.
Michael: WHAT?! How about Lizzie?
John: Neither was she.
[Michael goes into living room where Lizzie is playing]
Michael{talking to Lizzie}: Man, Mom and Dad never take us anywhere!

[Michael has built an airport out of model blocks where he is rotating a half-moon like object atop it, Elizabeth is flying around a toy plane making sputtering noises]
Michael: Now move it to the left Lizzie.
Michael: Blip-blip-blip-blip!
[Michael points half-moon object to toy plane]
Michael: OK Delta Sierra Tango, we have you radar-identified.
[Michael talks on walkie-talkie]
Michael: Satellite tracking station picking up foreign object, sir!
[Michael showcases half-moon object to Elizabeth]
Michael: With this super microwave dish we should be able to pick up fifty channels!
[Elly is looking around her sewing machine. John enters workshop]
John: Did you lose something?
Elly: Yes.
[Elly shows John a yellow one-piece swimsuit]
Elly: I took a couple of bra forms out of an old bathing suit...
[Elly shows John an exact replica of the half-moon object Michael is playing with]
Elly: ...and I can only find one of them!
Reprinted August 10th, 2013

[Elizabeth has started elementary school]
Teacher: Everyone find a seat. There is an even number of kids, so you will each be paired up with someone. And that will be your desk, for the year.
[Elizabeth sees an empty seat next to a boy]
Elizabeth{thinking to herself}: I am not going to like sitting next to Tommy. He is a boy! Girls need to stick together.
[Elizabeth looks around and sees the other girls act stuck up to her, as well as each other]
Elizabeth{thinking to herself}: Then again, I think Tommy will be nice to sit next to.

[Elizabeth and Tommy are beginning class]
Teacher{off-panel}: Everybody should have at least two pencils. Hold them up!
[Tommy hoists pencils; Elizabeth looks at her desk like a dog staring at its reflection in water]
Teacher{off-panel}: Everybody should have one eraser and a 12-inch ruler. Hold them up!
[Tommy hoists ruler and eraser; Elizabeth's head is lower]
Teacher{off-panel}: Now, did anyone forget their pencil case?
[Elizabeth's head is now sunken under the desk in shame]

Teacher{off-panel}: Jacqueline Perry?
Jacqueline{off-panel}: Here!
Teacher{off-panel}: Thomas De Vilton?
Tommy: Here!
Teacher{off-panel}: Elizabeth Patterson?
Elizabeth: Here!
Teacher{off-panel}: Would you prefer to be called "Lizzie" or "Elizabeth", dear?
[Elizabeth makes no remark; Tommy leans to her]
Tommy{whispering}: Dizzy, Whizzy, Tizzy, Frizzy...
Elizabeth: I would like to be called Elizabeth!

Teacher: What is this?
[Teacher grabs Elizabeth's pencil and waves it in front of classroom]
Teacher: A pencil with toothmarks? That, class, is the mark of a germ spreader!!
Elizabeth{thinking to herself}: Some days you feel like biting something.

Elizabeth{talking to herself}: 8 subtract 4 is...
Teacher{screeching}: FINGERS! I SEE FINGERS!!
Teacher{calm}: No, Elizabeth, we do not use our fingers. When we want to calculate math problems we do it in our heads.
Elizabeth{thinking to herself}: 8 subtract 4 is...
[Elizabeth imagines a pair of hands counting for her]

Paula: Hey Elizabeth, I have blue star earrings today. They match my shirt, see? I would ask what kind you have, but oh, I see you have unpierced ears.
Elizabeth: Cut it out Paula! Quit teasing!
Paula: What is teasing? I am only showing off what I have that you don't have!

Elly: Elizabeth, you want earrings? When I was a little girl nobody had earrings in Grade 1! This is your childhood; it should be a time for you to enjoy yourself.
Elizabeth: I would enjoy it more if I had earrings.

Elly: Are you seriously telling me every girl in your class has earrings?
Elizabeth: Uh huh.
Elly: Elizabeth, I was in Grade 4 before my parents allowed me to have earrings! How can it be for your friends? You are little girls! Childhood for is being a child.
Elly: For crying out loud, what will it be like as teenagers?
Elizabeth: Tammy's cousin shaved half her head and painted the other half blue.
[Elly gives herself a shocked look of "forget I even asked"]

John: What is wrong, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: Mom is stopping me from doing what I want!
John: Why is she being so stubborn?
Elizabeth: All the girls in my class got studs but me, but Mom won't let me have them!
John: I am inclined to agree with your mother.

Elly: Elizabeth, getting your ears pierced means a lot to you, doesn't it?
Elizabeth: Yes!
Elly: If your father and I agree to let you do it, you have to promise us you will take care of your ears from possible infection.
Elizabeth: Oh yes, I will, I promise! Thank you Mommy!
[Elizabeth hugs Elly]
Elly{thinking to herself}: I must have holes in my head!

Claire's Employee: OK, hold still dear. I need to have you sit still like a statue while I use the piercing gun.
[Employee uses piercing gun]
Claire's Employee: Good job! Now allow me to do the right ear.
[Employee pierces Elizabeth's right ear]
Claire's Employee: All set. There, she had her ears pierced and she did not even cry!

[Elizabeth is in pain from the ear piercing]
John: Well, don't you look pretty!
[Elizabeth makes no remark; just grimaces]
John: The ears look great.
[Elizabeth departs living room]
John{talking to himself}: Just need to get rid of the frown on that face.

[Elly is applying alcohol to Elizabeth's ears]
Elizabeth: Ow, ow, OW!
Elly: Sit still, Elizabeth. I need to use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the pierced earlobes. Otherwise they could get infected.
Elizabeth: These studs hurt! Can't I take them out?
Elly: If you take them out now, your earlobes will heal and then we will be back to square one. You would have to get them repierced. There is a lesson in all this. When I traveled in the United States, I learned that children of the Arapaho tribe got their ears pierced when they were your age. It was said that enduring the pain would help them better deal with problems when they grew up. A good lesson for you is to learn to put up with a little discomfort.
Elizabeth{{thinking to herself}: It is hard to listen to a lecture when you have sore ears.

Elizabeth: Hey Paula, check it out! I got my ears pierced. As soon as these studs can be taken out I can start wearing earrings. So now we are even, right? Everything you got, I got?
Paula: Check it out, Liz...
[Paula lifts up part of her left trouser leg]
Paula: Nylons!

[Elly is doing laundry]
Elly{firm}: No, Elizabeth. I do not care what your friend Paula does. I do not care what all the girls in your school do. You are not going to wear nylons.
Elizabeth: Aw Mom, how come?
[Elly displays some of Elizabeth's laundry]
Elly: Just look at this! These tube socks are more durable than nylons, yet you burn through them with all the playing you do!
[Elizabeth lifts up her trouser legs to inspect her socks]
Elizabeth: Well, one of them is without holes!

John: Something wrong, Elly?
Elly: Yes, I cannot believe the peer pressure Elizabeth is under. It is nowhere near as much when we were children. Elizabeth and her friends; they are little girls! Why, John, why is there so much pressure on them to grow up?
John: I would not get wrapped around the axle on this. Life is tough enough without worrying yourself into a heart attack or stroke.
Elly: John, how can you handle this with no worry?
John: I see a sign that Elizabeth realizes that she is enjoying her childhood and will grow up only when God makes her bigger.
Elly: What sign?
[John tells Elly to look outside window. Elizabeth is in the sandbox making sandcastles and sandcakes.]

Tommy: Aw rats. I got a honey sandwich.
Elizabeth: I have turkey.
Tommy: At least I can do something with sandwiches I hate.
Elizabeth: What is that?
Tommy: This!
Tommy flattens sandwich; Elizabeth laughs

Tommy: You have a thermos?
Elizabeth: Yeah, how come?
Tommy: Drink boxes are way better.
Elizabeth: Then show me.
Tommy: Thar she blows!
[Tommy squirts up his drink box like a whale emitting mist from its blowhole, causing Elizabeth to giggle]

[April and Duncan are on a bus, traveling to school]
April: Becky thinks she is so hot because she is going out with a guy in Grade 12.
Duncan: Yeah,she is hangin’ high!
April:She only just turned 14. What would a guy who is 17 see in her?
Duncan:You are kidding me,right? April,Becky is ‘hands on’! She is a gig! She is roadside, man!
April:So,she has ‘been there’?
Duncan:Yeah,and once you have been aren’t ever coming back!

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