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Fun Fun Fundies, Sims 2 and 3

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About this blog

So I finally have my laptop back, after needing a screen repair. In view of this, I decided to change my blog. I've left the previous Mason/Taylor entries. I was partly inspired by AlwaysExcited, although this is going to be different to theirs as I'm going to be doing two families. The Sims 2 fundies are the Bancrofts and the Sims 3 family is the Taylors. 

Entries in this blog

mango_fandango

Bancrofts Part Three: Let The Good Times Roll

First of all: NO MORE TODDLERS! Second: Madison and Michael have moved to college! Madison lives in an all-girls dorm with four others who are all like her; long skirts etc. She's a Mathematics major; I figured she should do a fairly academic subject rather than something potentially "iffy" like Art or Drama or Philosophy (fundies THINKING! *gasp*) which her family probably wouldn't look too well upon.

OK. Let's GO!

First up: Martin took a "missioncation" to Twiikii Island with Madison, Michael and Max when the twins were still Children. They didn't really do much... Martin just thought he deserved a holiday. He thought the kids would like it; a fun way to experience God's creation. 

See? He needed *such* a rest...

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The next morning... breakfast in your PJs. This is a HOLIDAY, dammit. 

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Nothing much happened on the holiday; I took fewer photos than I thought. They buggered off home halfway through.

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Back home. Madison is *such* a good little helpmeet!

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Karen is a pretty good artist. It's a way she can make money without leaving the home. Win win!

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I think I had the Needs permanently maxed so it was OK (*ahem*) to leave Mason to his own devices. It's a pretty good way of getting them to max some skills while still young.

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Martha and Matthew as toddlers. This seems like a likely fundie thing... buy cheap dog beds for your kids to sleep on.

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Michael was a good brother-dad when he was around. 

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Karen maxed the Cooking skill! 

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Karen entered another cooking contest. Thankfully she had sister-mom Madison on hand to hold the fort. The contest ended up being two Baked Alaskas against a plate of Hot Dogs and a Chef Salad. Yeah, great show of your skills. Karen won again.

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You might not be able to see it, but Karen finally maxed her enthusiasm in Cuisine. She can now enter The Zone, with a white light around her. 

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Family photo call now, age order: Madison, Michael, Max, Mason, Martha, Matthew.

 Madison:

Spoiler

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Michael:

Spoiler

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Max and Mason (Max in green, Mason in white)

Spoiler

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Martha (in a crudely-edited outfit, downloaded from Mod the Sims, edited in Paint (LOL) using Body Shop). Can you tell her 'colour' is yellow? :pb_lol::pb_lol:

Spoiler

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Matthew

Spoiler

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To round off, here's Madison off to college!

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mango_fandango

Quick Update

I’ve mostly been playing the Bancrofts today. Karen and Martin are slowly adjusting to life with six children. As of my last save (when I quit the game) there are now two Teens, two Children and two Toddlers. Martin took the three eldest on a “missioncation” to Twiikii Island, except in typical fundie style they didn’t get much mission work done. Just a brief reminder of the kids: Madison and Michael are the Teens (twins), Max and Mason are the Children (not twins), and Matthew and Martha are the Toddlers (twins). I’m slightly hoping Karen has more daughters in the future once the eldest start moving out; it’s more obvious that they’re a modesty-oriented family when the girls are in their knee-length skirts. There’s no way of influencing the sex in Sims 2 like there is in Sims 3, and the Taylors (TS3) have three boys and three girls anyway. 

I’ve been taking plenty of photos as per. The Bancrofts yet again ran into a technical problem (my side of the screen) when the laptop went into hibernation because it was low on battery. When I brought it back to life, the game started not responding so... yeah, restarted. Thankfully it only went back a couple of hours... but seriously, it’s kinda ridiculous how many problems there have been with the Bancrofts!! God is clearly testing them a lot. 

mango_fandango

PRAISE RUFUS!!!!!!ELEVENTY!!!!

SIMS 2 AND 3 ARE WORKING AGAIN!!!

Not sure why Sims 2 was fucked. I disabled a mod I had, and it seemed fine after that, so I assume that might be why. It had been working fine beforehand with the mod, but games can fuck up sometimes.

Sims 3 was more complex. I looked it up, did a lot of what internet forums said, made sure it was fully updated via Origin... PRAISE RUFUS it's working again. 

So YAAAAAYYYYYYYY! Soon I can do updates on the Bancrofts and the Taylors. And I've now got a Sims 4 family I've gotten in to... oh, splitting my attention between 3 games... it can be done. 

All fingers crossed that they continue to work. Sims 3 was more tricky but thankfully the Internet seemed to come up with the solution(s, I'm not sure what it was that got it to work) so I can just do them again if needs be (bloody well hope not).

PRAISE RUFUS AGAIN!!!ELEVENTY!!!!!!

mango_fandango

Smiths Part One: Third Time Lucky

Yeah, I was always going to, let's be honest... :pb_lol:

This fundie couple is Edward and Nicole Smith. They live in Oasis Springs. I used the freerealestate cheat to blag them a big house. Yes, that IS a TV, but they ONLY use it for educational purposes.

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You know what's coming.... time to test the bed!

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Sims 4 is different in that you don't hear a chime, you take a pregnancy test instead. Sadly, that first act of sweet fellowship did not result in a pregnancy.

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I then tried again a few hours later, nope, no pregnancy. Just before they went to bed, they decided to try for a third time...

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Dirty and stinky, but jubilation! The Lord has seen fit to open Nicole's womb! (This, obviously, explains the post title).

In this game, you get a little bump right away. You also get to keep your normal clothes, so thankfully Nicole gets to stay nice and modest during her pregnancies. Nicole is somewhat of a musician, and decides to build some violin and piano skills while she can.

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They decide to set up a small playroom. I also figured that bright yellow clothing against such yellow hair was a bit much, so changed her clothing to pink. 

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Nicole decides to keep a Bible journal. I think she was upset here, but I forget precisely why. Maybe just thinking about the Lord and His goodness gets her emotional.

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Edward decides that Fishing would be a good idea. He clearly finds it rather dull, so decides to search for a few motivational Bible verses.

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It seems like very little time before.... TWINS! Despite the masculine colour of the second crib, they are both girls. Eliza is in the pink crib and Emily in the blue. You can add Lot Traits in Sims 4. The traits for this lot are On a Ley Line (increases chance of twins), Chef's Kitchen (helps with Cooking) and Sunny Aspect, which can give an Energised or Inspired moodlet.

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Sims 4 offers mothers the chance to Breastfeed their babies for the first time. Nicole knows that this is the Godly way to do things. 

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Edward originally had a Politics job, but decided he had more of a businessman bent to him and so joined that track. Here he is going to his first day. It's a relatively boring photo but Edward doesn't feature much in this post.

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I always Age Up Sims 4 babies ASAP as they tend to be harder to care for than Sims 3 ones as they cry more. Here are the girls, Eliza in pink and Emily in blue.

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Nicole knows to start the kids with the Bible early. She gets out a kid's Bible story and reads it to Eliza.

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Is that Edward.... DANCING?!?!?! Maybe we can have this family believe that some dancing in the privacy of your own home if it's honouring to God. IDK, fundies have weird logic.

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The couple get Very Flirty in order to create a good atmosphere to conceive Blessing #3. I find men's portraits for Very Flirty to look a tad weird. 

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Looks like it was successful!

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Uh oh... looks like Eliza's being a tad naughty. No corporal punishment in The Sims so Nicole's going to have to rely on a firm telling off.

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Nicole decided to take the twins to the Spice Festival over in San Myshuno. In typical fundie style she left them alone while she went to sample some of the curry on offer. To close off this post, here are the girls hugging... and Emily creating some of her own street art.

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mango_fandango

Unsure what to do

After I stopped playing with the Taylors the other day, I went to bed. Next time I tried loading Sims 2, the graphics had gone weird. The texture of the grass in the Sapphire Springs neighbourhood looked off, and then when I tried to make a new community lot the build/buy grid kept disppearing whenever I moved the mouse. Sims 3 was similarly fucked; the graphics settings had seemingly changed by themselves. After changing them back to how they were, suddenly the sound was crackly during the loading screen (play with headphones) and when it actually loaded, the screen kept going black and then back to the game, repeatedly. 

Bearing in mind that I had done nothing to the laptop, no updates or anything. Running fine one day and weirdly the next.

By contrast, Sims 4 is fine. I twiddled a bit with the graphics and put it on laptop mode, which has seemingly not affected gameplay and it runs amazingly smoothly. 

I’ll have to investigate why Sims 2 and 3 have gone weird. In the meantime, I was wondering whether I should bother introducing a Sims 4 fundie family, or just leaving it at the Sims 2 and 3 ones and just playing normal “secular” families on The Sims 4 instead and not blog. 

mango_fandango

We start off with a sweet photo of Andrew in his highchair. I love toddler faces in this game!

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Here we have a perfect tool for fundie Sims: the Head Start Playpen (Sims 3 Store). Bung your child in and she/he can teach themselves to talk. Parent doesn't have to bother. Win win!

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Joey was a self-employed gardener, so he dropped off some produce at the grocery store. I say "was" because there wasn't much money so he joined the Science track instead, which emphasises Gardening at the beginning. I'm getting him to master Gardening before any other skill so I can get to the challenges later on, which only really come if you focus purely on Gardening. I'll tell you when I come to it! 

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"I'm happy to give you some produce, Honey Darnell, but I'm having to try really hard not to focus on your big... err... chest."

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Because I have Supernatural, we get Full Moon every so often. This means ZOMBIES appear. Joey has to keep his plants locked up so the zombies don't eat them. The zombies are often old people, and that night one of them died. 

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Sweet fellowship time!

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Bethany and Christopher aged up. Here they are in the living room. Christopher is making use of the walker; yup, bung a kid in that and they'll teach themselves to walk! Now, if only there was an automatic toilet-training device...

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Pregnant again! Melissa decides to take Andrew out to the park.

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Not many babysitters turn up in a suit and bow tie...

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Andrew aged up. I gave him the Heavy Sleeper trait so he wouldn't be woken up all night. First-born-son privileges and all that.

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Melissa was much bigger this time around.... triplets! Blessings #4-#6 are Diana, Elijah and Francesca. Francesca isn't purely Biblical but it's the feminine form of Francis. Faith would've been a little too obvious and didn't really fit with the other names.

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Joey is holding Elijah, who's colour is orange. Diana is lilac and Francesca is red. 

There's a lot of screaming and crying at the moment. Thankfully they should all age up soon and it'll be easier. Babies seem to get lonely a lot, so it'll be nice when they're older and can interact. 

Bonus photo: Bethany and Andrew playing peekaboo (back when Andrew was still a toddler). Seems that if you put two kids into the playpen and they interact, they really improve their relationship; the two are already Best Friends.

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mango_fandango

I take a lot of photos with the Bancrofts. And because I've had issues lately with exiting without saving, it's hard for me to tell which photos are which. So some of these will be all over the place. 

Here is Madison as a child. The dress is from Mod the Sims. I've never been much of a mod/CC user as I tend to be wary of fucking up my game but I know Mod the Sims is a trusted site. We also have Michael. These photos are from the old house.

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I decided to get Martin to ring up the Headmaster to get the twins into private school. He comes over and you have to give him a house tour, cook him a meal and schmooze with him. Because Max was only a toddler when this happened, he is not actually in private school; I'd have to ring up and do the whole scenario again, which I don't really want to have to do as it's a bit of a fag for the family. You know fundies, they don't like having to make an effort if they don't have to! In my head the kids just ignore the secular stuff and do as much Bible stuff as they can at home. Or maybe Sapphire Springs has compulsory school. Who knows.

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Here's Madison in her new uniform. It's not as modest as Karen and Martin would like, but it's a skirt at least. Aside: I HATE how photos are stored/named in my Sims 2 folder. You get a snapshot and a thumbnail for every photo you take, and they're given some stupid long code like 'e7474311_a758403c'. For the Sims 3, it's a lot more simple: Snapshot-1, Snapshot-2 etc. 

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Whilst pregnant with her fourth child (I think this was the pregnancy that resulted in Mark, who of course doesn't exist now), Karen decided to go to her hobby lot and enter a cooking competition. She reckoned her family could cope alone. She entered (and won) with Berry Pie.

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Bonus photo: This is what happens when you build a snowman: a penguin comes and starts talking to it. Because why not? :mrgreen:

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Martin got fat because he ate when he wasn't hungry (so much like real life *sigh*). He's in politics so he practises Charisma by talking to himself in the mirror. The first sign of madness...

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Thank God for Aspiration Points and being able to buy Smart Milk and the Thinking Cap to increase skill gain/skill teaching ability. Result: toddler learns all skills at super speed. (Also thanks to BoolProp for allowing me to max my Aspiration meter so this actually works instead of going into failure). You'll also notice I've got Boys and Girls doors on the bedrooms like they have for the public restrooms. 

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And here's a common scenario: Karen in labour! Yes I *did* use the Tombstone of Life and Death to speed up the pregnancy. For some reason she'd become pregnant a day or so before but hadn't grown the belly. So I sped things up. Madison and Michael turn into Teens soon so they can move to college. This birth resulted in fourth son Matthew and second daughter Martha. snapshot_e7474311_a759b54e.jpg.f53eeff5ec96a6bdb2206062ebe00332.jpg

The Permanent Happiness in the title refers to the fact that I used MaxMotives and Make Needs Static to keep the needs permanently high. How long I'll have it apply for I don't know, which explains the (Sort Of).

Now it's time to catch up with the Taylors. 

mango_fandango

Curse of the Bancrofts??

I’m kinda starting to think that the Bancrofts may be cursed/unlucky with God.

First there was the incident I mentioned in a comment on their first entry: Christmas tree caught fire, as did Karen, had to exit without saving so she didn’t die.

Second: I restarted the family, played for a bit before it randomly froze. As in time stopped, as did the family. You could click on stuff but nothing happened. Moved them into a new house.

Third: they now have four kids: Madison, Michael, Max and Mason (who’s a boy). Things were going OK, the twins were on track to age up well. Karen had just given birth to baby #5, a girl called Martha. Things were hectic, and I let Mason get a little too hungry... suddenly all the kids’ portraits bar Martha’s disappeared. Yup, social worker. I did not want that happening so exited without save.... re-entered the lot, they’d gone right back to when they’d just moved in. Mason was still a baby, Karen hadn’t even realised she was pregnant with number 5 yet.

UGH. This reminded me why I use BoolProp a lot, you can slide the needs bars up as needed. Better yet, I might just use the letterbox to Make All Happy (aka max the motives) and then make them static so they don’t deplete, they won’t need to eat or sleep or pee.

mango_fandango

This couple is Melissa and Joey Taylor. Melissa wants to master all the music skills, and Joey wants to raise five children from babies to toddlers. Obviously he'll end up having more than this, but it's a start. They live in Appaloosa Plains. I tend to use this house in Pomona Promenade for my fundie families as it's big and cheap, with potential for expansion. You'll notice the stairs behind Melissa in the first photo; downstairs is the basement music room and upstairs are the children's rooms.

I gave them the Vibromatic Heart Bed as this has a 100% conception success rate. They don't know this, of course, they were merely given it as a wedding present from an obscure relative who claims it's great for sweet fellowship. The first photo is of Melissa pregnant, in a VERY immodest outfit of SHORTS. Again, like with Karen Bancroft, she rarely leaves the house so she decides just to put up with it. (Sims 4, where you don't have to change into special maternity wear, is much better in this regard). 

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I downloaded both the Bohemian Garden and Humble Harvest Stands from the Sims 3 store, so Joey has a much bigger range of plants available to him at the start of the Gardening skill than just Apples, Grapes, Lettuces and Tomatoes. He has a secondary wish to grow lots of top-quality vegetables. To facilitate a better garden, I changed the settings so that Appaloosa Plains is in permanent summer mode. If I keep the traditional four-season year then the cold temperatures wipe out my plants and they never recover so I have to start all over again which is a massive PITA. In an original version (more later), I kept rain as a weather option, but it was raining pretty much constantly for a few days so in this current version I disabled rain too. 

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You may also notice that I've decided to really mess with these guys and have them be FAIRIES. Fundies are supposed to be anti-fantasy and magic so they're slightly annoyed by this (in my head I've decided it's the result of either some genetic anomaly, or they think it's some curse from God). Like typical fundies, they decide to exploit the bonuses of being Fairies, namely the ability to cast Auras which increase skill gain and a longer lifespan which means MORE BAYBEEZ. 

After a few days of playing instruments and Joey growing his garden, Melissa goes into labour and gives birth to baby Andrew. I was originally playing another version of this family where the first baby was a girl called Anna, but the laptop decided to restart to finish installing updates so I lost all my progress. Boo. So now the firstborn is a coveted son. She had a comfortable homebirth.

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Joey seems to have a tendency to garden in his pyjamas. I've included a photo of Melissa practicing the piano. Babies in Sims 3 tend to be fairly easy-going compared to the ones in Sims 2 and 4 so Andrew doesn't need much attention. (We also get to see Melissa's normal, modest Everyday outfit).

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Melissa of course quickly conceives again. Her outfit is only slightly better this time, joggers instead of shorts. 

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Here's Andrew as a toddler. I'm sure I've said this on FJ before, but I usually assign every Sim one colour (not always their predetermined favourite) and make all their clothing and bedding primarily that colour. It's not just the fundies I do it for, but it's particularly useful in large families where the offspring tend to all look the same. 

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Melissa goes into labour in the living room. Joey was probably outside gardening during her first labour so he's utterly freaked out. And you notice he's STILL in pyjamas, the lazy bastard.

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Turns out Joey is so freaked out he decides to autonomously take Melissa to the hospital. Melissa's worried about leaving Andrew in charge of an ungodly babysitter, but he isn't around for long before Melissa and Joey get back.

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Ta-da! TWINS! Thank the Lord Joey got into proper clothes before going to the hospital. Here we have Bethany and Christopher. You can tell by Joey's expression that he has little experience of kids.

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That takes us to about the second day of Week 2. Again, the fun only really starts when we have lots of kids at once. Joey finishes the week on Level 6 in Gardening (irritatingly, in the original Anna-not-Andrew save he'd reached Level 8 by this point). 

mango_fandango

Here we have Martin and Karen Bancroft. They've just moved into a house in Sapphire Springs. What they don't know is that Sapphire Springs is for the so-called "odds-and-sods" of society, people who don't fit into the man-woman-two children model of family life. They were told Sapphire Springs was good for raising families. Which, as wannabe Quiverfullers, is their dream. snapshot_e7474311_67474312.jpg.3f2d0a4c841dabd6ca43a6910e854d38.jpg

Obviously, their first objective is to, ahem, use the marital bed. Sadly, we didn't get to hear that chime, so to speed things up I used BoolProp and the Tombstone of Life and Death. I also dragged her cooking skill to level 8 so she can make cheesecake. 

Not long after they've moved in, Karen hears the doorbell ring. A new neighbour! What Karen doesn't realise is that this is Abby Morris-Jones and her WIFE, Jenna. That's right, LESBIANS. Karen quickly realises the situation, but rather than berate Abby and Jenna face-to-face she decides to be friendly to their face and pray for them privately. She's secretly rather a placatory, non-aggressive sort of person who just wants to be friendly and not earn a reputation as a nutter. She decides to make lunch for the neighbours. (See the cheesecake? For some reason after her sweet fellowship session, she feels that she really wants some cheesecake. You'll see the effects later).

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The rest of the day passes with little incident. The next day, whilst at her sewing machine, Karen gets up suddenly... PREGNANT! Praise the Lord! That's a decidely immodest outfit she's wearing, but she figures that she hardly ever leaves the house anyway, so it's only Martin who sees her. Martin himself isn't entirely sure what he wants out of life. He's been praying, naturally, but God hasn't shown him the answer yet. He gets so bored he decides to play in the (empty) bath one day like he used to do when he was little. snapshot_e7474311_a74c16a0.jpg.772914a3fae44b0ab046c0d5033bdc9d.jpgsnapshot_e7474311_074c1369.jpg.f98bf08ac5d266d981fb06fec55f017d.jpg

The pregnancy passes with little incident. Whenever I play a fundie family, I always find that the first couple of days before the birth are quite boring. With the Bancrofts, I decided to open a small business and have Karen sell homemade stuff, but I closed it quickly because no-one was buying anything and I thought Martin should get a legit job. After all, I am essentially playing God in this game, so I can make Martin see that a proper job gives him something to do and earns him money. I always find home businesses difficult in Sims 2 so I tend not to use them.

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I don't know if you can see this, but Karen's in the foreground holding one baby... and Martin's in the kitchen holding another! Yup, TWINS! (That's the cheesecake effect). Madison was born first, then Michael. Yeah, you see where I'm going with this... M-names. (I know the picture quality isn't great, I'll see if I can tweak that when I next play them. I have a custom-built gaming laptop so this should be doable). 

Here's a scene I thought was typically fundie... Mom eating whilst the babies just lie on the floor. A-star parenting right there.

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By this point, Martin has a job in Politics. Like many fundies, he has political ambitions. He'll only ever get to be Mayor of SimCity, but it's a start. 

Here, we see that the twins have grown up, and Karen decides to start her kids early and reads the Bible to Madison. Dunno why she's talking about teddy bears. Maybe she's attempting to describe God as a big cuddly teddy bear who will always be there to offer comfort? You'll notice there's no TV. No way of just flaking out and watching mindless programmes with God-knows-what content. (I do occasionally allow a TV in Sims 3 fundie families, as there are more educational channels, plus the Kids channel can be used as a way of increasing the chance of multiples). 

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Karen quickly gets pregnant again. She isn't happy to have to attend to a screaming Madison when she's heavily pregnant and has had very little sleep. She's attempted some sort of sleep training but she's too lazy to put proper effort into it. Hopefully when the twins are older she can have them take care of the babies whilst she gets her beauty sleep. After all, she's growing new blessings for the Lord, she deserves it, right?

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Karen goes into labour in the living room with Madison beside her. Madison has seemingly already realised that this will be happening many times in her future and isn't reacting at all. You'll also notice that Martin isn't a very present father... he's changed a couple of nappies and fed them a couple of bottles, but the nitty-gritty of raising children is mainly woman's work.

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Karen gives birth to third baby, Max. Madison and Michael eventually turn into Children, but I haven't got a photo of them yet. The last I played, Karen had three children and was pregnant with her fourth. Not much of note has happened so far, but we're only in early days. 

mango_fandango

Slightly New Direction

I know I haven't updated in a while, but I hadn't had much inspiration.

HOWEVER, I thought of something recently.

Rebecca"discovers" a "new" fundie blog. This is of a fictitious family ofc. The fictitious family (Bakers) lives in a town near Rebecca. Their oldest daughter, Mary, is 22 and courting, and their youngest daughter, Emily, is seven months. The kids all have Biblical names; Emily isn't Biblical but it's a traditional name anyway (they felt 'led' to use an E name) and her middle name is Faith anyway.

Maybe Rebecca could encounter this new family sometimes? Maybe I could do a few parody blog posts about the Bakers? :D 

 

mango_fandango

Wa-La Diner, Part Two

“Well, I recently began a courtship,” she said, the pitch of her voice increasing.

“Oh, just like my daughter here,” I said, pointing to Faye. “Well, I’ll be sure to pray for you.”

“Thank you!” said Grace. “What would like for your main course?”

“I will have the Tater Tot Casserole,” I replied. “Jessica?”

“I’ll go for the Chickenetti,” Jessica replied.

“And you, young man?” Grace asked Charlie.

“Oh… umm… I’ll have a burrito, please,” Charlie said.

“And I will have the Chickenetti as well, please,” Faye said.

“Thanks for the order,” Grace said, scribbling it all down. “Here are some complementary pickles and two animal crackers.”

I eyed the pickle jar warily. I was not much of a fan of pickled food, unlike my husband.

“Oh wow, these are so salty,” Jessica grimaced. “And slimy and vinegary. I can’t eat these.”
“Dude! We should say grace!” Faye said, poking her sister.

“Oh yeah,” Jessica said. “Mom?”

“Thank you Lord for the food we are about to eat,” I said quickly. The singing had finished, and now a terrible scratching began. I looked up at the stage, and sure enough, it was who I’d guessed it would be. They were dressed in black and white with the occasional red accessory. The married daughters were holding their kids.

“Oh crap, them,” Jessica sighed. “Hang on, where’s the oldest? Jesus Rehab?”

“They seem to want to forget about him,” I replied. I too had abandoned the pickles and was eating an animal cracker.

“Well, after what that asshat did, I’m not surprised,” Jessica said. “I notice his wife’s there. Such a damn shame she doesn’t have the option of divorce. She must be feeling so conflicted.”

 

The food duly arrived. The Chickenetti was in a silver serving dish, with a pair of plastic tongs stuck in the centre.

“Guess it’s serve yourself,” Faye said. “Paper plates, too.”

She gave Jessica a serving before helping herself. We all quickly repeated the same grace as I’d used earlier before digging in.

“So, what’s it like?” Jessica asked.

“Greasy as fuck, but surprisingly nice,” I replied, careful to keep her voice down lest a family keel over at her usage of a curse word.

“Mm, same with this Chickenetti,” Jessica said.

“Can’t say the same about this burrito,” Charlie said. “It’s the plainest thing ever. No meat? No spice? Who on Earth made up this dish?”

“They used to use meat,” Faye explained, spooning some spare Chickenetti onto his plate, “but they switched to this meatless, bean version and apparently there’s no difference in taste.”

“Pfft, I call bullshit,” Charlie said. He twirled his fork in the Chickenetti.

The screeching stopped, and the Taylors themselves got up to take the stage- or, at least, the parents and unmarried children did. They began singing in a very nasal chorus.

“Man, I can’t take much more of this entertainment,” Jessica muttered. “None of these people have any discernible talent whatsoever.”

“Too right,” Faye replied. “As long as they’re honouring Jesus it’s A-OK though.”

 

I could feel the grease around my mouth as Grace took away our plates and the serving dish. As I reached for a paper napkin, I wondered how likely it would be that I would end up in Dr Kaczynski’s office in three months complaining of heart problems.

“So… dessert, guys?” Jessica grinned. “Lots of choice there, too.”

I glanced at the menu again. Ice cream pie… poppy seed loaf… apple dumplings… all the dishes I could have expected were there.
Charlie went for the ice cream pie, Jessica for the poppy seed loaf, I for cinnamon rolls and Faye for cheesecake.

 

Fortunately, by the time the dessert arrived, the entertainment seemed to have stopped for the evening. Unfortunately, they began piping in hymns over the tannoy system.

“This is quite nice, actually,” Jessica said, “if a little dry.”

“Mmm, yeah, I like this cinnamon roll,” I replied.

“So, do you think we’ll end up coming here again?” Faye asked.

“Probably not,” I said. “I don’t want another evening of screeching and wailing for one.”

“Neither,” Faye replied. “It’s been an interesting experience but not one I want to experience again.”

 

After paying (and giving the waitress a tip of tracts, like any good fundie would), we decided to browse the shop. The shelves were full of books. I recognised many of the Taylor titles.

“I still can’t believe people actually buy these,” Jessica said. “They’re aimed at such a niche market. Surely all the people interested in this stuff will have bought them already?”

“Yeah, I have no idea how they actually make any money,” I replied. “They’ve stopped their conferences and their IT course thing has folded. None of the sons have any concrete kind of job working at a legit company. They all seem to work for Papa Taylor.”

“Well, they’re managing somehow,” Faye said. “Well, we’re not gonna buy any of this stuff, are we? I wanna get out of here.”

We left the shop just as a family I didn’t recognise came in. We clambered back into our car and headed for home.

 

mango_fandango

Wa-La Diner, Part One

A while ago we came up with ideas for a potential fundie-themed restaurant. I decided to write a story featuring the Masons and a visit to said restaurant. Families are referred to, although not by name. 

“Mom. Mom. Have you seen what’s in the newspaper?”

Faye was running into the living room, waving a copy of our local paper wildly.

“No, you’ve been reading it all morning. What?”

“There’s a new restaurant opening. It’s called Wa-La Diner and it’s run by a fundamentalist Christian family. It’s their grand opening tonight and supposedly there are LOADS of fundies going. We HAVE to go.”

The paper was swooshing so fast I could feel a breeze. Faye had an excited look in her eyes. In fact, the members of Dumb Things Fundies Do had been discussing the grand opening for a long time. I knew I could score major kudos points by going. And I was seriously tempted. I’d recently bought myself a new maxi skirt… oh, who was I kidding…?
“I think we can definitely go,” I grinned. “Why don’t you invite Charlie along? We can pretend you’re courting and I’m your chaperone or something. Do you think Jessica will want to come?”

“Well, she’s not as fascinated by fundies as me, but I’m sure she’d be up for it,” Faye grinned. “HEY! JESS!”

My oldest daughter entered the room.

“D’you fancy going to Wa-La Diner?”

Jessica looked confused as an enthusiastic Faye shoved the advert under her nose.

“Oh, this sounds good…” Jessica muttered. “We don’t have a huge family, though. How can we not appear like intruders?”

“Mom figured it out,” Faye replied. “I’m inviting Charlie along- we can pretend we’re courting- and you and Mom are our chaperones.”
“I don’t really have any suitable skirts…” Jessica muttered.

“Well, we can buy you one,” Faye said breezily.

 

The skirt- a knee-length denim affair- was duly purchased. Jessica paired it with a blue paisley-patterned v-neck top underneath which she wore a white camisole for “modesty”. Faye herself was wearing a black-and-white patterned maxi dress which was modest enough without extras.

Standing in the hallway, we all laughed at each other.

“Oh my god, this is going to be soooo bizarre,” Faye said.

The doorbell rang. Charlie was looking wary.

“What is this thing we’re doing?” he asked.

“We’re visiting Wa-La Diner,” Faye said, explaining the story.
“Oh God, we’re going to be seeing freaky fundies up close?” he asked.

“Come on, it’ll be a laugh,” Faye pleaded.

“OK. As long as we don’t actually have to talk to these Jesus freaks, I’m good.”

 

Wa-La Diner was brightly lit. The front windows were interestingly decorated.

“What’s with all the pink and lace and doilies and doll tea sets?” Charlie asked.

“Oh, I know who that’ll be,” Faye said, explaining.

Charlie’s eyes shot up.

“She sounds insane,” he replied.

“All fundies are, let’s be honest,” Jessica said, putting her hands in her pockets.

 

The main dining room was noisy. As we waited for a waitress to arrive, I decided to people-watch.

“Spot anyone?” Faye asked.

“Not yet, we’re too far away,” I replied.

A young woman, dressed in a bright-pink t-shirt, frilly apron and denim maxi skirt walked over to us.
“Welcome to Wa-La Diner!” she said, in a bright voice. “My name is Grace and I will be your waitress this evening. How many of you are there?”

“Four,” I said, whilst thinking “Can you not count, dumbass?”

We were led to a small table at the side of the room. It too was covered in a pink gingham table cloth and lace doilies.

“Here are your menus!” said Grace, in the same high-pitched voice. “I will be back shortly to take your order!”
She walked over to another table.

“Big Salad?” Charlie asked.

“Oh, she’s particularly crazy,” Faye explained.

“Ooh look, Taylors,” Jessica whispered, nudging my elbow.

I whipped my head round. It looked like the entire clan had arrived. Mama Taylor and her unmarried daughters were all in the same outfit- white t-shirt, black floral-patterned skirt and pale pink cardigan. Papa Taylor and the unmarried sons were in simple white shirts and chinos. Each married son and his family had also cobbled together some kind of dress code.
“Three guesses as to what they’ll be eating,” I muttered, spotting the meatless burritos underneath the “main courses” heading.

“So, what are we all having?” Jessica asked, bringing my attention back to the table.

“Hmm… there are so many classic dishes and only four of us…” I said. “I think I’ll take the plunge and go for Tater Tot Casserole.”
“Ah yeah, I was gonna go for that…” Jessica said. “Hm. I’ll go with Chickenetti.”

I was just about to ask Faye what she wanted when a dreadful wailing began. Thinking some poor young woman had been dumped, I looked round for the source of the noise.

“It’s them!” Faye whispered. “Off the RV! No doubt trying to grift for a free meal.”

“Jesus, is that singing?” Charlie wondered. “And holy crap, they’re so skinny!”

“Not the husband though,” I muttered.

“Ooh look! Guess who’ve arrived, all the way from Washington!” Jessica said.

I looked toward the entrance and saw what Faye had seen. I recognised the mother, short hair standing out in stark contrast to the lengthy tresses all around her. The eldest daughters were looking bored, arms folded. The youngest, twins, were dressed completely identically, from the pink-and-white striped dresses to the white sandals on their feet. The only concession to individuality was that one had a pink ribbon in her hair, whilst her sister wore a purple one.

“Ah, my gateway fundies,” I said. “I thought they’d ditched the skirts-only rule?”
“They’re gonna be back in skirts to fit in at Wa-La, aren’t they?” Faye pointed out.

“True,” I replied. “Spot anyone else?”
“Yup,” she replied. “Right there, all the way from Tennessee.”

I looked. Sure enough, I recognised them. It looked like they hadn’t brought along their married children- until I remembered that the married couples all had young children or were on their honeymoon.

“Man, you are going to have to tell me about these people,” Charlie said, staring in disbelief at all the other tables.

“Oh, don’t you worry, I will,” Faye said drily.

“Hello again! What would you like to order?”

Grace’s high-pitched baby voice was starting to grate on me.

“I think we’ll start off with a bowl of Big Salad to share as well as some gloodles,” I said. Then, remembering a common fundie trick, I asked her if there was any way in which we could pray for her.

mango_fandango

County Fair, Summer 1999

In this part we're introduced properly to Rebecca's friend Sandra, and her daughters Annie and Marissa are also mentioned.

It was a hot summer day. Sandra and I had arranged to go to the County Fair together, not least because I had never been.

“Jessica! Come downstairs, please!”

My oldest daughter, Jessica, came running. Her blonde hair was tied in bunches decorated with pink ribbon bows that matched her pink t-shirt.

“Jessica, how many times have I told you not to run down the stairs? You could really hurt yourself.”

“Sorry Mommy.” Like all young children, her knees were constantly being scraped and covered in plasters.

“That’s OK. I just don’t want you to break a bone and end up in the emergency room.”

“No. Are we going now?”

“Yes. That’s why I called you down.”

 

The fair was packed. As I approached the entrance, I saw Sandra’s red hair.

“Look, there they are,” I said.

“Hi, Becky,” she called, waving.

“Hi, Sandy. My, Annie and Marissa are so big now!”

“I know! Sometimes I catch myself thinking, where did the baby years go?”

She smiled at her girls. It seemed almost ridiculous that we both had two daughters, who were the same age- Annie was three weeks older than Jessica and Marissa was two months younger than Faye.

 

We’d spent no longer than 30 minutes inside (primarily playing and failing at a hook-a-duck game) when Faye tugged at my arm.
“Moooommmmyyyy,” she whined, “I wanna driiiiiink.”

“OK,” I said brightly, “let’s go find one.”

I took her hand and we ventured forth in search of one. I reckoned that there would be plenty of vendors.

Almost immediately, I spotted a large sign emblazoned with the words “Free Soft Drinks!” Instinctively, I paused. Something was telling me that this seemed a little dodgy, that there was some catch. I wasn’t sure what, though, so I carefully ventured a little closer.

It was then that I noticed two of the people standing beside the booth. One was a woman, with greying hair, dressed in a white t-shirt and navy pinafore dress (what would be called a jumper in American English). The hem stopped at her ankles and the whole ensemble gave a shapeless appearance. The other figure was a man, also with greying hair, wearing a white polo shirt and blue jeans. The polo was tucked into the waist of the jeans. I guessed they were married.

A figure moved to stand beside the woman. I noticed that she, too, was in a white t-shirt and navy jumper. She had long, dirty blonde hair that cascaded down her back. She was holding a sheaf of small bits of paper.

It was then that I took in the crowd surrounding the booth properly. There were five male figures, all of differing ages, dressed like the first man, who I now guessed was the father. Beside the mother stood a small girl, who couldn’t have been much older than Faye. She looked incredibly bored. Even the navy bow in her hair drooped forlornly.

Who the hell were these people? Why were they all dressed identically? The age range was too wide to be a school group- and besides, it was the holidays. The girls all had long, loose hair.

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Sorry, sweetie,” I said absent-mindedly, totally confused as to who these weirdly-dressed people were.

It was then that I overheard one of them speak.

“Do you know the Ten Commandments?”

Huh? What kind of a question was that?

After observing them for a few more seconds, it transpired that getting a free drink came with being quizzed on the Ten Commandments. I grabbed Faye’s hand tighter and hurried away. I knew most of the Commandments, but I didn’t fancy discussing them with a bunch of matching strangers.

 

I purchased Faye and myself some orange juice before going to find Sandra.

“Are you OK? You look kinda weird,” she asked.

“I just saw the weirdest people…” I began. “The women were all in long jumpers and they were talking about the Ten Commandments…”

“You met the Taylors,” Sandra grinned, holding up a hand to stem my gibbering. “They’re fundamentalist Christians.”

“What?”

“Fundamentalist Christians. You saw them proselytising- trying to convert people. The little pieces of paper they were holding are called tracts.”

“How do you know about them?”

“I got proselytised at last year,” Sandra grimaced. “I couldn’t get away. They made me feel awful. I told them I’m religious and go to church but they still made me feel bad for not being like them. Once I finally tore myself away I scrunched up the tract and burnt it.”

“Ouch,” I sympathised. “Sounds like I had a lucky escape. If they found out about my atheism they’d probably have some kind of apoplectic fit.”

“Oh, they’d love you. You’re exactly the kind of person they’d target.”

“Christ.”

Despite being Christian, Sandra didn’t make it the biggest part of her life. We agreed on pretty much everything. She just happened to believe in Heaven. She certainly didn’t go round trying to convert everyone she came across.

mango_fandango

An Introduction (second part)

This follows on from part one. 

Back in the present, I received a Facebook message from Jessica. It was a photo of her and an off-white cocktail. I guessed from the wedge of pineapple on the rim of the glass that it was a piña colada. She was revelling in the fact that she could drink alcohol now, but I knew she was a sensible girl. Even if she did get drunk, hopefully it would be a lesson learned. That was normal young adult behaviour, after all. (I certainly recalled getting drunk at a friend’s house many a time).

“Great to see you enjoying your holiday Jess honey. Keep me updated when you can xx”.

I hit send and smiled. Both girls assured me that I was a cool mom, not too embarrassing nor too stuffy. I knew to keep my distance when they invited friends over, having learnt from my own mother, who had been a tad overprotective.

“What’s for dinner, mom?”

Faye, dressed in her sister’s varsity jacket and a navy polkadot jumpsuit, entered the living room. I’d heard the door open and close but didn’t pay much attention.

“Oh, hi, Faye. Umm, not given much thought to it yet. We’ve got plenty of pasta we could use up.”
“Ooh, can I make some more of that pesto sauce? We’ve got basil and parmesan that needs eating.”
“That would be great, honey. There are some scones left in the tin if you’re hungry.”
“Famished, mom.”

Although both my girls spoke in American accents, having lived here all their lives, I made sure that they experienced ‘typically British’ foods like hot cross buns at Easter time and crumpets on Saturday mornings. “Biscuits” in America looked like the English scones, but were eaten with savoury food like chicken and “gravy”- another foodstuff that had different meanings either side of the pond.

 

As Faye started on the pesto sauce, I poured myself a Coke. Both the girls were aware of the Taylors. Faye, in particular, was fascinated by them.

“Hey Mom. I was just thinking. If we were the Taylors I’d be taking photographs of every step of this pesto making process and then blogging about it later,” Faye laughed.

“How bizarre! I was thinking of the Taylors too. I came across them in Costco earlier.”

“Did they ask you where you’re headed when you die?”

“No. Oddly enough, one of them was picking up a packet of meat and another one photographed her. I mean, who on Earth takes photographs in Costco, for God’s sake? Do they really thinking people want to see their journey to the supermarket?”

“They have so little going on in their lives, even the smallest thing seems noteworthy,” Faye replied knowledgably.

I thought of my own life. Outside of my job, I played badminton on Saturdays and went out to dinner with Sandra at least once a week, not to mention the Italian evening classes and Sunday afternoon book group. Faye had a job volunteering at the cat sanctuary and was part of a small, amateur orchestra where she played the flute. Jessica had a term time job as a waitress and was aiming to become a lawyer when she graduated next summer. I thought of the Taylor girls, all out shopping in a group, and rolled my eyes. No doubt their father had had a big role to play in their lives. From what I had gleaned from their blog and from an excellent online forum- Dumb Things Fundies Do- every activity had to be edifying, honouring Jesus. Children had to stay at home until marriage. Dating and having casual boyfriends was a huge no-no; when you entered a ‘courtship’ it had to be with a view to marriage. You had to have as many children “as God gave you”- i.e. no contraception. Secular influences were totally verboten- public schools were terrible, ungodly places where you could be exposed to such risqué things as girls in trousers and competitive sports teams.

 

 

mango_fandango

An Introduction (first part)

It was a peaceful Wednesday afternoon, and for once I was on my own in the house. My twenty-one-year-old daughter Jessica was on holiday with four of her friends in Hawaii. My nineteen-year-old other daughter Faye was in Wichita with her boyfriend. They had jam-packed social lives, but also enjoyed spending time with me and my husband.

I was idly flicking through the television channels. I reflected upon the fact that, no matter where you lived, programme choices during the day were always terrible. I had lived in America for twenty-three years and little had changed except the size of the screens.

For a few years now I had been wanting to leave Summer Springs and move someplace else. It had been a lovely city in which to bring up the girls but I’d always dreamed of living somewhere livelier, with more going on. Jess was exactly like me- she hadn’t chosen to go to UCLA for nothing. She thrived on busyness and excitement.

 

A couple of hours later, I was in Costco. It was the largest supermarket in Summer Springs and the one closest to where I lived. Although we weren’t at all poor, it was cheap and good for barbecues, which were almost mandatory for July 4th. Only Faye would be with my husband and me on the day, but I was comforted by the fact that Jess would be happy with friends. She was an independent soul.

It was while I was in the meat aisle that I spotted them. Four women in a group around one deep trolley. One of them carried a camera. As I watched, the one with the darkest hair picked up a pack of something- beef perhaps- and the camera-carrier took a picture.

I raised a sceptical eyebrow. Who the hell took photographs in Costco, for God’s sake? Especially posed ones?

I took a closer look. Despite the warm weather outside, all four were wearing long skirts and sported long hair. The girl who’d held up the pack of meat turned around to grab something else. Despite conceding to the weather by wearing a multi-coloured pastel shirt, she was wearing a hot pink t-shirt underneath that went up to her neck.

Hang on a second. I’d seen that shirt somewhere before. And I swore I could’ve recognised that girl’s face.

As I turned into the dairy aisle, it hit me.

It was the Taylors.

 

Kansas is a solidly Republican state. It was another (albeit smaller) reason I wanted to leave; it sounds stupid to some, but I wanted to live somewhere where I felt my vote really counted. Having a Republican in charge was alright for the likes of the Taylors, but since James and I disagreed with so many of their policies, we were itching to leave.

I have still spent the (now slight) majority of my life in England. Although ostensibly a Christian nation, there was nowhere near the number of religious weirdos as there were stateside. Sure, you got the occasional screeching madman in say Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Street, but you didn’t get the proselytisers and the tracts.

I had first become aware of the Taylors seventeen years ago. On the hunt for a drink at the county fair, I’d spotted a sign proclaiming free sodas. My suspicions had been aroused when I’d spotted a group of people in almost identical outfits; the women in white t-shirts and denim jumpers, the men in white polo shirts and blue jeans. The cue that had led me to giving them a wide berth was hearing one of them ask about the Ten Commandments. My friend Sandra had told me about the family and that what they were doing was “proselytising”- trying to get people to convert- and that the little slips of paper they were handing out were called tracts. I had looked at the youngest girl- who must’ve been only a shade older than Faye- in her long skirt and sighed. That poor little girl. During summer, Jessica and Faye lived in shorts, or else skirts or dresses that came above the knee. Later in life they became very sporty and I just knew that Jessica’s track times would’ve been impossible in a long skirt, and that Faye wouldn’t have been able to ice-skate anywhere near as well as she did. It must’ve been boring for that little girl to hang around not understanding what was going on. Even if I was the kind of person to go out proselytising, I wouldn’t drag along kids that age.



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    • ViolaSebastian

      ViolaSebastian

      Guys. Guys! I get to do a paper on a topic in sex and religion. Finally, its my time to shine!
       
      · 0 replies
    • 47of74

      47of74

      Watching TV with the parental units this evening.  Watching figure skating.  It's better than nothing.
      · 0 replies
    • Fascinated

      Fascinated

      Is there any interest in an atheist/agnostic/non-religion club?
      · 0 replies
    • GreyhoundFan

      GreyhoundFan

      I've been away from FJ for a bit. I got to go on my first-ever cruise, and it was a Star Trek cruise, which made it even more fun! I missed the folks here, but was so happy to truly get away from it all. My friends in the politics forum would be surprised to know that I did not watch a moment of news or read any newspapers or other current affairs. It was a little strange, but a nice break! I'm glad to be back and have tons of reading to catch up!
      · 2 replies
    • Bethella

      Bethella

      I have so many threads to catch up on but my body thinks it should be nap-time. 
      · 0 replies
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