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Archive for the ‘Generation 1’ Category

Flora had been feeling the effects of the years for a while now – in her knees after kneeling in her beloved garden, in her fingers as she gripped the fishing pole, and in her ears as she strained to hear her friends’ voices over the phone. But with the address mix-up and other little events lately, she came to realize she was losing her memories. With a tear, she admitted to herself the fact that she would not live forever, and she knew she had to make a choice that a mother never wants to make. She had to prepare her daughters for her eventual death, and she had to choose one of them to carry on the Foliage family legacy.

Dinnertime at the Foliage table

Dinnertime at the Foliage table

While all this was going on in Flora’s heart and mind, the girls went about their regular business of being teens. They were speechless when they came home from school one day to see that the house had been remodeled.

Look at the size of this living room! Yeah, maybe there is something to that saving money thing that Mom and Dad are always talking about!?

Look at the size of this living room! Yeah, maybe there is something to that saving money thing that Mom and Dad are always talking about!?

Fern took to the new computer right away, and soon announced to the family that she had decided what she wanted to do with her life: be an illustrious author!

Where the Pink Fern Grows, chapter one.

Where the Pink Fern Grows, chapter one.

Dahlia, on the other hand, had no lifetime goals yet.

I don't know what I wanna do; I just wanna be great!

I don't know what I wanna do; I just wanna be great!

She did, however, have a love of fishing, and one morning she rose early and just had to indulge it. So she slipped across the street to the park, where the fish always jumped onto the hook just before dawn. She had barely gotten her line in the water, though, when the flashing lights found her. Busted!

Fishing without a license? Carpus delecti? Assault and baitery? No, just out after curfew!

Fishing without a license? Carpus delecti? Assault and baitery? No, just out after curfew!

This unhappy occurrence brought an angry Abe storming out to lecture her. Abe was normally very even-tempered, if a little neurotic about faucets and stoves, but he was almost red in the face when he told her how disappointed he was in her behavior. Dahlia didn’t even get a chance to explain that she had just gone across the street to fish, not downtown or even to a friend’s house!

I am very disappointed in you, young lady.

I am very disappointed in you, young lady.

Their relationship was strained for days. Dahlia tried to make it up to her parents by working in the garden, which she discovered that she actually did like, even if it did get her nails dirty.

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Meanwhile, Fern was enjoying some extra time with her Dad. She would come running to hear him every time he played the guitar.

That's one of my favorite songs!

That's one of my favorite songs!

Flora was even more concerned about everything that was happening as time slipped by so fast. One night, she was tossing and turning in bed, and Abe turned over toward her and suggested a midnight walk across the lawn. “I’m so sorry; I didn’t mean to wake you,” said Flora. “My sweet Flora, how can I complain? Being with you awake is even better than being with you in the dream I was just having. Now let me go check the sink to make sure the faucet’s not dripping, and we’ll go have a little stroll.”

Don't cry, dear. Let me brush that tear from your cheek.

Don't cry, dear. Let me brush that tear from your cheek.

Flora poured out her heart to him in the midnight air. It seemed to help her think clearly, and she confided to him her deep need to know that one of the girls would be responsible for carrying on the family’s legacy. “Ever since that first day at the orphanage, I had a dream of planting a family and nurturing it, just like a garden. I’ve started it, but now I need to know that someone will carry it on.” Abe nodded and held her close. “You don’t have to decide right now, dear.” Flora sniffed and blinked through her clearing tears as she replied, “Soon enough. They’ll be graduating soon, and I want to be able to talk with them then.” Abe kissed her, and murmured in her ear, “You’ll know, Flora. You’re a good, caring mother, and you’re very perceptive.”

Closer and more in love than ever.

Closer and more in love than ever.

“Abe, you always say just what I need to hear. Now let’s go back inside. I love these late night walks outdoors with you, but it can be nice to be indoors, too.” Flora smiled slyly at Abe as they walked hand-in-hand back to their room.

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Fern, light sleeper that she was, heard part of this discussion outside her bedroom window. And she started thinking. “Dahlia’s been messing up lately. She doesn’t have any plans for her life. She just does what she wants! And she’s so disgusting when she eats!

Fern says those boys wouldn't think Dahlia was so gorgeous if they saw this at the table!

Fern says those boys wouldn't think Dahlia was so gorgeous if they saw this at the table!

During the last week of high school, Fern looked over at Dahlia on the bus and thought of everything she didn’t like about Dahlia. After all, Fern had always been the homebody, ready to help her Mom in the garden, and always doing her homework right after school. Mom wouldn’t choose Dahlia – and Fern started to feel sorry for her.

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That night at dinner, though, something surprising happened. Dahlia went up to their father and apologized outright for being out after curfew. She actually took responsibility for her actions and asked if they could be friends again.

What better time to patch things up than while Little Shop of Sim Horrors plays on TV?

What better time to patch things up than while Little Shop of Sim Horrors plays on TV?

Fern can't believe her ears!

Fern can't believe her ears!

Fern could hardly believe what she was hearing when Abe said that all was forgiven, then laughed and suggested a friendly game of chess! That left Fern to go play in the park by herself. She silently fumed over this turn of events, and though she didn’t realize it, something deep inside her began to change.

Yes, little boy, I'm playing against myself. Guess what: that means I win!

Yes, little boy, I'm playing against myself. Guess what: that means I win!

Finally, the last day of school came and went, and Flora called her daughters to her for a talk. She talked with them about gardening, about the necessity of nurturing the young sprouts and the benefits of caring for plants and trees over the years, and the wonderful fruit that can be reaped. Then she looked in each of their eyes, and told them, “That is how I see family.”

As they listened, she told them the story of her childhood, of the parents who were taken from her too soon, and of her vow to cultivate a long-lived, many-generational family that would have strong bonds to each other as well as strong ties to the green spot on the hill where she had started out her adult life.

Time for a serious talk

Time for a serious talk

“This afternoon we’re going to have a birthday party for you two,” Flora said, “and we’ll cheer you on as you enter young adulthood. I want you to know that I love you both very dearly, and will as long as I live, but I have to choose one of you to carry the responsibility of this legacy forward in life. You must live here on the hill, marry, have children, care for the plants, and pass on this legacy to one of your children when the time comes. This responsibility that I am passing to one of you is both heavy and joyous, and I give it with my love.”

The choice.

The choice.

“Dahlia, I have chosen you.”

Dahlia’s face was shocked. Then her eyes lit up, and she squealed with glee and ran off to dress up for the party, calling back over her shoulder, “You won’t regret this, Mom! I’ll make you proud!”

After Dahlia had gone, Flora turned to her other daughter, who was standing there looking shell-shocked. “Fern, dear, I know you must be surprised. I had thought once that you would be the one, with your gentle homebody ways. But lately, I have seen something in you grow hard and cold, and it makes me very sad. You will have a place in this home as long as you desire, and I will make sure that Dahlia knows that, but an icy heart is not good for a warm, growing garden or family. I hope that in time your heart will warm and beat with that caring rhythm I used to see in you.”

Consolation.

Consolation.

With a gentle smile, Flora went to change for the party. Fern tried to pull it together as she dressed in a chic new outfit. Meanwhile, Dahlia was primping in front of the mirror.

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It was almost a blur to the girls, for different reasons, as their friends arrived and gathered around the two cakes.

Fern gets ready to taste bittersweet icing.

Fern gets ready to taste bittersweet icing.

Dahlia is so excited she can hardly stand it!

Dahlia is so excited she can hardly stand it!

Dahlia goes to meet the world head on.

Dahlia goes to meet the world head on.

The next morning, the twins prepared to face the world in their new status as young adults. Dahlia dressed in a new outfit and went out with confidence to meet the world. Fern, on the other hand, snickered to herself as she experimented with some darker colors for her makeup and clothes. “If they want to see me as cold and dark, then that’s what I’ll be.” And from that face that had been so sweet and loving as a child came a coldly evil little laugh.

The descent of Fern.

The descent of Fern.

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Not to be outdone, Abe didn’t wait long to have a birthday of his own. Surrounded by the family, he approached the cake.

Lose your noisemaker, Fern?

Lose your noisemaker, Fern?

Abe received a green shirt for his birthday without even asking for it!

Abe received a green shirt for his birthday without even asking for it!

Fern and Dahlia entered high school, developing more marked personalities. Dahlia always seemed to end up doing her homework at the breakfast table.

Cosine of theta? How should I know? It's the unimportant people who need to worry about that stuff.

Cosine of theta? How should I know? It's the unimportant people who need to worry about that stuff.

Her father wondered what she did all afternoon that kept her from getting her math and literature assignments done…

Hi, I'm Dahlia. I have big plans to be famous one day. And you?

Hi, I'm Dahlia. I have big plans to be famous one day. And you?

Oh, you're a babysitter? Does that earn much money? 'Cause money's good, you know.

Oh, you're a babysitter? Does that earn much money? 'Cause money's good, you know.

Fern, on the other hand, was discovering that gardening could be a relaxing pastime that helped relieve the stress of school. It was also something to do when miscellaneous noises woke her up in the early morning hours. She never could get back to sleep after something woke her up.

Here, thirsty plant, I'll give you a drink. I don't know what you are yet, but Mom does.

Here, thirsty plant, I'll give you a drink. I don't know what you are yet, but Mom does.

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Fern and Dahlia, even though they were very different, grew to be best friends. Fern would listen to Dahlia, even when she went on and on about herself. Dahlia also helped bring Fern out of her shell, introducing her to new friends and making her feel needed.

And what was Flora doing during all this? For one thing, she was moving quickly up the ladder at the Bistro. She poured her love and talent and creativity into every dish, and the restaurant recognized this. One of her fondest wishes was realized the day she was named a Five-Star Chef!

Flora rushed home that day to prepare a five-star meal for her family.

Flora rushed home that day to prepare a five-star meal for her family.

Of course, the career recognition was flattering, but it was not nearly as fulfilling as having a family who enjoyed her delectable creations. Sometimes her husband would even come to the table in formal wear, joking that her dishes demanded it!

Is that tarragon? Shhh, that's my secret.

Is that tarragon? Shhh, that's my secret.

Abe sports his formal orchestra wear for the evening meal.

Abe sports his formal orchestra wear for the evening meal.

Flora was becoming well known, not just for her culinary skills, but also for her gardening and fishing talents. The owner of the theatre heard about her through Abe, who worked there, and asked her to bring in a hard-to-catch fish, the Tragic Clownfish, to use as a special prop in an upcoming performance. She delivered it right on time.

Flora gets paid for fishing - can't beat that!

Flora gets paid for fishing - can't beat that!

But a disturbing thing happened on the way home. She was sure she had told the cab driver the right address. How could she not know her own address? But this was definitely not it. Flora tried to think hard and remember just what she had told the cabbie, but it just seemed foggy. What was happening to her?

This isn't home. How did Flora end up here?

This isn't home. How did Flora end up here?

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Screenshot-110One of Flora’s favorite times of day was dusk. She could look back over the day, over recent weeks, months, and years, and consider what was growing in her life. She liked to look around her home and see the Abe’s artwork on the walls, Dahlia’s homework on the table, the book Fern was reading on the floor. These were signs of life, of an active family. These days had been busy ones, with each of the family members going after their hopes and dreams.

Fern and Dahlia building skills as they build block towers

Fern and Dahlia building skills as they build block towers

Abe has found a boo-proof place to practice his tunes

If they boo here, Abe can say it's not a comment on the music, it's just what ghosts do!

Flora nearing perfection of her cooking skills

Flora nearing perfection of her cooking skills

Like mother, like daughter – Dahlia tests her baking skills

Like mother, like daughter – Dahlia tests her baking skills

Flora was pleased that Abe was advancing in his music career, as she was in her own path at the Bistro. It made her smile to watch their girls grow and try their hands at so many different things. They both enjoyed their Mini-Bake Oven, and Dahlia was learning to fish while Fern was discovering the game of chess. Flora wondered what they would decide to do with their lives. Her mind began to weigh the possibilities of the girls coming to share her love of this green, glowing place on the hill. Would one of them want to inherit it to nurture it along with a family of her very own one day? Time would tell…

Dahlia rides like the wind with no fear of the big hill ahead

Dahlia rides like the wind with no fear of the big hill ahead

Fern surveys Legacy Valley from her perch high on the playground

Fern surveys Legacy Valley from her perch high on the playground

For now, riding their bikes, going to school, playing, and learning were filling their lives. And at the end of the day, they all came together for some family time, even after a rough day at work.

OK, maybe the Bistro needs to switch from gas ovens back to electric

OK, maybe the Bistro needs to switch from gas ovens back to electric

But today was a day to celebrate. It was Flora’s birthday, and while some women might mind the arrival of gray hair and wrinkles, Flora viewed them as medals won. If she had wrinkles around her eyes from squinting against the sun as she lovingly tended her plants, then so be it. And if the gray hair started coming in, it was just evidence of loving concern for the trials her family might face in life. So Flora looked around at her family with satisfaction and gratitude and turned to face the candles.

Flora facing her birthday cake with happiness

Flora facing her birthday cake with happiness

Still in love

Still in love

A woman with healthy self-confidence and love for those around her is beautiful no matter what her age, as Abe told Flora later that night.

There were other birthday girls in the house that week; it was time for the twins to officially become teenagers! Their parents threw a big party for them and set up the cakes outside.

First went Fern…

First went Fern…

…and then Dahlia blew out her candles

…and then Dahlia blew out her candles

Before Flora and Abe’s eyes, the girls became teenagers. They looked at them – Fern on the left, and Dahlia on the right – with love, pride, hope, and a little bit of wonder as to what they would become.

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Screenshot-106“It seems like just yesterday,” Flora thought, “that Abe and I brought them home from the hospital. We cared for them like tender little seedlings, and they’ve grown so fast!” As she watered her garden, she thought back to the first few days after the girls were born.

Screenshot-87They were so demanding, and when Dahlia cried, Fern woke up and cried. Such a light sleeper! But the midnight feedings were a labor of love to Flora. She imagined her mother getting up in the middle of the night to care for her, and a wistful, grateful smile danced across her face.

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The girls grew into toddlers quickly, and they loved to bang on their xylophone and play with their colorful blocks. Dahlia especially liked it when Flora put their block table outside in the sunshine.

Screenshot-95-cropOf course, not everything was perfect. They did have some off days, such as the day that Abe welcomed Flora home with a triumphant hug, saying that he had learned to paint, when the evidence on the easel said otherwise.

And then there was the day that the stink from the toddler potty got so bad that it made Dahlia think of the Grim Reaper and act a little possessed.

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But even while teaching the girls the things they needed to know, Abe still managed to get promoted to Stagehand, and Flora was promoted to Sous-Chef! And before they knew it, the girls’ birthday had rolled around.

Fern sparkles as the eldest of the twins.

Fern sparkles as the eldest of the twins.

Dahlia has got the teenage eye roll down early!

Dahlia has got the teenage eye roll down early!

The sound of splashing water brought Flora out of her reverie suddenly, as she realized she had been watering her shoes for the last few seconds of her daydreaming. “Am I too involved in their lives? Am I setting my expectations too high? Do my daughters want the same family bond to be passed down through the generations, like an heirloom rose?”

If Flora could have seen her girls right then, and known that they were in their room talking animatedly and happily of her, she wouldn’t even have minded the cold squish of her waterlogged shoes as she walked back to the house.

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Although Flora loved spending time outdoors, she was practical enough to realize the need for walls and a roof. She had found a contractor who was very understanding and would build her house as she had the funds to do it. She kept fishing and gardening not only to keep her own kitchen stocked, but to sell to the local market as well.

Of course, she and Abe were spending all the time they could together, and they both knew the inevitable outcome. They were destined to be together. So a proposal wouldn’t have been shocking, except that it was Flora who proposed. She got a big kick out of the look on his face!

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They had a quiet, casual wedding on the lawn behind the house, overlooking the sea. They didn’t have money or vacation days for a honeymoon, but the little love nest as they called it proved to be very cozy.

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Soon Flora noticed that her clothes were fitting a little tighter, and she was feeling some strange sensations. During her next trip to the bookstore – hey, a sale! – she picked up a pregnancy book along with some recipe books, and what she learned confirmed her suspicions. A little one was on the way! Abe – sporting his new makeover – seemed nervous about whether he would be a good enough father, but Flora reassured him. While on maternity leave, she took care of the garden and gave him the pregnancy book to read so he could know what to expect, too.

Don't you just love neurotic sims?

Don't you just love neurotic sims?

The time passed quickly, and it was time to go to the hospital. Abe had a panic attack for a moment, but then he pulled it together and met Flora there. After several hours, there was Flora coming out of the hospital with little Fern.

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And there comes Abe with Dahlia. Yes, they’ve had twins! Flora’s dreams of a home and a family are coming true.

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Flora is on a mission. Don't get in this woman's way!

The next day, Flora was a woman on a mission. She awoke with a clear mind, tended her lush green garden, and went to work with determination. She was rewarded with a promotion, which pleased her but was not the most important thing on her list that evening. She was determined to find out if her relationship with Christopher Steele was going to go forward or not. So she went right after work to his house.

He seemed glad to see her, but after chatting for just a moment he excused himself to the restroom. When he didn’t return after a few minutes, Flora tired of waiting and went after him. No way was he going to hide out in the bathroom to avoid this conversation!

“Chris, we’ve become very close over the last week, and you know you’re very special to me,” she began.

“And you’re a very good friend to me,” Chris interrupted hurriedly.

“Friend. Hmm. Chris, we’re both adults now. We’re not just kids, and I, for one, have a desire, a need, to build a family, a life, a legacy with someone. I want someone to share my heart with, through the good and the bad. Do you want that, too?” Flora asked him point-blank.

Chris put a hand to his heart and gave her a goofy grin. He opened his mouth, then shut it again. Flora waited. “Wow, Flora, you know I sure do like you… um…” Chris’s voice drifted off into a gaping void between them.

Flora thought of the time they’d spent together, the good talks they’d had, the laughs they’d shared, and the hopes she’d had for them as a couple. She looked at him and finally saw him as a scared little boy who couldn’t bring himself to take the next step. In her mind, she took the romantic feelings she had had for him and tucked them into a scrapbook of her life history. It was time to move on. What was that phrase that she remembered her mother reading? “Time to put away childish things…” Flora turned and left.

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The next night at work, Flora was chatting over the cutting board with her co-workers when her boss came in and asked her to scout out the other restaurant in town and report back. “You can take someone with you if you like. That way you can sample more dishes,” Molly said. It sounded like a real opportunity to impress her boss and help the Bistro, so Flora said she would do it.

Flora had the next day off, and while she was getting ready to go to the diner, she thought about how much she liked working at the Bistro and what good friends she had made there. She decided to call up one of her co-workers, Abraham Finkel, to see if he wanted to go check out the diner with her.

Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer…

Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer…

He sounded pleasantly surprised when she called, and he got to the diner just as she did. They went in, ordered, and sat for hours talking. They talked about food, work, life in Legacy Valley, and just about everything. By the end of the meal, it was as if they had known each other for years. Because the diner’s food was really heavy, they decided to go for a walk after they ate. And before Flora knew it, they were slowing down, lingering by some flowering shrubs, and suddenly Abe was leaning in toward her with a very warm look in his eyes. Her heart gave a little flip, and then their lips met.

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They didn’t want to say good night, but they were both tired, so they agreed to meet the next day in the park before work. As they stood and chatted in the sunshine, who should walk by but Chris! And walk by. And walk by again. Really, how childish!

So you're a stalker now?

So you're a stalker now?

We can hear you talking about us, you know.

We can hear you talking about us, you know.

Flora wouldn’t let it bother her, though. She was falling for Abraham more and more with every passing minute. She was moving up in her career, too. Despite a mishap with a flambe order, she still got a promotion to pastry chef.

It was not supposed to be Flora flambee!

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Flora’s work as a recipe taster kept her pretty busy, especially when her boss asked her to help out with a catering job at the Science Center on her day off. That extra cash did help though, and the time spent in that weird little kitchen – who keeps beakers next to champagne flutes, anyway? – helped Flora get to know her co-workers better.

She still enjoyed tending her garden, not just because of the good memories it brought of her parents, but also because she loved to help tender little green things put down roots, grow strong, and produce fruit. She was working on her own roots in her new home, and she was growing stronger as she gained skills and experience. The fruit thing, though, that was a problem.

Flora desperately wanted a family. She remembered how happy she had been as a young child, before the accident. She wanted to have a husband to love and children to care for. Chris seemed like he might be the one, but… they just never seemed to be able to take it to the next level. He got in the habit of waiting for her outside the Bistro, and they grabbed minutes late at night after she got off work or in the early afternoon at the park, but although they flirted and laughed with each other, there just never seemed to be an opening for her to tell him her true feelings. She knew he wasn’t involved with anyone else, so what was the hangup?

Chris devours a book while waiting for Flora to finish work.

Chris devours a book while waiting for Flora to finish work.

Flirtatious joke – he gets all the joke and none of the flirt!

Flirtatious joke – he gets all the joke and none of the flirt!

Moonlight, stars, waterfall – how does he miss the romantic opportunities?

Moonlight, stars, waterfall – how does he miss the romantic opportunities?

Meanwhile, her body was feeling the ticking of the biological clock. Her birthday rolled around and brought her face to face with the reality that she was no longer a fresh, young blossom, but a woman in full bloom. She had been able to grow a healthy, diverse garden and she had just managed to complete a one-room house (although she still preferred to sleep under the stars). Who cared if no one – not even Chris – came to her birthday party?

Flora's little bungalow

Flora's little bungalow

That's a brave smile, Flora, but we know better.

That's a brave smile, Flora, but we know better.

After she put away her noisemaker and the leftover cake, Flora had to admit that she did. She cared.

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