The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 30


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The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 30

  1. 1. Now that the War Years Saga is all wrapped up, it’s time to return to regular legacy programming. If you didn’t read the five chapters about World War II, he’s a (very) quick recap. Rosalie got married and her husband spent the war stateside, but her little brother Gilbert joined the Marines and was killed on Iwo Simwa. Walter didn’t propose to Shirley before he went to serve as an MP in SimEurope, and she spent the war working as a Rosie the Riveter. Alice had Steven, our generation 8 heir, while Nick was off serving as a doctor in the Army, and he was badly injured during the Battle of the Bulge but survived to come home and have more cute redheaded babies with Alice. Dotty met a dashing young Lieutenant while at college and got married after a whirlwind courtship, only to have her Edward killed during the D-Day invasion. Danny became a lieutenant in the Navy (despite a constant battle with seasickness), and was stationed in occupied Simpan post-war where he met and married a Geisha girl named Sakura, who he brought back to Simsfield with him. This chapter picks up about 5 years after the war ends, so the babies and toddlers you remember are kids now. But don’t worry, as it’s the Baby Boom and there are plenty of new faces to coo over. As a note, I’ve changed default skins & eyes, so folks may look a little different. I’ve also made the switch from the in-game camera to a screen capture program. I think that’s all. Please enjoy Chapter 30 of the Bradford Legacy.
  2. 2. The war had been over for several years, and the residents of Simsfield and Portsimouth had settled back into the lives they had led before their world had been turned upside down. There were some changes, as it was impossible for life to return completely back to the way it once was, after all that everyone had endured.
  3. 3. The Thornes had wasted no time in expanding their family. Since their twins, Douglas and Franklin, had been born not long after the war, they’d added six more children to their family. They’d added two daughters, Veronica and Marjorie, then three more sons Elmer, Wayne and Theodore, and wrapped it up with another daughter, Jacqueline. Calla and Taddy delighted in all their grandchildren, primarily because they provided much needed distractions from the painful memory of the loss of their son Gilbert during the war. They’d thought that perhaps Bruce and Rosalie might have named one of their sons after Gilbert, but Rosalie admittedly refused. It continued to be a point of contention between parents and daughter. Rosalie relished in her role as mother to eight children, but it certainly meant a lot of sacrifices. There was virtually no time to see her friends outside of the occasional play dates, and there were days where she swore she was busy from sunrise to well past sunset. Still, she reminded herself when the days seemed like they would never end, they would all be in school soon enough and that would give her a few moments to herself. Bruce kept himself busy with work, and was often oblivious to the chaos that was his household during the day. Rosalie, ever the consummate housewife, made sure that the house and children were tidied and dinner ready every night when he came home. He bragged about his wife to everyone who would listen, and that made Rosalie very proud.
  4. 4. After their wedding, Walter and Shirley had settled into one of the many new houses in the subdivisions that were cropping up all over Simsfield. Shirley had been armament that there was no way she was living under the same roof as Walter’s mother, and the old Governor’s mansion where the Gavigans had resided since the founding of Simsfield creeped her out big time. After several years of trying, they were finally blessed with a son they named Dwight. He was the apple of his parents’ eye, and spoiled rotten because of his only child status. As the years continued to pass and Dwight didn’t gain any siblings, Shirley fretted over why that was. She wanted nothing more than for her son to have a brother or sister. Owing to his being an MP during the war, Walter ended up joining the Simsfield Police Department. Patrolling the streets of his small hometown certainly wasn’t as exciting as he’d found his MP work, but the monotony was exactly what he was looking for. Shirley, on the other hand, often found herself longing for days past as she struggled to fall into the role of housewife and then mother. The brief taste of being a working woman she’d had during her stint as a Rosie the Riveter had left her wanting more than what could be afforded now. Married women just didn’t work, unless it was for a family business and since her father had sold McCarthy’s General Store not long after the war ended she had no options. Things got better after Dwight was born, but only marginally. All it took was an encounter with Rosalie to make Shirley feel completely inadequate in all areas of homemaking.
  5. 5. Shirley’s brother Howie had settled back into life in Simsfield with his Ausimstralian bride very nicely. Jessica was a wonderful mother to their two children, and she became a fast favorite with Viola by helping with her mother-in-law’s artwork. Howie, owing to the leg injury that he sustained in the war, was limited to desk work which he wasn’t thrilled about. Still, his experience of working in intelligence during the war allowed him to secure a job working for the FBI, something that made Sterling extremely proud. Because of the nature of his work, Howie wasn’t able to discuss any of what he did while at the office, but everyone knew that the Alcott boy was doing “important work for the government” and treated him with a great deal of respect.
  6. 6. Danny, after having completed his bachelor’s degree using the GI Bill, was teaching history and social studies at the newly built Simsfield High School. He was also coaching the basketball team, something that he found himself loving. Add that to spending time with his three children, and Danny couldn’t have been happier. Sakura too was happy, though her happiness was often marred by the occasional run-in with one of the few residents of Simsfield who wasn’t thrilled about her being there. On the nights after those encounters, Sakura often had nightmares. She refused to tell Danny what they were about, but from her cries he guessed that they were about him leaving her after “coming to his senses.” He did everything in his power to reassure her that such a thing would never happen.
  7. 7. Dotty was still nursing, and she loved her job even more than she’d ever thought possible. Helping people, especially new mothers as they welcomed their babies into the world, was so rewarding. There were times when it was hard, when the happy little families made her ache for her dead husband and the children that she would now never have with him. Still, she did her best to shake those feelings off, and she was usually successful. Usually. In her free time, Dotty had begun to travel. First, she was determined to see as much of Simerica as she could, but she was busy planning and saving for a trip to SimEurope. She wanted to see the great old cities that Nick and Walter had brought home pictures of, and she needed to pay a visit to Simmandy, to say a final goodbye to Edward. She was excited about and dreading the trip at the same time.
  8. 8. Then there was Nick and Alice.
  9. 9. Nick, though he struggled at first, had made the adjustment back into civilian life quite well. He was really enjoying his work at the local hospital, and he was considering opening his own practice in the not-toodistant future. It was also nice to have somewhat regular hours, and to be able to take Alice out on regular dates. Alice was just happy that Nick was home, safe, after everything that had happened. For the first time in her life, she was truly happy. Between taking care of her family and helping Cindy manage the household, she couldn’t have asked for a better life.
  10. 10. And speaking of the family, Steven now had two little sisters to play with. Margaret, who everyone called Peggy, was three and a half years younger than her brother, but they were still close. Then Nettie, properly called Annette, had come along two years after her sister. The three Bradford children were the apples of their parents and grandparents eyes. James and Cindy were enjoying their golden years. Though Cindy had been apprehensive about parenthood, she had no such reservations about grandparenthood. She doted on Steven, Peggy, Nettie, Susan, Michael, and Jonathan. James no longer tried to pretend that he was a big tough guy, and openly had tea parties with his granddaughters. He also enjoyed taking his sons and grandsons into the city to see the Portsimouth Blue Stockings play baseball for what he referred to as “man time.” All in all, the Bradfords were a very happy bunch.
  11. 11. But even thought things seemed idyllic on the surface, there were still a plethora things that had the citizens of Simsfield concerned. First and foremost were the worries everyone had over the Simviet Union and their support of Simmunism that reached all of Eastern SimEurope and was pushing beyond into the Far East with the victory of the Simmunists in SimChina’s civil war. Add that to the fact that the Simviets now had nuclear weapons and everyone was concerned about what this would mean for Simerica.
  12. 12. Whenever Nick and Walter worked an overnight shift, they met up for a very late meal and coffee at the diner that had opened across the street from the Simsfield hospital. They ate food that their wives would certainly not have approved of, and they stayed caught up on each other’s lives. Inevitably, discussion turned to current events, and Simmunism was always a hot topic. Walter, in an attempt to impress his father-in-law Sterling had taken up quite the anti-Simmunist party line. Nick, who took most of his opinions from James (who in turn took them from Sterling), was usually in agreement with his friend. There were still times, however, that they didn’t always see things in the same light.
  13. 13. “Look, I understand that some people are going to slip through the cracks. I just don’t think that McSimthy’s got all his facts straight. Two hundred seems like an awful lot to have gone unnoticed,” Nick said as he sipped his coffee. “Really? It’s not like Simmunists are going around announcing what they are, so unless someone’s specifically asked who’s going to know?” Walter retorted. “Well, then isn’t it the State Department’s job to make sure that question gets asked?” Walter made a face. “Do you really think a Simmunist embedded in the State Department is going to admit to it after a simple question?” “Touché, my friend,” Nick replied, raising his coffee mug.
  14. 14. The two men dug into their food again, and remained lost in their own thoughts for a few minutes. “I’m not saying that there’s no chance whatsoever that there are Simmies working for the government. I’d be an idiot if I thought otherwise,” Nick said between bites. “What bothers me is that McSimthy hasn’t named any names. If he knows who they are, why isn’t he telling anyone?” “I don’t know. Maybe he’s worried that the Simmies have infiltrated the CIA and the FBI and the like? I mean, if they’re in the State Department, they’re bound to be in other parts of the government.”
  15. 15. “I just…they were our allies, you know? And now this?” Walter nodded. “See, Nick, that’s part of your problem. Just because we worked with them once doesn’t mean that we’re friends. Even then we didn’t agree with the Simviets on much, except defeating the Simmans and the Simpanese. Sterling’s always going on about how we shouldn’t have trusted them, and I guess he was right.” “It’s more…I don’t know. You and I and a whole bunch of other guys we know fought and died to make this world a better place for our children and their children after. I guess I’m not sure what the point was, if we just exchanged one enemy for another.”
  16. 16. “We went to war to stop a great evil, and we did that. How were we to know that it would result in the creation of another?” Nick smirked across the table. “Well, according to Uncle Sterling it was the only possible outcome.” Walter laughed. “I forget sometimes that Alice worked for him when we were in college. Did he rant about the Simviets back then too?” “Yup. Maybe not as much as he does now, since they were helping us. ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and all that. Poor Alice got the worst of it, since the other lawyers weren’t of the same mind as him, and she was the only one who would put up with listening to him. Of course, it does seem like he had them pegged from the get-go, while the rest of us, myself included, thought that the alliance meant something more.”
  17. 17. Walter grew somber. “I guess this is what happens after the common enemy is destroyed. We go back to not trusting each other.” “More than not trusting. Now we go back to covertly trying to undermine each other. I have a feeling that things are going to get worse before they get better.” “I hope you’re wrong. Can it really get worse than Simmies in our government?” “I hope I’m wrong too. But my gut is telling me I’m not.” At that moment, the waitress brought their check, and Nick snatched it away. “My turn. You get the next one.” “Thanks, Nick.” *****
  18. 18. Alice collapsed on the park bench next to Shirley as Steven and Peggy ran off to join their friends on the playground. “Where’s Nettie?” the brunette asked. “With Cindy. She’s been getting into everything lately, and I needed a break. Thank goodness that those two are in school most of the day, or I’d be losing my mind.”
  19. 19. Shirley nodded, her eyes scanning the playground where their children and several others from the neighborhood were running around. “Dwight! What did I tell you about jumping off the swings?” she shouted. “I swear that boy is going to crack his skull open one of these days.” Alice tried not to laugh, but she couldn’t help it. Shirley’s son didn’t understand the definition of consequences, and he was constantly getting himself into trouble. “Sure, laugh all you want,” Shirley grumbled. “I’m just grateful that it’s just him to look after. I don’t know what I’d do if I had any more.”
  20. 20. Alice smiled sadly. Despite being married for over five years, Shirley and Walter still only had one child, their son Dwight. Everyone else that they knew had two or three kids, and Rosalie was attempting to outdo them all with a new baby nearly every year since Bruce came home from the war. Alice knew that it was a sore spot for Shirley, who wanted her son to at least have one sibling to play with. But thus far, it hadn’t been in the cards for them. “Have you seen anyone yet?” Alice asked. “I can ask Nick to recommend a specialist, if you want.” “Thanks, but no. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. I should probably just ask Rosalie what she does, considering every time Bruce so much as looks at her she ends up knocked up.” Even after all their years of friendship, Alice was still shocked by Shirley’s bluntness. “Is she coming today? I haven’t seen her in quite a while.”
  21. 21. Shirley shook her head. “With eight kids, it’s a wonder she ever leaves the house. If I were her, I’d tell my husband to keep it in his pants.” Alice gasped, and Shirley shrugged. “Don’t tell me you haven’t thought the same thing at some point. I swear the only time I hear from her is when she’s announcing a pregnancy, a birth, or a christening. It’s ridiculous. Sometimes I wonder if Rosalie as her own persons even exists anymore, or if she’s just morphed into being ‘Mom’ and ‘Mrs. Thorne’ entirely.” Alice shook her head. “It must be hard to raise so many children, especially considering how much Bruce is gone for work. My three may be a handful, but I have Nick and Cindy and James to help. I can’t imagine doing it practically on my own.” “Me either. It doesn’t help matters that Rosalie and Aunt Calla don’t exactly see eye to eye when it comes to raising children.”
  22. 22. Shirley sighed, and Alice took her hand. Shirley gave a small squeeze. “At least it means plenty of cousins for our kids to play with,” Alice said softly. “True,” Shirley said, remembering all the fun she’d had with Nick when they were children. “I guess cousins are almost as good as siblings.”
  23. 23. Shirley became lost in her own thoughts, and didn’t realize that she’d begun to voice them aloud. “I could be happy, with just Dwight. It would be nice for him to have a little brother or sister or two, like I did, but as you said, there’s plenty of cousins for him to play with. What really gets me is that Walt’s mom looks at me so judgmentally, like this is what I wanted to happen. Like because I’m not the domestic type I’m didn’t want to be a mom, so I’m doing this on purpose. And that makes me so mad! Who is she to judge me? Just because I don’t like cooking and cleaning and depending on someone else for my livelihood doesn’t mean that I don’t like being a mom!” “I know.” “I’m glad I had a boy, you know, and not just because the thought of pink frilly dresses gives me the willies. I’m glad because he’ll have the ability to do and be whatever he wants, and no one will look twice at him. A daughter wouldn’t be so lucky. She’d still have to conform to what society expects of her, whether or not that’s what she wants.” “Maybe someday, we’ll live in a world where our daughters will have the same opportunities that our sons do.” “I hope so, and I hope that I live to see such a world.”
  24. 24. They watched their children play for a while, each enjoying their brief moments of quiet. Alice watched the wistful expression on Shirley’s face, and her heart broke for her friend. “You know, if you want Dwight to have a brother or a sister, there are other options.” Shirley turned to look at Alice. “Oh?” “You and Walter could adopt, you know. There are lots of children out there that need good homes.” Shirley made a noncommittal “hmm,” and Alice didn’t press the issue. Alice said her piece, and now it was up to Shirley to decide what she wanted to do on her own. Alice just hoped that she’d consider it, as she wanted nothing more than to see her friend be happy, and it had been a long time since Shirley had been able to call herself happy. *****
  25. 25. James, Sterling, and Taddy still met up occasionally, though the novelty of going out for drinks had somewhat worn off since the repeal of Prohibition all those years ago. Still, it was a good way to catch up, and, for Taddy at least, to get a few hours of peace and quiet away from a houseful of grandchildren. Though James and Taddy had retired and were no longer working, Sterling still spent a few days a week at the law firm he had helped found. He rarely tried cases any longer, but he enjoyed the routine that work provided him. Going into the city every day meant that Sterling kept up on current events and politics, and he couldn’t help sharing his opinions with his friends.
  26. 26. “But half of the people McSimthy named don’t work for the State Department!” Sterling repeated to James and Taddy. “He’s got his own agenda, that’s for sure.” “So you don’t think Congress should take the time to investigate Simmunist activity in the government?” Taddy asked. “I did not say that. I’m saying that these hearings are a sham, and McSimthy’s ‘proof’ wouldn’t hold up in court of law. What’s he’s doing is conducting a modern-day witch hunt.”
  27. 27. “Well, someone has to root the Simmies out of the government,” James replied. “You may not agree with the methods, Sterling, but you have to admit that what he’s trying to do is the right thing.” “Making sure that the government is safe from Simmunist influence is absolutely the right thing to do, but it needs to be done in the right way. Simply accusing people of being Simmunists without any solid evidence to back it up isn’t the right way. In this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty. Even John Adamsim knew that the Brits accused in the Portsimouth Massacre deserved a fair trial, which is why he volunteered to defend them. If there are Simmunists in the government, and I’m sure there are, they deserve the benefit of due process. No one wins when we try people in the court of public opinion.” “Spoken like a true lawyer, Sterling,” James said. “But I doubt many people will see things your way.”
  28. 28. Sterling’s posture slumped a little. “Probably not. The fear mongering has already begun, and that’s nearly impossible to stop once it gets going.” “You don’t think they’re getting what they deserve?” Taddy asked. “If they’re really Simmies, especially if they’re using their position to spy on us, then yes, they deserve what they get. But we need to remember not to pass sentence before the verdict has been read, that’s all.”
  29. 29. “Easier said than done, I think,” James said. “Especially when anyone who disagrees with McSimthy gets accused of being a Simmunits.” “That’ll blow up in his face sooner or later,” Sterling predicted. “Until then, we’d all better watch our backs,” Taddy said. “No telling what might happen.” “Or who will get falsely accused in the process,” James added. “Indeed,” Sterling agreed. “As much as I’d like to be noble and ‘defend the enemy’ like Adamsim that would be the end of me, personally and professionally. “Nobility only goes so far, eh?” James smirked. “Until this mess blows over, association with any accused Simmunits is just too costly, not matter what my personal convictions.” *****
  30. 30. “You really don’t have anything to be worried about, Alice,” Cindy said, trying to soothe the younger woman. “How can you know that for sure?” the redhead cried. Cindy looked at her daughter-in-law, exasperated. “Are you certain you’re not pregnant again, because you’re being awful emotional.” “No, I’m not pregnant,” Alice retorted like an insolent teenager. “You’re getting yourself all worked up over nothing, honey.”
  31. 31. “It’s not nothing! We’re going to war again, and I’m worried that Nick will have to go back!” “Oh, honey,” Cindy said, as she gently guided Alice to sit down. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.” “But how do you know? They’ve drafted doctors already. Nick could be next.”
  32. 32. “First up, most of those doctors that have been drafted are quite a bit younger than Nick. It’ll take quite a while before his number might come up, if it ever does. He might actually be old enough that he doesn’t qualify for that anymore.” “That doesn’t mean that he won’t get roped into it somehow. You know how Nick is, always needing to be the hero.” “That is true, I must admit. But he also knows how much time he lost, and I doubt he’s planning on doing anything like that. Besides, he is old by military standards now. If, and it’s a big if, he did have to serve somehow, I doubt they’d send him out of the country. He’s be stuck stateside somewhere.”
  33. 33. Alice sighed. “My head tells me that you’re right, but my heart’s another story. I nearly lost him to a war once before, Cindy. I don’t think I could take it again.” “None of us could, honey. But just because we’ve gone to war again doesn’t mean we need to jump right to worst case scenarios.” Alice smiled weakly. “How are you always the voice of reason?” “Years of living with James. He tends to work himself up a bit too when he’s upset.” “I have noticed that,” Alice replied.
  34. 34. “Now, what’s this about war again? Are we actually going to intervene in SimKorea?” Alice nodded. “It was on the radio and in the paper today. Along with the UN forces, we’re going to make a stand against the North SimKorean Simmunists invading the peninsula. Something about trying to stop them before they end up doing what Simmany did in SimEurope.” Cindy made a noise in her throat. “Well, I suppose now that we’re one of the most powerful countries in the world we’ll be running around sticking our noses in everyone’s business.” “You don’t think we should do our part to prevent the spread of Simmunism?” Alice asked, shocked. “You’ve been spending too much time with Sterling’s opinions, I think.” “Occupational hazard from my years working for him in college.”
  35. 35. Cindy laughed. “Simmunists, more specifically the Simviets themselves, aren’t to be trusted. But I’m not sure it should be our job and our job alone to stomp them out. There are plenty of others who have just as much to lose if it spreads, and they should do their part too.” “And they are; the UN is involved.” Cindy nodded. “Well, that’s good. But to tell you the truth, I’m sick of war.” “So am I. I hope that my kids don’t have to go through what Nick and I did.” *****
  36. 36. Dwight Gavigan and Veronica Thorne, Rosalie and Bruce’s eldest girl, had gone over to Shirley and Walter’s to work on a project for school. While Shirley had never exactly gotten on with Rosalie when they were children (nor as adults for that matter), Shirley had give her friend credit for doing an excellent job raising her children. Veronica was polite, respectful, and she’d even offered to help clean up from their after school snack. When Rosalie came by to fetch her daughter later that afternoon, Shirley could see that the strain of having eight kids was starting to catch up with Rosalie. Though her appearance was impeccable as it always was, Shirley could see that her skin was a little dull, and that Rosalie was trying to disguise dark circles under her eyes. “Come in for a minute; Dwight and Veronica are just finishing up. Can I offer you something?”
  37. 37. Rosalie had protested, but only weakly. She came in and sat down, looking as if it were something she hadn’t done in a long time. “Oh my, that feels nice. I swear every time I sit down someone else starts calling for ‘Mommy’ and I’m off again. You really have no idea how lucky you are, Shirley, to just have Dwight. I love all my children dearly, but I’ll admit it’s much easier with some of them in school during the day.” Shirley clenched her jaw, not wanting to lose her temper when her son was within earshot. “I don’t know if I’d call it luck only having one kid. Walter and I would very much like for Dwight to have a sibling, but so far it’s not happened.” “You know, Shirley, if you’d just relax and stop worrying about it, I’m sure that you’d be in the family way in no time. I never worried about having children, and look how blessed I was.”
  38. 38. Shirley put down her teacup, afraid that in trying to reign in her anger she’d break it. “Oh, Rosalie, I don’t know if being blessed is what is so much as not being able to keep your legs crossed every once and a while.” Rosalie gasped. “There’s no need to be vulgar.” “What? I’m just telling it like it is. Maybe you wouldn’t be worrying about what to do all day with all those kids if you were able to say ‘no’ to Bruce everyone once and a while. Speaking of your charming husband, what does he do to help you?” “He works hard all day to provide a good life for us. When he gets home from work, which is rather late I must say, he deserves to put his feet up for a while and relax.”
  39. 39. Shirley snorted. “Rosalie Seiff, you’re a piece of work. You let that husband of yours get away with everything, and what do you get in return? The privilege of wrangling all of those kids all by yourself? Being allowed to wait on him hand and foot? You’ve got no one to blame but yourself for the situation you’re in.” “I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do,” Rosalie retorted. “I’m a good wife and a good mother. That’s what we should all strive for.” Shirley shook her head. “Some of us don’t need a man to define our role in this world. Do you think Dotty is less of a woman because she’s not married and has no kids?” “Poor Dorothy was widowed. That’s not her fault. Eventually, though, I’m sure she’ll find someone else to settle down with and have a family.” “And if she doesn’t? Does that make her a bad person?”
  40. 40. Rosalie got up, shaking. “A woman’s place is in the home.” “Really? Then how the hell did I do so well at shipbuilding?” “Those were extenuating circumstances, and look what it did to you! Before the war, you never would have even considered doing anything else than what you’re doing now.” Shirley got up as well. “If you think that, then you don’t know me at all. I never really wanted to be a housewife, but I didn’t realize there were any other options out there for me. All the war did was show me that I did have options.” “Those were never options, Shirley. They were meant to be temporary distractions, which you apparently can’t let go of.”
  41. 41. “Oh, can it, Rose. March your perfect self back to your perfect house with your perfect kids and your perfect husband.” “I shall. And for future reference, it’s Rosalie Thorne.” “Must be lonely up there on your high horse,” Shirley retorted. “Veronica! It’s time to go!” Rosalie called.
  42. 42. Dwight and Veronica came into the room. “Say goodbye and thank you to the Gavigans, dear.” “Goodbye, Walter, Mrs. Gavigan. Thank you for the snack.” “You’re welcome, honey,” Shirley smiled. “Have a good night.” Rosalie hurried her daughter out of the house, giving Shirley one last glare as she did so. Shirley sighed, and sank back down onto the couch.
  43. 43. “Mom? What was that all about?” Shirley looked up to see her son looking back at her, worried. “Nothing, Dwight. Mrs. Thorne and I just had a little fight, and I don’t think she’s too happy with me right now.” “Fighting’s not nice, Mom,” he said in a serious tone. “No, it’s not. But sometimes, grown ups just don’t see things the same way, and they can’t help it. Don’t worry about it.” “You should call her and make up.” “Maybe tomorrow,” Shirley said. “I don’t thinks she’s in a place where she can listen right now.” *****
  44. 44. “Nick, dear, put the paper away. It’s time for dinner,” Alice said. When he didn’t do as he was bid, she snatched it out of his hands. “I wasn’t done reading that,” he pouted. “It will be there when dinner’s done,” she replied, folding the newspaper and setting it aside. “What had your rapt attention, son?” James asked. “I was reading about the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, if you must know,” Nick replied, playfully glaring at Alice.
  45. 45. “It’s gotten ratified, then” James said as he turned his attention to the plate in front of him. “Yup. Despite Massimchusetts’ best efforts, it’s law now. Minnesimta passed it, and that makes three quarters of the states.” “What’s the amendment about, Dad?” Steven asked. “Well, it prevents someone from being elected president to more than two terms,” Nick replied. “Why?” “Because everyone got really upset at Roosimvelt for running for and winning elections for a third and fourth term.”
  46. 46. Steven’s face got very serious. “Did President Roosimvelt do a bad job during those terms? Is that why people don’t want someone to be president more than twice?” James laughed. “Not exactly, kiddo. A very long time ago, Simerica fought a war to free us from Simlish rule. They have a king, and he would rule for life, and we Simericans didn’t like that so much. So when someone, even someone as great as President Roosimvelt, tries to hold power for too long, it makes people nervous.” “But why didn’t they do it sooner? The Revolutionary War was a really, really, really long time ago.”
  47. 47. “They didn’t have a reason to before. President Washsimton started a tradition of only serving two terms, and until now everyone pretty much stuck to that. With the war and everything, Roosimvelt felt that consistency was important, so he ran again and again,” Nick said. “But no one else will be able to do that again now,” James added. “Even though Massimchusetts didn’t pass it?” Steven asked. “Even then, because enough other states did. That’s how it works, Steven,” Nick said. “If enough states want it, it becomes law.”
  48. 48. Steven returned to his dinner, a contemplative look on his face. “I guess that’s fair. At least they didn’t do it because they thought President Roosimvelt didn’t do a good job. Because I think he did.” “Well, then,” James said. “That settles it, then.” *****
  49. 49. Nick looked up as the front door opened, expecting one of his three children to scramble into the house. Instead, it was his father, and he didn’t look very happy. “What’s eating at you?” Nick asked. James came into the room and flopped onto the sofa. “We need to buy a television,” James grumbled. “Come again?” James gave Nick a look. “A television. Those boxes that receive transmissions of pictures and sound? I’m sure you’ve heard of them.” “I have, but I’m not understanding our ‘need’ to buy one.”
  50. 50. “Well, ‘need’ might be a big strong of a word. I want us to buy one. How’s that?” “Better, but I still don’t understand why. They’ve been out for a while, so why now?” James mumbled something under his breath, and Nick shook his head. “I didn’t quite catch that, Dad.” “I want to watch soap operas, okay?” Nick couldn’t help the explosion of laugher that followed his father’s admission. “Oh, sure. Laugh all you want at the old man who wants to be entertained during his golden years.”
  51. 51. “I’m sorry, Dad,” Nick said as he attempted to regain his composure. “I just never imagined you getting hooked on soap operas. Mom or Alice, yes. But you, no.” “Blame your Uncle Taddy. He started watching after Rosalie insisted Bruce buy her a TV so the family would have something to do together. Personally, I think wanted it to distract the passel of kids she has so she could have five seconds to herself every now and then. But I digress. Taddy started watching soaps because Rosalie had them on during the day, and now he’s hooked. Then he goes and talks about them to me and Sterling when we’re out, and I might have teased him about it, so he insisted I see part of one before I judged so I did.” “And you couldn’t stop watching.” “Damn it, no I couldn’t. They suck you in with the characters and their stories and all the drama. I’d be more ashamed of myself if I wasn’t so damned invested in it all.”
  52. 52. “So, you want to watch soap operas, which you’ve been doing with Uncle Taddy. What I don’t understand is why you can’t keep doing it at Uncle Taddy’s house, where there’s already a television.” James gave his son a “are you kidding me?” look. “When was the last time you were over their house?” Nick shrugged. “It’s been a while.” “Well, let me tell you something. It’s a zoo. Eight kids, a couple of them still in diapers, plus Rosalie and her superiority complex plus Bruce and his holier-than-thou attitude. It’s more than a man can stand sometimes.” “And if we buy a television, you can watch your soap operas in peace.” “Exactly!”
  53. 53. Nick hesitated. “They’re kind of expensive, you know.” “You’re a doctor, son. You make good money. Plus, since Uncle Sam was kind enough to pay for your medical schooling, I know you don’t have a lot of debt.” “If you want a television so much, why don’t you just buy one yourself?” “Because it’s something the whole family would use, so I thought it should be a family purchase.” Nick ran his hand through his hair. “I’d have to talk to Alice about it first.” James smirked. Nick didn’t yet know it, but James and Alice had already talked about buying a television, and she was in favor of it. “Well, you do that, son. I know your mother would have my hide if I made a big decision like that without asking her first.” “Thanks, Dad. I’ll talk to her tonight, and we should have a decision soon.”
  54. 54. A week later, the old game room had been rearranged to become the home of the Bradford family’s brand spanking new television set. It was, as Peggy had said, bigger than Aunt Rosalie’s, and much nicer.
  55. 55. The entire family enjoyed the new technological addition. Nettie, Peggy, and Steven enjoyed the programs that were on in the afternoons aimed at children, though Steven still preferred spending time playing chess or reading one of the many books in the library.
  56. 56. Alice and Cindy enjoyed the variety programs that were on at various times during the day. Cindy wistfully wished that she were younger, as she would have loved to be on such a show.
  57. 57. Nick found himself enjoying the newfangled sitcoms that were on in the evenings, especially the one about the crazy antics a redheaded lady named Lucy got up to.
  58. 58. Sunday evenings found the entire family gathered around set watching the Ed Simivan Show, which showcased different forms of entertainment including opera singers, ballet dancers, circus acts, comedians, and other acts.
  59. 59. And James commandeered the television in the afternoons, so he could watch his soap operas. Often, Taddy joined him, reveling in the peace and quiet that the Bradford house offered him. No one dared tease James about his latest obsession to his face, but Cindy and Alice would frequently giggle in the kitchen about how James was now acting “like an old woman.” *****
  60. 60. Nick sighed as he came into the room, causing Alice to glance up from the homework she was helping Steven with. “Something wrong, darling?” “There was just an announcement on the television. King George died this morning, which means his eldest daughter Elizabeth is now the queen.” “Oh, how horrible. He wasn’t that old, was he?” Nick shook his head. “No, only 56.” Alice frowned. “I feel bad for the new queen. She’s so young…” “Just 25,” Nick interjected. “…and I’m sure there’s so much more she wishes her father could have taught her.”
  61. 61. Nick nodded as he sat down. “I met him once, King George. Well, he came to visit the hospital where I was working, to check on how his soldiers were recovering and I saw him is more like it.. I remember thinking that he must be a pretty great king, to take the time to do something like that when I’m sure there were a million other war related things that he could have been doing.” “I remember you writing home about that. Dotty was over the moon hearing that someone she knew had been in the same room as a member of the Simlish royal family.” Nick smiled fondly. “I can’t help but wonder if he might have lived longer, if he hadn’t had to deal with the strain of leading his country through a world war.” “The stress couldn’t have been good for him.” “No, nor did having the crown suddenly thrust upon him when his brother decided to abdicate.”
  62. 62. Steven looked up from his homework. “What’s ‘abdicate?’” “It means to give up the throne. King George’s older brother Edward was king, but he decided to abdicate not even a year later.” Steven gaped. “Why would you not want to be king? Wouldn’t it be cool to have all that power?” “Well, power means responsibility, son, and Edward just wasn’t ready for it I guess.” “Why not?”
  63. 63. Alice raised her eyebrow ever so slightly, and Nick knew that she didn’t want him to explain that the real reason for the abdication had been that Edward wanted to marry a woman that wasn’t deemed suitable. “It’s not easy being in charge of a whole country. Maybe he realized he wouldn’t be very good at it. Still, it caused a big stink, and it was a good thing that George was willing to step up and do his duty to his country and his family.” Steven looked contemplative for a moment. “So even though it might not have been what he wanted to do, King George did his duty and was a good king?” “Yup. He probably would have been happier living a quieter life, but in doing his duty he helped his country through a very dark time.”
  64. 64. “And now his daughter is queen?” “Yes. She’s not been crowned yet, but that’ll happen soon enough. Hopefully, she’ll be as good a ruler as her father was.” “I’m certain she will be. I heard that speech she gave a while ago, about devoting her life no matter how long it was, to the people of Simland. It was clear to me that she inherited her father’s sense of duty.” “We can all hope so.” Alice nodded. “Okay, Steven. Go get washed up for dinner. I’m sure your father can help you with the rest of your homework after.”
  65. 65. Steven took his notebook and put it aside as he left the dining room. As he went upstairs to wash his hands as instructed, he thought about the conversation he’d just had with his parents. He’d already heard a lot about the many years his father had been gone, far away at war, because it was his duty to fight for his country. Now again, he’d heard that this man his father admired had “done his duty” and put on the crown even though it might not have been what he wanted. “Duty,” Steven mumbled. They’d learned that word at school, and he knew that it meant doing what was expected of you, whether it was what you wanted to do or not. That’s why chores like weeding the garden were a duty, because Steven would much rather have been playing chess or reading a book than weeding.
  66. 66. As Steven headed back downstairs, he found himself looking at the portraits of his ancestors that hung on the wall. After just listening to his father talk about how much he admired the late king for doing his duty, Steven couldn’t help but wonder how many of them had done something because it was their duty, and not what they wanted to do. He was pretty sure that it had happened quite often in the history of the family. And yet, he knew that most of his ancestors, excepting for great-great grandfather Matthew, had been held in high regard. Even his teacher on the first day of school had said, “You’re a Bradford. I know I can expect great things from you.” Was it therefore his duty as a Bradford to uphold the good family name? It might be. Steven stopped thinking about duty as the aroma of dinner wafted up towards him. After all, thinking about duty was a hard thing to do on an empty stomach. There would be plenty of time to figure out what his duties were later. And it was important to figure out what his duties were, because Steven wanted his father to talk about him in the same way he’d talked about the king earlier, because Steven wanted his father to respect him too. In Steven’s mind, duty and respect went hand-in-hand. *****
  67. 67. That fall, General Eisimhower won the presidency by a landslide. Sterling, who was quite taken with the General’s promise of cracking down on Simmunism, actively worked on his campaign. It was also the first time that a presidential candidate had targeted the votes of women, and it worked, at least in Simsfield. Shirley and Alice remembered that Eisimhower was one of the reasons that their husbands had come home safely, and they canvassed the neighborhood with their “I Like Ike” buttons.
  68. 68. As Sterling bought his friends dinner at the tavern to celebrate, they talked about what the new president’s election might mean for the country. “Well, it’ll get us out of SimKorea, at least,” James said as he downed the scotch in his glass. “I never pegged you be one to worry about that, James,” Sterling said. James shrugged. “Alice is still paranoid that Nick will get called back on some technicality since Uncle Sam basically paid for his M.D. Me, I’m more concerned about Danny getting sucked back into the Navy, as officers aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, even ones who can’t keep their dinners down when on the open ocean.”
  69. 69. “With any luck, we won’t have to worry about that anymore,” Taddy said wryly. “Sorry, Taddy,” James and Sterling said in unison. “Eh,” he said, trying to brush off war talk as if it didn’t bother him. “It does get easier as time goes by, but I doubt the sting of you guys worrying about your sons when I don’t have mine to worry about anymore will every really go away.” The other two men nodded, and raised their glasses in a silent toast to the memory of Gilbert.
  70. 70. “So,” James began, “Is the house any less chaotic now that a majority of your grandkids are now in school?” “I wish,” Taddy snorted. “I suppose I get a few more hours of quiet now, but once the come home from school it starts all over again. In some ways, it’s worse, since Douglas is always bringing home notes from his teacher detailing his many ways of breaking the rules.” “He’s the oldest?” Sterling asked, not always able to keep the multitude of Taddy’s grandkids straight in his mind. “Yup, the first of the first set of twins. It’s strange, you know, because Franklin, his twin, is the apple of his mother’s eye. Never gives anyone a lick of trouble. But Douglas is a hellion. Actually reminds me of me when I was his age.” “I wouldn’t mention that to Rosalie,” James suggested. “No, not a chance. She gives me the same look Grandmother used to when she didn’t approve of me, and damned if I don’t cower like I used to when the old bat was alive.”
  71. 71. The three men laughed, remembering the piercing stare that Jan Bradford used to slay her enemies. It was comical now, especially since they no longer had to suffer it. “What does Bruce say about Douglas’ antics?” James asked. Taddy shrugged. “He’s too busy working all the time to worry about ‘trivial’ stuff like how the kids behave. I wish that Rosalie would push him to get involved more, but she knows best, you know.” Sterling nodded. “Shirley told me about the fight they had a while back about Shirley being ‘lucky’ to only have one kid to worry about it. No offense, Taddy, but I wanted to wring your daughter’s neck when Shirley repeated some of the things Rosalie said.” “If I’d known, I would have wrung it for you. She’s getting too big for her britches, if you ask me, but every time I say something I get reproached.” “What’s that saying about pride going before a fall?” James mused aloud. “Rosie better be careful, because that pedestal she’s put herself on is awful high.” *****
  72. 72. Peggy sat at the table in the kitchen, working on her homework while Alice was busy making a cake. Suddenly, the young girl looked up at her mother. “Mom, what’s treason?”
  73. 73. Alice nearly dropped the mixing bowl. “Why do you ask, honey?” Peggy shrugged. “Some of the kids at school said it, and I didn’t know what it meant. So I asked my teacher, and she said I should ask you. So I am. What does it mean?”
  74. 74. Alice frowned as she poured the batter into the cake pan and put it into the oven. She wasn’t quite sure how to handle this, and wished fervently that Nick were home to help her. “What were the other kids talking about when they said it?” “They said that a man and woman named Rosimberg who were married had done treason, and they were in prison and might get executed for it.” Alice felt her knees get weak. Was her young daughter really asking her about such grown-up things?
  75. 75. “How about we look it up in the dictionary?” Alice suggested. Peggy nodded, and Alice retrieved the book from the library and returned to the kitchen. “Treason,” Peggy read, “Is the crime of trying to overthrow your country’s government or of helping your country’s enemies during war.” “Does that answer your question?” Alice asked, hoping that would be the end of it. “Kind of. I know what it is, but what did they do that was treason?”
  76. 76. Alice repressed a sigh. She’d be carefully trying to shield her children from this “Cold War” that the country was in the midst of, but apparently other parents were not being so cautious. “Mr. and Mrs. Rosimberg were convicted of selling secret information to the Simviets, and that’s what they did that was treason.” “And they’re going to get executed.” Alice nodded. “Execute” wasn’t a word that needed to be explained, sadly, as it was already part of everyone’s vocabulary owing to common knowledge of the fate bestowed upon so many of the war criminals.
  77. 77. “Well, if they did do treason, then that’s what should happen,” Peggy decided after a moment’s pause. Alice nodded again. “But Peggy, dear, treason is a grown-up problem, so you shouldn’t be worrying about it, okay?” “I guess,” Peggy replied. “But if it’s a grown up thing, why were the kids talking about it?” “They probably heard their parents, and didn’t know any better. No more talking about treason, because it’s not something you need to worry about.” *****
  78. 78. “Well, it’s not total victory like we would have hoped for, but it does get us out of SimKorea,” James said as he folded the newspaper back up after rereading the main article. “No, it’s not,” Sterling agreed. “But it was probably the best we were going to get.” “You sound disappointed, Sterling. I know you were just as worried as I was about one of our boys getting pulled back into war.” “I was, but I don’t like that we didn’t push the Simmies out of the SimKorean peninsula completely. I just hope that it doesn’t come back to bite us down the road.”
  79. 79. “How would it do that?” James asked. “Would total victory like we got in World War Two have been nice? Hell yes. But this means our boys won’t get sucked into another conflict on foreign soil, and that’s a win in my book.” “In some ways, yes. But Simmunism isn’t going to just up and vanish without a fight. I worry that pulling out of SimKorea without eliminating the Simmies will make them think we’re weak. Of course, Eisimhower was just caving to public opinion, because if he wants to get reelected he needed to keep his campaign promise to get us out.” “I thought you liked Ike.” “I do like Ike. But for being a general he’s awful dense about national security sometimes. We need to keep the Simmies at bay, both at home and abroad.”
  80. 80. James shook his head at his friend. It was clear that Sterling’s opinions were not going to diminish with age, and since Sterling was a lawyer he rarely lost an argument. “What about you, Taddy? What do you think?” James asked. Taddy smirked. “I think listening to you two bicker is ten times better than sitting at home with all those grandkids pecking at me.” Both James and Sterling laughed, but Taddy’s face remained serious. “I’m not joking. I swear when one grows out of the ‘why’ stage, another one grows into it. You two, while confrontational at times, at least know how to carry on a decent two-way conversation.”
  81. 81. “I’m surprised that Rosalie lets you answer her kids’ questions,” James remarked. “So am I. Then again, without Bruce around to help out much, it’s not like she has much of a choice.” “He still working crazy hours?” Sterling asked. “Yeah,” Taddy said, the dissatisfaction evident in voice. “Rosalie says that it’s because he has a family to support, but I’m not buying it. I think he works so damn much to stay away from them.” “Rosalie knew what she was getting into when she married him, Taddy,” James said. “Doesn’t mean I need to like it. I just hope that working late is all he’s getting up to, because if it’s something else I’ll need help hiding a body.”
  82. 82. Everyone turned serious for a moment. “You really think something else is going on with Bruce?” Sterling asked. “I never really liked him,” Taddy said. “He was a bit too slick for my taste. I wanted to hate him for being stateside during the war, but I knew that wasn’t something that was in his control. Then when the kids came one after another after another after another, I did say something to him about maybe spacing them out a bit more, but he basically told me to mind my own business. Now he’s never home, and I can see how ragged Rosalie is trying to keep up with them, and it makes me mad. I know eight kids gets expensive, but something’s just not adding up.” James frowned. “I’d offer to poke around, but I don’t have any contacts in the city anymore.” Taddy shrugged. “I’m not sure I’d want any contacts of yours looking into my son-in-law. If they knew who he was, it wouldn’t be good.”
  83. 83. “So what are you going to do?” Sterling asked. “Not much I can do. He’s Rosalie’s husband. All I can do is just be there to support her if he does do something stupid and it gets out.” “And get our help hiding the body,” James said with a smirk. “Well, that too, but I figured it was a given.” “You’d do the same for us,” Sterling said. “That I would. I just hope it doesn’t come to that,” Taddy sighed. “So do we,” James agreed. “But we’re there for you and your family if you need us.” “Thank you, James, Sterling. You have no idea how much your support means to me.” *****
  84. 84. Howard Alcott got up from his desk and began to walk around his small office to stretch his legs. Well, it was really his injured leg that was bothering him. After sitting at his desk since early that morning and listening to the rain pelt the small window all day long, it was no wonder that his old war injury was acting up. Deciding that maybe a fresh cup of coffee would give him the kick he needed to plow through the last few hours of his shift, he pulled all the papers off his desk and locked them in a drawer before heading towards the elevator which would take him down to the cafeteria.
  85. 85. Upon his arrival, he noticed that he wasn’t the only one with the idea that coffee was the solution to a dragging afternoon. Nodding to several of the other men who were seated at the tables in the room, he paid for his coffee and decided to take it back upstairs. It wasn’t as if he would talk to the other people in the cafeteria anyways. It was one of the hazards of his job; there wasn’t a whole lot of camaraderie. Then again, it was probably to be expected, considering the fact that he was an FBI agent assigned to investigate suspected Simmunists in the greater Portsimouth area.
  86. 86. He smirked ruefully as he reentered his office. No one, not even his wife, knew exactly what he did for a living. They knew he worked for the FBI, of course, because of his involvement with intelligence on the ship during the war but no more than that. Howie reflected that his father would probably be proud of him, rooting out the Red scourge from Simerica, but in order for him to do his job properly he needed to keep exactly what he did under wraps. People tended to act differently around someone who caught Simmies for a living, he’d learned.
  87. 87. As he perused the files of suspected Simmunists active in the city, there was a knock on his door. He looked up to see his boss, another manila folder in hand. “Sir?” “I’ve got another one for you, Alcott.”
  88. 88. Howie suppressed a groan. “For every one I’m able to close the file on, I get two more in return.” “I know you’ve got a more than full plate, but this one is connected to some of the others you’ve been investigating, so it made sense to add him to your case load.” Howie got up and accepted the folder. He opened it, and gasped in shock when he saw the name and photograph staring back at him. “Something wrong?”
  89. 89. “I know him, sir. Our families are friends. Have been for years.” “Well, that should make it easier to investigate him, shouldn’t it?” “I…I don’t know, sir.” “Do you not want to root out the Simmunist scourge from Simerica, Alcott?” “Of course I do, sir. It’s just…I’ve never had to investigate someone I knew before. I was at his wedding, for goodness sake. His kids are friends with my kids. It just makes things more complicated.” “Alcott, other guys in this office have had to investigate people they thought they knew as well, and they managed to do it. If you want to keep your job, and not be suspected of harboring Simmunism yourself, you’ll investigate this case just like you have all the others. Do I make myself clear?” “Perfectly, sir.”
  90. 90. His superior turned on his heal and left Howie’s office without another word, leaving Howie alone in his office to review the rest of the contents of the file in silence, save for the patter of raindrops on the window. His boss hadn’t been kidding – this guy had connections to everyone else that he was already investigating. In fact, Howie was surprised that the name hadn’t come up before. But it still didn’t make sense. Of all the people in Simsfield, he was the last one Howie would have suspected of having Simmunist sympathies. “It could just be a coincidence that he’s friends with all these other folks,” Howie mused. “I hope that’s the case.”
  91. 91. Looking at the clock, he realized it was time to go home. He locked the files up in his desk after taking one last look at the dossier as he formulated a plan for his latest investigation. Normally, he did his best to prove a Simmunist connection. In this case, he was going to try his hardest to disprove such a connection. “I hope it’s not true. If it is, it’ll kill his wife, the poor thing.”
  92. 92. ***************** Dun dun dun! (Okay, I know the picture doesn’t really fit the ominous note the chapter ended on, but it’s too cute not to share. All three of the kids have practically the same facial features.) So yeah. Some interesting stuff is going on, and it’s going to have big repercussions. The fallout will (mostly) happen in the next chapter. It should make for some good plot and such.
  93. 93. I must say that it was nice to get back to regular playing and filming. The War Years plot arc was a lot of fun to write and kind of fun to shoot, but to actually be making progress again is awesome. Plus, there are a ton of kids running around to get to know! Like Shirley’s Dwight here, who seems to have gotten the best of both his parent’s features. We’ll wait to see the true damage when he teenifies though, as pretty much all Sim kids are adorable.
  94. 94. You can leave comments on the Bradford Legacy thread at Boolprop, on my Live Journal, or on my Dreamwidth, whichever you prefer. Next up is the fallout from the accusations, and we learn whether or not they’re true. Plus Steven becomes a teenager, and the focus begins to shift to Generation 8. Until next time, enjoy an adorable shot of Nettie and Nick playing together.