How do I even begin? There are so many memories. And it seems such a short time too.
I should probably begin where they stopped. You have probably read the notes on my childhood. Yes, embarassingly it is all true. I really was enjoying my popularity.
Oh, right. I am Arthur Hadoc. And I just read through these notes. So short, so clinically detached. I guess my grandparents came across like that, "knowledge sims". Yes, they were that too, but they were so much more. But we should continue where they left off, with me going to college.
My popularity dreams got a break when I came to a place where no one knew me. I had taken for granted being the center of attention, positive attention of course. The idea that anyone might not like me was... unplanned for. Luckily it wasn't all like that, of course.
My life was made much easier because unlike my father and grandfather, I went to college together with two friends. One was of course Shelby, my high school sweetheart. The other was Melody Tinker (here sitting beside me), a friend from Bluewater. I think her parents run a shop there, but I have never been to it. I guess we farmers don't spend much time shopping... Anyway, she's a sweet girl. If I hadn't already had Shelby, who knows what might have been? But life does not have a backup where you can go back and play through it differently, now does it?
Not that I am complaining. In college, Shelby and I renewed and deepened our bond of love. OK, I guess we were young and hormone-crazed and had time on our hands. But it worked out quite well, if I may say so myself.
As I said, some hormones will always be involved in these kind of things. That doesn't mean it was nothing but that.
Who would not go crazy over a girl like that? Here she's showing off all of her curves at once, more or less. Of course, at the time she was a "romance sim" as they are euphemistically named. Woohoo sims. But I guess she really was a romantic at heart, because she changed the very direction of her life for me. And for that I will always love her.
Of course we had time for many other things too. Oh sim, I look totally crazy, don't I? And that shirt doesn't help! Why did nobody say anything?
Shelby isn't just looking great, she is also a quick-witted and courageous young woman. Here she starts putting out a small fire while everyone else was running around screaming. (In retrospect perhaps she should have started with the guy who was on fire, a bit to the right of this picture, but luckily the fire truck arrived in time.)
[firemod.zip at More Awesome Than You. Warmly recommended, especially for Seasons.]
There was even time for some studying. Ow! The shirt again! It hurts my eyes to look at it! What was wrong with me?
And then it was time to go home. And not least, get some decent clothes on. Time sure flies when you have fun, eh?
Shelby followed suit, of course. While we weren't engaged with rings yet - those things are expensive - there was nothing that could keep us apart.
We got our own bedroom on the second floor, above the bedroom of my grandparents. If they heard anything, they did not mention it, and neither did we. But they were talking a lot about engagements and weddings and such. I did not know then what I know today, but luckily things went the way they did. OK, not to sound all mysterious, but this will make sense really soon now. Meanwhile... a little about my bride to be, the love of my life etc etc!
Maiden name: Shelby Hourwitz
Sloppy: 2 points
Outgoing: 8 points
Lazy: 2 points
Playful: 6 points
Nice: 7 points
Aspiration: Popularity (formerly romance)
Lifetime want: 20 best friends
Turn-ons: Underwear, red hair
Turn-off: Stink (formerly makeup)
2 lightning bolts with Arthur
1 lightning bolt with Vincent
-1 lightning bolt with Robert W.
As I said, we weren't exactly the only ones who went to bed a bit early. Spring seems to have that effect. My grandparents... they seemed immortal, in a way. It is said that gardeners live the longest. So full of life, so full of love.
This picture is from our engagement party. I know, it is not really a formal event, but we both loved parties, and Shelby was going to host the wedding party, so I was allowed to call in my friends for this one. I thought it was a decent crowd, at that time...
...until the real thing, the wedding. Dear sweet mother of pearl! How many friends did my bride really have? (Of course, I'm sure my mom and grandma snuck in a few on the list too!)
Shelby was in her right element, of course. And here I had thought I was the most popular around here! Heh, live and learn.
[15000 aspiration points for having 10 best friends at once.]
And then it was just the two of us in the world.
We had only eyes for each other, of course. I had no idea how much this had meant to my grandfather. I mean, he was a knowledge sim. He wanted to get a gold badge in fishing or something, right? There's no way he'd stayed alive till he was 100 just to see his grandkid get hitched. The next morning he quoted one of his ancient books to me: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word." But then again he was always quoting books. I think I laughed, it seemed like a good joke at the time.
This certainly was. That's my grandma giving some last-second advice to the bride before our limo came. "And don't ever tell him where those have been!"
We were so in love, we could hardly think of anything else. We were wearing the clothes from our wedding party for probably a week afterwards! Not in the night, of course. But just to keep that "newlywed" sensation. We were always showing how much we loved each other.
So were they, of course. Spring had just turned to summer. I did not see then what I see in this photo today. Behind the affection, the knowing. How long had they known? It is too late to ask, now.
I had never felt it before, the shadow and the chill in the middle of the summer. My father had, but for some reason the lightning death had stopped before my time. Natural selection, I guess. Anyway, we felt it now, and in that moment we all knew. Somehow the rest of them managed to show some dignity. Especially he.
He even managed to feign surprise even to the last, though he must have known the ritual from his books if nothing else. I know he had studied it in some detail. I vaguely remember one of his quotes, but it's so long ago and I'll probably never find it. "Even though I shall go to the Shaded Vale of Death, I fear no evil." It was my idea that we afterwards bought the piece of land which lies right under the cliffs, where the valley is at its most narrow, and name it Shaded Vale in his honor. There we moved his grave to rest until the end of days... out of the summer sun, into the shaded vale. You never feared evil, Grandpa. There was far too much love in there to have room for fear.
Grandma Jane became very quiet. At night we could see her fishing at the spot where the two of them had landed so many fish of all kind. I think she got that gold fishing badge which the two of them had wagered on who would get first. At other times, she would walk in the twilight, talking to the trees, quietly. We already knew what she was telling them: Goodbye.
And then it was time. She had been outdoors, throwing waterballoons with one of mom's friends until she was almost blue from the chill. She didn't seem to mind. Unexpectedly, a swarm of butterflies suddenly came and surrounded her, as if saying goodbye.
She did not fight, did not even hesitate longer than enough for us to take farewell. I wanted to fight the Reaper, right then and there. But something about her stopped me. She would not have taken kindly to my interference, I think. She was ready to go. To follow the love and light of her life into the Shaded Vale.
A flood of memories fill me, from a hundred days of life and love and laughter. And yet they turn into a hundred gleaming teardrops. And I cannot tell how many are from sadness and how many from gratitude. All that I am, I can thank this legacy of love for, from the sturdy walls of our house to the warm touch of my wife's hand on my shoulder. It all began so long ago, with you, and I promise myself again that it will never stop.
Farewell grandpa, grandma. I know your love will always be with us.
[I had Arthur move the headstone to the local cemetery, the one called Shaded Vale. As usual when you move a headstone, the ghost appears briefly and waves before fading from the lot. And just at that time the random Popularity Sim reaction kicked in, causing a thought bubble. These appear at random times, even in babies. But as I looked at the screen, suddenly tears were running down my face. And that was how this post came to be the way it was.]