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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sweet Valley Saga: The Wakefields of Sweet Valley

So I thought I'd take a break from the high school, and do a special edition this time around.  This is the story of Alice Wakefield's side of the family through the generations. I remember loving the sagas when I was younger, and thinking they were the most clever idea ever. Go back in time! Oooh!!! Those genius ghostwriters!

We start off in 1866, on a boat somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Alice Larson is on her way to America from Sweden to go live with her aunt and uncle, because her parents recently died. There's a storm, and a little boy falls over the side of the ship. Alice jumps into the turbulent ocean after him, and they both nearly drown. But don't fear, because handsome Theodore Wakefield jumps in and saves all of them. How he manages to get back on what I imagine is a big ship, in a stormy ocean, I don't know. But go with it. Alice barely speaks English, but she and Theodore fall in love anyway.

They agree to marry when the ship docked. Awww! But tragedy strikes! Theodore gets separated from Alice, and quarantined, because the immigration doctors think he has typhus. Ouch. Alice waits and waits, and eventually has to give up and go with her aunt and uncle to Minnesota, and try to forget Theodore. I always hated how she never got to know what really happened with him and was left to spend the rest of her life wondering. Ugh, how depressing.

11 years later Alice has a husband , George Johnson, and has just given birth to two lovely blonde twin girls (sound familiar?), named Jessamyn and Elisabeth. She had an older son named Steven (real creative, ghostwriters), but he died at a very young age from scarlet fever.

Cut to the Jessamyn and Elisabeth. They visit the circus as kids, and Jessamyn is obsessed with the circus, particularly the bareback horse riders, from then on.Through Jessamyn's excited chatter about the circus, we learn that there happens to be a horse trainer by the name of The Magnificent Theo W. traveling with the circus. Could it be Alice's long-lost love Theodore? She rushes to the circus later to find out, but it's too late, the circus has moved on.

Jessamyn and Elisabeth are now teens, and Jessamyn flirts with all of the boys and is the center of attention at all the corn husking bees. Yeah, I'm not a 100% sure what a corn husking bee is supposed to be. Elisabeth is of course the quiet twin, who soon starts dating Tom Wilkins. Yup , You know they couldn't leave out Todd's relatives completely! I'm kind of surprised he never got a family saga of his own.

Jessamyn spends a lot of her time with a mysterious old Native American, Blue Cloud. He helps teach her how to ride horses, and she dreams of being a bareback horse performer in the circus like her childhood idol, Laura the Lovely. There's also a bit about Elisabeth teaching a freed slave to read. (if you havent guessed yet, they're totally just late 1800's versions of Elizabeth and Jessica)

The circus comes around once more, but Alice never hears anything about The Magnificent Theo W. again. She never knows for sure if Theo was her Theodore. We get to find out what happened to Theodore in The Wakefield Legacy Saga later. The circus stops in town one year, and Jessamyn decides that she's going to finally realize her dream, and run away with the circus.

She leaves a short, pretty unsentimental, note for her parents and Elisabeth, who are all super upset. Everything's dull and slightly depressing without Jessamyn in the Johnson house, and Elisabeth is doing naughty things like sneaking a stinky piece of cheese into the class bully's "dinner bucket", to keep the memory of her sister alive.

Blue Cloud gets sick, and doesn't have much longer to live. He asks to see Jessamyn, and Elisabeth knows she has to find some way to get to her twin. She tries to convince her parents to pay for her to take trains around searching for Jessamyn. Her dad insists that he will not have his daughter going off like a "vagabond", and this inspires Elisabeth to sneak out and hop trains-just like a vagabond!

She eventually catches up to the circus, and surprises Jessamyn. They have a cute little twin reunion, and Elisabeth breaks the news about Blue Cloud. Jessamyn agrees to come back with Elisabeth to say goodbye. But before they can do that, Elisabeth insists on riding the horse Jessamyn does her performances with . She loses control of the horse, and is flung off it's back to her death.
Jessamyn goes back to Minnesota to tell everyone of Elisabeth's death, and finds out that Blue Cloud died the same day Elisabeth did. Geez, again with the depressing stuff.

Skip to six years later. Jessamyn is living in San Francisco and managing a hotel. She plays around with all the businessmen coming in and out of the hotel, but can't fall in love because of her twin's tragic death. We then skip to a few years later, and Taylor Watson is begging Jessamyn to marry him. She is "awfully fond of him", but still can't bring herself to say yes (the whole death of her twin thing again).

He is the owner of a automobile company, and is going on some kind of trip with a pro racer (Bruce Farber), to get publicity for his business. The second Jessamyn sees the dashing, overconfident Bruce (sound like another Bruce we know?), she is overcome with desire.

A year later, we jump to Jessamyn and Bruce Farber doing it ,(at least that's what I assume), on top of a big hill overlooking the city. Suddenly, the ground splits in half, and a major earthquake crumbles the whole city in seconds. Jessamyn wants to run down and try to help, but Bruce isn't really into the idea, he'd rather stay on the hill, where they're safe. Jessamyn gets him to go down into the city with her (I'm kind of surprised she didn't just stay up there with him. Guess she's not quite as selfish as our modern-day Jessica), and they find chaos.

There's an old woman trapped in a Jessamyn's crushed, burning, hotel, and she pleads with Bruce to go save her. Bruce is obviously a selfish douche, so he doesn't want to. He only goes in after she accuses him of being a coward.

Taylor shows up, and realizes that Jessamyn was with Bruce, and has been sneaking around on him. He has an unusually calm reaction to this, and then goes in the building to help Bruce save the old lady. Bruce runs out of the building and leaves Taylor "trapped in a fiery prison" Nice.
Another quake shakes things up, and the old lady comes out of the building safe with Taylor. Bruce is trapped again, and Taylor actually runs in to save him, even though Bruce left him to die and stole his girl. After Taylor rescues Bruce, Jessamyn finally comes to her senses and realizes she should be with Taylor, who takes her back with no issues.

1908 rolls around, and Jessamyn has given birth to..twins! Yup. She also has an older boy named Harry. Skip to 1925, and we get to learn more about the latest set of twins, Amanda and Samantha. Samantha is kinda obnoxious, and wants to be a movie star, and Amanda is more of a behind the scenes girl, who likes writing. And yes, they're both a size six and blonde.
Older brother Harry writes from college, and for some reason goes on and on about how awesome his new roommate Ted Wakefield is. He even goes as far as to send a picture of Ted and him along with the letter. Sounds like Harry's kinda got it bad for Ted.

Samantha falls in love with Ted just from Harry's letter, and is totally obsessed with meeting him. The twins go to a party later that evening, and all Samantha can think about is Ted. All that from one picture? Wow.

The party is crashed by local lowlife Kevin Hughes, who brags about all of the cash he's pulling in, presumably from "running bathtub hooch".
In modern day terms, that means selling alcohol during the brief 1920's Prohibition, when alcohol was illegal. He tries to get Samantha to leave the party with him since they went out a few times before. Yes, she gets around just like our modern-day Jessica!
Samantha isn't interested and turns him down. He heads out to the Cellar Door ,(the local sleazy speakeasy aka illegal bar in the 20's), all by himself.

Samantha is just dying to meet Ted and sends Harry a letter gushing about him.
"Ted Wakefield sounds so dreamy. Have you told him all about your twin sisters-especially me?"
I don't know Sam. Harry might not want the competition, since he seems a little overly fond of Ted himself.

The Amazing Ted arrives at last with Harry around Christmastime. Ted is ,of course, every bit as perfect as Harry said, and they all go out to a club where Ted charms the pants off of everyone and introduces them to the token black guy, trumpet player C.C Earl. Ted and Sam spend all night dancing while Harry and Amanda sip sodas. Parrrr-tee!

Later that night, Amanda is too riled up from the club to sleep, and goes outside to write some poetry. Why does the serious twin always have to be a poet? Ugh. She writes:
                                 
                                A moonbeam
                                as perfect
                                as the sweetest
                                note of a trumpet

Profound, I guess? Ted can't sleep either, and starts talking to Amanda. She allows him to read some of her poems, and confesses his attraction to her. Sooo, he was dancing and flirting with Sam all night, and somehow made the conclusion that Amanda is "the fascinating one". K. They kiss, the "longest sweetest kiss in the world", and yup, they're in insta-love!

Uh-oh, this is not good! Ted is supposed to be Samantha's young man! They remind us of that quite often. Ted and Amanda start writing letters, and Amanda even dumps her current steady boyfriend Geoff. But no one's told Samantha! Amanda lied and told Ted she did, but she couldn't bring herself to.

So she watches Sam moon over Ted and stare dreamily at his picture, and never says a thing. You know, wouldn't Sam notice that maybe Ted wasn't into her that much, since he never wrote her a letter or anything? Hmm.

One day Samantha gets the mail, and you guessed it, finds a letter from Ted to Amanda? What? She reads it and flips out. She hatches a very Jessica-like plan to get Ted back from Amanda. Why she wants someone back who ran around with her sister, I don't know.

Sam intercepts all of Ted's letters from then on, so Amanda never gets the news that Ted's coming by for a visit.Samantha takes advantage of this, and on the day of his visit, destroys the school newspaper office. Amanda has to stay late with the rest of the staff to clean the mess up. Samantha greets Ted, and suggests they go pick up Amanda. Instead, she has him drive to the local teen makeout headquarters, and tries to seduce him. Ted resists, and Samantha furiously jumps out of the car, and immediately starts planning her revenge.

She somehow gets down to the Cellar Door and finds Kevin, who is now a big deal at the Cellar Door. She gets Kevin nice and drunk, acting as a waitress and bringing him drink after drink. Kevin slurs,
"That's what I like. A dame who waits on you."
Ah, so charming.

When he seems wasted enough, Samantha pitches her revenge plan to Kevin, who she needs to help her. She makes up some b.s about how the "feds" are on to him and his alcohol smuggling, and how her plan will keep him out of jail. After hearing that, Kevin is on board and Sam is all ready to teach Amanda and Ted a lesson.

Sam refuses to talk to Amanda or Ted, and Amanda is totally crushed and desperate to fix things. What she doesn't know, is that Sam is already planning on fixing things so that Amanda will never see Ted again. Amanda gets in from a night out with Ted, and once she's asleep, Sam puts on an outfit similar to the one Amanda was wearing that night, and sneaks downstairs to where Ted is sleeping.
She wakes him up, and tells him there's some kind of emergency involving his friend Earl and they must go right away. He thinks she's Amanda and jumps to go find out what is going on.

Ted drives right into a set-up. The cops are waiting for him, and open his trunk to find, gasp, bootleg liquor! The cops get him in cuffs, and he can't understand why Amanda set him up. For some reason, he never stops to think that Amanda's very angry twin might be posing as a Amanda to get back at him for dissing her. Uh, duh Ted. Doesn't he know Amanda and Samantha well enough by now to figure that Sam would be more likely to frame him?

Guess not, 'cause he assumes Amanda screwed him. He gets out of jail, and the charges are dropped when the cops decide there isn't enough evidence, and that he was probably framed.
For some reason, the cops never bother to go after Sam for lying to the police and setting up the whole thing. Isn't that super illegal?
Ted is gone for good, he never speaks to Harry, or any of the rest of the Watson family, again. And who can blame him?

Amanda wakes up to find Ted gone, and starts to worry when he doesn't come back. She finds out what happened when her parents show her the newspaper article about Ted being arrested.  I don't see why there would even be an article, since he wasn't charged and this just happened the other night, but okay.
She rushes down to the station and Ted is already gone.
She realizes Sam is responsible for setting him up when the cops tell her she looks like the girl that was with him that night (smart cops).

She furiously confronts Sam, who doesn't seem to get that she has committed a major crime and almost ruined a life, over a guy rejecting her. Seriously, though.
Amanda stops talking to her, and this lasts all the way through Samantha leaving home and becoming a Hollywood star. Even though she is still mad, she can't help but to follow Samantha's budding Hollywood career through the newspapers. Sam calls and begs Amanda to get over it and come to her wedding. She says she's forgotten all about Ted, and why can't they just move on? This only makes Amanda more furious "You did this to me over someone you've forgotten about less then half a year later?"
Good point....

Amanda continues to read about Samantha in the papers,and finds out that Sam is going to have a baby. But during the delivery, Samantha loses a lot of blood ,(or something like that), and may not make it. Amanda rushes down as soon as she gets a call informing her of this, and makes it just in time to forgive Samantha and say goodbye. She vows to help Samantha's newly widowed husband Jack take care of baby Marjorie. This all goes fine, until Jack moves to France with Marjorie because he's been offered a job there.

1939. It's World War Two, and Marjorie writes her Aunt Amanda ,assuring her that she and her father are fine and the war is far away from them. Amanda mentions a kid in her class named Walter Eggbert. Guess who he's related to? And yes, he's the class clown too.
Marjorie and Jack aren't safe for long, and soon their town is overrun by German soldiers. Jack has a lady friend named Mademoiselle Pinget (Mlle Pinget for short), and Marjorie is sure they're having some kind of romance. She couldn't be more wrong, because it turns out that Jack and Mlle Pinget are actually working together to stop the war, with a group called The Resistance.
Jack gets captured by the Germans, (he gets captured on purpose, apparently?), and Marjorie goes into hiding in a cellar with a Jewish girl named Sophy. Sophy's brother is Jacques, and he is fighting with the Resistance.

Marjorie is charmed by Jacques' hotness, (oh and she's brave like all of Jess and Liz's ancestors), so she joins up with the Resistance and goes off with Jaques, leaving Sophy alone in the cellar. That sucks.
It sucks even more when Sophy is captured, and Marjorie and Jacques have to think of a way to get her out of the camp.
They come up with some convoluted, impossible plan. Long story short, it involves them switching Marjorie for Sophy, because the Germans would want her more. Marjorie is supposed to get away before they can take her, by jumping on a train (?) Jacques and Sophy are supposed to get on the train too, somehow. Jacques and Marjorie also manage to fall deeply in teenage love in the middle of all of this.

Their genius plan doesn't all the way work out, because they're trying to trick the German army. Three teens against Hitler's army? Not happening. Jacques gets shot down, and Marjorie and Sophy  barely make it on to the train, and away from the Germans. Sophy gets a little batty, and locks Marjorie in a train car so she can't jump out at her original destination. Sophy feels it's her turn to fight, and wants to take Marjorie's place in the Resistance. She tells Marjorie to go to safety using her traveling papers (Sophy and Marjorie conveniently look alike). Marjorie is on her way to Sweet Valley to live with Aunt Amanda, but vows that her heart will stay buried with her love Jacques.

This vow is broken in 1949, when Marjorie gets married to Charles Robertson. Her dad is at the wedding, so guess he survived being captured by the Germans? Amanda is here as well, and we learn that she has spent her whole life nursing a broken heart over Ted, and never loved anyone else. Gee, thanks Samantha!

It's now 1962, and a young Alice Robertson is drawing up a family tree as they all watch the moon landing. Marjorie and Charles didn't have any sets of twins, pretty surprising, since this family seems extra prone to twindom.
We follow Alice to college, where she is a protesting hippie. She's being relentlessly pursued by snotty Hank Patman ,(yup, Bruce's dad), and is soo not interested. But Hank starts acting hippie-ish, and doing things like getting a helicopter to drop food down to protesters during a sit-in. Alice falls for it, and they start dating. Within, like, 2 seconds, they're engaged.

Alice and Hank get into a little tiffy at the beach, because Hank is schmoozing with other girls, and Alice goes down to the water alone and gets caught in a current. She nearly drowns, until Ned Wakefield, fellow student at Sweet Valley University, jumps in to save her. Sounds kinda like Alice and Theodore from the 1800's, huh?

Unlike the 1800's pair, Alice and Ned don't fall in love immediately after he saves her.
Hank comes up and claims his woman, they thank Ned, and leave. Ned runs into Alice a few times after, and he asks her out. She tells him about her engagement and he backs down.

Right before her lavish wedding to Hank is about to go down, Alice overhears him talking crap about her hippie friends, and saying he doesn't care about their causes and protests at all, and so on. She walks out on the wedding and finds Ned, and they live happily ever after, eventually having Jessica, Elizabeth, and Steven. Steven's birth isn't even mentioned by the way. He's that important.

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