PRELUDE | In the beginning...
The old play sessions from 1988 are remembered and thus, begin our adventures...
The following is, surprisingly, very detailed for what I remember from when I was four in 1988 onwards, playing with my figures. All the memories came rushing back when I picked my old vintage Sylvanian figures up in the attic in June of 2018. So, appropriately enough I've called it "PRELUDE | In the beginning" because it was the very first story which came out of play sessions as a youth. I hope you enjoy it.
(The 'abandoned school' was the Maple Town Schoolhouse I received with my first figures as a gift. The only problem is eventually that schoolhouse was indeed abandoned in my folks' basement as I grew and eventually given to someone up the road whose kids needed toys. I don't regret that at all, though I kept the steeple as a memento.)
~Welcome to the very beginning of what became Mosswood Fells~
In the beginning, there was an old abandoned school in the middle of nowhere. It was the adventuring nomadic family known as the Corntops who- comprised of a loving husband Hector, wife Christabel, their young daughter Kirsty and son Scott- began to explore. Encountering a young bear woman by the name of Rose Timbertop, they soon learned that the area had been called Maple Town, and that a wildfire had ripped through the area, but miraculously the schoolhouse had survived.
Swearing that they would help the distressed bear teacher- so traumatized she could barely ever remember her own name at times- they called out for help by sending letters attached to birds' legs in hopes someone they knew would come find them. And indeed, other Sylvanians came. Mrs. Corntop's childhood friend, Lilly Windward, had just gotten married and arrived in her wedding gown, which she swore she would wear for as long as she could since it was too beautiful. Her newly-wedded husband Hickory seemed like an airhead and hopeless romantic, but it inspired Mr. Corntop to keep love going strong with his own wife, even when times were hard, and the four would work the land around the school while Hickory went to work with the bear teacher to return from long days spent in the nearby woods for lumber. Lilly was at the school and would forage as much as she could to keep them all well-fed. Hector had lost his pants and shirt, and all he wore was his wedding jacket, much to Lilly's embarassment, though she later got used to it and it became an injoke. Hector's only defense was that they'd hared off immediately and hadn't time to properly pack everything they owned, though he didn't mind, since Lilly meant the world to him. The six worked very hard with Rose to repair the school.
Gradually, life returned to the area and more travelers became known. From the woods to the west of the schoolhouse came the Thistlethorn family, nervous about living out in the open since they were grey-furred, and blended in better with their surroundings. However, a trip to the school seemed wiser and safer in numbers- and they chose to live with them. The Corntops, Windwards (who kept striving to bear children of their own) and the Thistlethorns' company helped heal the distressed bear teacher, who was nearly finished with the school's renovation. The Thistlethorns- Chester and Willow, along with their son Lester and daughter Prissy, who between the two of them called themselves "warriors" and often used berry dye to streak their faces to look fiercer- were a more guarded, nervous sort, but the Corntops and Windwards were more than accommodating of them, and they proved to be lovely Sylvanians.
As the letters from the Corntops reached further parts of the Sylvanian landscape, the children learned from Rose Timbertop as much as they could. Though amnesia riddled her mind, she knew that her life was improving and she was at peace being able to help the strangers who had become her new friends. Her troubles began when a young scallywag by the name of Grover Chestnut showed up from the woods in the middle of the night one summer evening. He claimed he was an orphan and needed to survive somehow. Readily enough he was taken in, and was asked to help out with the rabbits in the field; sometimes in the woods with the Hickories, and he was a very quiet individual whom none of them could really read.
During school he proved extremely resilient and willful. Oftentimes he stood in the corner as punishment for bullying, or hung around outside for the day after pranking the other students too many times. When Roger Waters showed up feeling literally out of water from his home far away one afternoon in early autumn, the two took extremely well to one another. However, Roger didn't like that Grover kept getting into trouble with the teacher and eventually kept tattling on him. This earned him the approval and trust of Prissy and Lester Thistlethorns, who even sometimes ran around in their underwear in the middle of the summer despite their parents' chagrin and inducted Roger into their "special warrior society" by dint of "bravery". This tattling also earned the approval of Scott and Kirsty Corntop and the parents so that they could try to correct Grover's behavior. Becoming a literal brown-noser was the brown beaver's way of gaining acceptance into the growing community, although Grover took it personally and claimed it was a betrayal. As such, Grover refused to interact with anyone and began foraging for himself while staying alienated from the others. Meanwhile, everyone fretted for Grover's wellbeing and tried to come up with a plan to help the young raccoon.
Spending time as a school dropout and refusing to listen to the parents- as well as being too cunning for his own good- proved worrisome for everyone involved. Out of rebellious nature, Grover ran away and back into the woods, intending to be solitary and prove everyone he was a proper adult capable of doing what he wanted. However, instead he met two owls who dropped down from the trees and who simply called themselves the Treefellows. Around this same time, the Corntops and Thistlethorn babies disappeared in a horrible, mysterious accident and were sadly never found, causing the two families to grieve deeply.
While he intended to tell the owls that he was staying solo, Grover ran into Molly McBurrows, who had been traveling at her own leisurely pace with another raccoon! Shocked at the similarity, Molly encouraged the bitter raccoon to befriend Myrtle, and falling head over heels for Grover, the young, extroverted and mischievous girl took to it well. Grover became friendly with Molly though afraid of returning "home to the home that isn't", and tried to play it off like he had been fine on his own. She saw through the front and pointed out he was still bitter about everything and would have to go back eventually. Grover didn't want to and Molly insisted in her matronly, gentle way that he was afraid of, since Molly was going to become part of the town with Myrtle anyways.
Meanwhile in town later on, the Thistlethorns began recovering. The kids in the "warrior" group tried to help their families more than ever. Despite this, Kirsty had begun swimming more and more, and her fur was beginning to rot out from her efforts. Because of that, she had to stop performing the Barn Dance by herself and became very self-conscious. She often spent more time in the fields with her community to make up for it and wait for her fur to regrow. To keep from thinking about it, she focused extra-hard in her classes, and without Grover around she wasn't bullied. She worried about him a lot though, as did her brother, but the Thistlethorn kids seemed relieved. When asked by the young Corntops and beaver, the Thistlethorn kids didn't want to go looking for him and proved they were stubborn and set on that decision.
Molly McBurrows arrived in town with two raccoons and the two Treefellows owls in mid-autumn! Everyone was abuzz with excitement and curiosity at the humble mole with a strange accent and mannerisms, and she helped repair everyone's used and tattered clothing. The owls were the subject of the most curiosity- the Thistlethorns were afraid they would become a problem but kept such quiet in hushed conversations. They had worked hard and were worried the birds would eat them out of house and home. The Corntops were as unflaggingly optimistic as ever! They readily accepted the lovely birds, who were quick to shed their little colorful vests, and one sustained an eye accident after failing to properly perch on a rake! They easily became well-loved as they would keep active at night while everyone stayed safe asleep in their beds, and would rest during the day.
The matter of Grover was another issue. Upon seeing the raccoon again, he was sullen and as resilient as ever. However, upon seeing Myrtle for the first time, she seemed sweet enough but had to earn the trust of all the villagers- especially because of Grover's previous actions coloring their hesitance towards her. When Mr. Corntop asked her, she explained that being a raccoon she was mischievous by nature, but not at all malicious. (She did in fact once throw a surprise party for herself after inviting everyone.) She became worried about what Grover had actually done and not told her, so she asked Rose Timbertop, and she told her everything.
It turned out that Grover had lied to Myrtle in some ways and been honest in other ways. Upset, she confronted him and it devolved into a fistfight. Both were promptly punished and informed that violence wasn't the way to solve anything. After they were done with their punishments, they were informed they had to shape up and for their own sakes if they were to survive. Molly felt that the others were being harsh, but agreed that sometimes punishment was necessary. Individually, she worked things out with each raccoon. Grover began to learn how to reintegrate with both Molly and Myrtle's help, much to the relief of the others- the mole woman seemed to have quite a knack for handling tough personalities! Gradually Myrtle whittled away at Grover and found out he was just lonely but felt school didn't matter at all- and that no one really understood him. She tried to tell him it was important to be part of the community, but he didn't listen to it much. Wanting to further herself, she worked hard- and if he acted up, she would play pranks on the villagers and frame him. To offset that, she talked a lot with Roger Waters and decided she liked him. The two became good friends and eventually she won the trust of the Thistlethorn and Corntop kids too. But Myrtle was clever and didn't stop there. She'd wanted to be as cunning as the Slydales she'd once heard of and had wanted to meet, but more honest. So she began to share more of her story with Grover.
The two discovered they were siblings whose mother and father had left them behind. They didn't know why but resolved to find out! Upon telling the others, the Windwards, the bear teacher, the Corntops and Thistlethorns decided to throw the young raccoons, beaver, owls and mole a grand party! The entire schoolhouse was decorated and the newly-finished desks moved aside to provide for a place to enjoy themselves. It made every villager feel wonderful and a part of the community. It overwhelmed Grover, but he resolved he'd try to do better and not cause hard feelings again. Because he was self-conscious, he lingered by the food and drinks, often keeping his mouth full and mumbling in order to avoid feeling awkward about the past. He shared this with Molly and Myrtle, and apologized to the other kids who accepted. His attendance in school became better, though he was secretly still annoyed that Roger still did better as top of his class and sought to find some way to make himself stand above the rest and gain even more respect from everyone. Myrtle felt torn because she had really liked the idea of falling in love with another raccoon but had to cope with accepting Grover as her brother rather than a potential boyfriend, and grew somewhat distant and disheartened. However, she hid it as best she could and deflected any inquisitive questions her way when asked by conveniently remembering work to be done that she 'had to help out with'. Gradually, everyone felt better and life was back to normal at the schoolhouse and the temporary homes the families had constructed around it. They were able to make a living together!