April Leads Julie Astray

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INTRODUCTION & DISCLAIMER – It’s 1963 and times are changing everywhere, but in North Carolina shy 18-year-old Julie Green remains firmly shackled to the past, under the strict control of her father Reverend Larry Green, with the clergyman strongly disapproving of most modern things in American society.

Lately, Julie has been confused about her feelings towards April, a pretty blonde girl with a mysterious past who lives across the street, much to the dismay of Julie’s parents who dislike their daughter associating with April. Will Julie be the same compliant girl she has always been, or will things start to change for her from now on?

All characters and events in this story are fictional, and any similarity to real persons living or dead coincidental and unintentional. Only characters aged 18-years and older are in any sexual situations. Please enjoy this comedy-drama story ‘April Leads Julie Astray’


“It’s okay Julie, we all lapse into sin sometimes. It’s how we learn from our sin that Our Lord pays most attention to.”

Julie Green listened to the words of her father, the Reverend Larry Green and decided it was easier to just apologize. “I’m very sorry,” she said.

The sin 18-year-old Julie had committed on this fine and sunny October morning — unseasonably warm for North Carolina for this time of the year – was to take a piece of toast before Reverend Green could say Grace.

“I know you are Julie,” Reverend Green assured his daughter. He smiled at her. “And what better way to appease our Lord than to say Grace now?”

Julie, her mother Helen Green and Julie’s younger brother Peter lowered their heads while the Reverend Green said Grace, concluding by saying ‘Amen’, and the family began to eat their breakfast.

“I sinned myself this week,” Reverend Green said to his daughter. “I was driving down the road when another driver cut in front of me, and I used a word that is only appropriate for a water catchment. Now bad driving from a fellow motorist can be very irritating, but it was no cause at all for me to use such atrocious language.”

“I sinned too just yesterday,” said Mrs. Green. “At the store this week, the cashier gave me a nickel too much in the change. I realized as I was getting in the car, and I thought of just driving away. But then I thought better of it, and returned the nickel to the store.”

Julie looked at her parents. Her father Larry was a tall and thin man with a bald head save for a ring of white hair around the edge, and on his face he wore glasses. Helen Green had light brown hair and retained some of her good looks from her younger years, although she as always looked worried to some degree. Julie avoided rolling her eyes and could not believe how her God-fearing parents were so concerned about such minor transgressions.

Peter, a year younger than her, spoke up for the first time that morning saying to his sister, “Julie, did you know that a day on Venus is longer than a year?”

Julie as always played along to be polite. “Yes, it’s very interesting isn’t it?”

“And did you know that Venus spins west to east not east to west?” Peter asked.

“Yes, that would be unusual to see wouldn’t it?” said Julie. “Imagine standing on Venus watching the sun come up over the western horizon?”

Peter shot his older sister a quizzical look. “That would be silly. You’d be waiting too long for one and Venus is covered in clouds so you couldn’t see the sun anyway. Did you know that Uranus spins on its axis sideways? Why do you think Venus and Uranus spin so differently from the other planets?”

Julie of course had no idea, but Reverend Green did. “It’s because when God created the universe He decided that the planet Venus would spin west to east and the planet Uranus would spin sideways.”

Peter accepted this without question, then asked his sister, “Did you know that some of Jupiter and Saturn’s moons are bigger than the planets Mercury and Pluto? There’s Ganymede and Titan …”

Julie as was often the case let her brother’s words just go over her head. Julie knew of Peter’s obsession with the Solar System which had only increased recently when John Glenn had orbited the Earth the previous year, when the Russians and the Americans had put satellites into space and President Kennedy had announced plans to put a man on the moon before the decade was finished. The teenager made allowances for her younger brother as he had problems, but it was hard to pinpoint exactly what these problems were.

Since childhood, Peter had struggled with making friends and basic coordination, as well as having an obsession with routines and always doing things a certain way. He knew the local bus timetables off by heart and could tell right away if any number was a prime number so obviously was intelligent. Yet he had never mastered riding a bicycle and would either be withdrawn with other kids, bombard them with facts about subjects that only interested him or would try too hard to be friends, driving the canlı bahis şirketleri other kids away or leading them to bully and ridicule him. He seemed to have little concept of appropriate behavior, and had an annoying habit — now thankfully stamped out — of knocking on the bathroom door when Julie was in there, sharing facts on space and space exploration with his older sister through the door when all she obviously wanted was privacy.

Peter finally stopped talking Julie’s head off with something about Halley’s Comet — about how he could not wait to see it despite its arrival not coming for another 23 years. Unfortunately for Julie, Reverend Green used the lull in conversation to bring up his favorite subject — sin.

“Talking about how we all sinned in minor ways this week has made me think of the ways our Lord works,” said Reverend Green. “The bad driver on the road, too much change at the store and the temptation to eat before praying were all God’s way of testing our faith and resolve. He puts many tests in our lives every day, just to see how members of His flock reacts in the face of temptation.”

“So, bad things are mostly tests by God?” Julie asked her father.

“Not all, more serious things are the work of darker forces,” said Reverend Green. “Take homosexuals, the strange men who drive around to schools and playgrounds attempting to lure children into their cars with candy. Homosexuality is such an abomination, such a sin that it can only be the work of dark forces. If only homosexuals sought the Word of the Lord and faith through prayer then they would be cured, but obviously they choose not to and at the end will suffer the consequences. However, some other events are a larger test by God, such as for us having the Clayton family move in across the street.”

Julie again stifled a sigh. Given the way her parents disliked the Clayton family since their arrival in the summer of 1961 one could assume that they were very disruptive, intrusive and unpleasant neighbors, who created a great deal of noise, let dogs roam free or bark at all hours, or allowed their property to degenerate into squalor attracting rats, mice, cockroaches and other pests to the area. But the Clayton family — consisting of the father Ben, his 18-year-old twin daughter and son April and Brad and their cousin Chip — like April and Brad also aged 18 – were quiet, pleasant and kept their house and garden neat and well-maintained.

“Ben Clayton is a prime example of what is wrong with modern society today,” said Reverend Green. “The man is supposed to be a Roman Catholic — not that he and the kids ever attend Mass — and yet he allows his family to play sport on a Sunday.”

Julie thought back to when she had returned from church the previous Sunday. Mr. Clayton, April, Brad and Chip were idly tossing a football around their front garden while having a break from painting the exterior of their house. Julie thought this hardly constituted sport, but her parents were horrified by the scene.

“And if that family is supposed to be Catholic, where is the wife and mother?” Reverend Green asked challengingly.

Julie herself was not sure of the answer to this question. She attended high school with April, Brad and Chip but had never heard the twins speak of their mother, nor Chip speak of an aunt. Julie of course wasn’t going to go up and ask one of them as it wasn’t any of her business, but had speculated that maybe Mrs. Clayton had died at a young age, and her children so upset by her passing that they never spoke of her.

“Perhaps Mrs. Clayton died?” Julie suggested to her father.

“One might think that, but both your mother and I have heard Mr. Clayton refer to his wife not as his ‘late wife’ but as his ‘ex-wife’. You know what that means, don’t you? The man is a Catholic who is divorced. God intended marriage to be a union between man and woman to only be separated by death, but somehow Ben Clayton seems to think that divorce is acceptable. But what can you expect from a man who allows his children to watch television shows where teenagers dance to rock and roll, sees no problem with his son taking his girlfriend to the drive-in and his daughter not only to go out on dates with unrespectable boys but wear those terrible new mini-skirts that advertise things that should never be for sale? Where does April find such immodest clothes?”

“April has a part time job at a boutique,” Julie volunteered.

“You seem to be quite friendly with April,” commented Reverend Green.

“No, not really,” said Julie. “We’re just in quite a few of the same classes at school.”

“You could have fooled me,” said Reverend Green. “Just two weeks ago you visited her at the Clayton house, and the week before that she came over here to see you.” Reverend and Mrs. Green looked intently at Julie, seeking further explanation from the teenager.

There was a perfectly innocent explanation for this, and Julie elaborated. “April was away sick from school with a cold for canlı kaçak iddaa two days, so I took her calculus assignment home to her. And I had the same cold the week before — remember I was sick and off school – so April took my geography assignment to school to hand it in so I wouldn’t lose marks for turning it in late.”

“Well, I guess those are reasonable explanations,” said Reverend Green. “But Julie, I don’t want you associating with April Clayton any more than you have to, she is a bad influence as is her brother Brad. You also keep away from Chip. That boy was sent to live with his uncle as his mother and father could not control him properly.”

“They’ve always been very nice to me,” Julie pointed out.

“Of course they appear nice, because that is how they lure innocent young women such as yourself off the Lord’s path and into sin with temptations. We shouldn’t be associating with them regardless, with them being Roman Catholics.”

“Dad, the President is a Roman Catholic,” Julie offered.

“Yes, and the Lord obviously had some plan with this that neither you nor I could begin to understand,” said Reverend Green. “The Lord in his wisdom made us different, but while He wants us to be tolerant of each other His will is for us not to become overly familiar.”

“So, I shouldn’t be friends with Roman Catholics?” Julie asked.

“You should be polite and respectful, but keep your distance,” said Reverend Green. “It’s not just Roman Catholics. There are many fine Jewish people, but do we go to a synagogue? No, we do not. And it is the same with other Christians. Negroes have their own churches. Tomorrow, should I miss our service at our church and take you, your mother and brother to a Negro church? No, we would feel uncomfortable there, and the Negroes would also feel uncomfortable. It would be the same as if we attended a church for Chinamen. We should respect the Negroes and the Chinamen and their churches, but it is not part of God’s will for Whites, Negroes and Chinamen to worship Him together.”

“Your father is right, Julie,” asserted Mrs. Green, seeing the confused look on Julie’s face.

“Yes, he is,” Julie said. Often it was easier to agree with her parents whether she did or not. Times were changing, but her mother and father and many of their friends were not, clinging to the past with an iron grip.

“Now, talking about church, we’d better get a move on, there’s a lot to do this morning for the fete,” said Reverend Green.

Julie again stifled a sigh. A church fete, quite the opposite of fun. Not that Julie nor her brother Peter had much fun anyway. Well, Peter’s idea of fun was to read about the Solar System in books from the library, so in his own weird way he had plenty of fun. However, things that Julie thought were fun were more in line with normal teenagers such as modern music, hanging out with friends, going to the movies and dancing, things her parents disapproved of and therefore she was banned from.

Julie was a picture of pretty perfection with her long, dark-brown hair, beautiful brown eyes and sweet doll-like face. This Saturday morning her slim figure was attired in a pink dress — slightly old-fashioned but which still looked good on her – and she had tied her hair back into a pony-tail with a pink ribbon. Part of the reason Julie didn’t have the same levels of fun a pretty teenage girl of her age might normally experience was of course because she was the Reverend’s daughter and her life strictly controlled, but this was not the only reason. Even if Julie had more permissive parents, she would have found it hard and in the case of some activities such as dancing, impossible to enjoy many of the things her peers did.

Putting both hands on the table, Julie slowly pushed herself out of her chair. A casual observer seeing the girl from her right-hand side might have simply thought she had some sort of back injury. It was only when Julie’s left leg came into view and one saw the metal brace that she wore on that limb that it was evident what caused the girl her mobility issues.

As a child, Julie had always felt bad that she was good at sports and games, while her brother Peter struggled with the basics of coordination, not even able to tie his shoes by the time he started elementary school. Julie wished that there was not such a disparity between their abilities. Her parents assigned their son’s struggles as some test from God, but Julie still felt bad about it. Then along came the summer of 1954, and Julie was so excited about attending summer camp for the first time. It was a Christian Bible camp, but there were plenty of other outdoor activities and lots of other kids to play and have fun with. The then eight-year-old Julie counted down the days until the camp arrived, and also wished that the summer would last longer and she didn’t have to return to school in sunny September, but rather in October when the fall weather was starting to change.

The first three days of the camp were the wonderful canlı kaçak bahis summer vacation Julie had anticipated, but on the fourth day Julie was dismayed when she came down with the flu. At least Julie thought it was a dose of the flu. Julie soon found it wasn’t as she got worse the next day, suffering a severe headache and neck stiffness and almost before she knew it Julie lay paralyzed in the polio ward of the children’s hospital, the sick and terrified little girl wondering if she would even survive let alone walk again. Julie spent the entire summer in hospital recovering from paralysis, crying herself to sleep many nights and wishing her mother was there to comfort her. But her parents could only see her from behind glass due to the quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of the disease, and Peter of course was allowed nowhere near the hospital, not that it would have been any good for a boy so young to see his sister in that state.

When Julie finally got out of hospital it was mid-October and she regretted her wish that she could have an extra month off school for the summer. Julie also sorely regretted making the wish that there was not so much difference between her and her brother’s physical ability, as upon her return to school she struggled up the front steps on crutches with her legs in braces.

Over time, Julie’s right leg returned to its normal function and she was able to get around without crutches, but her left leg while never withering like the limbs of some polio victims never recovered properly from her illness and remained too weak to support her adequately, so she would need to wear a brace on this limb for life. The brace she currently used as a young adult was far lighter and less ugly than the leg braces she had worn as a child, but to Julie it reminded her that she was crippled, and always would be. That and her bad back which gave her intermittent problems, another legacy of her childhood soured by the scourge of poliomyelitis.

Julie’s back was causing her pain this morning as the girl made her way slowly up the stairs to her bedroom, gripping the special rail installed to help her with her mobility problems. There were other rails around the house installed for her too, one in the shower so she would not lose her balance in there and another next to the toilet so Julie could sit down on it then stand up again when finished with greater ease. Julie was grateful that these rails were installed as they did help her especially when she wasn’t wearing her brace, but she wished she could walk normally and the rails weren’t there at all.

Collecting her purse, Julie made her way back downstairs and helped her mother wash and dry the breakfast dishes, then walked out to the front garden to catch some early morning rays of the warm sun before they left for the church fete.

With her parents discussing the Clayton family so much that morning, Julie’s attention immediately went to the house across the road where the four members of the said family were at work in their garden. The front garden contained deciduous trees that were now losing their leaves in the fall, and Ben Clayton was on the roof ensuring they were cleared from his gutters.

Julie looked at the handsome, rugged man with a fine physique as he ran his hands through his light brown hair and continued working. He was so much younger than her own parents — Julie guessed he was aged in his mid to late 30s – and so much cooler too, although Julie always found herself feeling bad about thinking this. Despite her parents’ distaste for the man, Julie admired him as April and Brad had told her that their father had been awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery when serving in the European campaign during the Second World War. Julie had mentioned this to her father, but the Reverend Green was dismissive of the notion, saying that Ben Clayton seemed too young to have served in the Second World War, and that April and Brad seemed like the sort of kids who enjoyed telling tall tales.

Julie’s parents however, could not dispute that Ben Clayton’s current occupation was as an electrician, and his van was currently parked outside the garage. His electrical contracting business, ran in partnership with two other war veterans, seemed to be a successful one.

Brad was mowing the lawn and like his father, the young man had the good looks of a matinee idol, although his hair was dark brown compared to Ben’s light brown hair. The fit and muscular Brad was on the school football team and he dated Susie Jones, one of the cheerleaders. Julie often heard her parents talking disapprovingly about how short Susie’s cheerleader skirts were when the girl visited her boyfriend, and all Julie could do was suppress her boredom at the endless pious rhetoric from her parents.

Chip who had red hair and fair skin, was pruning a hedge and Julie always felt so confused when everybody said what a bad kid he was. True, Chip lived with his uncle and cousins rather than his own parents, Ben’s older sister Jane, her husband Donny and Chip’s 16-year-old sister Katie. There was some talk of past troubles with Chip, but whatever had happened in the past had never been disclosed and Julie reasoned that this was of no concern to anybody else outside the Clayton family.

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