Stoneybrookite

the best friends you’ll never have

One thing that the series is seriously lacking is economic diversity. In Stoneybrook, Kristy’s “poor,” before-Watson life was distinguished by living in a four-bedroom house where the fourth bedroom was tiny. The Sitters’ parents all had very good, white-collar jobs, even the parents who were going back to work after a divorce or staying home with the kids, save Mal’s mom’s temp work. When they decided to add another sitter in 1995, while they did add some religious diversity, they did not add any economic diveristy. In fact, Abby moved into Kristy’s ritzy neighborhood. Abby’s mom bought a house and filled it with all-new furniture. Not exactly cheap.

Abby’s mom is an executive editor at a publishing house. Now, this nets her a pretty good salary–generally in the low six figures. It is also mentioned that the move to the ‘Brook coincided with a hefty promotion/raise. The odd thing about Mrs. Stevenson’s job, though, is that she only started working after the death of her husband, when the girls were nine. [ETA: I checked, and my memory was wrong. She started working when the girls were in first grade.] They turn thirteen in Abby’s Lucky Thirteen, so she’s been working for three years. This is a rapid rise to the top of her profession. The article linked above mentions that the road to executive editor is a long haul, and probably wouldn’t be possible in such a short time period. I suppose, however, that this could be accounted for by the BSC time warp. Two years before the start of the Club would be 1984. 11 years is realistic.

But even with a, say, $105,000 salary, would someone be able to afford to move to Watson’s neighborhood–an area with high property values and taxes (whether you look to Southwestern Connecticut or Princeton as Stoneybrook’s inspiration, you’re dealing with a high-value, high-property tax area) and comfortably support two children? Abby seems to have no problem going on a shopping spree for herself and her twin in Abby’s Twin. I also recall her automatically knowing that she would be allowed to go on the school trips, whereas even some of the other BSC parents needed convincing.

I think the answer to this lies in Abby’s extended family. Her grandparents throw lavish annual anniversary parties at their house in the Hamptons. That’s basically code for “look for us on Rich Grandparents of Instagram.” But again, like with Stacey and Dawn (her dad has a full-time housekeeper!), no one ever makes a note about how the Stevensons are extremely well-off. Watson is the King of Millionaires, and no one else is rich. Ahh, to live in Stoneybrook (or Ann’s NYC or Palo City).

6 Responses To This Post

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myu said, February 17th, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Hahaha, I also wondered about this as I work in publishing and it’s not exactly known for its high salaries.
However, you can easily continue taking on work as a freelance editor even if you’re not full-time – I can’t remember if AMM was that specific about Rachel giving up work completely once the twins were born. As for the fast promotion – I got the impression that Rachel was going *back* to work rather than starting out fresh. In my company it’s common to meet people who started out there, moved elsewhere and then came back years later at a higher level (it’s also normal in the publishing industry to skip between publishing houses), so I find the promotion slightly more plausible if Rachel held a relatively high position before she stopped working.
That said, I always assumed that the Stevensons got some kind of compensation or payout after Jon’s death. I’m not sure how it works in the US, though.

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glittergirley said, February 17th, 2014 at 9:50 pm

I always thought they were rich because of old family money, mom’s well paying career and her father’s life insurance.

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greer said, February 21st, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Yeah, I considered the life insurance policy but even with a healthy one, it wouldn’t sustain a lavish lifestyle with a completely renovated mansion for a long time. Rachel Stevenson’s well-paying career, as I said above, also seems a bit unlikely. Her rise in the publishing house was absolutely meteoritic!

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greer said, February 23rd, 2014 at 10:53 am

@myu, I missed your comment earlier. I think that’s a good point about her miraculous rise to the top. I went back and reread her Portrait and I had remembered wrong–she started the job right when the twins went to first grade. But still, that’s not THAT much time.

Re: a payout, if there were a lawsuit, it still wouldn’t be enough to sustain wealth for the long term, and it’s likely that the person who caused the accident wouldn’t be able to pay a lump sum, even if the lawsuit total was millions of dollars.

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mallorypike said, January 7th, 2016 at 6:20 pm

I’ve always wondered if the Stevensons were rich. Though I never really thought about it. Your post has great points. :)

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greer said, January 8th, 2016 at 11:09 pm

They’re actually a little more upfront about it with the Stevensons than, say, Stacey.

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