This part of an article taken from the “Day-to-Day” which was written by René Eniksre of her interview with the Fumbleton family.
Meet the Fumbleton Family
by René Eniksre
I knocked on the door of the Fumbleton home, not entirely sure what to expect. I had driven from Indiana to the “big” old city of Bowling Green, Kentucky because I had heard some pretty strange stories about this family. And being a reporter- I always had a desire to find things out for myself.
Priscilla, the youngest in the family answered the door and looked curiously up at me. I introduced myself but she just sucked on her pink pacifier and cuddled her stuffed dog. She then grabbed my finger and tottered away, pulling me along behind. The smell of fresh coffee greeted my nose, mingling with a burning smell. I walked into the kitchen just in time to see Mrs. Fumbleton pulling out a tray of crisp, blackened cookies from the oven and promptly spilling them on the floor. Oblivious to my presence, she reprimanded herself saying things like- “Oh dear!”, “Well!” and “My goodness!”.
I bent down to help her pick up the hot cookies and introduced myself. She immediately offered a string of apologies. She knew I was coming (we had talked on the phone the day before), the cookies were meant for me, how dreadful they looked, how messy the house was, how dreadful she looked. She began playing with her pearls and laughing nervously. I told her not to worry, that I would sit down and interview her husband first, so she could have time to collect herself. She gratefully accepted and hurried about the kitchen, preparing another batch of cookies.
Eugene met me in the living room. I sat on the couch while he took up residence in a small, flower patterned chair- evidently his favorite. Eugene carefully studied me over the top his glasses, as though assessing how dangerous I was. He looked wary. I took out a my recorder, flipped the switch to “on” and our interview began.
Eugene seemed to be nervous and quiet when we sat down. I started by asking him to tell me a little bit about himself just to get him loosened up.
“Well, um.. hello. I guess I’m supposed to start off by saying hello. Oh yes, and my name is Eugene.”
I told him that was a good place to start. “Where do you work, Eugene?”
“I do taxes from home.”
“That sounds interesting, what do you do to unwind after working?”
“Um, taxes are not actually interesting. Well, to unwind I like to sit down with a cup of tea or hot chocolate, and lose myself in a good book. I’m fascinated with Scottish heritage and good thrillers. I also dabble in a bit of crossword puzzling.
“What do you think about the ‘Blue Button?'” He immediately stiffened and glanced around the room.
“Oh. That thing. Yes, well.. it’s certainly interesting.”
“You don’t like it?”
” ‘Don’t like’ seems like a strong term. I’ll just say it gives me the willies.”
“How so?” He seemed agitated.
He glanced around the room, then leaned forward and lowered his voice: “You never know what to expect. Push it, someone may ring the doorbell before entering, or they may just appear beside you. You never know who or what it will be. To be honest- it’s nerve wracking. It’s almost like these people have no idea of privacy. It’s just downright weird. Just downright… scary.”
“Don’t you like having a solution for every problem at your fingertips?”
“Well, Karen eats the whole thing up. She’ll just use any old excuse to push that button and see who’ll show up. Me? I would much rather stay away from the whole thing. Sometimes I feel as if my whole family and everyone around me has gone bonkers.”
At this point Karen had come into the room with a tray of fresh cookies. She offered them to me then set the tray on the end table before sitting down herself.
I asked Eugene what some of his interests were. He said:
“Books, of course. Hot beverages, beautifully patterned shirts, good dogs (the kind that just wiggle all over when they see you) and,” (he paused, glancing quickly at Karen who was preoccupied with a cookie. He lowered his voice.) “Roller skating. I really do love roller skating.”
He then excused himself to make hot tea for everyone while I turned to interview Mrs. Fumbleton.