MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN
It was the early 1940’s in our small town in America. The world was at war and there was a general feeling of restlessness in the Country and especially in the small towns across the United States. It seemed that way in my town anyway, maybe because everyone knew everyone else, or at least we thought we did. Things can change though, especially with a war raging and our boys away fighting that war. Families who had brothers and sons in the service had the most stress of course.
Our town had changed quite a bit since the war began. Soldiers, sailors and marines could be seen around the town now, home on leave wearing their uniforms. More people were flying flags in their yards and we were all more patriotic.
The schools and the churches among other groups were having drives to collect aluminum cans to be used in the war effort. There were rallies to help sell War Bonds and every family was given books of coupons to purchase the food that was in short supply. The amount of coupons were given to people, according to the family size. It seemed that everyone was especially short on sugar and butter.
The movies now were all about the war, with people actually cheering in the movie houses when the Allies won a battle against the enemy. The newsreels would come on in the movies between the main movie and the previews. That’s the only way we actually saw some of the action in the war, the rest of the news was on the radio or in the newspapers.
At home in the evenings when FDR had his “Fireside Chats”, families were gathered around the radio listening with rapt attention. FDR was everyone’s hero during that time, even the children loved him. He had a spellbinding voice and he always had an uplifting message to deliver.
It was against this background that the murders in our town happened, to the shock and chagrin of all the people who lived there. I was fourteen years old at the time and very impressionable. I loved mysteries, especially murder mysteries, even though they scared me. Of course, this was not a murder mystery. It was only too real and everyone was shocked which only added to the gossip around the town.
Marie, my older sister and I would walk three miles to the library, which was in the closest big city and then three miles back, to get our library books. Some of the books were mandatory. The nuns at the Catholic school we went to required us to read a few of the classics each semester along with our other reading. So in between the murder mysteries which I loved, I managed to read a few classics. Marie liked romantic stories, so between us we had to carry quite a few books on the way home.
We would usually have car fare for one way and then have to decide whether to actually spend it on car fare home or spend it on a treat and end up walking back home also. It was sometimes a hard choice because we were pretty tired by the time we were ready to go home, carrying all those books.
Marie and I got along really well. She was a happy person always finding something to laugh about. Where I, on the other hand was quiet (out in public) but still friendly and we both had our own friends at school. Little did we know that our world as we knew it was about to be shattered and not connected to the war. It was up close and personal. As the war raged on, our town was diverted by something we could not turn away from.
Thanks for reading. Comments are welcome.
I have published this recently on Word Press but I am publishing it again because I will be publishing more chapters as time goes on and I wanted everyone to remember the previous chapters.
To be continued.