MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN

Continuing Chapter I

There was a young man in Marie’s class, his name was Joe Kaminsky.  He was a nice looking boy and had no problem attracting girls.  He was quite aware of this and lost no opportunity in doing so.  Attracting girls that is.  Marie knew him because the Catholic school was small and everybody knew everybody and their families  but she was not interested in getting to know him better.  Marie herself was pretty popular with both the girls and the boys in her class.  She knew that Joe was a big flirt and he was always in trouble.

Marie was sixteen at the time and I was fourteen.  We had our separate friends that we hung out with but usually got along with each other’s friends.  Joe was in Marie’s class so she knew him better than I did and when she heard that he was expelled, she wasn’t too surprised.  He had been held back by the nuns, so he was older than most of the other kids.  He was seventeen where most of the other students were sixteen.  So when Joe got expelled, the class was buzzing with the news and everyone wanted to know what was the reason.  Marie knew that he was usually late for school and was a distraction in class, usually talking to girls sitting next to him but she knew that wasn’t enough to expel him.  One day he wasn’t in class and no one saw him after that.

It didn’t come out until much later that he had gotten a girl pregnant.   It was not a girl from his class or even from the school, so the nuns were relieved but not happy about having him in their school and that’s why they expelled him.  He managed to get into public school though and graduated by the skin of his teeth.  His parents did not seem overly concerned about him.  They had the attitude that ‘boys will be boys’.  They really wanted him working and turning over his paycheck to them, which he did as soon as he graduated from high school.

He continued seeing Janet, the girl he had gotten pregnant and there was even talk of them getting married.  Her parents were not happy about her being pregnant and had spoken to Joe’s parents about the possibility of their daughter marrying Joe.  In those days no one even thought of abortion, besides it was against the law.  So it looked like there was going to be a shotgun wedding.

After much hand wringing and gnashing of teeth by the parents, they were married, in a small civil ceremony  with only their immediate families present.  Neither set of parents were very happy about the situation but with a baby on the way it was the only solution they could come up with.  The parents chipped in and gave them enough money to have a weekend in New York City for their honeymoon.

The wedding news was in the local paper and a few friends of the bride and groom gave each other knowing glances.  Of course, they were insulted that they were not invited to the wedding.

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES – CHARLES DICKENS

YUM!

The season that is upon us now, the Christmas season, makes us all long for the old days, when our parents decorated the house and got a huge tree.

They bought us presents to the best of their ability and all in all tried to make us as happy as possible

No wonder we all would like to return to those days.  But we can’t all be in that state of bliss.  Someone has to do the buying, cleaning, decorating, etc.  So it’s usually only the kids that are the happy ones around the holidays.  We are left to fret and wonder how we are ever gonna do it?  Buy the presents, do the cleaning and decorate the houses.  But we seem to be happy if only for a day.

On the other hand our government seems to be plunging us into another war which we evidently, have nothing to say about!  So no matter how happy we are, there’s always that boogeyman right around the corner waiting to pounce.  So don’t get too comfortable!

25th Day of NaBloPoMo/Growing Up

Anna and MarionAfter looking at Anna’s head, Mother and Mrs. D. decided they needed to do something and quickly!  Anna was moaning softly when she actually felt like screaming!  I had slipped out of the house, hoping no one would notice that I was gone.

The women decided that Vasoline would be the thing for Anna’s head.  She had blisters all over her head and they were huge.  Vasoline was good for everything and every family kept a big jar of it on hand.  Mother knew it was good for burns so while Mrs. D. was comforting Anna; Mother was applying the Vasoline.  She was doing it very gingerly.  They were all hoping that the stuff would work miracles so that Anna would be able to perform in the play the next evening.

So with the Vasoline on her blisters and a big towel wrapped around her head, Anna tried to get some sleep that night.  I crept into the house just before dark and everything was quiet.  Mother was not happy with me, even though it was an accident, which I tried to explain, but she was having none of it.  She told me to be quiet so that Anna could sleep and that there was a plate in the oven for my dinner.  So after wolfing down the food, I decided my best plan would be to go to bed and hope for the best.

The next day was cold in our little shack and especially so since it was Winter and a new layer of snow was added during the night.  Mother had kept the fire going though and had hot tea and oatmeal for us before going to school.  Anna was staying home of course while Mother checked her head to see if she would be able to be in the play.  As Anna came downstairs, her eyes were red and swollen from crying, not because she was in pain, although there was some of that too.  She was crying because she was thinking she wouldn’t be able to be in the play.

Then, after checking Anna’s head, Mother announced that her blisters  had gone down and were smaller now and not as red as they had been.  Anna said they weren’t as painful either. Now they had to figure how they would get her hair in shape so that it would be glowing for the play.  Mrs. D. came over early to help come up with an idea to make sure Anna could be in the play.  She suggested they use dry shampoo on her hair and said that she would go to the store and buy some.

Against all odds, Anna appeared in the play that night, a lot of the credit going to Mrs. D., who insisted on going to the play with the family.  The play was a success and Anna’s hair looked very good considering what happened.   “She sang like an angel,” Mother overheard someone in the audience say.  Anna received many compliments that night and was very happy!

It was 1939 and a lot was happening with us, not only did we move to a nicer house, it was a two story duplex and we had an indoor toilet!  There was no actual bathroom with a tub or sink but the indoor toilet was a godsend for us.  We had two bedrooms upstairs with two of us kids in each room.  Mother had to sleep downstairs on the couch but she was used to that.  And the roof did not leak and also the wind did not whistle through the cracks in the walls.  We thought we were in Heaven!

Things were happening in the world also, none of it being good.  Hitler was on the march in Europe and the war drums were getting much louder!  It seemed that Roosevelt and Churchill were constantly in touch now!

 To be continued.

Nov. 3, 2014/3rd day of NaBloPoMo/GROWING UP

mother and anna circa 1929First I want to thank all my Followers!  I really do appreciate your following me and I will try to keep it interesting.

Second let me say that I came down with chills and aches plus a sore throat today and frankly forgot to get my blog out.  I will be up and running tomorrow.

I will leave you with a short story to keep things interesting.

 

MOTHER

My Mother was a character!  In addition to cooking and baking and telling us stories she could be pretty fierce sometimes.  Maybe because she had to  be both Mother and Father to us all.  And of course I would get in trouble from time to time being the second oldest and wanting my own way.  So when I did something that made her angry, she would tell me to go out to the yard and get a branch off one of the smaller trees.  More like a bush.  These made the best switches and it would hurt like the dickens when you got hit with one of them.

So being the good little girl that I was, I would go out to the yard and pretend I was going to get a switch.  Now my sisters would do it, bring her a switch.  But I thought if I didn’t come back I wouldn’t get switched.  So I would take off and go and play with some of my friends and not come back until she had cooled off and usually that worked.  And sometimes it didn’t.  Did I mention she didn’t have a very good memory.

GROWING UP

I was 11 years old when World War II started on December 7, 1941.  The Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor!  President Roosevelt in a talk to the people declared that a “state of war now existed between the United Stated and the Empire of Japan.”  Or words to that effect.  I was appalled even though I didn’t know where Japan was at the time.  What I also did not know at that time was how dire it was going to be for this country and the world.  The things that would affect me most were going to be the shortages of things like butter, sugar and gasoline.  And the rationing that was in store for the American people not to mention the loss of life that touched almost every family.

President Roosevelt was my hero in those days not the least of which was that he had instituted Welfare.  It literally saved me and my family from starving both during the Depression and after as I am sure it did for a significant amount of people in this country.

My family had been listening to the President’s ‘Fireside Chats” over the years he was in office.  And of course he was the only president I knew since he was the only president elected for four terms.

It was just my Mother and us four girls as my loser Father had left us once again and had gone to live with his Mother.

To be continued.

THE RETURN (continued)

Jenny finally decided she may as well come downsairs and see to whom the voices belonged. She slowly came down the stairs and when she walked into the living room,  standing in front of her was this man in a soldier’s uniform. There was also another man talking to Mom. She recognized him as Uncle Mike. It dawned on her that the man in uniform was her father. The uniform smiled and bent down to kiss her cheek. She had not seen him in a long while but he did look familiar with his reddish blond hair and square jaw.  His beard scratched her face and she did not like it.

Her Mother said, “This is your father. Aren’t you going to say hello?”

The emotions welling up in her were about to explode and she gave way to the most compelling one. Anger. She wiped away the kiss with a haughty gesture, hoping to pay him back for some of the pain he had caused her.

He noticed the gesture but kept smiling. Mom pretended not to notice as Jenny ran back up the steps. She sat on her bed and brooded as the festivities continued downstairs. Mom had prepared lunch for the guests and the laughter coming from the kitchen made her angrier. She wondered what was going on and what made him come back? Was it just for a visit or God forbid to stay. Mom seemed pretty happy for some reason and that made Jenny even angrier if that were even possible. All Mom had done was call him names and run him down over the years, so they all hated him with a passion. And here she was smiling and serving him lunch.  Jenny didn’t want him back.  And if he came back he better not try to tell her what to do ever!

Later that evening after Dad and Uncle Mike had left, Mom announced that Dad would be coming back to live with them now that he was out of the Army.  He and Mom would take one of the bedrooms and the girls would have to double up in the other room.  Well, that does it, Jenny thought, I certainly don’t want him here with all of us kids sleeping in the same room, no privacy, a man telling us what to do. Why is she doing this?

Jenny slept fitfully that night and when awakening felt no better. She went downstairs, fixed a cup of coffee and proceeded to ask her Mom why?  She managed to sneak another cigarette out of Mom’s purse for later.  When she asked Mom why he was coming back, she just smiled and said things would be just fine. “He has changed,” she said. “And besides, he has a job and will be bringing in money which we certainly can use.”

This did not pacify Jenny. She and Jane went to their bedroom and began to grumble to each other.  Jenny smoked her stolen cigarette as they continued to find reasons why Dad should not come back.  They were both working now and thought they could get along nicely without him.  They had for all these years so why now should he come back and ruin it?  But they went about their daily routines and hoped for the best.

A week later Dad moved in. He and Mom took the room Jenny and Jane had shared.  It was strained at first but he tried to win Jenny over. He seemed to realize it was useless to try with Jane. She was sixteen and working full time and came and went as she pleased.  She let it be known that she planned to continue on the same way no matter who lived with them.

After a few weeks the routine changed drastically. Mom cooked big meals for dinner and she had to have the best steak and the best brand of coffee for him.  He started his job and was gone in the afternoons and evenings.  He worked the night shift at the small defense plant in town.

On weekends he would have some of his buddies over and they would play cards and drink beer. A lot of joke telling and war related stories went on till the wee hours. He let Jenny sit in with him and the boys and even let her sip some beer which she was getting to like.  And the stories were pretty interesting.  About the time he was in Italy and he and his buddies would drink wine and have a fine time with the Italians. He was in his forties and he said the old guys didn’t have to go to the front, so they carried up the rear and got to enjoy themselves quite a bit. He certainly seemed to enjoy his time in the Army.

Jenny found herself beginning to like him in spite of herself.  He was quite the story teller. Whether the stories were true or not she wasn’t sure. The younger girls were intrigued by him.  Jane however was having none of it.  She had her own friends and her own life. Nobody was going to tell her what time to come home or who she could go out with. She and Dad clashed frequently. And angry words were exchanged on several occasions.

On one such occasion, Jane who was on the late shift at one of the local mills, came home and was standing outside the house laughing and talking with her friends.  It was about ten pm.  Dad, who had not gone to work that day,  was not happy and sent Jenny out to tell her to come in the house.  Jenny went out and told Jane what he said.  Jane became angry and said, “Tell him I don’t have to listen to anything he says and I will do what I want.”  With that she and her friends left and started walking away.  She did not come home until after midnight.  And of course Dad was furious but he did not confront her.
As the weeks went by things did not go smoothly with Mom either. She complained about having to cook big meals every night. She didn’t like all the beer drinking or the war stories. His buddies seemed to get on her nerves as well.  She didn’t see her girlfriends as often.  Dad seemed happy enough though.  He would go off with his lunch pail singing.  He did like to sing.  He seemed unaware of the tension that was building.