Murder in a Small Town

 

Murder In a Small Town

 

Chapter II

After Joe was expelled from Catholic School, his family put him in public school.  He continued to have problems because he was always getting into trouble, which included  minor things like pranks on fellow students.  These at first seemed harmless enough, but were escalating to more serious offenses, such as putting a mouse in a teacher’s desk drawer, which scared the teacher to death.  Next he got into a fight with another student and when called into the Principal’s office, he mouthed off to the principal.   It was obvious he was escalating in his trouble making.

Although the public school was a lot more lenient than the Catholic school had been, he managed to graduate by the skin of his teeth.  Before he graduated however, he managed to get his girlfriend pregnant.  The girl and her parents were not happy, to say the least. So a  hasty marriage was arranged by both his and her parents, with only the immediate families attending.  This happened only a few months after both Joe and Janet had graduated from high school.

They moved in with his parents for the time being and with his father’s help, Joe landed a job working with his father in an auto mechanic shop as a trainee.  They planned on finding an apartment of their own as soon as possible, with the parents help of course..

After being married a few months, Janet had a miscarriage.  There were mixed feelings about this among the family members.  Joe was not happy because the pregnancy was a big reason he felt he had to get married and now here he was stuck with a wife and barely eighteen years old.  Both of their parents were confused but felt it was too late to do anything about it.

The young couple went on to find an apartment and not long after, Joe started his new job with his father.  It was six months since they married and Janet was getting restless staying home alone while Joe was off at work and she started nagging him about maybe getting a job herself.

“What do you think of the idea”?  she asked Joe when he walked in the door from work.

“What idea”?  he said.

“Of me getting a job, instead of lounging around here all day in this tiny apartment”?

“A wife is supposed to stay home and let her husband support her.  Besides, you have not recovered from the miscarriage”.  Joe said.

“I am fine and it has been a few months”.

“Well, I do not like the idea of you going to work, makes me feel like I am not doing my duty as a husband”.

Janet was not prepared for this attitude from Joe.  He was acting like an old man instead of the teenager he was.  So she decided to drop the idea for now.  No use getting into an argument over it.  But she knew she would get her way soon enough.

 

To be continued.

 

MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN

President Franklin D.
FDR

MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN

CHAPTER ONE

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.

MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN

President Franklin D.
FDR

MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN

CHAPTER ONE

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.

THE RETURN

Mother and Girls
Mother and Girls

 THE RETURN

I had not seen my father in years.  In fact, I really did not care if I ever saw him again.  He left so long ago I barely remembered what he looked like.  So the day he returned was more of a shock, than a surprise.

When I came home from school that day, the family was all excited about something.  Mother, who was usually in an old house dress, was in her Sunday best. She had on one of her two good dresses. This one had big pink roses splashed on a field of black. It was my favorite. My mother was a good-looking woman and since dad had left us several years ago, she had finally started dating again.  She said at that time that she considered him dead anyway.

So that day, when mother asked me to go upstairs and make the beds, I did not jump to do it.
“What’s with the cleaning”? I asked.  I was told more than once, that I had a smart mouth.  I never knew quite how to take that, whether I should be insulted or complimented.   But mother seemed worried about getting the house cleaned and right away.  It was not like her to be so concerned about the cleaning.  Her usual attitude about it  was, ‘It will get done when it gets done’, and it always got done.

“It is a surprise, will you please do what I asked?”  Mother’s voice was getting a bit shrill.
“Ok,  ok, but I don’t know what all the mystery is about.  Is someone important coming”?   I decided to go and do as she asked before she got mad and started yelling.  When she started yelling, it never ended good.

I ran upstairs and started making beds.  My two younger sisters were in their  bedroom giggling and they were not doing any cleaning. But then they never did any of the cleaning anyway.  I hoped maybe they could shed a little light on the situation but when I asked them, they just ignored me and kept on giggling. What can you expect from kids, I thought. I was fourteen and as second oldest in the family thought I was in control of things. I was blond and blue-eyed and rather scrawny yet the boys were beginning to notice me. My mother encouraged me in my independence, because she needed me to help at home while she was working.  Since Dad had left us high and dry when I was seven, with no money to speak of; mom needed every penny she could get to raise her four girls.

I finished making the beds and as I entered my room, which I shared with my older sister, the smell of Summer drifted in through the window. The lace curtains fluttered lazily on the warm breeze as I flopped on the bed and lit a cigarette that I had swiped from  Mother’s purse earlier.  She did let me light hers for her once in a while so I thought  it was okay to have one  once in a while.  I went off into a world of my own and saw  myself as a dancer. Myself and Gene Kelly, who was my favorite movie star, swayed back and forth to the music and as we swung out and came together, I was lost in the moment.

I seemed to be day-dreaming  more and more lately.  It was a way to close out the real world and go to my own special place. Ever since dad had deserted us, there never was enough money,  but now things were beginning to get better with myself and my older sister working.  I only worked part-time because I was still in school but it was enough to buy my clothes and give a little to my mother.  Dad had refused to send home any money to help support us from his Army allotment.  So the decision was taken out of his hands and the Army sent money to us anyway.  Yes, dad was a real nice guy.

Dad was drafted even though he was over forty because he was a deserter of his family and the Army needed all the men they could get. The second World War was in full progress at this time and that’s all that we  heard about on the radio. The war!  Rationing, black-outs, not enough sugar butter or gas. The sugar was what concerned me the most, I loved making candy, one thing dad had taught me.   Fudge with peanut butter was my favorite.

Whenever mother spoke of dad her voice was bitter and I learned to despise his memory even though I didn’t remember him all that much. Mother managed to fill in the blanks with, “We wouldn’t be in this shack with hardly enough to eat if he were any good.”  She called him “Mr. Rat” most of the time.  And he managed to live up to that name.

I often wondered if dad would come back and how she would feel if it ever came to that. I  knew however, with mother’s attitude, there was slim chance of that happening. As I stubbed out the cigarette, a train whistle blew in the distance and I wondered what it would be like to be on that train. I always dreamed of going to New York, which was not that far away and becoming an artist or a dancer.
“Are you finished yet?” Her mother’s voice broke her reverie.
“I’m all done.” I yelled back.

Mother worked hard trying to support the family. She did housework for several people. She was usually tired when she came home and so she put me in charge of watching the kids and cleaning the house in her absence. I liked being in charge. I could boss my younger sisters around whenever I felt like it. They rebelled of course and there was many an argument. They were eleven  and nine at that time. They clashed loudly with me over who was “in charge”. “We’re going to tell mother,” was the usual refrain when I pushed too hard to make them do anything like their homework or make their beds.

The house we rented was a two bedroom over a shoemaker shop.  Myself and my older sister, shared one bedroom and my two younger girls shared the other. Mother slept on the couch downstairs.  She said she had to keep an eye on the coal stoves anyway, so they wouldn’t go out and then we would freeze in the winter. Of course we had to have the stoves going in the Summer also to do our cooking. Which made for a very warm house in the summer.

My older sister was sixteen and as the oldest had to quit high school to work and help support the family. As a result of her bringing money in, she became very independent. She assumed no duties at home and paid little or no attention to mother. The younger girls didn’t really remember their dad or if they did, it was just a fuzzy outline. Their lives consisted of going to school and playing with their friends.

My reverie was interrupted again when I heard my mother’s voice coming from the bottom of the stairs.
“Come on down girls, there’s someone here to see you”, mother said.

My sisters ran down the stairs giggling to see who it was but for some reason I hung back. I had a strange feeling come over me. I really didn’t want to come down and see who was there.  I heard men’s voices that I did not recognize. So I stayed in my room until Mother finally came up and insisted that I come down and meet the visitors.

To be continued.

THE RETURN

Paddy Glennon circa 1943Word Press/Shaping Your Story

Week Two

Intros and Hooks

I had not seen my father in years.  In fact, I really did not care if I ever saw him again.  He left so long ago I barely remembered what he looked like.  So the day he returned was more of a shock, than a surprise.

When I came home from school that day, the family was all excited about something.  Mother, who was usually in an old house dress, was in her Sunday best. She had on one of her two good dresses. This one had big pink roses splashed on a field of black. It was my favorite. My mother was a good-looking woman and since dad had left us, she had started dating again.

So when mother asked me to go upstairs and make the beds, I did not jump to do it.
“What’s with the cleaning”? I asked.  I was told more than once, that I had a smart mouth.  I never knew quite how to take that, whether I should be insulted or complimented.   But mother seemed worried about getting the house cleaned and right away.  It was not like her to be so concerned about the cleaning.  Her usual attitude about it  was, ‘It will get done when it gets done’, and it always got done.

“It is a surprise, will you please do what I asked?”  Mother’s voice was getting a bit shrill.
“Ok,  ok, but I don’t know what all the mystery is about.  Is someone important coming”?   I decided to go and do as she asked before she got mad and started yelling.  When she started yelling, it never ended good.

I ran upstairs and started making beds.  My two younger sisters were in their  bedroom giggling and they were not doing any cleaning. But then they never did any of the cleaning anyway.  I hoped maybe they could shed a little light on the situation but when I asked them, they just ignored me and kept on giggling. What can you expect from kids, I thought. I was fourteen and as second oldest in the family thought I was in control of things. I was blond and blue-eyed and rather scrawny yet the boys were beginning to notice me. My mother encouraged me in my independence, because she needed me to help at home while she was working.  Since Dad had left us high and dry when I was seven, with no money to speak of; mom needed every penny she could get to raise her four girls.

I finished making the beds and as I entered my room, which I shared with my older sister, the smell of Summer drifted in through the window. The lace curtains fluttered lazily on the warm breeze as I flopped on the bed and lit a cigarette that I had swiped from  Mother’s purse earlier.  She did let me light hers for her once in a while so I thought  it was okay to have one  once in a while.  I went off into a world of my own and saw  myself as a dancer. Myself and Gene Kelly, who was my favorite movie star then, swayed back and forth to the music and as we swung out and came together, I was lost in the moment.

I seemed to be day-dreaming  more and more lately.  It was a way to close out the real world and go to my own special place. Ever since dad had deserted us, there never was enough money,  but now things were beginning to get better with myself and my older sister working.  Dad had refused to send home any money to help support us from his Army allotment.  So the decision was taken out of his hands and the Army sent money to us anyway.  Yes, dad was a real nice guy.

Dad was drafted even though he was over forty because he was a deserter of his family and the Army needed all the men they could get. The second World War was in full progress at this time and that’s all that we  heard about on the radio. The war!  Rationing, black-outs, not enough sugar butter or gas. The sugar was what concerned me the most, I loved making candy, one thing dad had taught me.   Fudge with peanut butter was my favorite.

Whenever mother spoke of dad her voice was bitter and I learned to despise his memory even though I didn’t remember him all that much. Mother managed to fill in the blanks with, “We wouldn’t be in this shack with hardly enough to eat if he were any good.”  She called him “Mr. Rat” most of the time.  And he managed to live up to that name.

I often wondered if dad would come back and how she would feel if it ever came to that. I  knew however, with mother’s attitude, there was slim chance of that happening. As I stubbed out the cigarette, a train whistle blew in the distance and I wondered what it would be like to be on that train. I always dreamed of going to New York, which was not that far away and becoming an artist or a dancer.
“Are you finished yet?” Her mother’s voice broke her reverie.
“I’m all done.” I yelled back.

Mother worked hard trying to support the family. She did housework for several people. She was usually tired when she came home and so she put me in charge of watching the kids and cleaning the house in her absence. I liked being in charge. I could boss my younger sisters around whenever I felt like it. They rebelled of course and there was many an argument. They were eleven  and nine at that time. They clashed loudly with me over who was “in charge”. “We’re going to tell mother,” was the usual refrain when I pushed too hard to make them do anything like their homework or make their beds.

The house we rented was a two bedroom over a shoemaker shop.  Myself and my older sister, shared one bedroom and my two younger girls shared the other. Mother slept on the couch downstairs.  She said she had to keep an eye on the coal stoves anyway, so they wouldn’t go out and then we would freeze in the winter. Of course we had to have the stoves going in the Summer also to do our cooking. Which made for a very warm house in the summer.

My older sister was sixteen and as the oldest had to quit high school to work and help support the family. As a result of her bringing money in, she became very independent. She assumed no duties at home and paid little or no attention to mother. The younger girls didn’t really remember their dad or if they did, it was just a fuzzy outline. Their lives consisted of going to school and playing with their friends.

I had a part-time job at a soda fountain not far from home in the summer when school was off. My mother knew the owners and helped me get the job.  I loved the job because I could meet different guys usually older than me, some of them were in the service and looked good in their uniforms.  I  was able to eat ice cream sundaes, cokes and burgers and made money besides. I made enough money to buy my clothes for school and even give some to my mother.  So between working at home and my part time job, I was kept quite busy.

My reverie was interrupted again when I heard my mother’s voice coming from the bottom of the stairs.
“Come on down girls, there’s someone here to see you”, mother said.

My sisters ran down the stairs giggling to see who it was but for some reason I hung back. I had a strange feeling come over me. I really didn’t want to come down and see who was there.  I heard men’s voices that I did not recognize. So I stayed in my room until Mother finally came up and insisted that I come down and meet the visitors.

To be continued.

Growing Up continues…….

Mother and girls
Mother and girls

 

GROWING UP continues……..

Father or Paddy as I thought of him, because that’s what my mother called him, when she was in a good mood, was devouring his burger and fries, although  he was not drinking the stale coffee I served him.  I had to laugh to myself over that, because he thought he was an expert on coffee.  He had to have the best brand and it had to be ground just so and brewed so many minutes.  I wondered  how he liked the lukewarm coffee I served him that had been sitting there for a few hours?  I thought he wouldn’t be coming here anymore, which was of course my purpose in being so obnoxious to him.  That and I was really angry at him for leaving us again with out so much as a goodby.

He had quit the job he had as a night-watchman at a plant not far from where we lived.  He went home to his mother to live then.  He could never stay at a job very long after he lost his position as a school teacher.  That was all politics he told us.  He felt that any manual labor was beneath him, after he went to college to become a teacher.  The only other jobs to be had in the area were in the coal mines and he swore he would never work in the mines.

I was angry and at the same time I was relieved that he was gone, because he was making mother miserable and they were always arguing.  Also my sister and I had a lot more freedom when he wasn’t there.  Not that we got into trouble but we did like to be able to go wherever and whenever we wanted and mother was pretty easygoing now that we were older.

We were Catholic school girls for crying out loud and we had so many guilt trips laid on us, mostly by the priests and nuns, that we wouldn’t know how to be “wild,” which was the phrase of the day for young people, even if we wanted to.  Our idea of a good time was to go to the library, the movies or to a school dance.  At this time we really hadn’t started dating, so we just got together with our friends at school or at the school dances and go for a coke afterwards.  Those times we were  with our friends from school, whose company we enjoyed.

As I was waiting on people, I saw that Paddy was trying to get my attention but I pretended not to notice and kept my back turned.  A few minutes later  Trudy went over to see if he wanted anything else and they spoke for a few minutes before he got up and headed for the door.  I happened to be waiting on several people at the soda fountain so my attention was diverted and I did not see him leave.

I don’t know what he expected of me, he is the one who left us so many times that I couldn’t remember.  And the last time was the last time!  Mother had it with him and she swore she would never take him back.  Don’t know what he thought I could do about the situation, if anything.  Sure, I sat with him and his buddies while they played poker and told stories about the war and drank beer.  Sometimes I was allowed to have a sip of their beer.  Most of them were too old to be in the war anyway but it didn’t stop them from telling the stories.  The only reason Paddy was drafted at forty-two was because he had deserted his family!  Then he didn’t want his allotment sent to us until he had to, because the Army took that decision out of his hands.  So we really owed him nothing, except maybe our contempt.

If it were up to him we would be still living in the shack with the rain coming through the holes in the roof.  Why Mother had taken him back at all, I didn’t know, he was never a help to us.  I suppose he thought now that my sister and I were getting older, we would be working and bringing in money to the family and he wouldn’t have to work much, if at all.

After he left, Trudy came over and said, “He left this for you,” as she handed me two dollars.

I took the money and put it in my uniform pocket and noticing the look on her face, I said, “What’s with you?”

“How could you treat your Father like that?”  she said.

“Don’t question me unless you know what you are talking about!”   I snapped back.

She let it drop then and we went back to our respective duties.

I did not know it then but that was to be the last time I saw my father.  I was fourteen.

 The End (of this part)

 

Growing Up continues…….

mameFather or Paddy as I thought of him, because that’s what my Mother called him, when she was in a good mood, was devouring his burger and fries, although  he was not drinking the stale coffee I served him.  I had to laugh to myself over that because he thought he was an expert on coffee.  He had to have the best brand and it had to be ground just so and brewed so many minutes.  I wondered  how he liked the lukewarm coffee I served him that had been sitting there for a few hours?  I thought he wouldn’t be coming here anymore, which was of course my purpose in being so obnoxious to him.  That and I was really angry at him for leaving us again with out so much as a goodby.

I was angry and at the same time I was relieved that he was gone, because he was making Mother miserable and they were always arguing.  Also Anna and I had a lot more freedom when he wasn’t there.  Not that we got into trouble but we did like to be able to go wherever and whenever we wanted.

We were Catholic school girls for crying out loud and we had so many guilt trips laid on us, mostly by the priests and nuns, that we wouldn’t know how to be “wild,” which was the phrase of the day for young people, even if we wanted to.  Our idea of a good time was to go to the library, the movies or to a school dance.  At this time we really hadn’t started dating, so we just got together with our friends at school or at the school dances and those times we were in with our friends whose company we enjoyed.

As I was waiting on people, I saw that Paddy was trying to get my attention but I pretended not to notice and kept my back turned.  A few minutes later  Trudy went over to see if he wanted anything else and they spoke for a few minutes before he got up and headed for the door.  I happened to be waiting on several people at the soda fountain so my attention was diverted and I did not see him leave.

I don’t know what he expected of me, he is the one who left us so many times that I couldn’t remember.  And the last time was the last time!  Mother had it with him and she swore she would never take him back.  Don’t know what he thought I could do about the situation, if anything.  Sure I sat with him and his buddies while they played poker and told stories about the war.  Most of them were too old to be in the war anyway but it didn’t stop them from telling the stories.  The only reason he was drafted at forty- two was because he had deserted his family!  Then he didn’t want his allotment sent to us until he had to, because the Army took that decision out of his hands.

If it were up to him we would be still living in the shack with the rain coming through the holes in the roof.  Why Mother had taken him back at all, I didn’t know, he was never a help to us.  I suppose he thought now that Anna and I were getting older, we would be working and bringing in money to the family and he wouldn’t have to work much, if at all.

After he left, Trudy came over and said, “He left this for you,” as she handed me two dollars.

I took the money and put it in my uniform pocket and noticing the look on her face said, “What’s with you?”

“How could you treat your Father like that?”  she said.

“Don’t question me unless you know what you are talking about!”   I snapped back.

She let it drop then and we went back to our respective duties.

I did not know it then but that was the last time I saw my Father.  I was fourteen.

 The End

 

29th Day of NaBloPoMo/Growing Up

Anna and MarionWe knew when Paddy was out of the Army because that’s when our allotment ended.  After the war was over and he was back home, his family, meaning his mother and sisters at least, wanted him to go back home to his wife and children.  In fact they were trying to come up with ideas to make this happen.  I guess they did not want to be supporting him anymore.

So one day not long after Paddy was home, Mother got a call from her brother-in-law, who was married to one of Paddy’s sisters.  The brother-in-law was one of the few in Paddy’s family that Mother actually liked.  He wanted to set up a meeting between Paddy and Mother and I guess he was pretty convincing because a meeting was set up for the following week.

Now Mother, for some reason, did not disclose anything about the meeting with us kids.  So we were completely in the dark.  On the scheduled meeting day, which happened to be a Sunday when we were all at home, Paddy and his brother-in-law arrived.  Paddy was in full regalia, his Army dress uniform no less.

I heard voices from downstairs drifting up to where I was doing my homework in my bedroom.  Not recognizing the voices except Mothers, I just continued with what I was doing.  Soon thereafter, I heard Mother come to the bottom of the staircase.  She asked me to come down, saying there was someone she wanted me to meet.  Now I had no idea it was Paddy, so I told her I was busy doing my homework.

But she kept insisting that I come down and I thought I’d better go down or else she would keep on insisting.  I walked slowly down the steps and lo and behold, there was Himself in his Army get-up with a big smile on his face.  My first inclination was to run back up the steps  But Mother was saying,  “It’s your Father, aren’t you going to say anything?”  He approached me and planted a big kiss on my cheek.  I put my hand to my face and wiped the kiss off and ran back up the steps.  I could hear Mother making excuses for my behavior but I was too angry at the time to care.  How could she do this to us?

A few weeks after Paddy had moved in with us, we kids were still not happy about it. At least we were warned beforehand but It was still really tense even though Mother tried to make everything seem normal.  She started cooking big meals and had fresh coffee whenever Paddy wanted it. He and Mother took the back bedroom and us kids had to make do with whatever was left.  He found a job at a defense plant on the night shift as a security guard.  It was so very strange having him there and working; it took quite a while to get used to it.

But after a few months, I at least and the younger kids got used to having him around.  In fact, he started having his buddies over on the weekends for poker and beer.  Mother did not seem too happy about this.  Soon I was joining Himself and his buddies, to listen to the war stories and maybe have a sip of beer once in a while.  Anna at sixteen and in the tenth grade, decided to quit school to work in a factory and was earning a pretty good salary.  She never became acclimated to having Himself there.  She could not accept the fact he could tell her what to do!

So there was tension in the air between Paddy and Anna on a regular basis.  Anna worked the late shift also, getting out at 10 pm.  Father was home early that night; he usually did not get home from work until 12 midnight.  When he noticed that Anna and her friends from work were standing outside the house talking and laughing, he sent me out to tell her to “get in the house right now!”

To be continued.

28TH Day of NaBloPoMo/Growing Up

Anna and Marion

 

Mother found out about the details of the allotment from a reliable source and it only made her despise Paddy more than she already did.  First of all, Himself got drafted into the Army at his age because he had deserted his family and he had never made an attempt to contribute anything to their welfare.

There were records from when Mother had taken Paddy to court to try to get child support from him.  And the Army had access to these records.  He had not only refused to pay child support, but when the judge ordered him to get a job and pay his fair share; he said he would quit the job rather than pay child support.  The judge at that time told my Mother that he was just no good and that she would never get anything out of him.

That’s why when we started receiving the allotment, not only was Mother shocked but we were all surprised.  Although what she found out didn’t surprise her.  It seems when Paddy was drafted and the Army officials told him why they were drafting him at his age, he wasn’t happy about it.  He asked that his allotment be sent home to his mother who would put it in savings for him when he got out of the service.

The Army however had other ideas, they told Paddy that they were sending his allotment to his wife and children who desperately needed it.  He would get a small stipend to use for himself.  Unfortunately for us, Paddy wasn’t in the Army long enough.  We were hoping for at least two years.

The end of the war was rapidly approaching when he went into the Army and much to our chagrin, he was being discharged too soon.  That’s what it seemed like to us at least.  He was in the service about one year.

The war in Europe came to a close on May 8, 1945 and there was celebrating in the world.  Victory in Europe was called, V-E Day .  I was fourteen then and Anna was sixteen.  We were in high school and very independent then.  That night, Anna and I and several of our friends piled into a truck belonging to one of Anna’s boyfriends and drove to the next town where there was a town square and we joined with hundreds of other people who were singing and yelling and kissing and even dancing.  Music was coming from a band in the middle of the square.  We stayed there until the wee hours of the morning, and then had breakfast at an all night diner and went home.  It was a happy time, especially so for the families who had husbands and sons coming home.

In the time Paddy was in the service, we for the most part were enjoying life more than we ever had before.  We were receiving his allotment and Mother was working several days a week.  Even Anna had a part-time job and was contributing to the family.  Things were really looking up for us for the first time in a long time.

To be continued.

27th Day of NaBloPoMo/Growing Up

Anna and MarionLife was going along as usual except for the war of course and the war did not affect us that much, except when we heard about it on the radio and in the Newsreels at the movies.  Then of course there were a lot of movies with stories about the war.

At school, Sister came up with an idea for helping out our service men.  She asked who had a relative in the Armed Services and then with all the hands raised. she suggested we put their names in a hat and each one of us would pick out a name.  Whoever you picked out, you would write to that person with news from home.  That turned out to be a really good idea.

After we had been doing it for a while, Sister suggested that each day one or two letters from the service men would be read aloud to the class.  I had picked someone who was an uncle of one of my friends in class and he told me that his uncle was happy to be getting extra mail from home.  It cheered him up.  And I was happy to be getting an airmail letter from overseas, made me feel important and happy I was doing something.

The war had been going on for a while when we got a letter from the Army; the letter looked important!  We gathered around as Mother read it to us.  The Army was telling us that Paddy was being drafted into the Army and we would be receiving an allotment for the time he served.  Now Paddy was forty years old at this time and it was unusual to be drafting older men, although the Armed Services was getting desperate for men.

Since Paddy had never given us a penny since he left the last time, which had been several years ago, Mother didn’t think it was his idea to send us the allotment.  But we were more than happy to be receiving the money, in fact it was a godsend.  Mother had been sick with Pleurisy which is a pretty bad disease affecting the lungs and causing a lot of pain especially in the chest. It had been months now and she hadn’t been able to work at all for some time.  The doctor would come and visit her from time to time, telling her that she had to rest and take care of herself.  She wondered how she was supposed to do that with four kids to take care of.  But she couldn’t seem to get off the couch except for short periods of time.  She would lie there and direct us what to do and make sure we ate breakfast and got off to school.

But Mother wondered about the allotment and whose decision it was that we get it?  She kept asking around mostly of the in-laws, the one or two she was still friendly with and slowly the truth came out.

To be continued!