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So the War has been declared over, the Peace Treaties have been signed. War-torn countries are starting to focus on rebuilding and the victors are lending them a hand. Peace began to be waged. More subtle and even more demanding, perhaps, than even the War had been, plus there would be no "treaty" to mark its conclusion. Indeed, such a conclusion has not been reached!
But this is about the end of WWII, and even in countries and places where no battles had been waged, there was much to be restored to "normalcy", much less "peace". Rebuilding torn cities and buildings in the war-ravaged countries and places may have lent a more "real" aspect to the process, but where it was mostly psychological, economic, and cultural, it was more difficult to realize.
The one thing, though, as we look at it from our vantage point, that is apparent is that 'normal' will never again be the same as it had been before. The old-fashioned concept of home and family - even of work - will be forever different. One can't say it changed, because that would imply it was in a certain form and shifted from it while in progress. But the War interrupted all that, though it wasn't noticeable to the participants because the foundations of the way it had been for them before were simply - gone in the world to which they returned. Those kids left home knowing only the way it was "at home" and discovered a totally other world "over there". They returned greatly matured but without the realization of what the differences were "at home". In their enthusiasm to start real lives without bombs and destruction, they were returning with expectations and aspirations for which they had no step-by-step understanding, and to a world which had no foundations for it, merely expectations.
They quickly began to bring children into an all-new world which was new even to them, except that they expected - and aspired - to enjoy both what they remembered and what now seemed to lay before them! Among themselves, these new parents shared their expectations, which encouraged them in them. In fact - among the members of each of the generations, the understanding and support was found to encourage themselves and their perspectives, while further widening the gap between the generations, a gap which would erupt in one of the most dramatic youthful rebellions perhaps the world has ever experienced - the 60s!
So right after the War there was a huge difference in the way things were, but it was insidious. No one fully realized or understood that life as it had been had metamorphosed into a brand-new form and the old form had vanished with the first rallying to war. So the pre-war expectations were groundless, though they continued to seem valid to those who came from there. The parents of the returning heroes expected them to take their places in the established family world and work, and even when it was attempted, it most frequently either fell through or changed from the older folks' visions to the returning hero's expanded ones. But this was not measured or figured into the direction the world was moving. It all had come too swiftly and wrought its dramatic changes too thoroughly!
So "things" hadn't simply continued "back home" as they'd been; and the warriors were so different themselves in so many ways that they didn't notice that ways they had known growing up had become things of the past. They were the heroes, and expectations OF them were also flourishing. So they themselves were not the same young people starting out who had left home. No one really realized that, either. It was a strange form of confusion, with everyone thinking he knew what was going on and almost no one really knowing!
And now they were producing offspring whom were expected to just "know" what they remembered. Of course, this new generation born into this all-new world had no real connection from which to know of that remembered one. Their parents were in search mode themselves. Real lines of communication weren't actually being built due to the many circumstances and demands of the new life. These boomers were virtually "on their own" to try to figure out how to fit into their world and still please their parents and other elders - who seemed to just expect them to know.
It's difficult to describe, by the same token as it was difficult for them to fully realize what had happened and was happening, being caught up in the midst of it! To have been so major and blatant - it actually was, to the participants, subtle, if not hidden!
So for all of the people in the "boomer" family of our story here, while the new house would be an exciting experience, especially for the boys, since they’d only lived in fairly cramped little houses all their young lives, it was not ever to be the same inner experience home had been for their parents as children. Their parents' early experiences with "homes" were ingrained as part of how they were and thought, but to the boys, this was just a bigger and better house. They were literally part of a NEW generation and not the products of a smooth continuation of an earlier one.
They'd gone to a good school where many of the kids lived in much finer houses. It was no big thing to them. Junior got along well with those kids and Sonny was shy in general. He just accepted things as they came.
The boys were enrolled in a "good" school where many of the students already lived in bigger and better houses. Junior seemed to fit right in with all his classmates with ease. Sonny was younger and shy. He made friends, too, but they were some of the other shy kids who were sometimes bullied, - he didn’t know why. His brother sometimes bullied him, so he thought it was something older kids did to younger ones. He had no idea what changed a person from a bully-victim, though.
But before we take up their story, let's retrace a few steps so we know how they got here. . . Their parents had to meet after the War!
Each of their parents had somewhat different backgrounds before the War. Though each of them, as children, had lived in quite fine houses, these were just taken for granted and in quite different circumstances. Their Dad’s homes growing up were mostly “up north” and their mother's had always been right in this same city where they were to grow up. As young marrieds they were not close to having such homes themselves. Their Dad would have much to do to get reoriented to civilian life and she had personal problems in progress during that time.
His father, whom the boys would call "Pop", had been successful in city government positions in various northern cities until the Depression ravaged the country, at which time he had sought other work. Their Dad, whose name was Timothy, as a boy had lived in several northern cities where his father had been called to administer their Parks and Recreation facilities.
After the Depression caused his positions to dwindle, he'd returned to the same southern city where his son, Tim, had been born in the early 1920s, before he'd begun his own northern work and before the Crash. It was the city where Tim's future wife lived but they didn't yet know it.
After holding several administrative and marketing positions, though, Pop decided to study Law at an age when most men were getting near retirement age. Several lawyers and judges had preceded him in his family and though he hadn't fancied the law as a career when younger, he decided to take the plunge. After he'd finished the course, he set up his law practice in another town West of that city, actually where the boys’ parents would meet at college when Tim returned from service and went back to college himself.
Their meeting at the university would be casual, with Tim being recently discharged. His mind was fixed on finishing college and getting into the swim of things. The activity following the war was unlike anything before it. The air seemed charged with a dynamic energy and opportunity. Tim was eager to get in on it.
At college he became friends and fraternity brothers with a young guy named Bill. They enjoyed all the typical fraternity antics of the times and had many a midnight discussion about their futures. Tim dated casually but his focus was on the business of college and getting out into the civilian world. He'd met several fellow servicemen from various parts of the U.S., one from a quite prominent and well-known family who had taken a liking to Tim and offered to help him get started in any field he chose, but Tim wanted to return to his own family and make it "on his own". Even so, he was well aware that he had a likable personality which had served him all through his life thus far. So he felt confident in his future.
His friend Bill dated Jane, a “Big Woman On Campus" (BWOC) and when their fraternity had a dance, Bill took her as his date, but also invited his sister, Marion, to come and meet Tim, as a "blind date". Bill invited his sister to cheer her up, because she had recently emerged from a first marriage to an older, quite wealthy man and the marriage had ended rather badly. Tim agreed to it out of the same sentiment. Besides he was proud to be squiring her around. She was a very attractive girl and had a lot of self-assurance, which impressed him. His own mother was a gifted artist with an aura of excellence surrounding her and their doting nanny who still had lived with them was everything nurturing a woman could be. He thought Marion probably had a similar personality. It was part of the expectation of things being as remembered, and we must not forget that Tim was practically a kid when he went off to war and, though he had matured in many ways and had become a good judge of other men, he was fairly naive when it came to women!
Bill and Marion's family was affluent and were prominent citizens in the same rapidly-expanding city where our main story takes place. The postwar boom was good to its economy.
To Marion, being mistress of a fine home was her full expectation and she usually fulfilled her expectations. They began to commute back and forth between the college town and the city to date steadily during the remainder of his senior year. They continued dating after graduation until they married during that summer.
For a year or so out of college, while Tim was getting established in his profession, they lived rather simply in her family's city. They'd quickly begun their family, first Tim, Jr. the first year and a few years later, Sonny, who was named for a favorite uncle who had been nicknamed Sonny. No one called either of them by their actual name, Edward.
Marion applied herself to taking care of the boys and often visited her mother with them. Her family home was in an exclusive neighborhood and her mother was a precise housekeeper. Both she and Marion expected the boys to behave perfectly when they visited there. In fact, Marion made it a rule in their modest house, as well. She was an over-protective mother, terrified of exposure to germs or other influences. But she was proud of her children and took lots of pictures of her fine-looking sons.
Tim was well aware of his growing responsibilities and especially of the high expectations by both Marion and her family. He applied himself tirelessly to the business of fulfilling them. Armed with a good education and a winning personality, along with the grace that his own family life had instilled in him, he was soon on his way to promotions and better titles. All through his school days, his Navy days and college years, he'd been amazed at how opportunities seemed to open up for him, almost to drop into his lap.
He’d learned to work independently as a boy when his family had moved from place to place, where he was always the new kid on the block. He’d developed a knack for making things run smoothly. Co-workers respected him and he could be at ease with them without losing authority. He had been seen as capable of commanding a ship in the Navy and given his own to command, though it was about the time the war had ended and when faced with the choice to stay on and build a military career on that good start or going home, he had chosen to go home and seek a civilian path.
He had a knack of winning approval and advanced in his responsibilities and titles. He went almost immediately into the lower management positions and lingered there shortly before being assigned to full management.
It had gone well, but never as rapidly as hoped. The pressure to get his family situated in a better house was irresistible. He was focused on it. The only respite from pressure was when he and Marion had little get together with friends. They got together with Bill and his Jane, whom he’d married, and with a few other friends from college.
Some cocktails and dancing were a welcome change of pace after a busy work week. They felt they had a good social life with great future prospects. They could easily visualize moving "up" and into a better house before too long!
The Day Has Come!
Brave New Move!
And so it was that as soon as humanly possible they abandoned the less ostentatious dwellings for that magnificent house mentioned earlier, located in the brand new development, expected to rival the oldest, finest, most established “good addresses” in the city, including Marion's family's neighborhood. So Tim was pleased that he was able to provide it by wrangling a stiff loan for its purchase and, of course Marion’s first goal was at least established. There could be no looking back. Their sparse furnishings were moved into the generous rooms and they all began to occupy the new dwelling.
Out With The Old - In With The New!
Tim's next project was to earn enough to pay for the house and satisfy her growing list of “wants or needs” while, hopefully, keeping her sharp tongue and general dissatisfaction from preventing his being able to effectively deliver at work. What kept him inspired was his dream of one day having a houseful of happy kids and grand-kids visiting the home on many happy occasions, as he had experienced growing up in his own home. It all seemed abundantly worth all the effort and hope and surely possible if he just worked hard enough.
Dreams Coming True!
Make It Beautiful!
Marion's focus was on making HER new home as fine inside as possible! Nothing could upset that. Not muddy shoes, not rowdy children. They quickly learned to be “good little boys” and to “play nice” and leave their shoes at the door. They learned the lessons of disobedience or failure quickly, though Sonny was still just tagging along, too young to quite understand how to “play the game” of compliance without losing a sense of who he really was. It just seemed to him that was just the way things WERE. If he were deemed out of line, he got the punishment for it. He had no idea how to sidestep it. He was just a tyke.
All new fashionable furnishings were rapidly being purchased in view of many soirees to be hosted in the magnificent open downstairs living room and family room where guests could circulate and congregate in its expansiveness! The inside entrance-way of fine terrazzo which was also part of the dining area and the living areas would be the first glimpse inside as their family and friends gathered to celebrate and socialize at many parties and occasions! Marion was in her element! And her boys would be perfect little gentlemen.
Built-In Baby-Sitter . . .
Soon a new and improved TV was added and the boys were entertained by popular programs on it.
The Lone Ranger - Early 50s Hero
Looking The Part!
A car and fashionable clothes were acquired, all the latest buzz was followed. Tim could ride the bus to work if Marion needed the car. He rather enjoyed the bus ride. Gave him the chance to talk to other men from his neighborhood about golf or even work, without "girl-talk" and other distractions!
The Next Big Project. . .
Next, the exterior entrance-way simply had to measure up to the interior! This was to be a prospect about which the boys were even excited! They begged to be in on it, in fact! . . .