As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?
Yes, I did.
In 1928 my mother’s mother, my maternal grandmother, passed away, leaving six brothers and sisters, the youngest were twins, age four. Somehow, she held the family together and cared for her brother until the draft board took them away, replacing them with a silk banner displaying four blue stars. It hung in our living room window for the duration of World War II.
Shortly thereafter, Mom ordered a radio from Montgomery Ward. It came in a large box with a lengthy instruction manual. No one around our house knew anything about radios, so even with the book it was dusk by the time we got it working. The first voice we heard a syndicated news commentator, Gabriel Heatter. His words, ” Ah, there’s good news tonight,” were what people longed to hear, and they gathered around to listen to the static-filled broadcast.
Mom was a bookkeeper/meat-cutter at a locker plant (an era before home freezers). I often hung around there until her quitting time. I recall the worried faces and war-talk brought in by the customers. There were discussions of U-Boats in “the pond”. The only reference I had to that statement was my grandfather’s livestock pond, and that didn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Fortunately, no one of the four was lost. Mom was never forced to replace any of the blue stars with a gold one.
However, back to the issue at hand:
Becoming an adult didn’t seem all that rosy, being put on a train and taken somewhere to be shot at. The only silver lining I saw was being able to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes.