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I hadn’t seen my brother in a couple of years, not since everyone got home from the war. We’d had a big dust-up, you see, over trying to settle Ma’s affairs, which had been a mess after Pa died in ’44. My brother didn’t exactly appreciate my wanting to go off to school and thought I should stay home to help look after her so he and Alice, he wife, and their boy, could move out into one of them new houses getting put up at the end of town. We had some words, a few punches were tossed, and I found myself with the winos at the bus station at 3 in the morning. At least I had someplace to go as soon as the bus to Cleveland rolled in.
So I went off to school, and since I had a good head for numbers I found myself leaving school as an accountant, then I was on the move again to St. Louis, leaving Ohio way behind me. For that first year at school I was still too ticked to write home, even to Ma, and then working some night jobs in the second year kept me too tired, and well, you know how it goes. I’d left home angry, leaving behind a black eye on my brother, and I figured if he’d stopped being angry too, he’d have written. You stop writing letters and you just get out of the practice. I’d sometimes get a letter from Ma, letting me know how things was at home, and for a day or so I’d be all hot to write her back. I’d started a few, just never finished them. The only one I posted was a postcard from St. Louis, letting Ma know where I was.
By ’50 I was doing pretty well. I’d gotten hired to keep the books at a department store, and since I was on my own, I got myself a shiny new Buick that summer. I’d always loved the Buicks. Pa had just gotten one for the family a year or so before the War, though he never got to drive her much with the gas rations. I wondered, as I was driving this shiny black beauty with whitewalls away from the dealer, if my brother still hung on to Pa’s old one. It’s funny, but I’d kind of forgotten him in the last year or so, so it caught me off guard remembering him then, right when I was driving away in that new car. I gave my head a shake, pulled onto the main road and put the pedal down to see what she could do. I had a dinner date that evening with Susan, from down at the makeup counter, and I couldn’t wait to show her around in the new wheels.