It was a dark and dreary night, but a night like any other. Marion Faucette found herself walking the same path that she always followed to get back home after a hard days work at New York Central Railroad as a ticket agent. She had obtained this job months after her husband, Joseph, had left for the war. At the time of his departure, there were plenty of spots available, but only to those who had placed their bids priorly. So unfortunately for Marion, she was stuck with a lower vacancy which required her to work lengthy hours, out under the beaming sun. She toiled long and hard, shoveling coal and cleaning bathrooms, It was good work, jobs she takes great pride in. These were tasks she had never done before in her life, but as she got used to them; she discovered new and efficient ways of performing them. She kept the furnish running with a small fire in that great big belly stove at Gregstone Station on the Hudson River.
She learned how to maintain the fire throughout the night so that when she arrived bright and early the next morning, all she had to do was add more coal to the ambers without having to rekindle the fire, 50 at eleven-thirty p.m. Marion was once again walking those eight blocks to get home from work, when all of a sudden she noticed someone had been following her. She remained calm in externally, but inside she grew panicked. He was behind her, but she couldn’t risk freaking out. When she drew closer to her apartment building she took a shortcut to the arrive at the garage level and quickly entered the building with her keys. Her pursuer couldn’t get inside unless he either had keys or called the office, so he gave up in defeat and left the premises. This had been the third occasion she had been stalked since her husband had left, but luckily the third time was the last one.
I met Marion one afternoon in April once school let out at Manor Care in Potomac, Maryland. She is now an elderly woman, almost ninety-five in this coming June, yet she still has a sharp memory that even challenges that of my own; a supposedly supple mind of eighteen, With a century of history tucked away in her head, she was just bursting with stories to tell me. Marion held many different jobs during the time that her husband was away, she was a reservation clerk, a freight clerk, a ticket agent, a teaching aid at a school, but she never did end up getting a permanent job. When she talked about shoveling the coal, she pointed out that “it all may sound silly, but it’s important to [her]i” My thoughts about the work she did were far from considering herjobs as petty, but rather amazing During a period where women didn’t hold very much independence, Ms. Faucette certainly had plenty of it.
She went out and explored the work force, picking up many different jobs throughout her life Yet I was surprised by how drastic her life had changed once her husband had returned from the war. Immediately she quit herjob and went back to her life as a housewife I questioned her about this feat on two separate occasions On the first day of our encounter she quickly said, “they wouldn’t give me time off so I quiti” Yet on our second meeting she passionately exclaimed, “I should have never quit my job, I should have taken a leave of absence You know you do dumb things when you’re young, It was a wonderful job“ From these two exchanges it’s clear now that this was a crucial moment in her life, one which she regrets deeply, which is why she was so hesitant to discuss it at first But after settling down again, she shortly became pregnant with her first son, Michael.
Through her motherly radar she detected that her first born might have felt lonely when he was young child, so six year later came Todd. Her sons are both now very successful men with families of their own, and Marion even has two granddaughters who both attended and graduated Holtont I asked Marion if she had ever considered being in the war, yet she was quick to respond with the shaking of her head from side to side; a big no. Unlike Marion whom steered clear of the war, just about everyone else in her family was in the service, everybody except the girls All three of her boy cousins partook in the war. The youngest was in the navy, the middle one who was a school teacher became a marine engineer and advanced to an officer, and the eldest also became an officer because he had too. After the war they all resumed their priorjobs, or took on new ones, or in the elder’s place, went to law school and became a lawyer. Before the war even occurred, the Great Depression struck hard.
At that time Marion didn’t really know what that meant, just as long as she had food, clothes, and shelter, things were okay. As she said, “It’s not like we were poort We weren’t that destitute, but my father lost all of his money in the crash and my college money went with that too.” It’s sad to see all of that hard earned cash to just disappear so suddenly due to the stock market crash Even though her future depended on that money, she didn’t let that get her down. “I had to do something,” she spiritedly said, “I worked for two and a half years, and went to business college” Again another sign up her independence and strength shines through. Even when the butter and sugar were rationed, or when the tire stock was limited, or even when clothing items surged in price, she didn’t allow these circumstances to slow her down, and neither did the country itself. Margarine and sugar substitutes were used, and a new material other than rubber came about.
And don’t even get me started about the clothes, We went on for a good hour about sewing, she was quite the seamstress. “Skirts, dresses, curtains, tablecloths, napkins, you name it and I made it,” she beamed. I could tell that she has a deep affection for designing, and really appreciated my asking her more about it and that someone my age had an interest in it too. She even showed me some new knitting techniques. Although Marion went to business school, she told me she hated it, but her father wouldn’t except anything less, Marion’s true passion was indeed in the arts; her real dream was to become an interior designer. But she didn’t let the words of her father or society get her down.
Even if artists at this time were called “Bohemians” she still continued with her craft, creating her own private business by upholstering furniture and such for her friends. In regards of her friends, I asked Marion, “What did you typically do in her free time?” At first she didn’t pick up that I was questioning her about what she did with her friends, so her automatic reply was, ”Work.” Of course this was true, since she worked from sunrise to sunset, so I elaborated, adding the friend portion to my question. She said that she indeed hung out with her girl friends, going to movies and such, but she also hung out with their husbands. I thought the way she phrased it was somewhat questionable, but she quickly cleared up any confusion by including the fact that their husbands were her childhood friends. According to Ms, Faucette, guys and men, and girls and women act completely different now than they did in the past.
Men were more gentlemanly, always nice and looking out for safety of girls, whereas nowadays one only hears about girls getting pregnant while the guy ditches, What a big cultural difference. She even pointed out how the general atmosphere, of nationality was different. How people wanted to fight for the country and defend it, whereas now you hear of young adults fleeing to the borders of Canada to avoid being enlisted. I could tell that this change saddened her, especially when she desolately said, “we loved our country, I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist now, but it’s not easy to find.” She gave me some words of wisdom since I‘m a youngin’ who is growing up in such a selfish world now.