betty worked at the post office under the supervision of victor kelly, the local postmaster.
betty thought that she, betty, really ran the post office and that it would grind to a halt and fall apart without her in charge.
she was confident enough in this belief that she rarely expressed it outright, and then only to her immediate family.
which consisted of herself, bill, and three children - bill junior, the oldest of the three, marcia, and johnny, who was the youngest.
so they were bill who worked at the mill, betty, who worked at the post office, bill junior who wanted to work at the mill and be a union man like his dad, marcia, who said she wanted to be a schoolteacher but was a little too interested in boys to suit betty, and johnny, who seemed a natural born layabout and dreamer.
things went on in this way for what seemed like forever but was only a few years.
bill junior graduated from high school and went to work at the mill.
some of his friends told him that that was a bad decision because the mill was sure to close down soon.
but bill junior had his heart set on working at the mill and being a union man.
the only other course that might have dissuaded him from this would be getting a contract to be a professional baseball player - which he often fantasized about - but he could not even make the starting lineup of the high school team.
he did make the team, which few boys tried out for, but only as a bench player.
the coach, milt kelly, brother of victor kelly the postmaster, wanted bill junior to make more noise on the bench, encouraging his teammates and riding the players on the opposing team, but it was not in bill junior’s makeup to do those things with any enthusiasm.
no members of his family - and few citizens of the town - ever came to the games to watch bill junior sitting on the bench.
bill senior was usually to be found at the union hall after work, and betty, marcia, and johnny - especially johnny, had no interest in sports.
when people asked johnny what he was interested in, he would always pause before answering.
and then say - nothing much, i guess.
and if they persisted and said, come on, you must be interested in something, he pause again and say -
one night bill senior invited ned callahan, another good union man, to dinner with the family.
ned callahan was a friendly and talkative person and he asked johnny what he was interested in.
nothing much, johnny replied.
come on , you must be interested in something, ned callahan laughed.
the movies, johnny said.
you never even go to the movies, marcia said.
i went to a movie once, johnny mumbled.
what movie was it? what was it about? marcia persisted.
i don’t remember, johnny said, but i liked it.
do you want to know what i like? marcia asked ned callahan.
of course i want to know. what do you like? ned callahan answered with his friendly smile.