From At Last

…Anna had finished tenth grade, but, like so many Depression-era children, she had to quit school to go to work, to help with family expenses. An only child, she had no brothers or sisters to share that financial burden. Anna worked in a textile mill, spreading cloth for the pattern cutters. She dutifully brought her pay home to her parents every week. They gave her a small allowance and she was content. Cute and vivacious, she was a member of the church choir and used her allowance to go to the movies and to Archond's Ice Cream Parlor on Fourth Street. Mom remembered that Anna's favorite song was "At Last" from the movie Orchestra Wives. She said that Anna had gone to the movies to see that film at least a half-dozen times just to hear that song.

Anna's Hungarian father was a hard, fearsome man. Muscular and quick-tempered, he expected absolute obedience from his wife and daughter. His black hair, heavy eyebrows, and thick mustache gave him a perpetually menacing look. He didn't allow Anna to invite friends to their home. Dating was absolutely forbidden. Had her father's attitude been different, Anna might well have met a young man and been married. But then she would not be bringing her weekly paycheck home.


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