Rex Walls is the future husband of
Lily’s and Jim’s daughter, Rosemary
. He gets to know her at the Fish Creek Canyon, where Rosemary was swimming with some friends of her. Instead of all the other men, who have already proposed to Rosemary, he does not ask
her whether she wants to marry him:
“He said he wasn’t proposing, he was telling me we were going to get married” (p. 248, ll. 9 f.).
He is the first – and only – person, who admires Rosemary for her artistic talent71
Rex Walls if from West Virginia and when he gets to know Rosemary Smith, he is stationed at Luke Air Force Base. Lily describes Rosemary’s future husband as “a rangy fellow with narrow dark eyes, a devilish grin, and slicked-back black hair. He had courtly manners.” (p. 249, ll. 2 f.).
Rosemary’s mother, however, does not trust her future son-in-law:
“He was charming, but most cost men were, since before they fleeced you, they needed to gain your trust. […] This Rex fellow always had a joke on hand, could talk about any subject, passed out compliments like candy, and made you feel you were the center of the world, but you couldn’t trust him […]” (p. 251, ll. 3 - 8)
The daredevil72 pilot
has great plans: “He also had all sorts of grand plans and was always talking about new energy sources – solar energy, thermal energy, wind energy” (p. 251, ll. 9 f.). Walls, however, also has an alcohol problem
, which makes him insult his future mother-in-law and drive drunkenly.
Rosemary’s future husband is an irresponsible adventurer, who lives from day to day
. When Rosemary talks about their honeymoon, their plans mirror73
their future life:
“We’re not going to plan one. […] It’s Rex’s idea. We’re just going to get into the car after the wedding and go where the road takes us” (p. 265, ll. 3 - 5).
Although Lily has not agreed with the marriage, Rex Walls marries Rosemary Smith in 1956. Meanwhile, Rex has left the air force. Now, however, he has “great plans”
When Rosemary and Rex have married, Lily and Jim watch them drive away in the borrowed car: “Jim put his arm around me and we watched them take off up the street, heading out into open country like a couple of half-broke horses” (p. 265, l. 30 f.).
The picture in front of the chapter “The Flyboy” shows Rosemary and Rex Walls, having just married, getting into the car. At first glance, Rex looks chic in his suit. Looking more exactly at the old photograph, however, one notices that the suit is too big. The way Rex is dressed at the wedding is a symbol of the future life of the Walls:
“Rex and Rosemary […] drifted around the desert, Rex taking odd jobs while working on his various harebrained schemes, sipping beer and smoking cigarettes. […] Rosemary […] started dropping babies right and left. […] The third was also a girl. Rex and Rosemary were living in Phoenix at the time she was born, […] but they didn’t have the money to pay the hospital bill.” (p. 269, ll. 10 - 23)
73to mirror s.th.: etw. widerspiegeln