Chapter IX: The Flyboy
, the Smiths move to Horse Mesa
, a small village where 13 families are living. Lily teaches at the school there and Jim gets a job at the Bureau of Land Reclamation. Living in such a small, remote village in a largely untouched environment, the Smiths are very happy. Little Jim and Rosemary attend boarding schools. Life in Horse Mesa is peaceful and idyllic until the Department of Education tries to close down two schools. Lily tries to prevent them from doing so and cooperates with the United Federation of Teachers; she even has an argument with the Governor of Phoenix
. Thanks to Lily’s dedication, she is elected the Democratic precinct captain for Horse Mesa. She tells the inhabitants of the small village that she is very happy about the fact that all of them took part in the election.
The Smiths start looking for uranium since this is paid well by the government. They find radioactive rocks, but a test reveals that the radiation is the result of nuclear test the government had performed in that area. Unaware of the health risks radioactive materials pose, Lily decides to collect the rocks under their house because she thinks that they might be valuable.
Meanwhile, Little Jim and Rosemary study at the State University of Arizona. During the first semester, Little Jim gets to know Diane
, a beautiful fellow student. He withdraws from the university register, marries Diane and becomes a police officer. Rosemary has many admirers and many of them are interested in marrying her. But Lily advises her daughter to wait for the right one. Indeed, she wants to choose the right husband for Rosemary.
When she goes swimming in a lake in the Fish Creek Canyon
together with her friends, Rosemary gets to know Rex Walls
, who proposes to her without even having talked to Rosemary before. Their first date ends with a bar brawl in a Mexican restaurant in Tempe
, from which Rosemary and Rex escape, giggling. Rex catches Rosemary’s interest by speaking highly of her drawings. When he is at the Smith’s house for the first time, he gets angry because Rosemary’s pictures do not hang on the wall. Rosemary is overwhelmed with joy16
. She and Rex Walls become a couple. Lily and Jim, however, are not very happy about their daughter’s relationship because they think that Rex is a dazzler17
. Rex Walls fascinates Rosemary for example by smuggling one of her paintings into an art museum. Afterwards, he goes to the museum with his girlfriend and reacts surprised when he sees her picture hanging there.
One day in autumn
, he asks the Smiths to give him riding lessons, turning up dressed like a cowboy. Rex is thrown from the horse because he attempts to canter18
. Nevertheless, he mounts the horse19
again. In the evening
, the Smiths play poker with Rex. He plays quite well, but when he starts to drink, he becomes careless. He insists on driving home with his car at the end of the evening, even though he is drunk by now. When Lily tries to stop him, he insults her.
The next morning
, Lily tries to convince Rosemary of the fact that Rex is not the right man for her. But Rosemary is not impressed by her mother’s arguments. In the end, Lily has to confess that she is not able to manipulate her daughter anymore. A little later, Rex Walls is standing in front of the door with a huge bouquet of flowers for Lily. He apologises and offers Lily a flying lesson in compensation20
for his rude behaviour. Lily accepts his offer. A few days later
, he picks her up and takes her to the airport in his car. Lily is thrilled by his driving skills. On the way to the airport, Lily Casey Smith and Rex Walls talk excitedly about hooch21
. Rex drops Lily off at the house of Gus
, a friend of his. Then he returns to the house with the airplane. Lily is a little afraid, but thrilled by his flying skills.
, Rosemary marries Rex Walls. Lily still is not happy with her daughter’s choice. Rosemary’s husband quits the service at Luke Air Force Base and makes plans for his future with Rosemary. But they are not very exact: they do not know where to live after the marriage and Rex has not even planned a travel destination for their honeymoon.
Lily is concerned and feels she has failed in her daughter’s education. Jim tries to calm down his wife and says that Rosemary is not “wrong” – only different than Lily had wanted her to be. At least, Lily wants the wedding to be traditional – in a Catholic church. If they agree to marry traditionally, Lily will pay for the marriage.
After the wedding ceremony, Lily and Rex get in the car, which Rex has borrowed, and drive where ever the roads will lead them. The Smiths watch their daughter drive away: “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”22
16to be overwhelmed with joy: entzückt sein
19aufs Pferd steigen
21illegal hergestellter Alkohol
22p. 265, ll. 30 f.