Chapter VIII: Gumshoes
, the Smiths buy a house on North Third Street in Phoenix/Arizona
and a modern car. Furthermore, Lily and Jim buy themselves dentures, of which Jim’s wife is especially proud. She enjoys their new life in Phoenix, whereas her husband and her children do not feel comfortable living in the big city.
A few months later
, Lily is stressed by city life, too. The traffic annoys her and she feels caged in by all the rules. In order to feel free again, she decides to get her pilot's license. But when the clerk tells Lily about all the rules and the tests she has to pass, she feels constricted again.
Jim gets a job as the manager of a warehouse which stocks airplane parts, and Lily works as a teacher at the local High School. Since the Smiths do not have financial problems, they buy houses at compulsory auctions and rent them out. Jim, however, feels bad because of this and Lily fears potential crimes. Thus, she buys a small gun that she carries in her handbag from now on.
Going to town, Lily reads about the atom bomb in Hiroshima
and tells Rosemary about it. Her daughter is shocked by all the people and animals that died in the attack, which was delegated by the American government. She develops a depression and her parents make her go to school at St. Mary’s
, a Catholic school. Here, she is confronted with pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Horrified, Rosemary wants her mother to explain her the release of the atomic bomb. However, Lily tells her daughter to stop talking about the incidents. Rosemary follows and begins to draw pictures of Hiroshima to overcome her grief.
Lily signs her daughter up for piano and violin lessons, but Rosemary’s teacher does not think that she has the discipline to practice regularly. Desperate, Lily wants Rosemary to attend a beauty contest, but the first photo session turns out to be a disaster. Thus, Lily takes some of her daughter’s pictures to an artist who tells her that Rosemary has a special gift for drawing. Rosemary takes drawing lessons with an art teacher, Ernestine
. Rosemary is thrilled by art, but Lily keeps telling her that she should become a nurse, a secretary or a teacher, since being an artist is not a safe job. Lily, in turn, does not take pleasure in teaching anymore. For the first time, others advice her on her teaching. When one of her colleagues sees the gun in her handbag, she is reprimanded by the school principal. Jim does not enjoy his job either. He misses the nature and their life on the ranch. During a walk with his wife, he looks at animals and concludes that the winter will be hard for them.
He is right: for the first time in many years, it snows in Phoenix. When it does not stop snowing, the governor declares a state of emergency15
. Jim is asked by a contributor of the Arizona Department of Agriculture to rescue some herds of cattle. He packs his bag within five minutes. In the next two weeks
, Jim travels about and rescues cattle, for instance that of the Showtime Ranch
. Having arrived back home, he is offered his old job at the ranch, but Lily and Jim decide to not accept the offer.
Having rescued a lot of animals, Jim has gained local fame. Many women flirt with him – one of them is his colleague Glenda
. Lily regards their relationship suspiciously. She does not want to confront her husband with it, however, and thus, she decides to make Rosemary watch Jim. Her daughter does not want to spy on her father, but Lily manipulates her daughter and in the end, she agrees.
On the second day, Jim spots his daughter. Lily, who is sitting in a car not far from Jim, explains that she was afraid that he might be cheating on her. In the evening, they talk about their life in the city and they conclude that it does not suit them. Lily and Jim decide to move again.
15to declare a state of emergency: den Notstand ausrufen