Toffer’s New Dilemma

We have seen things go south for Toffer French. In the beginning of the story, Toffer was one of the most powerful people in Des Moines. He had influence politically as well as in the secular world. He had his own company…and a family.

We also learned that he was a very evil man. He had gotten where he was through hook and crook, taking over a company by force that he would have inherited. He married a woman he’d assaulted in order to keep her from testifying against him in court. He had either killed or run others out of town in attempts to keep them from doing the same.

By the end of the first book, He was already under investigation. Now, he has been stripped of his power, his company, and his wife (who left him before the end of book one). His son is still on a collision course with self-destruction, following the same path Toffer had followed as a lad. Evil, it seems, does pass from generation to generation.

But now, in book two, I have begun introducing new players. First, there is a new sheriff in town, Wyland having retired due to health, and a new mayor (although I never mentioned the mayor in the first book). I have begun bringing in actual historical figures. The mayor of Des Moines, The actual legislators at both state and federal level, the actual players in the government (DOJ, IRS, Iowa Tax Commission, etc) as well as new (though implied and mentioned briefly in book one) villains.

For Toffer, the ride will end in a few books to come. For Toby, it will end in book 10. Two other characters will be only temporary (McCarthy and McCarran, the new villains…as well as the Congressmen I have introduced…and the government officials.). J. Edgar Hoover will continue until a book in the 70’s series since he did not die until mid to late 70’s. After the tenth book, there will be less focus on government, though certain movements will begin to take shape and be at the center of the series.

I do, however, introduce Natalia’s fatal flaw in this book. As well as her greatest ambition. It will also take center stage at some point in the saga, but right now it is simply at the core of her actions.

Many of the events that are going on in the background of the story were real events (only the story of the French/Morrow family feud is fictional) and remained hidden to mainstream Americans even while they were taking place. The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were the three most prosperous decades in America. The gross National income was at an all time high, taxes were affordable, and most could survive on a single earner income and still have enough to spend on entertainment. The middle class still existed and included the majority of Americans at that time. Sure there were poor, as there will always be until we learn to rely less on financial standing and money and begin to rely on character (a willingness to share with others our own good fortune, thereby raising others up as we go along) and empathy (the ability to feel for others and share in their pain, joy, sorrow, and even success) for others.

Behind the scenes, though, there was a war going on. Everyone was suspect when it came to being a communist, even when they were not. It was not so much different than today’s political environment, though communism has been replaced by other non-issues. Hate, which we are surprised by, has always been just below the surface, waiting to emerge. The separatist faction has always existed and has always used some non-issue as a means to divide and   conquer the masses.

Between 1945 and 1965, it was communism and nuclear war between the US and the USSR. In the 1970’s, it was the rise of “terrorist” organizations and the fear continued throughout the 1980′ and 90’s. Civil rights in the 1960’s was what split the country and caused a new rise to the hate that lay hidden just below the surface.

For a country that should be so far beyond this hate, we have been unable to erase it from our midst. We call ourselves a Christian country, and yet we preach hate messages aimed towards everything from communists to homosexuals, Muslims to Jews, African Americans to Hispanics. We even hate those who came before us, the Native Americans. Our hate has shown, time and again, that we have become anti-Christian in view (For Christ, if you believe in him, preached love–not hate–for all including one’s enemies) while claiming to follow an entity we really do not follow.

yes, this has been evident throughout the country’s history, especially during the 1950’s and 60’s. Our struggle for civil rights has proven that from its very inception. We are still nowhere near where MLK and others hoped for. We are nowhere near being the “united” country other countries see us as. We are just as divided as ever with no end in sight. Why? because we see in terms of politics, religion, sexual preference, and skin color. We cannot see ourselves as simply Americans. That, in a nutshell, is what this saga is all about: our inability to see ourselves as Americans and nothing else.


We have reached the end of the first book of the 1960s series. I would ruin the story if I gave you any spoilers, so I will keep my secrets. What I will tell you is that the next book in line is the first to deal mostly with Matt and his rise to stardom. Tom and Susie are still involved, as are most of Matt’s family. When the story picks up, Matt will be thirteen.

Ohio (which mentions the song it is named after, as well as the incident the song was inspired by) will take you on a wild ride through Matt’s first year as a teen idol. It also covers the beginning of his intervention into his siblings’ lives. Oh, what a tangled web I weave…

A Small Note On Music And Genius…

Before we go on, I need to explain a little something. Many will look at the events in this story, especially the music-related ones, and think that it is unrealistic. It isn’t.

Johan Sebastian Bach was playing the harpsichord proficiently at the age of four. Beethoven also was playing proficiently, and had gained audience with the emperor, at the age of four or five. Mozart wowed Vienna at the age of five. Almost all the major masters were young prodigies who were performing at extremely young ages.

I have witnessed at least three such prodigies. One was a guitarist, one played the fiddle, another a violin, and at least two were pianists…not to mention a couple drummers.

Whistle While You Work….Not.: An Update.

OK, so I have sort of caught up on the story. since there will only be 24 chapters, I am only four or five chapters from the end of this installment of the story. We have seen the introduction of Tom and Susie Goldman, the entrance and exit of Kendrick Wells, found out dark truths about what happened, and watched as Natalia finally felt ready to give herself to her fiance.

I have suddenly left you with a surprise as well. Michael and Valeria are headed to reconcile (something erroneously claimed to have never happened in “Long cold Winter”) But then, when someone is absent from a child’s life, they see that as something being wrong between two parts of the family, even though it may not be so. We have also come to the point when Matt and Natalia are both learning the piano.

With five chapters left to write, I am building up steam, hoping to build to the ultimate happy ending. Well, for this book, anyway. Then it is on to Ohio and then Once Around The Ride. As I move on to the last few decades, I will have to warn you that the story is going to get darker and sadder. well, until the 90s, then it becomes wonderful again…only to turn sad again.

Tandy, Kendrick & Tom

So now we know a little more of the story, which will be told in further detail later. Like several books later in the 1950s series. Now we know where Tom Goldman comes into the picture, though he is in the picture much earlier, but in the background…as is Kendrick. Oh, and the 47 have resurfaced again, as they will later in both the first series and this one.

Sadly, this might be the last we hear of Ken. I am not sure yet. Now that Tom has agreed to watch over Natalia, Ken is no longer as important. I may mention him later, but am not sure.

Unlike Ken, Tom is an upfront kind of guy, preferring to step into the light and be seen rather than remain in the shadows and protect from afar. he is also well connected, which is why Ken repeatedly asks for his help. He still has top government connections, which allows him to bury cases if need be, and he also has Mafia connections, which Ken asks him to use here.

Tandy will resurface later in the story briefly, but not in a bad way. His story might surprise you as much as his confession.

Secrets Revealed…

So things you thought were true, based on Nattie’s view and recollection, are being proven to be a bit distorted…yet somewhat on target. I say distorted because it has been revealed that the only ones really involved in actively driving her out of Des Moines were Toffer and Tobias. Marissa only tried to give her a little sage advice by warning her to get as far as she could, but Nattie misunderstood Marissa’s intent.

Nattie’s parents understand that they had unintentionally drove their daughter away by not being sensitive enough. The community had a hand in her exile as well, though she chose exile over facing her demons. Had she stayed, the story probably would end very differently. But the story is as it is so that it will all end as somewhat remembered in Long Cold Winter, but with some very startling truths revealed.


Before I go on, I suppose I need to explain a little something about Trent. Aside from his family background and a future event that defines what happens later, Trent is essentially like me in how he treats women. Though a hopeless romantic, he always remains the perfect gentleman. He waits for the woman to invite him in before he makes any moves.

In essence, he is the type of man every woman dreams about, but can never find when they look for them. He is the type of man every man should be. Kind, gentle, sweet, respectful, truly loving, understanding, willing to make sacrifices, and good natured. Among other things.

For Those now reading “Do You Miss Me Darlin’?”

The first chapter has touched on several topics. One, Natalia was raped by Toby and it resulted in the birth of Matt. Two, both Toby and Toffer are dead by 1960. The only fallacy is that she believes the cover story of Marissa’s death in an auto accident. Marissa isn’t dead. Not yet.

Marissa actually tries to help Natalia before Matt is born, but that will be covered in a future (1956/57) part of the story, but before 1960. Her attempt to help is misunderstood by Natalia, who assumes that she is angry and trying to get revenge. If you remember, Marissa has turned against her son and husband. This means, secretly, she no longer associates herself with the French family.

But, then, she has never really been a French. She was forced to marry Toffer after he raped her. (like father, like son). Natalia is emotionally destroyed, almost mentally destroyed, by what Toby does. But there will be more to that story as well. No spoilers here.

Toffer’s actual fate was told of in Whispers during a conversation. The same conversation also erroneously claimed that Marissa was dead as well. Still, I will go into detail on that part of the story at a later time as the rest of the first decade unfolds. For now, Nattie is alone (or so she thinks) and living in a shelter. Her life has been inexorably changed and she is lost. For now.

You Are Probably Wondering…

You have probably noticed something strange about the 47. You probably find it odd that, in a time when segregation was king, I have placed the first unsegregated gang. Yes, they are very nontraditional. But that is for a reason. They are all outcasts.

Those outside the mainstream were usually the first to go through social changes. They were usually the first to accept any into their gangs, groups, or social structures. Thus we have a multicultural gang. They are left alone because they ceased to exist in the minds of those who thought they mattered. Even their families ceased to care.

So we have a gang of 47 individuals, all from different backgrounds, who are one cohesive band. They aren’t trouble makers. think of them as a cross between the Jets or Sharks of West Side Story (but without the dancing and singing) and the The Burger Palace Boys of Grease (again, without the singing and dancing). I know. All my points of reference are from old musicals and not really handy when it comes to writing something that is realistic.

Still, I didn’t want a “Bloods/Crips” style gang in a story where they really didn’t exist. At the same time, I do not have enough information on the gangs of my area (and I am aware of at least three) that existed in the 50s. Although I was told that they were pretty rough, I did not want the 47 to be quite that kind of gang.

I wanted a group of misunderstood youths, sort of like James Dean’s character in Rebel Without A Cause. Misfits who, in another time and place, would not have been misfits. Youths lost and forgotten by the society they lived in. As with the story they are in, they are part of the darkness that is the story.

The Reason For The Two-Fer

I posted two chapters tonight because I will not have time tomorrow. After I get home from church, I will be getting ready to go to work. I start on my actual shift tomorrow. I will probably post chapters before I go to work Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Mondays and Wednesdays, I will post one chapter as well, But Saturdays will be the day I post for both Saturday and Sunday.

With that explained, I must move on. Once again, I show how unorthodoxed the Morrow family is. In the 50s, men still thought the woman’s place was in the home and most women were resigned with that. The Morrow family was en equal opportunity family. In chapter eight, I have two women over two European divisions. Not a common thing for an American family to allow daughters or sisters to run any type of business. But the Morrows are ahead of their times. We will see that throughout the series, but none more plainly than here.

These innovations in their social views make them a target. It also makes them the most successful family throughout the story. They lead with such innovations without expecting anyone to follow. Eventually, the rest of the world takes notice, the women’s suffrage movement becomes the feminist movement and grows in strength, and-later-the 60s and 70s happen and strip the power from the Red Scare to create the jet lag of the eighties.