A lonely boy's landscape encompasses the U. S. Middle West and California during the Great Depression 1930s through the World War II home front and late 1940s. Broken shards of youthful memory: rooming with strangers, moving from place to place with sudden frequency and continual uncertainty because of poverty and a mother's marital failures. Seen through a boy's eyes from six to sixteen, here are children and adults in the throes of financial hardship and tumultuous wartime: an empty house with deathly echoes, relatives swept into the cataclysm of war, a cousin gripped by suicidal grief, a family betrayed, and unexpected humor, friendship, hope and first love. He escapes into movies, comic books, adventurous imagination with fantasy excursions, and fascination with guns. Through it all is his mother, raised on dreams of a luxurious life but thwarted by doomed relationships as she searches for love and security when both are rationed or transient. He lives an adolescence not knowing who he is or where he belongs as events propel him toward the looming horizon of manhood.
Richard Vaughn was born in Illinois in 1933 and moved to California in 1944; he left home to join the army in 1950. He is the author of two novels, Soldier Boys and Mesa Beach, as well as dozens of short stories. He lives in Mission Viejo, California.