Myra Cunningham

I don’t know how Myra Cunningham came into our lives.  Perhaps my mother met her at the USO canteen, where women, married and single, volunteered to serve coffee and cookies to soldiers, talk to them, play bridge with them, and help them with letters back home.  Myra was a compact little woman with blonde hair faded to mouse-brown, tiny green eyes, and disproportionately large breasts.  She was inordinately proud of the breasts and would periodically take deep breaths to call attention to them.

She began dropping by the house in the afternoon to have a Coke, gossip, and complain.  Her husband, a regular Army officer, had been transferred overseas; and she had been left behind with three children to raise—a girl and two teenage boys.  Her husband’s last stateside assignment had been at the local airbase; and since the Florida weather was mild, the Gulf beaches were a blinding white, and her children were already attending local schools, she decided to stay put until the War was over.

One day, she dropped by and hung around until after six.  My father arrived from the office, and she immediately took notice.  He was short and had a formidable belly.  Otherwise, he was a handsome man—black hair slicked down like a 1920’s jelly bean’s, dark brown eyes, and a full set of picture-perfect teeth.  He had been in the...

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