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  • Raymond William Weber, born 26th December 1916 (never quite celebrated)

    Raymond’s father is John, christened Johan (born 1881). He is a first generation German-American, making a new life in Time, Indiana, having come to America at the turn of the century with his wife. The town is very small, with a population of less than 300 people. It was founded at the location of a trading post, and became a stop-over and haulage point on the Chicago, Attica and Southern “Coal Road” Railway. However the railway line was placed into receivership in 1931, before being incrementally abandoned, until the line through Time was scrapped in 1945. John worked on the railway, overseeing the transferral of goods – mostly coal and logging – as wagons were changed in Time. When the line was scrapped, John was devastated, and his health deteriorated. John was 35 when Raymond was born, and missed the draft for the First World War by 6 years. He built the house that Raymond lives in – which is a couple of miles from the centre of the town, with a few acres of land. The house also has an outbuilding, and a solitary tree that has stood for as long as Raymond can remember, about 50 yards from the house.

    John named Raymond and wanted Raymond to have an American-sounding name.

    John is very straight, very precise; quite serious, in another world he would have been an insurance salesman. He is very proud to be an American, especially as WW1 risked putting a negative emphasis on his German heritage. He always speaks English. American patriotism is something he passes on to Raymond. He never discusses if he is ‘happy’ or not; but work is important: a man must earn his way. Bettering oneself, and the notion of Progress, and its inherent ‘goodness’ is something that he strongly believers. John is formal. Raymond was required to call him sir. Not rich, but also not poor, by the measure of the town.

    Raymond’s mother (unnamed at the moment) didn’t formally work, but was a local seamstress: people would bring clothes to the house and she would work away; people coming in and out. She was very religious. She is very distant with Ray. She never really learns English, but her distancing means that Raymond never really learn German. As a consequence the house is quiet.

    Raymond is an only child; cautious and perhaps antagonistic towards others. At school Raymond finds it difficult to make friends. Raymond is competitive, and enjoys individual sports. Raymond is a physically strong child. Raymond likes mechanical toys, and also collecting things – historical cards, cigarette cards, matchbox cars, figurines. Raymond has them all catalogued and described in hand-written notes. Raymond only has one real friend Jerry (Jer). Jerry lives further out from the town than Raymond– another couple of miles up the road. His father is a farmer. Jerry has to be dropped off at the house every day before school by his mother: John would take Raymond both into the town and school each day. Raymond doesn’t really like Jerry, and makes him sit on the stairs outside the house. Raymond doesn’t want him to come in. But he is a companion and friend to Raymond.
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