Charles and Wilma Dexter-Hayes had brought three beautiful children into the world: Billy, the eldest, Polly, the middle child and, nearly ten years after the birth of Polly, Rosemarie.
Polly's fragile emotional state was not one of a contrived, maudlin drama. However much admirers and users sought out Polly, she was no attention seeker. Leave that insincere game to the shallow contemporaries - male and female - of a saintly, imperfect human among the whole abundant lot of venial sinners. Her frail spiritual constitution had been slowly but surely eaten away by unremitting personal, tragic losses within her beloved family. Losses greater than any naturally affectionate family member should be expected to endure.
Both the youngest and the eldest children predeceased Charles and Wilma at the midway point of an otherwise idyllic domestic experience. Scarcely had the family - not to mention the entire close-knit community of Flagg Junction - come to shaky terms with the devastating blow of losing the plump and golden-haired toddling babe to a sudden childhood illness than the nineteen-year-old Billy was killed in a freak accident while hiking the distance of a mere three miles from the family home.
Polly lost a precious infant who adored her and a big brother who snatched her up and away regularly from salivating, two-legged wolves. She came unhinged, and, despite their own grief, her parents feared for their remaining child's mental survival. Here, though, is the rub: Charles, ever the stalwart and dependable gentleman, turned dark inside, as though he were a light switched off. He ceased virtually all communication with Polly and her mother but for a few grunts or gestures to indicate what his stricken soul refused to conjure up verbally. Wilma, unable to deal with the loss of her babies and now that of her husband's mind, suffered a total collapse of spirit. Accordingly, she was taken in by a kindly maiden aunt who, though approaching elderly age, was in robust physical health and possessed a keen and sensitive spirit, sufficient to nurse Wilma back to an eventual restoration of overall health.
Polly's world of loving and being loved came to an abrupt halt ...