Manhattan during the early 1940's was busy, but not nearly as busy as modern times. Skyscrapers were rising and train yards and shipyards were expanding. Everywhere, pedestrians walked the sidewalks and motorists drove their vehicles down the streets. Down a single older street, not many motorists or pedestrians were found. In fact, not much movement was normally found on this street at all. An older woman, the only sign of life, walked her small dog past an old brick building bearing a large bronze plaque reading 'Broker House 1856'.
In 1856, Samuel J. Broker and his wife, Elizabeth, were newlyweds in Manhattan, New York. The young man, as a wedding present, built his wife the large mansion, though after their deaths in 1899 and 1900, the mansion was turned into an apartment building in 1902. Since then, tenants have come and gone. The old building was made of bricks and had several chimneys, putting a fireplace in every room. There were currently six tenants in the apartment out of ten possible tenants. The first floor had four rooms, and three were occupied by the Smith family, an elderly woman with three cats named Mary Simpson, and a young man named Steven Walters. The second floor housed four more apartments, and two of those rooms were occupied by another young man named George Bennet and a young woman named Evelyn Andrews. Upstairs on the third floor, there were two rooms, and only one was occupied by a quiet old man who lived alone named James Sherman.
The Smiths had the largest apartment on the first floor, as they had the largest number of tenants. Their family was made up of Peter Smith, a young man in his mid-thirties, his wife, Edith Smith, a young woman in her early thirties, and their three children, James, Andrew and Katherine, all who were under the age of ten. James Smith was the eldest and the most troublesome. He was seven years of age and loved pulling pranks on the tenants, especially the elder man on the third floor. This infuriated the man and embarrassed Mrs. Smith, though James found it quite funny. Andrew Smith was a bit quieter, but occasionally would he join in with James's marauding. Andrew was five years of age and very well liked by the elder lady with the cats on the first floor. Katherine Smith was only three, and she was shy, normally keeping to her mother's side. She loved spending time with George Bennet on the second floor, as Mr. Bennet had always loved children, especially younger ones.
Mary Simpson on the first floor was up in age, probably in her seventies. In her younger life, she was married and had nine boys, not a single girl. Out of her nine sons, named Edward, Peter, Walter, Steven, James, John, William, Clark and Glenn, three remained alive during the early 1940's. Four of them, Walter, Peter, John and Glenn, were killed during the Great War in 1915 during a bombing raid, Steven died in a car accident in 1934, and James died not long after he was born in 1894. The three sons that remained alive today, William, Clark and Edward, were all enlisted in the navy. Only five years prior in 1935, Mary Simpson's husband, Edmund, had died of consumption, which in today's world, is known as tuberculosis.
Steven Walters was a young man of twenty-three. He'd lived in Manhattan all of his life and after college, moved back to Manhattan to the Broker House apartments. His hair was short and light, and he had matching light eyes. Steven, often called Steve, was a fun young man who loved to go dancing with George Bennet and Evelyn Andrews of the second floor every weekend, and secretly had an infatuation with Miss Andrews. Steve had just recently enlisted in the American Air Force, though may soon be joining the British Royal Air Force, or the R.A.F., in the war against the German Nazi Empire.
George Bennet had the smallest of the four apartments on the second floor, though it really did not bother him much. George was a young man of twenty-five and had dark hair and a dark, thin moustache to match. His eyes were a dark brown, and he wasn't very tall. Like Steve Walters, George Bennet had enlisted in the American Air Force and might also be joining the R.A.F., but also like Steve, George Bennet had an infatuation with Miss Evelyn Andrews, whom he shared the second floor with.
Evelyn Andrews was unlike any young woman that Steve Walters and George Bennet had seen. At the age of twenty-two, Evelyn Andrews had a strong and feisty personality. If she were bothered, she would defend herself. When she wasn't strong, determined and feisty, Evelyn was kind and sweet natured, almost a different person. She enjoyed life and everything in it, and laughed and smiled at almost anything. She had dark brown hair that was worn in the classic rolls, waves, or the classic Victory Rolls of the time period and vivid greenish-brown eyes to match. She was a small young woman, though probably around the height of 5'3 or 5'4. She was a talented young woman as well, being a wonderful dancer, as Steve and George always said, and a talented singer in several clubs. Sometimes, she would join in with whatever band was playing that night (her first performance was with the infamous Big Band trombonist, Glenn Miller) on her trumpet. Evelyn was also a lot smarter than she made herself appear, and knew clearly of George Bennet and Steve Walters's infatuations with her.
Not much was known about James Sherman, on the other hand, other than the fact that he kept to himself. He couldn't have been much older or younger than Mary Simpson, and he was a Great War veteran. Rumor had it Mr. Sherman, before the Great War, had had a small affair and a short engagement that had been called off to a first class survivor of the infamous Titanic that had sunk in 1912 after striking an iceberg, which only suggested that before the war, Mr. Sherman had been a wealthy first class man. Though unlike his rumoured fiancée, Mr. Sherman was not a Titanic survivor.
Away from the Broker Apartment Building, Evelyn was currently spending her day as a waitress at the Moonlight Diner with her friends, Virginia Watson, Georgia Miller, Ellen Hapsburg and Bonnie Butler. A few of her other friends, Ethel Ryder, Brenna Sham, Brandy Hopskins and Sandra Williams were sitting at the bar drinking milkshakes and talking over the latest gossip.
"So I heard about that fire in New Haven last night. Is everyone all right?" said Brenna Sham in her nasally high-pitched voice. Brenna Sham, originally named Brenda, was a noisy and talkative girl with dark hair and green eyes.
"Oh, I'm sure they are, Brenna!" said Brandy Hopskins, who was a much smaller young woman with light brown hair. Brandy was a quiet girl who had a rather large heart and took to everyone.
"My cousin had a home in New Haven, and luckily for him, his home wasn't even near that fire," said Ethel Ryder, a taller young woman with a stuck-up sort of voice and deep red hair. Ethel was a bit richer than the rest of the girls and enjoyed sticking her nose up in the air at everything, as well as bragging about much of it.
"I'm glad to hear that your cousin is all right, Ethel," said Brenna, sipping her milkshake. Brandy reached over and turned up the volume on the radio nearby. A song titled 'Moonlight Serenade' by the infamous Glenn Miller and his Orchestra came on.
"Did you girls want any refills?" asked Georgia Miller, appearing with trays on both hands and her apron slightly falling off of her waist. Georgia was also a small young woman with dark hair. She was quiet, but social at the same time.
"No, no, dear, we're all right. You go on and get back to work now. You need that money, Georgia," said Brenna. Georgia nodded to her and left. "What a sweet girl, that Georgia Miller! It's too bad she ain't got a sweetheart yet."
"She'll get one," said Ethel in a sure tone, sipping her milkshake.
"You're absolutely positive, Ethel?" asked Sandra, often called Sandy, Williams. Sandy was a bit quiet like Brandy, though not quite as quiet. She had dirty blonde hair and light blue eyes, and was tall, but not quite as tall as Ethel.
"I haven't been more sure of anything in my life," replied Ethel. "Why, she has to get one before the impending war begins."
"How are you so sure this war will actually begin, Ethel?" asked a voice behind the girls, and they all turned to face Evelyn Andrews, who was standing behind the bar giving Ethel a questioning look.
"Look at the facts, Evie, the Germans are taking over as much of Europe as possible, even after they promised the British that they would stop," Ethel replied, setting down her milkshake. "Trust me on this one, Evie. I'm right about it and I'm sure of it."
"Every time you say something like that, the opposite always happens," Evelyn said. "But you just may be right about an impending war." Ethel smiled triumphantly at that.
"Indeed, I just am," Ethel told her, lifting her milkshake from the bar counter and sipping it again.
"You want another milkshake there?" Evelyn asked her, noticing the low level of Ethel's milkshake.
"Why, that would be just darling," Ethel replied.
"I'll take another one, as well, Evie!" exclaimed Brenna. Evelyn laughed slightly and turned.
"Can we get two more strawberry milkshakes, then?" she called to a man in the back, who nodded and got to filling two more glasses.
"I'll take these, then," said a quiet Bonnie Butler, who had brown hair and matching brown eyes. She took the two glasses and left without another word.
"That Bonnie Butler, what an astonishing young girl," said Evelyn. Bonnie Butler was only sixteen and still in school, but she was well liked and accepted by the girls that often surrounded Evelyn.
"She's a pretty little thing, isn't she?" said Ethel, her hands crossed on her lap.
"Indeed she is," said Evelyn.
"It's quite astonishing that she doesn't have a sweetheart," said Brenna.
"Is that all you two ever care about? Whether someone has a sweetheart or not?" Evelyn asked the two.
"Well, it's all about having a sweetheart before the war begins. And time can only tell. After all, it was in the paper last year that England declared war on Germany," Ethel told her.
"Only time will tell when America joins the war," said Brenna. Evelyn rolled her eyes and laughed slightly.
"It isn't our war to fight, girls. Not yet, at least," she told them. "I've got to get back to work. Your milkshakes will come shortly."
"See you after work then, Evie!" exclaimed Brenna, waving at her as she left.
"It isn't our war to fight yet, but we'll wait and see when the Germans come to attack us," Ethel said. "Or possibly the Japs. We did cut off their oil supply."
"No one really cares, Ethel. We aren't going to war," Brenna told her.
"Yet," Ethel replied.
"Two strawberry milkshakes!" called the man who Evelyn had given the order to.
"Over here! Over here!" called Brenna, waving to the man. The man joyously strode over to the girls and brought them their drinks.
"Here you are, Miss," he said, handing Ethel her drink. "And here you are, Miss." He handed Brenna her drink and smiled flirtatiously at her, while Brenna giggled and blushed.
"Why, thank you kindly," she told him, giggling. The young man took her hand and kissed it. Ethel chuckled slightly to herself.
"Evelyn couldn't be more right," she said, and she sipped her milkshake once more.