Now that I have started family stories, more of them are flooding back.
Have any of you seen the recent movie “Trumbo”? It‘s based on a true story that took place during the McCarthy era and the hunt for Communists (dubbed ‘Reds”) in Hollywood. I found it interesting and it brought back memories.
Among the many cousins listed in my mother’s tree, were three delightful, cheerful women, born to my grandfather’s sister.
Everybody liked them. Everybody whispered about them. Oh horror of horrors! They were the Communists in the family. They joined The Party sometime in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s – during desperate economic times. No, they were not advocating the overthrow of the United States government. They were advocating for very strange ideas: labor unions to ensure safe working conditions and fair pay; a system to help old people survive financially after they had to retire; and a source of medical care for the poor.
All of this happened well before WWII and before the Cold War gave new meaning to the term ‘Communist’. My three cousins were not teachers, nor were they Hollywood anything. So, they did not get into any trouble. The father of a friend was fired from his high-school math teaching job in the 1950’s.That was the only person I knew that got caught up in that mess. In addition, I have just learned (via Wikipedia) that the CPUSA (Communist Party of the United States of America) was started in 1919 and still exists. It never was illegal.
I don’t mean to make light of what was a very real danger. I’m just remembering my three cheerful cousins who, by the way, all had bright red hair!