1944

A daughter named Margaret was born in 1944. Rex was now working at supporting his family through whatever means he could find. The war industries had created enormous demand for drafting skills at the ship yards in Richmond where he met Lee MacArthur, a young man from Birmingham Alabama with two children and a wife. Lee had serious interests in theater, radio, literature and religion. He related easily to the cultural and intelectual pursuits in which Rex was engaged. Lee was soon to enroll at The Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

In some measure this also absolved him of not engaging in enlisted service. Although he knew the efforts against the Nazi threat was noble, his identities were more with the romantic liberals who had gone with the Lincoln Brigade to fight fascism in Spain. All in all he considered himself a pacifist and an agnostic.

Rex enjoyed the urbane conviviality Lee offered and they bonded over many shared literary and cultural interests. Lee was in the process of a marriage ending and would be needing somewhere to live. Rex had acquired a studio in the Montgomery Block (known affectionaltely to all as The Monkey Block) in San Francisco and Rex helped Lee to acquire quarters there. The two of them made a positive impression on the manager with the assistance of a gallon of red wine.

Renee's family was nice to him, and he managed to remain dignified and overlook the occassional comments of racism or bigotry toward Jews that were expressed from time to time by Leo Mattingly. After all, the man had been born in 1880 in Kentucky, and, after all the attitudes were not so different than those he heard from his own father. All things considered though, this was not something he was comfortable with or wished to emulate in any way. He instinctively felt it was wrong and distasteful. Having a friend like Lee MacArthur, made him feel he was not alone in his outlook. The two of them often spent time together smoking and drinking and figuring out their world as many young people will.

By 1946 Rex and Renee were now ensconced in a flat in an attractive Victorian house on Arch Street in north Berkeley. Inch by inch Renee was moving up the hill.

Rex fervently believed that he was doing the right and honorable thing, raising a family and responsibly pursuing a career about which he was genuinely passionate.

Suddenly the owners evicted them from their apartment and they were cast into the pool of young people searching for hard to find housing in the wartime economy. Unbeknownst to Rex, Renee had become friendly with a neighbor. She and the man, who was also married, shared an interest in certain mystical, occult and spiritual matters. It seemed that Renee had become fascinated with the paranormal, psychics, clairvoyants and reincarnation.

The friendly man offered to help Rex and Renee out with a temporary solution to their housing dilemma, offering them and their daughter lodging until they found a new place. Upon return home from work one evening Rex was surprised by the woman abruptly telling him,

"Will you please tell your wife to stop fucking my husband!"

Obviously it would be an understatement to say Rex was surprised. The awkward and humiliating circumstances led to their finding a temporary sublet in San Francisco for two weeks. Rex was demoralized but was too insecure to know how to reign in his out of control wife and incapable of seeing his way to departure.


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