In 1929, Ben Bailey is born. In 1929, the Great Depression occurs. Ben’s dad loses his job. He finds a meager paying job. They must move to a rundown neighborhood in Chicago. Ben is forced to attend an upscale school in Flossmoor. He, his friends, and family are referred to as the Dogpatchers by his wealthy classmates. He caddies for their fathers in the summer while they go to summer camps.
World War II starts. Ben’s older brother goes to war. Ben is aware of the gold stars in the windows of some of the families he knows personally. Ben’s brother returns safely.
The Bailey family moves to a small Ohio town. His dad is back in his trade. Ben is in the 10th grade. It is love at first sight for him and Amy. They hold hands at the local movie house. He walks her home and they kiss good night. Ben works and saves his money to buy a car when he is 16. He wants Amy to be along side him as he drives. Her mother has different thoughts on them being together in his auto. She does not want Amy to become pregnant, as it happened to her. She became a mother at 17 and married Amy’s father, a factory worker. Ben is hurt when her mother tells him and his friends they have no ambition. All the while, Amy studies hard and becomes valedictorian and wins a scholarship to Ohio State.
Ben starts to date others. He is serious about another girl but finds her promiscuity turns him off. He gets back with Amy. Graduation arrives. Since they are 18, Amy’s mother can no longer control their relationship. Ben starts a job to learn to be a bookkeeper, which is not to his liking. The long Labor Day weekend arrives. Ben and Amy spend three days in Cincinnati. Ben would like to get married, but Amy wants a college degree. He knows that she should get her degree. It would be selfish of him to force her to give up her ambition. They make a pact to wait the four years. He joins the “peacetime army.” Labor Day 1952 will be their long anticipated date for their wedding.
Labor Day 1952 arrives. Amy is at her parent’s home with her close friends. Her parents tell her it’s now time. She cries shamelessly as she attends Ben’s military funeral, a casualty of the Korean War.