Marian Staley
Fictional Character
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Bombs Away
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: United States
Occupation: Housewife, secretary
Spouse: Bill Staley (d. 1951), Fayvl Tabakman
Children: Linda (daughter)
Professional Affiliations: Boeing (until the mid-1940s)
Shasta Lumber Corporation (1951-)

Marian Staley was a mother and housewife in Everett, Washington. Her husband, Bill, was a B-29 co-pilot in the Korean War before and after it was folded into World War III. Marian raised their daughter, Linda while her husband was at the front.[1]

Marian watched with increasing panic as President Harry Truman authorized atomic attacks in Manchuria on January 23, 1951[2], and Joseph Stalin's retaliatory attacks in Europe on February 1.[3] For the time being, she had to settle for the presumption that Bill was still alive.[4] She realized the toll his absence was taking on Linda and on their marriage.[5]

Throughout January and February 1951, the U.S. and the Soviet Union traded atomic bombs within their respective spheres of influence until the Soviet Union invaded West Germany. On the night of March 1, Marian learned that nearby Seattle was expanding its civil-defenses, and that air raid warnings would start the following week. However, in the early morning hours of March 2, a Soviet bomber, in an audacious raid, dropped an atomic bomb between Seattle and Everett. Marian and Linda survived the blast. Their house was destroyed, but they took shelter in their car and fled.[6]

The Staleys made their way to a refugee camp (officially Seattle-Everett Refugee Encampment Number Three, more popularly known as "Camp Nowhere").[7] They continued to live in the Studebaker rather than in the tents the National Guard provided. The flash burns they'd received healed cleanly, and they didn't show any other symptoms of radiation sickness. Other people weren't so lucky; mass graves filled up regularly.[8]

After several days in the camp, they ran into their cobbler, Fayvl Tabakman, who introduced the Staleys to friends of his, Yitzkhak and Moishe.[9] The Staleys became relatively close to Tabakman and his friends, eating meals with them, and discussing their past. Marian came to realize just how lucky she'd been up til now.[10]

About six weeks after the destruction of Seattle, Marian, Linda, and Tabakman went back to the Staley's car/home, and found a teenager, Daniel Philip Jaspers, trying to break in. When he charged at them, Tabakman picked up and rock and threw it, hitting the teenager squarely in the nose, knocking him out. Before Marian went to find a Guardsman, she asked how Tabakman learned to throw like that. He replied with grenades.[11] Jaspers was taken into custody, and Marian made a point of watching out for him for a time, but her husband's status became more important. She also wondered whether she should leave the camp and find work. Still, as she talked to Tabakman and learned of his personal history, she realized her situation wasn't as bad as it could have been.[12] Unfortunately, in May, Bill was killed when his bomber was shot down over the Soviet Union, leaving Marian completely uncertain what to do next.[13]

For the remainder of the month, Marian wandered about in a fog. She made sure Linda went to the kindergarten the camp had established on school days, but frequently meandered around the camp until school let out. She grew closer to Fayvl Tabakman, since he had some understanding of what she was going through, both in his capacity as a fellow refugee, and as a Holocaust survivor.[14][15] In July, he even suggested that he, Marian, and Linda go to a movie. Marian accepted his offer. However, plans changed when she learned that she was receiving a $15,000 pay out from Bill's life insurance policy, more than enough for her and Linda to leave the camp and start over.[16] A few days later, after a quick good-bye party with Tabakman and his friends, Marian and Linda left the camp and headed south.[17]

After securing the proper paperwork, Marian and Linda left Washington and crossed through military checkpoints in Oregon and California.[18] They drove south until they came to a town called Weed, in the shadow of Mt. Shasta. While they ate, Marian inquired about work, and was told by a waitress that the local lumber companies were looking for secretaries. After securing a place at a motor court, Marian decided to give Weed a go.[19] In short order, she became a secretary at the Shasta Lumber Corporation, and rented a house.[20] After settling in, she sent a postcard to Fayvl Tabakman to let him know where she and Linda had wound up.[21]

In December 1951, two company loggers, Billy Hurley and Tom Andersen, were in an accident outside the down. Hurley was thrown clear, but Andersen was more severely injured. Hurley was able to get to the office, and had the secretaries call Dr. Christopher Toohey. Toohey first treated Hurley, then the two went to find Andersen.[22]

Staley was disturbed by how indifferent the mangers of Shasta Lumber was to the commotion. She was also horrified by the fact that the nearest hospital was over 80 miles away, in Redding, and that there was no ambulance service between the two towns.[23] She quickly decided that the lumber companies ought to pay for such services, but realized that if she openly agitated for them, she'd be labeled a Red and fired.[24] Instead, she contacted Dale Dropo, editor of the Weed Press-Herald, who agreed with her, and decided to write an editorial on the issue.[25]

In January 1952, she found that Fayvl Tabakman had also made his way down to Weed and opened another cobbler shop.[26] A few months later, another driver, Leroy van Zandt, a driver for National Wood and Timber, died as a consequence of injuries sustained in a truck accident; he was in the back of Doc Toohey's car when he died.[27] Like Staley, Tabakman could see the value in an ambulance for the town. He suggested that all of the local logging companies could chip in for one. After contemplating that idea for a time, Staley brought it to Dale Dropo, who agreed to put petitions in his paper, but made no guarantees.[28] However, in May 1952, to Staley's surprise, the petitions gathered enough signatures to convince the logging companies to purchase an ambulance.[29] This, even as the Soviet Union destroyed Washington, DC, New York City, and Boston, and the U.S. destroyed Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Odessa.[30]


  1. Bombs Away, pgs. 8-12, ebook.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 55-58.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 64-65, 70.
  4. Ibid., pg. 70.
  5. Ibid., pg. 73.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 147-150.
  7. Ibid., pg. 325.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 172-174.
  9. Ibid., pg. 175.
  10. Ibid., pgs. 231-235.
  11. Ibid., pgs. 234-235.
  12. Ibid., pg. 324-325.
  13. Ibid., pgs. 376-380.
  14. Ibid., pgs. 406-410.
  15. Fallout, loc. 534-593, e-book.
  16. Ibid., loc. 1476-1536.
  17. Ibid., loc. 2228-2288.
  18. Ibid., loc, 3242-3254.
  19. Ibid., loc. 3292-3304.
  20. Ibid., loc. 3587.
  21. Ibid., loc. 3633-3646.
  22. Ibid., loc. 4547-4570.
  23. Ibid., loc. 4583.
  24. Ibid., loc. 4583-4597.
  25. Ibid., loc. 4609.
  26. Ibid., loc. 5133-5157.
  27. Ibid., loc. 6137.
  28. Ibid., loc. 6150-6199.
  29. Ibid., loc. 6905-6966.
  30. Ibid., loc. 6953.

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