Marshall grew up in a typically American blue-collar family in Silent Hill. His father Paul worked a union job in the local steel mill, always volunteering for extra hours and taking bids for the holidays for the extra money, so that he could support his large Irish-American family. When he wasn’t working, he was drinking, usually with co-workers at the bar by the mill, but sometimes he’d drink around the house. Marshall’s mother Phyllis was left to raise the children, four in total. Rachel was the oldest, then John-Thomas, Marshall, and finally his baby sister Veronica Gramercy.
Paul and Phyllis weren’t
bad parents; Paul truly did work hard to provide for his family, and Phyllis did the best she could, bringing up the children. She’d drag them to mass every Sunday, whip them when they did wrong, and get between them and their father during the few times he came home drunk, looking for a fight. The results varied; Rachel ended up pregnant at seventeen, John-Thomas bounced between the steel mill and jail, Marshall played high school ball and stayed out of trouble, and Ronni was in the church choir and youth group.
By the time Marshall graduated high school, he knew he had to get out of town. He’d watched his older brother follow (badly) in his father’s footsteps of hard labor and alcoholism, and his sister was pregnant with her third child, still unmarried. He felt bad leaving Ronni (then thirteen) behind, as he’d always looked out for her, but he knew this life was a dead-end. His grades were average, and even though he was a starter on varsity, he wasn’t good enough to pick up any college ball scholarships. The Army was really his only shot.
The night before Marshall shipped out, his father and brother took him out drinking, reasoning that if he was old enough to serve his country, he was certainly old enough to drink. This led to the eventual drunken decision by his brother that he had to get laid before he left. Paul and John-Thomas dragged a reluctant Marshall to the local hotel, and set him up with a prostitute to make a man of him. It was borderline-traumatic, as the eighteen year old had always been brought up with his mother’s values, and in one drunken night, they’d been ruined by this only-too-eager early-thirties woman named Raquel.
He didn’t have too much time to dwell on it, however, as he then left for boot camp. Without anything to specialize in, he was destined for a life in the infantry. Active conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq left their mark on his already-damaged innocence, but letters from his little sister helped ground him; she’d write about the mission trips she’d been going on, getting invited to prom, and about the schools she wanted to go to. It gave him hope.
Now he finished up his tour, and is headed back to the States. He’s on his way home to see his mother and sister, and plans to try to either be a missionary for their church, or a police officer in town.