All the Years of Her Life

by Morley Callaghan

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Explain the situation that brings Alfred's mother to the store in "All the Years of Her Life" by Morley Callaghan.

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Alfred's mother was called to the store by the owner, Sam Carr.  Mr. Carr had caught Alfred stealing, and rather than "call a cop in point-blank", he called Alfred's mother first to let her know that he was going to have Alfred locked up.

As Alfred had been preparing to leave the drugstore where he worked that day, his boss Mr. Carr had stopped him and asked him to empty his pockets before he went.  He told Alfred, "you've got a compact and a lipstick and at least two tubes of toothpaste in your pockets".  Alfred at first blusteringly denied that he had those things, but eventually had to empty his pockets as asked, producing the very items Mr. Carr had mentioned.  He then lied to Mr. Carr, insisting that this was the first time he had done such a thing, but Mr. Carr knew that Alfred had "been doing this pretty steady", stealing from the store for quite awhile.

Mr. Carr then told Alfred that he had liked him and would have trusted him, but now would have to turn him in.  He hesitated, however, and suggested to Alfred that maybe he should call in his father instead.  When Alfred told Mr. Carr that his father would not be home, Mr. Carr decided to call his mother in his place, to "see what she says".  Acting like "a swaggering, big guy who could look after himself", Alfred told Mr. Carr that he did not need to bring his mother into this, but Mr. Carr had already dialed and was speaking to her on the phone.

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