In All My Sons, what does Mother mean by saying, “most of them didn’t wait till the telegram was open”?

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In this scene, Mother (or Kate) is thinking about her deceased son Larry. Everything around her comes together to remind her of Larry. She even says,

It's so funny ... everything decides to happen at the same time. This month is his birthday, his tree blows down, and Annie comes....

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In this scene, Mother (or Kate) is thinking about her deceased son Larry. Everything around her comes together to remind her of Larry. She even says,

It's so funny ... everything decides to happen at the same time. This month is his birthday, his tree blows down, and Annie comes. Everything that happened seems to be coming back.

Larry’s tree in the Keller backyard has just blown down. The date of his birthday is coming up, and his girlfriend, Annie, has come back to visit.

No one in the Keller family seems to mourn Larry more than Mother at this point in the play. She even refuses to accept his death, insisting that perhaps he is only missing in action and might return someday. In her heart, she probably does not believe it herself, but adhering to the remote possibility of his return enables her to go on with her life.

When Mother says, “Most of them didn't wait till the telegrams were opened," she is referring to the young women who were engaged, dating, or even married to servicemen during the war. Her point is that these women all moved on with their lives too quickly once they learned that their boyfriend/husband/fiancé or sweetheart was dead.

They rebounded so quickly, in fact, that they did not even wait to open the telegrams that informed families of the death of a relative serving in the military. She says this line scornfully, expressing her feelings about how disrespectful it was for these women to forget their loved ones so easily that they did not even mourn for a period of time before finding new partners. Mother spells this out when she continues to say about Annie,

I'll always love that girl. She's one that didn't jump into bed with somebody else as soon as it happened with her fella.

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