Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander opens in the living room of the Hampton house in Bradleyville, Texas, in 1953. Teenage Lu Ann Hampton runs into the house dressed in her Bradleyville High School cheerleading uniform, followed by boyfriend Billy Bob Wortman. He is dressed in a white shirt, Levi’s, boots, and a Bradleyville High School letter sweater. Billy Bob is a typical small-town boy of the 1950’s, except that today his hair is green. The basketball players decided to startle the school at this morning’s pep rally.
Lu Ann and Billy Bob argue about going to the senior picnic in a pickup truck instead of in his father’s car. In a bit of foreshadowing, Lu Ann tells him that he sounds like a preacher. After he leaves, Claudine Hampton enters to ask about the pep rally. She expresses concern about her son, Skip Hampton, a Korean veteran who spends too much time in Red’s Bar.
They discuss Lu Ann’s plans, or lack of any, for life after graduation. Claudine says that she can get Lu Ann a job at the hospital where Claudine works. Lu Ann wants to get out of town, out of state. They are interrupted by Skip’s entrance with Dale Laverty, an old army buddy. It is apparent that Skip is already an aimless drunk, full of war stories and hot air. As the buddies exit for Red’s Bar, Dale asks Lu Ann if he may call her. Interested in his automobile and angry with Billy Bob, she says yes. At the curtain, she tells herself that Dale Laverty is a pretty name.
Act 2 opens in Red’s Bar. Ten years have passed. Red Grover is watching Rufe Phelps and Olin Potts play checkers and argue, a nightly ritual. The audience learns from their small talk that Skip Hampton got drunk on Thunderbird wine in Red’s the night before and cut his throat with a broken beer bottle. He is in the hospital. They also mention Lu Ann’s divorce. Lu Ann enters, wearing a beautician’s uniform. She says that she could have had her own beauty shop if “that worthless Dale Laverty” had not left her to bring up their daughter, Charmaine, by herself.
Corky Oberlander, a highway inspector, comes in and is introduced to Lu Ann. Their conversation gives the audience the highlights of Lu Ann’s life since graduation. She asks him what kind of car he has. She tells him that she went to her senior picnic in her boyfriend’s father’s...
(The entire section is 963 words.)