The man on the left is Walter and he’s a machinist at a fledgling radio company—RCA—and that’s his wife Pauline. Maybe some midwife forgot to slap Walter’s hiney when he entered the world, because he’s kind of a dullard. Pauline is not—she was a nurse during World War 1 but now that she’s married to Walter all they ever do is fight about her desire to work, especially since the birth of her baby boy. They need the money so Walter acquiesces, but he never stops making her feel guilty about stuff.
In five years Pauline will treat a patient with Poison Carbuncles and she’ll contract the same infection in her neck. And maybe Pauline simultaneously contracts Influenza during that year’s pandemic, but anyway she’ll be bedridden and in great pain and will suffer temporary blindness and not-so-temporary Bell’s palsy. Then one day: suspicious that Walter is not providing her with decent medical care, Pauline’s parents storm into the house while Walter is at work and remove Pauline, bed and all—and transport her to their home on the other side of town, never to return.
Left behind is Pauline & Walter’s 5-year-old son. He will be shipped across the city to be raised by his Grandfather, the Chief of Police.