.....at the height of the Great Depression, so many formerly innocent and "nice" boys and girls in America's so-called heartland became increasingly desperate. Jobs were scarce, family savings had been wiped out, crops failed, and all the giddy hopes of prosperity that had been the seeming destiny of a post World War I America had vanished into the dry, dusty air of the Dust Bowl.... It was in that context that young folks dropped out of school, gave up on their parents' illusions, and turned to crime. It started with the famously infamous bootleggers, mobsters, and career criminals; names like Al Capone, Pretty-Boy Floyd, John Dillinger, Machine-Gun Kelly, Dutch Schultz, and Lucky Luciano.... but then the "home-grown" drifters began to appear.... kids like Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
And in that vein came the Brancuzzis..... three siblings who started out with petty "smash 'n' grab" crimes in small town drugstores, Woolworth counters, and movie theatres, and graduated up to minor private banks and savings and loan offices in second-rate rust-belt towns. Their one particular gimmick was their disguises... they wore clothes of the opposite sex, taking turns as women or men, alternating back and forth, back and forth. Soon, the authorities had no reliable identities for any one of them, since their school and birth records couldn't be located, and their origins were not known. Their actual names were constantly in flux as news agencies and police records conflicted according to city and state arrest reports. They each had dozens of aliases, all backed up with bogus driver's licenses and birth certificates. Finally, it was realized that even their genders were unknown; were they three boys, three girls, or any combination of each?? It seemed that the only way anyone would know for sure was when they were eventually hunted down and killed like Bonnie and Clyde.... but that option never came about.
The Depression began to lift, then came America's focus on the war and Pearl Harbor, the draft, jobs for everyone.... even rationing and the home-grown black market weren't front-page news, and the Brancuzzis' crimes faded from notice. They disappeared into the turmoil of the 1940s and the comparative calm and eventual abundance of the 1950s.... It was said though that in Pleasantry Falls, Nebraska, three unmarried siblings living together in a large farmhouse eleven miles from the center of town bore a faint resemblance to the few blurry newsprint photos of what people claimed were the Brancuzzis. It was never proved, and the MacDonahues (as they were called now!) were nice enough neighbors. They helped out at the Veterans' Ice Cream Sociables, at the 4H Club Fairs, and the March of Dimes Drives, at the Scout Jamborees.... and their spacious house was always a famous delight at Halloween time when they would dress up in fantastic outfits and throw a gigantic costume ball for the entire town...and for all ages!! They remained unmarried well into old age, lived long and very happy lives, and none of their neighbors or the townsfolk were quite clear who was who!.... or even ...um..."what was what"...
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