An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Twenty-One

alamo plaza

Above, The Grand Opera House is on the left of this postcard of Alamo Plaza.

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Twenty

Emma Bentzen Koehler, March 1912

Hands on her hips, Sophie Wahrmund’s tone is stern. “I am afraid I must report, Emma, that Jennie and Hettie entered the Opera House after the third and fourth numbers during the Tuesday Musical Club’s performance. Alessandro Bonci stopped completely and leaned against the piano, glaring at them as they awkwardly tried to crawl inconspicuously over legs to take their seats. Their faces remained scarlet long after the master of del canto resumed.”

Emma wags her finger. “Young ladies, it is uncharacteristic of you to be so rude.” 

Jennie Wahrmund clutches her hands together in front of her chest. “We were mortified when Mister Bonci stopped. We will never again enter a concert hall tardy as long as we live.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Twenty-One”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirteen

the immortal alamo

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Twelve

Andrew Stevens, November 1911

“Honey from Solms Apiary. The finest in the country, Andy. This nectar comes not from some common native American bee.” 

The Colonel has been waxing eloquent over a jar of honey for the past five minutes. Andy knits his eyebrows together and keeps his lips sealed tightly. Struggling, mightily struggling, to stifle the yawn rising from deep in his throat.

“The Carnacian bees that made this honey were imported to New Braunfels from high in the Alps. The Solms Apiary has sixty-two colonies of these bees, and the queens are prolific layers.”

Running later than normal, Mr. K steps briskly into his office. “Queens? Queen Emma held me prisoner in the kitchen this morning. Blocked my escape route with her chair and locked the wheels until she had no more words to unleash on me. I knew it was risky taking her to the Busches’ gilded celebration. Seems I neglected to mark our recent anniversary with tributes befitting royalty, and she wants to ensure I never make such a blunder again. How the Sultan can bear a whole harem of wives is beyond me. 

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirteen”

Dia de los Muertos commemorations deeply rooted in city’s past

To know San Antonio is to understand that this is a town essentially Mexican… and that the way to see the town at its liveliest and gayest is to take part in one of the fiestas of the folk. In these fiestas, with the exception of a few severely religious rites, nobody is merely a spectator: everybody takes part. There are two kinds of fiestas, secular and religious. But often the two are intermingled.

Charles Ramsdell, San Antonio: A Historical and Pictorial Guide, 1959

When I first moved to San Antonio in the late 1970s, I not only lived here but had to write about it. Almost immediately, I found myself having to come up with monthly features on the city. Pre-Internet. Charles Ramsdell’s 1959 edition of San Antonio: A Historical and Pictorial Guide became my adopted textbook.

San Antonio was love at first sight. It snagged my affection with my future in-laws’ fresh lime margaritas and a deep dive into a Border Patrol Special – the works – at Karam’s. Its Mexican-ness seduced me, particularly under Ramsdell’s tutelage.

Continue reading “Dia de los Muertos commemorations deeply rooted in city’s past”