An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Eight

Above, aftermath of the horrific explosion at the Southern Pacific Railyard. Photograph courtesy of Farrell Tucker, San Antonio Police History Archive.

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Seven

Emma Bentzen Koehler, August 1914

A musical at the Casino Club with the Wahrmunds has been marked on their calendars for weeks, but Otto is devastated by the events of the day.

Emma cannot even remember the last time the two of them have eaten alone. The couple always has social engagements or is surrounded by members of their extended family, drawn into the couple’s unspoken conspiracy to avoid this very circumstance.

Otto wheels her out to the back veranda. Brilliant orange and rose streaks paint a gorgeous sunset on the west. But the sky in the east is shrouded by the thick, dark smoke continuing to billow over the spot where the roundhouse stood. Otto stands with his hand on her shoulder, staring at that cloud.

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Eight”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-One

an ostrich-plumed hat
Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty

Hedda Burgemeister, April 1914

Pealing bells from the first mission awaken Hedda from a deep sleep. The discordant clangs are unlike the melodic chimes from the bell towers downtown.

Dr. Herff claims the bells of St. Mark’s on Travis Park were forged from cannon used in the Battle of the Alamo. If only Kaiser Wilhelm would assign such a peaceful purpose to his arsenal.

Like roosters at the crack of dawn, these mission bells call people to worship early. Every Sunday.

She loves Sundays. Sundays are hers. Unlike the rest of the week, she is not confined at home on the off-chance Otto might find an opportunity to escape his increasingly abundant business, social or family obligations. Lately, she does not hear from him for days. Yet he remains adamant she not work.

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Three

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Two

Dr. Ferdinand Peter Herff, February 1913

Peter pauses on the front porch outside his office. Listening. Not eavesdropping per se. But taking pleasure in the sound of women’s laughter. 

His father is probably right. He concentrates on work at the expense of having a pleasant home life. Imagine the contentment. A wife to come home to every night. A companion with whom to share meals. To share thoughts. To share laughter. 

Maybe, in a year or two, his practice will be secure enough to afford the distractions of courtship. 

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Three”