An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Three

Above, Poster by Joseph C. Leyendecker, Missouri History Collections

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Two

Hedda Burgemeister, May 1914

“There is no more impressive and revealing moment with man or woman than when you stand in a room empty of their presence, but having, in every inch of it, the pervasive influences of the absent personality.”

Hedda finally managed to check out the Sir Gilbert Parker novel Emmy had suggested, and this line describes perfectly the way Hedda has felt with Otto out of town. The memory of him swells to fill every corner of her house, even when he is miles away. She can concentrate on nothing but him in his absence, retracing in her mind every magical moment they have shared.

His visits are both infrequent and brief lately, but Hedda invents excuses for his lack of attention. She convinces herself of his continued love for her. Otto need not apologize to her for his gruff behavior; she does so on his behalf.

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

Walking among the dead seeking hints about our past

Let us endeavor to live our lives that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Words of Mark Twain engraved on the memorial for Bertie Lee Hall (1926-1999), member of the Texas House of Representatives, storyteller and writer

Getting to the cemetery first is not a race you normally want to win, but, when General Edward Burleson (1798-1851) died, leaders of the Republic of Texas realized they were caught flat-footed as to where to honor their heroes. Burleson had served with Ben Milam in San Antonio; fought at San Jacinto; and served as Vice President of the young republic. House member Andrew Jackson Hamilton (1815-1875) offered his own property in East Austin, with the state assuming responsibility for the burial ground in 1854.

Other prominent figures from the early days of the Republic of Texas gradually were reinterred in places of honor in the Texas State Cemetery. The remains of Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836) were moved from Peach Point to a commanding spot by Governor Oscar Colquitt in 1910. The statue of him was made by San Antonio sculptor Pompeo Coppini (1870-1957), creator of the currently controversial Cenotaph in Alamo Plaza.

Continue reading “Walking among the dead seeking hints about our past”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-One

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”