An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Five

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Four

Emma Dumpke, March 1911

March 8, 1911

Dear Hedda,

Gleaming gold.  I never thought anyone but a king could assemble such an ostentatious collection of golden objects in one room, but I have spent the past few days amidst America’s royalty – the foremost brewers of the country. 

Landing such a plum position surely makes me the luckiest nurse in the world. I was aware the Koehlers were wealthy, but I didn’t hold out high hopes for San Antonio, and I had no idea I would have the opportunity to travel across the entire western breadth of this country – the weak excuse I’m extending for not having written sooner. My first two weeks of employment have left me both exhilarated and exhausted.

Affecting my handwriting is the sway of the train carrying us back to San Antonio after a splendid excursion to Pasadena, California, to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Herr und Frau Adolphus Busch. The St. Louis monarch spared no expense on this event lasting several days. Herr und Frau K seem like paupers next to the Busches’ extravagance.

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Three

San Antonio Brewing Association

Above: San Antonio Brewing Association, Original Home of Pearl Beer, Now Hotel Emma at Pearl

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Two

Andrew Stevens, January 1911

Andy draws open the heavy drapes and, despite the crisp winter day, cracks two of the windows. He hauls a heavy brass ashtray stand out of the depths of the closet and places it between the two chairs in front of Mr. Koehler’s massive walnut desk. Both his older brother, John, and Mr. Wahrmund are right-handed though, so he fetches another.

He does not want to have to answer to Mrs. Koehler if one of the men carelessly allows a burning ember to drop from his cigar onto the Oriental carpet. But, if the men are drinking, which they will be, they might smoke with their left hands. One more stand is in order. Mrs. Koehler terms them hideous, hence the closet hide-away, but the elegant Meissner ashtrays she brought back from Germany are far too shallow-bowled to serve any purpose aside from collecting dust.

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