An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Six

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Eighty-Five

Emma Bentzen Koehler, April 1916

Ottie Wahrmund’s voice sounds richer and fuller every year. Hettie insisted on “Because” because Ottie had sung it so beautifully at her sister Jennie’s wedding. The string orchestra Emma hired makes Lohengrin’s bridal march particularly beautiful.

Frank is shifting back and forth on his heels. Last month, when he asked for Hettie’s hand, Frank said he bought the ring while Hettie was in Germany. His plan had been to ask Otto for her hand at his first opportunity. And then…. He waited patiently. Worried it might be too soon.

Hettie was so elated. A long engagement seemed absurd after all that waiting. Carpe diem. The United States might get swept up into the war at any moment.

It already had been too long since this house hosted a festive banquet for friends and family. The only time required to stage a wedding was the time the dressmaker needed to sew Hettie’s dress.

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty-Six

beethoven hall fire

Above, facade of Beethoven Hall after the fire, Elizabeth Koch Collection, UTSA Libraries Special Collections

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fifty-Five

Andrew Stevens, November 1913

“Ashes,” says the Colonel. “Burnt down to the ground so rapidly you would think Beethoven Hall was built of paper.”

“Was anyone injured?” asks Mr. K.

“Fortunately not,” answers the Colonel. “I understand the caretaker and his family lost everything save their lives.”

“Mister Schmidt,” Andy interrupts. “The caretaker, sir. The sky over the neighborhood was lit up like fireworks on the Fourth of July. I was a block away on my way home and ran down Alamo Street to see what was happening. Mister Schmidt was running hither and thither, shivering in his union suit silhouetted against the flames. The boarders next door at Missus Kate Steves’ were dragging their belongings down the front stairs. We grabbed garden hoses to try to soak her house in case the sparks leapt across the fence.”

“Old man Schmidt in his underwear must have cut a fine figure.” Mr. K chuckles. Anything else, Andy?”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Six

fiesta king 1913

Above, King Rex or Selamat, San Antonio Express, April 23, 1913

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Five

Emma Bentzen Koehler, April 1913

The Colonel slaps Albert Steves on the back. “Mayor, you might as well put a gun to your head tonight and get it over with.”

“Please accept my apologies, Albert,” interjects Sophie. “I believe he meant to offer his congratulations.”

“No,” answers the new Mayor. “My wife agrees with him.”

“It appears,” chimes in Otto, “the job is extremely bad for your health. Five mayors died in office during the past 18 years. The law of averages is not in your favor.”

“Gus only made it a couple of months,” adds the Colonel.

“Drowned in those fiery discussions about the Waterworks,” quips Otto.

“Lost his temper, he did,” adds the Colonel. “Scolded the Aldermen for behaving like a bunch of children playing in the dark.”

“You and Gus,” continues Otto, “are about the same age, so you don’t have long.”

“Stop it,” snaps Emma. “Both of you.”

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