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.”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Twenty-Six

san antonio song
an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Twenty-Five

Emma Bentzen Koehler, April 1912

“I do so love the spring season in San Antonio,” says Sophie Wahrmund. “This dedication of the Hermann Sons Home is as elegant as any of the parties we’ve enjoyed throughout Fiesta.”

san antonio song cowgirl postcard

Otto tucks his thumbs under his lapels. “This is particularly welcome after the Chamber of Commerce’s silly shenanigans at the Saint Anthony Hotel. They handed everyone horns and cowbells and made us parade down the street like fools singing…”

The Colonel bounces as though astride a horse as he launches into song. “She hopped up on a pony and ran away with Tony. If you see her just let me know…”

Otto joins in harmonizing the last line of the popular ditty, “And I’ll meet you in San An-to-ni, San An-to-ni-o.”

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