An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Four

Picnickers with Pearl Beer in Koehler Park, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. R. San Miguel, UTSA Libraries Special Collections

an ostrich-plumed hat

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Emma Bentzen Koehler, December 1915

“Otto’s revenge, this is. I never thought of myself as the vengeful type, but, I must confess, this is the best Christmas present I have ever given or received.”

“Ah, Emma,” says Judge Newton, “I believe it was best expressed in Beowulf: ‘It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.’”

“Maybe, Gallie, that is indeed why this feels so good.”

“Aunt Emma,” says Corwin Priest, “eleven acres along the river is a Christmas gift for all of San Antonio. Otto Koehler Park. Uncle Otto must be kicking his heels together up above us. Is it true that part of that land might be haunted?”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Five

an ostrich-plumed hat

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Andrew Stevens, July 1914

Whack! Andy slaps his notebook on Mr. K’s desk in a futile effort to smash the pesky mosquito that has been sampling blood from all of them.

The Colonel smirks at his miss. “Colonel Chapa thinks the hundred goldfish he donated for the concrete basin at San Pedro Springs will cure the mosquito problem. The goldfish will just wind up as appetizers for the alligator contributed by Henry Landa.”

“That poor specimen of a reptile has been rendered too helpless to snap them up in his jaws,” says Mr. K. “The cruel schoolboys torture the poor creature. Every time he surfaces to sun on the banks, they harass him with sticks and rocks. Poked one of his eyes out. No. The solution for the mosquito problem is bats. We need bats.”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-One

an ostrich-plumed hat
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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”