An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Seventy

Above, Dutch soldiers on the frontier with Belgium, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Nine

Andrew Stevens, October 1914

“I understand,” says Sheriff Tobin as he claps Mr. K on the back, “you had a wild adventure in Germany.”

“Much more than he anticipated,” says the Colonel. “Bullets riddling the automobile you’re driving does not fit any description of a relaxing vacation.”

Mr. K shakes his head. “We couldn’t set sail from Bremen, so we needed to cross into the Netherlands. There was a long line of automobiles at the border crossing, with little movement forward. Numerous automobiles were being turned back.”

“And you know how patient Otto is.” The Colonel winks at the Sheriff.

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty

pancho villa film set

Above, Pancho Villa, some of his men and members of production crew on the Mutual Film Corporation set, New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fifty-Nine

Andrew Stevens, March 1914

“You never think of buttons much, Andy,” says Mr. K examining a small white one in his hand that should be attached at the collar of his shirt, “until one is missing.”

“I have a spare shirt for you in my office. Would you like for me to get it now or right before your lunch meeting?”

Button workers in Muscatine, Iowa, National Pearl Button Museum

“After I meet with the Colonel will be fine,” answers Mr. K, still contemplating the button. “Iowa had a flourishing button industry. They carved pearl buttons from clamshells. Then the button workers went out on strike for a year or two. The shortage of those clam buttons made people realize the importance of the lowly button.”

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty-One

Above, San Antonio Express, August 23, 1913

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fifty

Dr. Ferdinand Peter Herff, August 1913

The bell jangles on the front door.

“Missus Hatzenbuehler?” A voice calls out. “Hilda, are you ready?

Peter rises from his desk and unlatches the door.

“Oh, I apologize for disturbing you, Doctor Herff,” says Hedda. “Missus Hatzenbuehler said you would be out this afternoon. We were hoping to see the Edison Talking Pictures at the Grand tonight. Amazing. He takes words—words we can hear—and makes them appear to emerge from someone’s mouth on the screen. It sounds so much more exciting than viewing Little Mary Pickford in In the Bishop’s Carriage.”

“It’s quite alright, Miss Burgemeister. I was supposed to be away from the office. Missus Hatzenbuehler went home to prepare dinner for her husband. Please have a seat. She should return shortly. Missus Hatzenbuehler’s as excited as you are over witnessing Mister Edison’s newest achievement. 

“Instead of one of man’s great accomplishments, I, on the other hand, witnessed one of his basest deeds. I’m supposed to be a protector of life, yet I was called upon to oversee an execution. And I wasn’t alone.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty-One”