An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Eight

Above, aftermath of the horrific explosion at the Southern Pacific Railyard. Photograph courtesy of Farrell Tucker, San Antonio Police History Archive.

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Seven

Emma Bentzen Koehler, August 1914

A musical at the Casino Club with the Wahrmunds has been marked on their calendars for weeks, but Otto is devastated by the events of the day.

Emma cannot even remember the last time the two of them have eaten alone. The couple always has social engagements or is surrounded by members of their extended family, drawn into the couple’s unspoken conspiracy to avoid this very circumstance.

Otto wheels her out to the back veranda. Brilliant orange and rose streaks paint a gorgeous sunset on the west. But the sky in the east is shrouded by the thick, dark smoke continuing to billow over the spot where the roundhouse stood. Otto stands with his hand on her shoulder, staring at that cloud.

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Seven

Above, huge chunks of metal flew through the air and landed blocks away from the site of the locomotive explosion at the Southern Pacific Railyard. Photograph courtesy of Farrell Tucker of San Antonio Police Archive.

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Six

Hedda Burgemeister, August 1914

Hedda adds the fashion illustration she tore from the newspaper to the stack of library books on the dining room table.

Perhaps her mutton-sleeved blouses over plain skirts are too dowdy a look to attract Otto’s attention. After she returns the books, she will shop for a pattern for one of the bold new looks inspired by the Ballet Russe. A graceful high-waisted lampshade tunic over a draped skirt that narrows dramatically as it descends towards the ankles. One must have to take tiny steps to be able to move in that narrow a skirt, but the material saved there will make up for the splurge of extra yardage for the tunic.

Boom!

Too late in the morning to hear the Fort Sam Houston cannon faintly in the distance, but the noise came from that direction.

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Six

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Five

Dr. Ferdinand Peter Herff, August 1914

A healthy boy finally emerged at eight o’clock this morning. Peter finds himself exhausted after the long, sleepless night.

He slumps a little on the carriage seat, loosening his grip on the reins. This allows his horse Hippocrates the freedom to plod along at his own pace and pick his own route, not necessarily the most direct one, back to his office.

Boom! The earth quakes. Hippocrates rears up. Nostrils flaring, he bolts. Peter manages to rein him in, trying to make sense of the enormous explosion. Debris and ash rain down around them. A huge black cloud of smoke mushrooms upward and outward in the sky.

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