An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty-Nine

Above, “Blue Nude,” Henri Matisse, 1907

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fifty-Eight

Emma Dumpke Daschel, February 1914

February 15, 1914

My dearest Hedda,

You must have your ostrich plumes arranged atop a hat exactly like this one on the cover of “The Saturday Evening Post” I am enclosing. You would stand out among all strolling through Central Park on a Sunday afternoon. 

Hot Wells Ostrich Farm

I believe Mr. K, however, is teasing you by parsimoniously doling out one ostrich feather at a time for you to save for a hat. He owns most of Hot Sulphur Wells. With ostrich races there every weekend, surely you realize he can obtain as many plumes as he wants anytime at no charge – as though money were an obstacle for the millionaire.

I beg you once again to not fall prey to his charms. He has incredible gall comparing himself to an ostrich mating for life.

Perhaps you have yet to see the angry venom that spews forth from him if you displease him in the slightest way. He cannot control his violent temper. Perhaps this is how he resembles an ostrich. They say one encountered in the wild is as fierce as a lion. Even Teddy Roosevelt claims the only defense against an attacking ostrich is to play dead.

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty-Three

statue of liberty

Above, Statue of Liberty, Detroit Publishing Company, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Fifty-Two

Hedda Burgemeister, October 1913

Shivering, Hedda pulls her wrap closely around her as the ship steams toward the harbor. On deck before dawn waiting to spy the welcoming torch held aloft by the Statue of Liberty, she secures a spot by the railing. As the sun rises, people crowd onto the deck, all peering toward the west.

She remembers the trembling excitement she felt the first time she saw Lady Liberty and her own first passage through the long, long lines on Ellis Island. Her sense of anticipation is greater now. Instead of the jittery uncertainty of venturing into an unknown new life, she feels waves of relief flooding over her at the thought of returning. Her emotions upon arriving in Germany two weeks ago pale by comparison.

With her father gone, Germany no longer feels homelike. She enjoyed reminiscing with her German friends from nursing school, but she found herself disconnected this trip. She is American now.

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

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Fifty

summer in new york city

Above, “Summer Days on New York’s East Side,” Raymond Crawford Ewer, centerfold in Puck, August 15, 1914, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Nine

Emma Dumpke Daschel, August 1913

August 13, 1913

My dear Hedda,

Of course, you can stay with us as long as you want. Forever if you wish.

You must plan to be here on a Friday night. Heinrich, or my cooking, has attracted quite a salon of young bachelors on a weekly basis, all with ravenous appetites. Conversations over dinner are animated, with spirited disagreements over literature or world events never avoided yet never disturbing the underlying camaraderie. 

Viewpoints are more diverse than those to which I was accustomed, particularly concerning politics. Only one of the professors who joins us has an umbilical cord tied to Germany. The rest are all American-born.

I finally understand how glorious it must have been for you to grow up in such a stimulating environment. With gatherings of highly opinionated professors at your father’s apartment almost every night of the week, it is no wonder you are so well-spoken… and outspoken. 

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