Endnotes for the First Three Chapters of An Ostrich Plume Hat
Following in the tradition of the great Will Cuppy, author of The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody (1950), I am casting aside traditional formats for uniform citation. I accept that you, the reader, have a right to know what is true and what is not. But how in the world can you enjoyably escape into the narrative if every single sentence is encumbered by numbers? Floating somewhere between Cuppy and the Chicago Manual of Style, I am keeping you informed with unnumbered footnotes. In this case, endnotes. You are just going to have to trust me to tell you the truth, and why read the book if you can't?
Fiction or Nonfiction?
Chapter One Endnotes
Sheriff John Wallace Tobin did pull the lever hanging Leon Johnson after his whisper to the assembled crowd. I will, or Dr. Herff will, tell you more about how Johnson arrived at that point later. Much later.
Surely a woman finding herself in the news below that actual headline would have all sorts of horrid nightmares. A multitude of mourners did line up outside Otto Koehler’s home to pay their respects, and six automobiles were required to transport the floral tributes to the cemetery.
Chapter Two Endnotes
Otto Koehler is interred under an obelisk at Mission Cemetery. As Koehler was among the early residents of the relatively new cemetery, the obelisk stood out more prominently when first erected than it does today amidst a crowd of monumental markers honoring some of San Antonio’s formerly affluent denizens. According to later court testimony, Hedda Burgemeister received a threatening note following the brewmeister’s demise.
During times when divorced women were regarded as scandalous, Louisa Toselli went through two divorces. Her first husband was the Crown Prince of Saxony. While the publication of her “own story” in 1911 was ill-received by the Saxon royal family, it was a sensation elsewhere. The Hedda in this book will tell you she read the tell-all book, and possibly the autobiography found its way to the real Hedda’s bookshelf.
I know you will welcome a flashback to a time before Otto Koehler met his maker. It is unfair to kill off a character before he is introduced properly. Beginning with the next chapter, this story unfolds chronologically.
Chapter Three Endnotes
As promised, things progress chronologically now, but, lordy, this chapter contains more characters than a Russian novel. No, I don’t expect you to remember all of them.
Please pay attention to spare me from typing portions of the following over and over: Resemblance to actual persons, no longer living, locales and events is far from coincidental. For the majority of characters, almost everything included about them was reported in print during their lifetimes. If some of these so-called facts are gleaned from fake news, please direct libelous claims to the appropriate publishers of more than a century ago.
The wild antics revolving around prohibition politics all are drawn from Texas newspapers. The names of the politicians involved and the Goeth brothers are unchanged from those accounts. Otto Koehler was president of the San Antonio Brewing Association; Otto Wahrmund was vice president and was elevated to the antiquated Texas title of Colonel by Governor Oscar Colquitt; and John Stevens was secretary.
But… your narrator for this chapter, Andrew Stevens, is a literary invention. There was an Andrew Stevens working in the brewery offices, but I have no idea if he was a blood relative of John Stevens, or if the Stevens family was even of Irish Catholic descent. I simply needed a reliable recorder for happenings at the brewery. Expect to hear from Andy often. Attention: As these meetings might or might not have occurred, please remember throughout this book these words do not represent actual conversations uttered from these men’s lips. I am aware of no tapes (Would it be more appropriate to tweet that?). The dialogue does, however, mimic the daily press.
While I did not know any of the officers of the company, I am taking the liberty of letting them converse frequently. Watercooler talk. Their camaraderie and the shared sense of humor that sometimes emerges are based on listening to my father and his close friend/business associate/carpool buddy on the occasions when they would drive me to school.
The caper of the disappearing legislators, perhaps the inspiration for the “Killer Bees” of the Texas Legislature in 1979, happened as narrated, but I have no proof the San Antonio Brewing Association was the primary incubator of the plot. Just suspicions. Suspicions presumably held by Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell as well. Certainly, the San Antonio Brewing Association was not the only brewery in Texas or from outside the state involved in prohibition politics, but do you really want me to add more characters to the story?
The Wahrmunds and the Stevens families, with their daughters wearing the gowns described, were heading to the inaugural ball. Although they, and the Campbells, had more children, I have no need for them in this book. As for the Koehlers, they might have gone to the ball, but I found no mention of their attendance in the news or society sections of the papers. It was more convenient for me if they declined to attend; I made other plans for them.
And the note penned by Koehler? An author must insist upon freedom to employ an assortment of storytelling tools.
Copyright Gayle Brennan Spencer, 2017