Archive for December, 2013

Madison.TheDarkSide.Wisconsin.Chapter11.TheLibertines.

December 10, 2013

Chapter 11

The Libertines

The Wisconsin State Journal.  Sunday, July 11, 1920

SCOUNDRALS!

Authorities are on the lookout for two confidence men.

“The money collected for the Frank Lloyd Wright center on Lake Monona was entrusted to two scoundrels last week who assured the trustees of said money that they would insure a rate of return in excel of 20% per year.  Even though the authorities held one of the men in custody for the time the money was in transit from the American Exchange Bank here in Madison to the offices of “The Investment House of New York,“ it was later determined that said investment house is in an apartment in a tenement apartment in a part of Manhattan that is not in the financial district.  The experts in the police department are investigating, and assure the trustees that arrests are imminent.”

It is said by some, that there is little difference between Saturday night, and Sunday morning, except that the sinners have better reason to see religion.

Sunday is the front porch that observers can use to look back at the last week, and play forward for the next.  In the homes on Keyes Avenue, there had been significant changes in the lives of the residents.

Emil was content, after a wonderful meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, and some vegetables from the garden and the market.  He had proposed opening a new bottle from the cellars of the Sicilian, and there were no complaints from the women of the household.  He had told the men at work of the new nanny, and one of the older ones warned him, “There is never good from the keeping of two women under one roof.”  But, Emil thought that the old guy, although a good mechanic, not a good judge of women and their character.  He had been in Madison since he was a pup, just after the conclusion of the civil war, and had gone through himself, three wives and one or two women who didn’t last long enough to get married, legal like.  Cholera, child birth, consumption, had all claimed one each, and two had died of infections of cuts in the barn or garden.  Little cuts, that got infected, and the women gradually got worse, until the grim reaper set them free. 

Dinner concluded, the men of the family, Emil and Artie retired to the porch.  Emil considered lighting one of the Cubans he kept here and at the dealership, usually lite there to celebrate a sold Buick.  But tonight, tonight was Saturday night, and he was already in good spirits without tobacco.  At seven o’clock, he went inside, and turned on the radio by the front window.  This was grand, having the radio where it could be heard on the porch. 

Shortly after, work in the kitchen concluded, Rosie, Nadia, and Jerry came out to join the menfolk on the porch.  There were just three stations that could be heard, before the sun went down, when the atmospheric conditions opened up the airwaves.  There was a nice music program on one, with a drama on another, and the third had a funny man with his companions.  Nadia was amazed by the whole thing, never having heard a radio program.  They enjoyed the radio, until it got dark, and for a good hour later.  About 930, Rosie, feeling the wine starting to wear off, asked Nadia and Emil if they wanted another?  Emil, noticing that the bottle was down to perhaps a glass or two, offered to get a glass for each of the ladies, and both agreed.  Nadia escorted Arties and Jerry upstairs and supervised their bedtime preparation.  Brushing the teeth, use of the toilet, followed by a last hand washing, and the two kids were off to slumber time.

Nadia glided silently down the steps, her training by the Cossacks so thorough, she used the outside of the steps automatically.  At the base of the steps, she could see outside on the porch, where Emil and Rosie were sitting on the glider rocking gently.  The light of the tubes in the radio inside, in the parlor shown out the window onto the porch, and Nadia could see that Emil’s hand was inside of Rosie’s dress, busy in a slow motion massage.  Rosie’s head was on his shoulder, the fresh glass of wine empty in the light of the radio tubes.  Nadia quietly retook her seat in the Adirondack chair.  Emil was aware of her presence, but Rosie was facing away, and was innocent of the presence of a witness. 

 

After the passage of a few minutes, Rosie stirred, the wine was making her few inhibitions that remained totally vanish.  She was in the arms of her one true love, her husband, her man.  She didn’t even remember that Nadia had gone on an errand of just a few minutes, and she let her hand that was free wander.  Soon enough, it found that which it has gone in search of, and Emil smiled, both with the pleasure of her touch, and the knowledge that the other woman in the house, the one the mechanic had warned about, was witness to the molesting of the man of the house by his woman.  She opened the buttons at the fly of his trousers, and fished out the object of her attention.  Bending over, the image of the French postcard in her mind, she proceeded to provide pleasure of a most wicked manner.  In the manner of a few minutes, Nadia saw Emil stiffed, and caught a little of a choking noise from Rosie,  silently, as was her manner, she arose, and left the porch, back  the entrance vestibule, and then up the stairs, all the way to the rafters of the attic.  On the porch, Rosie had regained her composure, and allowed Emil to lift her to her feet, and escort her inside, leaving the screen door as the only security, the front door open as was the fashion in those days.  A little unsteady on her feet, his arm was around her waist as they made their way to the second floor. 

In minutes, he disrobed her, and tucked her under a sheet, while he went to the bathroom, finished, washed hands and other parts, and wondered what the night would bring.  Rosie hadn’t imbibed of the laudanum this night, but the alcohol indicated a full and deep sleep.

Emil was a light sleeper, and the unknown quality of the night’s adventures made him sleep on alert.  It showed about 2 am on the windup alarm clock on the table, when he heard a tapping on the ceiling above.  He rolled out of bed, wearing a nightshirt, held together by only one button at the bottom.  He padded to the door, closing it as he exited.  Just then, the door to the attic opened, and Nadia was there, dressed in a slip. Without a word, she dropped to her knees, and greeted him with a kiss.  In a few moments, he was ready, and she turned and faced the wall.  There was little clothing to push out of the way, and they both were enthusiastic in their attention to the other’s pleasure.  Less than 10 minutes after he had left the bed, Emil returned.  Rosie’s breathing was regular, and normal for the breathing of someone who was still a little drunk.  She had not rolled over, and he returned to his side of the bed.  Sunday was church day, and they would have time to themselves after they awoke before they would have to arise to wash, dress, prepare and eat breakfast, then drive to church for mass. 

Three hundred feet down the street, the Swede was in his own bed, accompanied by the fair import from Norway.  After the night of the storm, the next night, in fact, when they retired, he had let her use the bathroom first for the toilet, then brushing of the teeth.  When she exited, she made for her room, and the Swede, somewhat resigned to sleeping alone again and closed the bathroom door and concluded his affairs.  When he opened the door, she was standing there, wearing just a slip, her hands crossed in front of her breasts, thumbs and first fingers on the straps.  Two steps out, and she asked.  “May I sleep with you?”

Her fingers worked some sort of magic, and the slip fell to the floor, the straps having been slip to the left and right, gravity then lending assistance.

“Yes, my princess, my bed is yours, as long as you wish.”  She gave two steps, and a hop, and the surprised man caught her as she launched herself.  Her arms around his neck, legs around his hips and thighs, any man not yet dead would have smiled and approved.  With her clinging on, he turned and took the few steps to his bedroom, and set her on the bed.  He went over to the door, and pushed the button that controlled the lights, and the only illumination from then on was the light of the moon, just rising, even at that late hour.  Not much of a church goer, for the Swede, Sunday had been the day he did the housework, the laundry, sweeping, mowing the lawn.  Now, with his housekeeper, he only would have to mow, leaving the majority of the day for recreation.  He was looking forward to exploring relaxation and fun, and she was perfect for the job.

Saturday night found the travelers well on their way to California.  A map of the country had been found, and at least now they knew where a city was in relation to their destination.  Midnight plus one minute found them on a freight train they had hoped on earlier in the day.  After the release from jail, the men had found three days of labor for each, and they had saved most of the money.  They were able to buy enough food for two days, and got some bottles from the Park Hotel bar and filled them with water for the journey.  The travelers had been staying in the basement room at the Park Hotel, and the head laundress was keep liquored up enough so she didn’t know, or if she did, didn’t care.  The box car they were in had had five bales of straw thrown in for bedding for cattle down the line, and this was good bunking for the men and women.  Anastasia was not drawn to the gypsy, and the other two men and two women were drawn to each other, and alternated as they saw fit.  Currently, Anastasia was listening to the four of them at the other end of the box car.  While she couldn’t see what was happening to who, she had heard the sounds often enough so there was no question of what the activity de jour was.  At her end, the gypsy was leaned up in the corner, while she was in the other.  It was not coldness, but wanting some attention, some physical reinforcement that she was attractive, and desirable that led her to crawl over to the gypsy’s corner.  In the morning, all the clothing was in place, and she was lying next to him, with his arm around her shoulder, and her top leg over his.  There was no church for the travelers that Sunday, although they were all grateful to whoever it was who ran things, for they had survived, they found food to eat in this land of plenty, and they enjoyed the company of the other travelers.  They truly understand that they had been blessed, they survived the Revolution, and the future looked good for them, at their destination, Hollywood, California.

Back in Madison, at the milk bar, the professional, Sheila,  a woman of many talents, had made a third customer happy back in the alley behind the establishment by midnight.  The night was still young, and she had made a liaison for an overnight with one of the regulars at the bar.  She cut him a break on the cost of her skill full application of talents, because she knew that she would be safe in his arms, and he was a cook in a café, and thus, one of the few men in the milk bar she would trust to make a good breakfast.  Plus, she would not have to skedaddle after breakfast.  She and he could share a bath and each other’s company.  She had been working hard and putting her money aside to invest so she could retire.  Perhaps she could surprise him, get him to marry her, and they could have a restaurant together.  Not the worst way to retire from her business.  The other investment was to buy rooming houses off of Langdon Street.  There was one that needed some repair, but it was right there on the lake, with two lots for frontage on the water.  Decisions, decisions. 

She noticed the woman who usually had a shiner had cleaned up since her husband’s last jailing.  Something must have changed, or she had learned how to duck.  Susan hadn’t learned how to duck, she had found that some laudanum in his coffee in the morning, and in his food at night, well not turning him into a zombie, had taken the combativeness out of his existence.  He was actually easy to live with, and the men at his job noticed that they did not have to hit him anywhere near as many times during the day, some days, not at all.  An improvement to be sure.

Susan had found that she enjoyed the male companionship at the milk bar, and the money from such companionship she was putting in a mason jar, in the basement, up in the rafters.  In a while, when there was enough, she would leave this town far behind, and head out, out to California, where there were oranges so plentiful that you could just walk off the road and pick all that you wanted.  And the motion picture business was booming, with a future for those who had a can-do attitude.  And she did.  She had learned to use the guy’s jacket to kneel on so her knees didn’t get dirty in the alley, and she could do. 

Angela, the singer, had got a promotion to teller at the bank her and the bandleader both worked at.  She was singing that night, and she had a voice like a bird.  People from out of town, the travelers who stayed at the Park Hotel across the street, frequently told her that there were bands in the big cities that needed singers like her, and she should go to New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, because her future was there, not in a speakeasy in a small town in the Midwest.  She thought that the sax man, also the male singer, was behind the promotion in the bank, but she liked his company anyways.  After the last song was sung, the band packed up and given a collective pat on the fanny and sent home, she should have gone home alone herself.  But, the house was awful empty with her father gone, and she invited the guy to walk her home, and have a Coca-Cola on the front porch.  As those things do, the Coke lead to a kiss, then another, they a hand, then a hand on the breast, then…..

In the morning, she made bacon and eggs and thick toast for him.  He wasn’t a bad man, he was a band leader, and a good singer, and besides, he had a job in a bank, making investment decisions, like trusting those two guys from New York with the money for the big new Frank Lloyd Wright building.  Imagine, 20% return on money.  Angella wasn’t an investment expert, but she knew that that has a huge rate of return.  How can they do that?  It seemed impossible to her. 

The Polish girl had been there earlier in the night.  Dancing up a storm, she had been alternating dances with three college boys, and the singer had noticed that when the hands were on the band side of the girl, they were in places that a mother wouldn’t have called appropriate.  When the band played, and she sang a slow song, she watched and thought that it was a miracle that the girl didn’t get pregnant right there on the dance floor.  Just before midnight, Marie and the boys went down the trapdoor into the basement passageway.  What Angela didn’t know was that the four took over thirty minutes to make the one minute trip to the exit.  Some say that going to church without sins, is a waste of the Lord’s time.  These ladies three, gave God a good job to forgive their sins, for they had called out his name many times on Saturday night, in preparation for Church going Sunday morning, to pray for his forgiveness.

 

The two nuns had decided that there was too much of a possibility of being detected by the Irish of the parish if they took part in the night life in their own neighborhood.  Their options were to go to the Green Bush neighborhood, where mostly Italians, Jews, and the few blacks in the town lived.  Nothing to worry about with the blacks, or the Jews, but the Italians were all Catholic, and as such, were possibly going to encounter the two during their daytime religious work.  Thus, the options were to take the train to Milwaukee, where the entire city was their oyster, or, go to the college area, in their own town, and enjoy the company of the late teens and twenty or twenty-one years old boys.  Because both women had spent their time in their teens in a convent, totally covered, their skin was that of a girl in her early teens, soft, free of any sun spots, or sun induced blemishes.  Acting somewhat shy, and not taking the lead, but rather, implying the path the lotharios should best follow, the two women could act like the fishermen of the bible, and cast their lines, hooking the wanted, and rejecting with good taste those that didn’t meet their requirements, although, on the nights the alter wine had primed the pump, their taste in men wasn’t that refined.  Alive, and not drooling seemed ok some nights. 

This night, they had taken the street car to the bottom of State Street, then headed to the lake, walking slowly, so as the take in the sights, and smell the smells.  Also, the better to see and be seen.  As they walked up Langdon Street, they sauntered past a three story rooming house.  Two young men greeted them, while sitting on a glider on the porch, with a bucket of beer from an ex-tavern over on State Street. After passage of the prohibition law, the Volstead Act, had put the tavern business on hold, the barkeep had changed to a business for pressing sheets for the hospital trade, with the liquor business moved all the way from the street level, to the basement, accessed by basement door, with an emergency exit to the restaurant next door through the basement. The tavern business was alive and well in the basement, and from the bend in Langdon Street over through the backyards, to Gilman Street, then to the backdoor of the laundry, was only about 500 feet. 

“Hello ladies, it was a hot dry day today, would you llike some refreshments to make your walk more rewarding?”

Using the Irish brogue that she had been born with, Sister Marie Clair replied, “You’re a brash one, young sir, talking to two women of education as if they were char maids out on a stroll!”

“No harm meant, ladies, just an invitation to join my dear friend John and I with a bit of liquid refreshment for the night’s charms.”

Looking at each other, Sister Michael Mary, dressed in a blouse of many buttons, and a high waisted   skirt, with sensible shoes, just not sensible like a nun would wear, looked at Sister Mary Clair, and said.

“It would be a shame to let that beer be wasted on those two ruffians, who knows what harm would come to innocent girls if we let them drink all that by themselves.  Who knows, we may be saving a kitten from a fate worse than death, or even more. I think that one for each of us would not delay us in our travels, and may save the innocent.

”Yes, young ruffians, we will partake of your beverage, but only one for each of us, and we insist, it must be in a clean glass.”

Fresh glasses were produced, and in about a half hour, another bucket of beer was procured from the basement.  During the time that Sister Marie Clair and her host were gone to fetch the beer, amazingly, the buttons, all of them, on Sister Michael Mary’s blouse seemed to have fallen out of their button holes, and the delighted gentleman found that her slip was loose, and after the blouse had slipped from her shoulders, so followed the slip, and there on the porch, facing Langdon Street, was found the two warm and friendly acquaintances, by Sister Marie Clair and the bucket of beer, with lad attached, about a half hour later.  Rather than being upset by being found with the boys lips firmly attached to her right nipple, while his had brought the left to full attention, Sister Michael Mary smiled the smile of the intoxicated to her girlfriend, and waved her to the other bench facing away from the street. 

With a template of seduction just three feet in front of them, Sister Marie Clair and her new found friend, after pouring the beers, played a game of catch-up with the two who hadn’t journeyed.  Not more than five minutes found the four as God delivered them, on the floor, one couple with the lady on top, one with the man.  Soon enough that changed also.  The police patrolman, on his foot rounds, heard sounds of merriment, but as Sargent had said, if you go looking for trouble, soon enough you find it, and then you have paperwork, and not much societal improvement to show for your efforts.  Better to spend your time looking for murderers, robbers, second-story men, burglars, near-do-wells, and horse thieves than trying to arrest all the fornicators in the Latin Quarter.  The sun coming over the roof of a house over on Gilman Street awoke the four out on the porch and after a trade of partners, the girls went to the communal bathroom in the rooming house to clear up as best they could. 

Making a quick walk back to the convent the errant nuns entered as they would, through the church, this time going down to the basement and coming up the steps by the side entrance to avoid the walk of shame in front of the eight o’clock service.  With a few steps across the hidden walk, they were back safe in the convent, taking a good bath, cleaning the stained civilian garb, then a late breakfast, and quiet prayer for two or three hours, in the privacy of their rooms.

As was the norm for people of his faith, Dr. Shapiro and the good Mrs. Shapiro, and the four little Shapiro children has gone to synagogue on Saturday evening.  The synagogue on the two hundred block of West Washington was, in 1920, a little aged, but still serviceable.  Some of the community thought that they should all chip in and build a new synagogue, but that would be decades in the future.  After Synagogue, there was the return trip home, the tucking into bed of the children, the oldest of which, just twelve, thought that she should be allowed to stay up and listed to the new radio, for there were many interesting radio shows on the air, even with only three stations that they could receive the signal from.

After the kids were all tucked into their beds, Dr. Shapiro would take the time to introduce Mrs. Shapiro to the lasted advances in the treatment of female hysteria, and its accompanying pleasures.  She had at first felt that his work was dirty, and unclean, but, after two treatments, the resistance to the third was just plain feeble, and then never heard again.  With her current enthusiasm, it was only a manner of time before there would be a new little sister or little brother for the children to help bring up.   The other Doctor, Doctor William Michaels was out with his fraternity brothers at the speakeasies on Regent Street, and Mills Street.  There was music at many of the establishments, and there was great merriment to be had, helped along by the glories of the demon alcohol, some of it aged 20 minutes or so, and some less, so that it was still warm from the condensing coils of a still in someone’s basement, usually not more than a block away.

Doctor Michaels, dressed as a college boy, was not a big drinker, but he didn’t mind buying a drink for whatever of the dark eyed, long brunette haired Mediterranean girls approached him.  They were so glad they had found a man with money, and a taste for their beauty, they rarely turned away, especially if he kept buying them alcohol.  Every speakeasy was in a house, and every house had a back yard, and every back yard had a bench or a chair or something to sit on, neck on, pet on, and consummate on.  If they couldn’t find something to sit on, the grass was ok too, if you checked to make sure there wasn’t any broken glass.  Some women say him as a favorite, but they seemed to get too grabby, and he didn’t like that.  He liked variety, and not something that would be permanent.  By changing speakeasies frequently, the girls didn’t know where to find him, and that was ok by him.  He knew how to find that which he sought, and he kept his freedom too.  He was not afraid of seeing these girls in the practice, for he figured that they got enough on their own.  Plus, they were poor, and paying a doctor for what they could get from any Johnny on the street for free, or perhaps with a dollar or two for their efforts. 

At the rectory, the midnight hour saw the two ministers of the faith, Father Flannigan, the new member of the clergy, and Father McDonald finishing their conversation in the second floor office of the priests.  The older had instructed the younger on the expectations of the flock, the content of the sermons they expected, and the special needs of the members of the parish, particularily the widows, the wives of the drunks, and those who couldn’t conceive with their husbands.  All of these needed help with their problems, and Gods own presence on Earth was endowed by the creator with the knowledge, wisdom, and ability to help these women with their problems.  The men, the men with problems, well they could be told to buck up, take the bull by the horns, pray to God, give thanks for the bounty, and share the grace, and the bounty with the collection basket.  There was also the care of the housekeeper, and the attentions of the choir leader, and the organist needed some degree of reinforcement that her playing opened the door to heaven. 

The newest of the new was also instructed in the procedures to drive the devil out of women with sin, and the draining of the devils work, done by the faithful on their knees, in front of the men of god.  This was the work necessary to insure the purity of the men of god, for the devil was testing them, testing them with the evil testosterone which had to be drained least it turn their minds to the devils work.  The faithful, particularly the widows seemed good at the draining, while those willing to conceive did not mind the application of the priest’s godly tool to drive the devil out of the women.  None of this was taught in the seminary, but Father Flannigan seemed willing to take on the challenges of seeing to his flock.  Gods work was mighty, and Gods work was to be done.

Out in the western suburb, just past the University, the Professor, and his house staff were exhausted.  They had met in the garden, hidden by the tall hedge that Karl had trained to be solid.  Worshipping the moon, they had disrobed, and partaking of the week cannabis, that Karl had some knowledge of, they piped it, smoked it, and bayed at the moon, like hounds.  Partners were used, and exchanged, and after a swim in the pond on the property, it all was done again.  Midnight fount the international cabal in the Professors private chamber, all sleeping the sleep of the exhausted.  The professors sleeping chambers were huge, and needed to be with two double beds fastened together, hinged at the top under the pillows so they could be scissored   apart to change linens.  No one could tell when one started, and the other ended, and they slept a peaceful sleep until dawn.

Church for these men of science, was the worship of strong coffee in the morning, fresh squeezed juice, and a full German breakfast, served by frauleins wearing just a smile and cologne.

 

Thus, the rising sun, that Sunday brought illumination to a small city, in a small State, in a country that offered opportunity to all that would just rise up and grasp it.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Madison.TheDarkSide.Wisconsin. Chapter10.TheTransporters

December 10, 2013

Chapter 10

The Transporters

The Capital Times. 

Saturday, July 10. 1920

“Alcohol Flows into This City Like Water Down a Mountain in the Spring.”

 

              Frank was a man who tended to stay alone, by himself.  Frank was an inactive Marine.  He had been a farm kid on a small farm just outside of Fond du Lac, about 20 miles toward Sheboygan.  When he was 17, his dad explained to him that his older brother would be getting the farm, which was just the way it was.  He looked to the east, and saw Sheboygan, with fleets of fishing boats, boats that went out into Lake Michigan in all weather, heat and cold, to get fish to sell.  To the west, was Fond du Lac, with factories, machine shops, industry, trade, and work that did not involve a cold wet boat and cold wet fish, not that he didn’t like fish.  He liked his fish, baked, broiled, or roasted, or fried.  Just not fresh, wiggling, cold and wet. 

              So, when school got out, in June, he hitched a ride with one of the wagons that travelled the road from Sheboygan to Fond du Lac, an older guy, with a bottle, and a lot of stories, some about girls.  In FDL, as the sharpies called it, he was bunked in with his cousin, at his aunt and uncles place, just east of the four corners, in the center of town, perhaps a mile south of the bottom of Lake Winnebago.  His cousin seemed to know everybody in the town, which is not that big an achievement in a town of a couple thousand, and by the first Saturday night, Frank had a job, a place to stay after the first paycheck, and he went out to the concert at the band stand.  His cousin, Norbert, a self-perceived   lady’s man, introduced him to a beautiful blond girl.  Blue eyes you could sink into, red hair down to her shoulders, and a smile that would melt the largest ice glacier in Montana, Frank was certain that she was the girl for him.  Within a week, the first kiss led to the second, and then a third and then…….  .  Meanwhile, at the place he had found a job, a brunette girl in the front office, had made time to come and see him at the machine he ran.  After putting a piece of wood in the machine, the machine cut and shaped the wood, and he had about 40 seconds to watch, or talk.  Friday night was good for both of them, and he started seeing a second your woman.  Not a bad accomplishment for a 17 year old guy, in town for the first time of his life.  Friday nights were good, and Saturday nights just as good.

              Then, about two months after he moved from the farm to Fond du Lac, two disasters happened, or, perhaps three.  The brunette told him on Friday night that he was going to be a daddy, and she said that he was the man for her, and he had a great future, and they would have to get married quickly so the baby would be thought to be legitimate.  Shocked as a young man of 17 could be at that news, he nodded, and the usual activities of a Friday night ensued, except, that now, there was no worry about a pregnancy.  Saturday night was the blond’s   night.  The news from her was also illuminating.  She was pregnant, and she looked forward to spending the rest of her life with Frank, and to bare him more babies, and he was a good man, and he would provide for her and the kids, and she wouldn’t have to work because she would be home taking care of his children and making more.

                             Frank was now experienced at receiving this kind of news without comment, or expression.  This was Saturday night, after all, and being engaged, so to speak, a practice session for the honeymoon was in order.  At church the next day, after the services, both young women saw Frank, and saw fit to introduce him to their parents.  As the brunette was taking him in arm to meet her father, the Judge, Judge Royster, the blond approached and a discussion broke out, not about the weather, but, weather he was going to have blond children or brunette.  Turned out, the blond breeder, was the prize daughter of another man of importance, the Sheriff of Fond du Lac County.

 

Well, two men of the law, can have a quiet discussion, but this was not one of those times.  Frank was taken to the courthouse, not under arrest you know, although with 16 year old girls, that was a possibility. X2.  The two men of law discussed the situation, and the two girls were sent to a Catholic girl’s school down by Milwaukee, where the diocese took care of these things, making sure that the babies were adopted to the wealthy benefactors of the church.  But, what to do about Frank, especially to protect the community from someone as virile as this teen.  The Sheriff had been in the Army, serving in the west, and the Judge was a Marine, serving on a variety of warships in the late 18th century.  After much discussion, perhaps 5 minutes, it was decided.  The boy and the Sheriff would be on the next day’s train to Milwaukee, and a path to the recruiters for the Marines, and the Army would be trod.  As it turned out, the Marines were closed to the train terminal, and thus, Frank became a Marine, just six months before the war against Spain,   his training was short, and he was on a battleship that was at the battle of the Philippines where he saw the Spanish fleet sunk with almost no damage to the American’s and their great white ships.  Liking the east, Frank was in China for the Boxer Rebellion, by that time a Sargent, and he was known to have put up a good show, and brought all his men out.  There were some other appearances by the Marines up until the start of the Great War, and he was stationed at the embassy in London when the Archduke and wife were shot.

Knowing the London area, he was the man to talk to about logistics, and getting things, and getting things done.  When the Marines started arriving, he was issued more stripes for his arm, and was in charge or a great quantity of those large Mack chain drive trucks.  His war years were spent with a pencil, a fleet of trucks, and the worry of getting equipment from the docks in France to the soldiers at the front.  He was soon the expert for getting things done, and the Army, even the Army, send men to him to learn how to get things done.  Unlike some other Marines, Marines who would have messed with the Army men, Frank figured out that there would be a need for friends in the future and having friends all over was better.  It took almost 6 months to get all the men home, and there was no need for a trucking man in a peacetime Marine Corp, a Corp that had shrunk to a small fraction of its wartime strength.

Frank had no home, Fond du Lac had skeletons, and he had heard many things good about the capital city, a place called Madison, from a sharpshooter named the Swede.  A large man, a man who was good to have at your back in a bar fight, they had had their fun in Paris.  So, when the Marines mustered him out, the train to Madison was as good a ride as any.  When he got there, it took about an hour to find someone who knew the Swede, and he took Frank over to meet a guy in the Italian section.  Well, Frank’s grandmother was from the old country, and his Italian was not good, but good enough to get a job as a driver for the Sicilian. 

The Sicilian had, through his contacts, a fleet of Ford Model TT trucks.  The brewery who had them to start with had stopped making beer, therefore, didn’t need the trucks.  The owner of the brewery had traded the trucks into the Buick Agency in town for two new Buicks, which was a useful trade for both.  Of the eight trucks, the Swede had bought one, a flatbed, from his neighbor, the agency owner, and another was in use by the Japanese laundry, that one was a panel delivery truck, and the remainder, six in total, had been bought by the Sicilian for his businesses.  He had them modified by the Swede, and the one that was being used by Frank today was typical of the modifications that all of the other trucks received partially, or in full.  To start with, the back of the cab was moved backwards.  The outside was doubled with another backside from a wrecked truck, and the back of the cab was moved rearward by 12 inches.  The inside was moved rearward about 6 inches, making a space between the inside back wall, and the outside back wall of about 6 inches.  This space, from side to side, top to bottom was fitted with a tank, which was about 60 gallons capacity.  The firewall was similarly doubled, and had about 25 gallons capacity.  The frame rails had long slender tanks on the inside and outside of the I beam rails that were the frame members, which allowed for about 16 gallons on each side, and there was a false floor under the real cargo bed which was only about 3 inches deep, but was 6 feet wide, and 12 feet long.  The capacity of that tank was close to 120 gallons, for a total hidden capacity of about 236 gallons of some sort of liquid.  Mostly, the cargo was Canadian Whiskey, shipped from Sault Saint Marie, in Canada.              

The drive was a long one, about 450 miles one way, on roads that were ok to Green Bay, on the old Military Road, but from there north, the roads were mostly dirt or gravel.  Two days in each direction was about right, with time for a shower and a hot meal and refilling the thermos for the ride back.  At first, when Frank had started, the ride up was done in two days, but the ride back was non-stop, which was why he had a rider who would split the driving with him, for the return drive was almost 22 to 24 hours of movement.   Shortly, the Sicilian had made arrangements for a sleepover in a locked warehouse in the city of Marinette, Wisconsin, about half way.  The Sicilian had bought a fruit and vegetable wholesale business in Marinette just for the warehouse, which he staffed with his own men.  Splitting the run into two drives of about 225 miles on those roads made for a long day, but, a workable day. 

Frank always stopped on the drive up to sleep over in Marinette, and to have dinner at the roadhouse that was on the highway through town.  He enjoyed the cooking of Mrs. Anne, a 33 year old Welch girl, widowed by the logging trade, and her daughter, Dawn, a sturdy girl of about 16.  They put a meal on, at noon, and at 6 pm, that was attended by both bachelors and business men who were in the downtown area.  Both were easy on the eyes, and a soft, attentive voice was a welcome addition to the lives of both the single and married men of Marinette.

This trip, he and his co-driver, an Italian man of about his age, made good time, and pulled into Marinette about 5 pm, after leaving Madison about 6 am.  Pulling the truck, labeled on the side, “Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetables” into the warehouse, both used the shower that was over a floor drain.  There were two beds in an office off to the side, in the front, which were used by drivers, and others who needed a soft place.  At six o’clock sharp they walked in the door of Mrs. Anne’s, and found a table with four chairs open in a corner.  In seconds, Dawn came over with large glasses of water, with ice.  She was a buxom lass, and wore a dress that many might have thought scandalous.  The tops of her teen age bosoms were visible when she was observed from straight ahead, and when she bent over, such as to deliver the water, soup, salad, dinner of desert, the casual observer could detect the full size and scope of the delicate orbs.  Tips for a dinner at a fine restaurant in town might be perhaps a quarter, for dinner for two, but, here, the sweet Dawn frequently earned 50 cents for taking an order and making many visits to a table, with fresh water, rolls, or just to say hello. 

Dinner that night was roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, roll and butter, with strawberry rhubarb pie for the dessert.  The guys ordered two dinners, with root beer to wash.  The Sicilian was strict.  No drinking while driving with his truck or with his cargo.  Nobody wanted to find out what the penalty was. 

“Hi guys, the menu is on the sign, would you like two?”  This was the Italian guy’s first trip in the door, and the sight of this young ladies breasts made him not pay much attention to what she was saying.  Frank, who was a regular, nodded. 

              “Two root beers also.”

Tony looked at Frank, and was going to say something but thought better of it when he notices Anne behind the bar, watching.  She was also a sight, and there was a family resemblance in her physique, and her display of such wealth. 

Frank said “Her ma watches her, they take care of each other, but, they are women, and they have needs also.  I just behave myself, leave a good tip, wait until closing with root beers, and see what happens.  There is a reason I do that every run, every week.”

Tony nodded.  “We have women like that in the bush, quiet and behaved in public, but…..”

Dawn, who had been in the back, came out with two dinner rolls, and bent down to set the plate on the table, in the middle, giving the two men a show.  She had intentionally forgot the butter, so, feigning surprise, stated.  “Oh, darn, I forgot your butter, I’ll be right back.”

Such a bad job of acting made the men smile, as they watched her backside sway as she scurried back to the kitchen.  The speed with which she came back out the doorway tattle tailed that the butter had been prepared in the kitchen, and there now was justification to tease the grown men with another bending over the table as she set the butter next to the rolls.  Mrs. Anne was watching this, for there were only one other table with men eating, and it had been apparent when they came in that they were church men, for they had bowed their heads and said the prayer of grace, even before the young girl had come over.  That they were religious men was interesting, for it spoke that the food served was superior to any other restaurant in the area.

Soon enough, the men of the cloth finished their meal, settled up, and left.  The sounds of a Model T is unmistakable, and the four left in the road house soon knew that they were the only ones left.  The sun was low on the horizon, when Mrs. Anne went over to the door, closed it, slide the bolt over, and flipped the sign that said open on one side to the closed on the flip side.

“Boys, how about a little music, I just got a new record for the gramophone from Sears, and we sort of like the tunes.”

Both men nodded, and after a brisk cranking, the gramophone started its work.  Mrs. Anne came over to Frank, and extended her hand in an invitation to dance.  Frank was fond of dancing with the womenfolk, he often went to the dances in Madison on Sunday afternoons.  He was pleasantly surprised to find two things, first that the dance was the type where the man would hold the woman.  He found that her head tucked perfectly onto his shoulder, and he felt her breasts against his chest.  His hand, starting on the small of her back, slowly slid down, and he discovered, again pleasantly, that she either did not wear bloomers during the day, or had removed them in the back, prior to locking the door and starting the music>

With his hand cradling her butt, her breasts rubbing his chest, he was soon responding to the application of prime womanhood.  She turned him to face her, and held him close enough to she would have had to be dead not to notice his manhood.  Looking over at the table, he saw that Dawn had moved Tony to one of the heavy chairs which usually were at the heavy table for 6, which, he had previously noticed was substantial in its construction.  Tony had started the dance with Dawn sitting on his lap, watching her mother and Frank on the dance floor.  Soon enough, she was dancing on Tony’s lap, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Giggling, Dawn leaned back against his chest, her head eventually next to his, and whispered, “Look at where his hand is,  I think that she likes it.”

Tony, whose hands had been on the arms of the chair, which itself was almost three feet, and heavily cushioned, moved his hands to her hips, and discovered that there was little, if anything under her dress.  He held her hips, and they moved to the music.  Suddenly, she took both of those hands and moved them up her side to her breasts, whispering to him.  “Don’t think I’m too young to enjoy a man!” 

Tony, who hadn’t had those thoughts at all, but was more thinking about a young girl’s mother, and what she would say and do if she noticed an older man with his hands all over her daughter.  Besides, this mother was a cook, and in the kitchen, there were a lot of sharp knives, ranging from small paring knives, which could be thrown like daggers, or the big butchering knives almost 18 inches long.  He needn’t have worried, Miss Anne was watching her daughter, with a really big smile on her face.  Tony noticed that her hands were busy, one around Frank’s neck, and the other below his belt, checking her progress on the notification of his manhood.

Seeing what looked like permission, his hands went a bit further, to the three buttons left buttoned on the front of her frock.  After freeing them from their confines, Dawn stood up, twirled, and sat down on Tony’s lap again, this time facing him.  Her dress was about her waist, and she took his head in her hands, and her lips started exploring his lips, first with no tongue, then with a little, then all that she had.  His hands were busy, and her nipples responded in good fashion.  Tony’s hands went to her butt, and he discovered that she too, was naked under her outer garments.  She then lifted her dress over her head, and he had the thrill of a young teenager dancing as Eve had in the beginning, but on his lap. 

Meanwhile, on the dance floor, Miss Anne had unbuttoned Frank’s fly, and his manhood was catching the night air.  Her dress had opened to the waist, and suddenly Frank lifted her up, catching a nipple in his mouth.  She wrapped her legs around him, and told him.  “To the table, it will support us.” 

Two steps found her sitting on the table, perfect height for what would follow.  Her dress was lifted, and she stripped the shirt off of Frank, throwing it to the floor, he had slipped his suspenders to remove the shirt, and he soon lost his pants and undergarments.  Wisely, he had removed his work boots when the dancing started, and he was in the arms of Mrs. Anne, garbed only in his sox.  Nature ensued, and her cries of enthusiasm were motivation to Dawn and Tony who joined them at the table. 

Callers to the roadhouse probably wouldn’t have wanted to be served at that particular table, but it was perfect for it’s called upon duty that night.  Each woman, the still young mother, and the daughter, who in the eyes of many would have been considered not old enough for the eves activities, had cause to call out to their God on multiple occasions.

Frank and Tony looked at each other, and wordlessly, changed partners, so that there would be no argument in the coming days of which was better, mother or daughter.

The net result, was that each had fine attributes, different, but very fine attributes.  Either would have been welcome in bed on a cold winter night, or, in this case, a warm summer night.  Or, not even in bed.

The morning found partners with partners, and the roadhouse opening for business at 6 am.  The guys were the first customers of the day, and ate well, having worked up an appetite the night before.  On the road at 6:10, stomachs full, thermoses full of coffee, they had a good eight hours to Sault Sainte Marie, to unload the vegetables, and load the liquid gold, and the empty bottles, which the bill of lading said was to go to the Madison Sarsaparilla Company, on West Main Street, in Madison, Wisconsin.

The two men were quiet for an hour.  The each had a china mug from the road house.  Frank spoke.  “On the way back, we should stop and return these mugs.”

“Yup”

“Maybe around supper time, or a bit latter”

“Yup”

“Maybe dance a bit.”

“Yup”

“Tony. What’s got your tongue, can’t you speak the King’s English for more than one word.

“I’m going back to Madison, and back to a neighborhood full of Italian women, some with mustaches better than mine.  After those two, there ain’t nothing in Madison, east side, west side, downtown, that carries a candle to either of those two.”

“Yup.”

The rest of the trip that day was uneventful.  The pinery had been cut perhaps twenty years before, and the trees were grown up to maybe 20 feet.  About supper time, they reached Sault Saint Marie, and the Sicilians’ warehouse.      Their orders were to watch the loading, making sure that all the tanks were full to the brim, the drains were closed and safety wired against the road shock.  They also checked that the cases of empty Canadian Whiskey, had all been washed and rewashed to make sure that anyone checking would find that there was no whiskey at all in the empty bottles.  “No need to remove the labels in Canada, sir, the factory in Madison washes the bottles, removes the old labels with steam, and puts the new labels on right there, just before they refill them with Sarsaparilla.”

They slept in the warehouse, and there was two fresh men in the truck the next day, heading south.  Customs was no problem.  Those Customs men drove better cars than their pay grade dictated, and their kids were the first in their family to be educated at any university.  And at the University of Wisconsin, where their scholarships stated they must be educated, they were at dormitories just a few blocks from the Sicilian, and in fact, sometimes ate Sunday dinner at his house.  Yes, Customs was an easy obstacle to get through.

Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Fresh beans from the garden, and more coffee, were the menu selections.  The men knew that the truck had to be in motion, for if it stopped, it could be hijacked.  When they were in the truck, Frank had his revolver in a slot in the dashboard, and his Model 1911 Automatic in a slot in the seat.  Tony also had a revolver, and had a Thompson submachine gun, with the stock cut off making for a wicked machine pistol.  But all this armament was useless to guard the cargo, if the boys were sleeping in some roadhouse.  They ate, and said their goodbyes.  Then Dawn took Tony by the hand and led him out to the barn.  About 10 minutes later she came back, with a little hay in her hair.  Tony was smiling like a moron, but, he was a happy moron.  Mrs. Anne spoke, “Take care of the customers, I’ll be back in a minute, or two.  Tony and Dawn knew that it would not be 60 seconds, or even 120 seconds.  Tony grabbed the coffee pot, and freshened up the customer’s cups, and Dawn watched the stove.  After about 15 minutes, the two returned, both in good mood.

The truck fired up, and the two rolled back onto the road south.  The Swede had mounted a strong generator, and lights from a Cadillac, so the vision after dark was superb.  The two men, both in great moods, sang some of the standards of the day, and while racking their memory, were able to remember the tunes and words from the record at Mrs. Anne’s.

Saint Christopher did his work, and the two weary travelers pulled into Madison, to the Madison Fruit and Vegetable Warehouse, just a few minutes late.  They had made some good time after they got on the improved highway from Green Bay to Madison, gravel all the way.  The surveyors had done good work when they laid out the Old Military Road, and it was too dusty, men, in good mood who drove the truck into the warehouse, directly over the grease pit, that long trench in the floor, originally meant to have a man in to drain the oil and grease the many fittings that modern truck had to lubricate the moving joints.  And indeed, after a 800 mile road trip, eventually, the oil would be changed, and the grease fittings greased.  More importantly, the men got into action. Glass milk bottles, washed of all traces of the milk, were used with funnels to drain the whiskey, one gallon, or just short each time.  The bottles were passed out to runners, who took the whiskey to work benches, where it was dumped into a two gallon container with a 3/8 inch pipe with valve at the bottom.  The Canadian whiskey bottles, washed in Canada, were then refilled, and recorked with the same corks the distillery had used.  It would take several hours for the work to be completed. 

Frank and Tony were given their pay in cash.  Two days of 8 to 10 hours each for the trip up, and one day, full 20 to 24 hours for the trip back, netted them a full weeks pay.  If they wanted, they could have taken two trips per week, but, there were other men who needed the work, and the Sicilian liked it if the men were around, because they were walking billboards of the good work that men could get working in the Fruit and Vegetable business.

Four days off, in summer, meant that going to the different county fairs was ok, camping in the fields next to the fair grounds was encouraged, to get the money of people from outside the county, and there were people to meet, games to play, and girls to later meet in the dark.  Summer was also a time for the milk bars, walking downtown, meeting the people who were new in town, and visiting with the old friends in the neighborhood.  During the day, fishing, reading the papers, and thinking about things. 

One of the other teams had crashed, in the dark.  Nobody was hurt, but the driver probably dozed off.  It was at three o’clock in the morning, and while they were able to get a farmer with a couple of Clydesdale sized horses to bring them back onto the road, the warning was there.  The Sicilian had asked Frank what his idea was, and after this trip he had the solution.  After calling to get a morning appointment with the Sicilian, Frank explained his plan over orange juice, dark coffee, fruit, and a soft boiled egg. 

“I usually stop at a road house outside of Marinette, it is about half-way to the warehouse in Canada in Sault Saint Marie.  The woman who runs it with her daughter is a good woman, hard working.  They have a big barn out back, I looked in it the last trip.  A couple of locks, and a couple of boards, and it is secure.  Two beds and the drivers could sleep with the truck and be on the road fresh in the morning.  She could use a man around the place, and if you put one of your men there, he would know just what is happening, and would be able to keep it safe, secure, and in our control.”

“You make a good point, Frankie, jour guy can keep a watch on the road, see if there is anything happening on the road that I should know about.  How busy is the place?”

“We are there about supper time, and there are always a couple of trucks, or salesmen there.  It is the best place to eat north of Green Bay, hell, north of Oshkosh.”  He added. “It quiets down just before dark, nobody wants to drive the north woods in the dark, what with the bears, coyotes, wolves, and whatever else is up there.”

“Good, and they can use some fruits and vegetables?”

“They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If your prices can compete with the grocery store in Marinete, why wouldn’t they want to buy your fruits and vegetables?”

The Sicilian took a long drink of coffee, then lit his cigar.  “You know most of the men in my organization, who do you think would want to work that far from here, Gods little slice of heaven?”

“After clearing his mouth, Frank replied.  “Tony seemed to like the north woods for a change.  If you paid him a little more for being away from his family and friends, you might be able to get him to spend some time up there.  Maybe not twelve months of the year, but, him and a couple of other guys could trade off.  Have to ask him.”

“Well Frankie, you got the time, why don’t you take one of the cars for a drive and see if you can find him.  He likes to fish in the morning by the dam over on Wingra, see if you can find him and try to talk him into this.  It would be very important to me to see if you can handle this little bit of my business for me.”

“Yes, sir.  I will report back as soon as I finish with him”

After breakfast, and a complement to the housekeeper, a woman of some respect in the community for the man she worked for, Frank took a Chevrolet roadster, only a year or so old, and went for a drive.  Only about 10 minutes later, he saw Tony, pole in hand, sitting at the side of the lake, two fish next to him on the grass. 

“Tony, how da’ biting?”

“Good, got lunch here, and dinner soon enough.”

“Tony, I bet you $20 I can talk the Sicilian into hiring you to live in the road house with Mrs. Annie, and Dawn, and get paid to live there with them.”

Because this is a family oriented book, I cannot accurately portray the response that Tony had for Frank’s wager, other than:  “Gee, gosh, golly, and wow.”

Within a half hour, Frank was back at the Sicilian’s house, with the two fish as a present from Frankie to the Scillian’s lunch menu.  Leaving the newspaper wrapped fish with the housekeeper, he heard her exclaim. 

“What a present, they didn’t even gut and clean them.  Huh.  Hold it, they’re still alive.  Well, I guess that was to show that the fish are fresh.”

“Good news, sir.  Tony will accept the assignment to live away from family and friends at that roadhouse in the middle of nowhere.  I didn’t say anything about the money, I figured that was between him and you.

“Well done, I may have some other work for you to do in my name soon.”  For now, I have to go for a drive.  Do you want to take me?”

“Certainly.”  And that was how a person got ahead in the days of the prohibition.  Do a little job well, get a bigger assignment, do that job well, and responsibility grew.  Nothing was said of those who screwed up.  Sometimes, people climbed the ladder of success one rung too high.   Sometimes.

 

 

 

Feminine/Masculine

December 3, 2013

What Is Feminine? What Is Masculine?

Feminine traits are ways of behaving that our culture usually associates with being a girl or woman. Masculine traits are ways of behaving that our culture usually associates with being a boy or man.

WORDS COMMONLY USED TO DESCRIBE FEMININITY

  • dependent
  • emotional
  • passive
  • sensitive
  • quiet
  • graceful
  • innocent
  • weak
  • flirtatious
  • nurturing
  • self-critical
  • soft
  • sexually submissive
  • accepting

 

WORDS COMMONLY USED TO DESCRIBE MASCULINITY

  • independent
  • non-emotional
  • aggressive
  • tough-skinned
  • competitive
  • clumsy
  • experienced
  • strong
  • active
  • self-confident
  • hard
  • sexually aggressive
  • rebellious

 

Clearly, society’s categories for what is masculine and feminine are unrealistic. They may not capture how we truly feel, how we behave, or how we define ourselves. All men have some so-called feminine traits, and all women have some so-called masculine traits. And we may show different traits at different times. Our cultures teach women and men to be the opposite of each other in many ways. The truth is that we are more alike than different.

Madison.TheDarkSide.Wisconsin.ChapterNine.TheScholars.

December 2, 2013

Chapter Nine

The Scholars

 

The Capital Times

Saturday, July 10, 1920

“The Legislature met in session yesterday   to discuss the continuing problems being experienced with the students of the University of Wisconsin.  The Volstead Act has done nothing to encourage the young students to maintain sobriety, and in fact, the sources of alcohol being outside of the law, has made it more possible for the young students to obtain alcohol, and other substances regardless of their age.  The Legislature studied the problems for most of the day, and adjourned for more intense study.  Bi-partisan study groups were formed and met unofficially at the Park Hotel in the Billiards Room on the second floor later that afternoon and evening.”

 

Madison, Wisconsin was a college town almost from its first breath.  The population was still small in 1849, on February 8, when Professor Sterling held the first class.  Although the written records are lost to time, verbal history has it that the first drunken students getting into trouble on State Street were observed at about 8 pm, on February 8, 1849.  It is said that the first local girl, “townie,” gave birth to a bastard child, conceived during a drunken condition, on or about October 8, 1849.  Since Professor Sterling’s first class, successive generations of students at the University of Wisconsin, the real one, not one of those letter campuses, have done their best to maintain drunkenness and debauchery as well established minors in their fields of study.

 

Jeffrey was not among the hung over in his Fraternity House on Langdon Street that Saturday morning.  After his job was completed at the Ice Cream Parlor in the two hundred block of State Street he bicycled over the Green Bush district where he was employed at a front door man at a speakeasy.  The work was really not difficult, there was a code word, rarely changed, whispered through a sliding panel in the heavy oak door.  Jeffrey and one other door man would open the door, and it opened outward for additional security.  The visitors would enter the small anti-chamber, and would have to wait until the door was closed and locked.  Then, at the second door, the sliding panel opened, and another doorman asked that night’s code word.  If the visitors knew the word, they entered, if they didn’t, a door to the side was opened and they had to leave.  Finding themselves in the alley of a speakeasy was not a way to impress a date, and sometimes the dates were quite angry, angry enough that they told their male companions to take a hike, and tried to get in on their own recognition.  Sometime it worked, especially for the pretty ones, especially for the ones whose dresses were loose, especially for the ones who were the founders of the theory that pretty girls should reward the guys at the door.  Jeffrey liked the rewards. 

              One of the rules was that the doormen did not drink alcohol when at work at the door.  There were stories of one guy, Named Fast Eddie, because of his work at the billiards table, who did drink at the door, and two of his fingers were disrupted.  Whether or not that actually was the story, the story worked.  Plus, if you were drunk, you missed the tips as the partiers left the warehouse on their way home.  The management did encourage the doormen, only at the end of the night, to drive the more tipsy to their homes, and as a result, they got very good tips.  The speakeasy, in the back room of a fruit and vegetable warehouse at the point where West Main met the railroad yards, was a hit with the more affluent of the area.  It was not unusual to see the parking lot full of Cadillacs, Packards, and the other vehicles of the affluent.  Frequently, the chauffer driven cars were clustered together, and the drivers had an area on one of the loading docks with chairs and some boxes that they could be comfortable in.  The doormen, only at the end of the night, for both were required to be on duty at the door when the liquor was out, would run to the drivers and tell the chauffeur that his people were ready to leave.  The ride back on the running board was exhilarating, to say the least.  The speakeasy usually ran from 9 pm to 1am, usually not much later.  After his shift there, Jeffery sometimes walked Marcy, one of the cigarette girls to her rooming house on Langdon, not far from his fraternity.  Walking from the speakeasy to the Langdon Street area was mostly through residential areas, and was not dangerous at all, but a girl liked the safety of a young man, and the companionship was welcome.  She always rewarded him with a kiss from the safety of her rooming house, knowing that the house mother was watching from her window, right there, overlooking the porch.  If the goodbyes heated up, she used her knuckles on the glass, and once, with sufficient force that a crack in the glass was a result. 

 

That night, the bushes alongside one of the mansions on Wisconsin Avenue provided some degree of privacy for the couple.  Still a ways to go before they became truly intimate, the adventure did little to satisfy the hormonal desires of the two to consummate, but the building tension was not at all unpleasurable.

 

This Saturday, the alarm signaled time to awaken.  Jeffrey had an appointment with his Professor, Professor Steven Hawk, another Madison boy of achievement.  He too had been a soda jerk while he worked his way through the University with a double major in both Physics and in Mechanical Engineering.  The professor was in constant correspondence with the leading men in both field, particularly that of Physics and the theories of the smallest particle, the atom.  Letters to and from the leading universities in both Germany and Austria were about two weeks from posting to arrival, but, they were informative, and the trials of living in post war Germany and Austria had to be read to be believed.  The professor lived in a house in University Heights, a large home for one person, up on one of the highest points in the Heights.  From the Engineering School, it was only a 10 minute walk to the Professor’s home, and Jeffrey had always enjoyed the sight of the house with its’ attached two car garage.  The Professor was an avid car man, in the garage was a 1920 Stutz Bearcat, a series K, almost $3900 in cost.  The other car, a Cadillac coupe, was sharp in its own respect, but, the Stutz, oh, the Stutz, and man would kill for a car like that. It did not even occur to Jeffrey to question as to how and why a Madison boy, even a professor, could afford a huge house, and not one, but two cars, especially when one of the cars was double in price to what a professor would make in a year. 

 

Jeffrey was just a little winded when he arrived at the Professor’s home.  He could see the Professor, silk shirt and tailored slacks on the porch, eating a breakfast.  His housekeeper, a German woman in her late thirties, was attending to his needs and pouring coffee.  The woman’s husband, also a German, was the yard man, chauffeur when needed, and kept up the house, painting and making repairs when needed.  Their daughter, Hilde, was only about 16, but, a fine replica of her mother, about 5 foot 2 inches in height, with blond hair, cut short as was the fashion in those days, and the beginnings of the fine figure that her mother was known for.   Magda, the mother and house keeper, carried herself with the carriage of the aristocracy.  Jeffry had wondered about the family, and he knew that they had been in Germany during the war, but left soon after the Armistice day   surrender.  He knew also that Karl was an expert around machine tools, and the Professor had several of the finest in the basement workshop.  Jeffrey had been amazed when he saw this basement.  In a day and age when a basement was low ceilinged, dark, and damp, the Professors had almost 9 foot ceilings, painted walls, and incandescent lights every 10 feet, in rows about 10 feet apart.  Even the walls were painted, and being on a hill, there was a large door, not an ill-sealing garage door, but one built by craftsmen who were able to obtain a tight, weatherproof seal against the elements.

 

Professor Hawk greeted Jeffrey, and motioned him to the table set on the porch.  Mrs. Krupp, who had told Jeffrey to call her Magda, but her husband preferred Mr. Krupp, brought Jeffrey a cup of fresh hot coffee, and some grape juice, freshly squeezed from grapes from the Professor’s arbor.  She inquired if he would like a full breakfast, or perhaps toast with jam?  It did not escape Jeffrey, that when she had set the coffee down on his right side, her dress had dipped, providing him proof that German women were sturdy, and built for the long haul.  She truly was magnificent. 

“A full breakfast would be great, Magda,

“Yes Sir, and thank you, sir.” 

With that she left, leaving the Professor and the student alone at last.  They could see Karl patrolling the lot line and trimming the hedges as he saw fit.  Mostly, he was taking the errant branches of the hedge, and weaving them back into the hedge, making for a sturdier, more Germanic hedge, than if you just cut the outliers off. 

The Professor started.

 

Our research in the Physics department is looking at the energy in the most  small  particles, which we believe have tremendous power within.  As you probably realize by now, Karl and Magda are not from German peasant stock.  Karl was a leading physicist before the war, and even Magda has a degree in Chemistry from the leading institution in what was Austria-Hungary.  She is working on an advanced degree in Physics.  Their combined knowledge is without comparison, and knowing that, we sent people to find them in the wreckage of post-war Germany.  With my connections with the   War Department it was not difficult to get their paperwork stamped allowing them to come here as my servants.  We are in collaboration with the Eastern Universities and there is great work to be done here.  Are you interested in being a part of this great thing we do?”

 

At first, Jeffrey had trouble finding the words.  But, with weighed, cared precision he answered. 

 

“Yes Professor, I am interested, I do want to be a part of the future, and not a student only of the past.  But, why me, I am just a second year student, without even much of the chemistry classwork completed.”

“Jeffrey, you have be watched for four years.  When the United States entered the war, the word was sent out to military men who were in positions to observe young men.  This was teachers, professors in the university, and men in factories who could see who the best and brightest apprentices were.  Your chemistry teacher, here at Central High School told us about you after his man talked to him.  You were watched and monitored.  We know about your school work, your work as a jerk on State Street, even your work at the warehouse after hours.  How is that beautiful cigarette girl, what is her name, hmmm.  What is her name,   ah, Marcy.  A wonderful girl, smart, bright, and an expert in her own studies.  Do not tell her, but we have our people watching a number of young people of both genders, and she has been noticed.”

 

Jeffrey eyes remained calm, but he was more than a little surprised.  Did he have any secrets that these people didn’t know about?  Why were they watching, and what did you do when you worked with them. 

“Professor, count me in, I do want this, and I will work very hard for you.”

“Excellent, there will have to be a few changes.  Your time will become very valuable, you will be given tasks that are not understandable, but you must just complete them to the best of your ability.  You will give notice to the job on State Street, but you will keep the job at the speakeasy.  We need a place like that for meetings, and discussions, and sometimes for delivery of things.  We want a man there to evaluate the safety and background of the place on a nightly basis.”

“You pay will be excellent, but you will be required to perform flawlessly.  ‘No’ is not an option when we give you an assignment or an order.  We will start you at $100 per week, each week.”

Jeffrey’s heart sank. What the hell had he gotten into?  It took a soda jerk, full time, over a month to make that kind of money, almost two months, and he had been there since January, a full six months and had barely made two times that amount for half a year’s work, although part time, true enough.

Nodding, Jeffrey said.

 

              “That will be fine, more than generous, and shall I stay at the house on Langdon?”

 

              “Yes, you will continue to do that which a student does, sleep in late on the weekends, go to classes, do the work for the classes, eat and sleep at the house.  If you need a car for our work, there are Fords and a truck in the stable at the back of the yard.  We have a new door installed, so the exit from the stable can be up past the house, the normal way, or out the back and through the short distance to the street behind the house.”

“Now, your physical fitness is of prime importance.  You must be strong, fit, and able to swim, run fast and long distances, Karl will instruct you in fencing, sword work, fisticuffs, and other manly skills.  You will also be trained in shooting, both revolvers, and rifles.”

 

“We are done here now.  Magda and Hilde will take you over to the lake, by the farms on Picnic Point and you will swim.  They are both excellent swimmers, and will evaluate your form, and duration in the water.”

Magda returned, not with the full breakfast he had requested, but with an apple, and one piece of toast, with jam. 

“Can’t have you cramping up in the water and dying before we even start our work now, can we?”

Hilde entered the room, dressed for the warm weather in a light cotton shirt, and a pair of shorts, as was the fashion now with young girls at the gymnasium.  Smiling, she said.

“Hurry, Karl has brought the Ford around, it takes too much time to walk today, and we will have to get you worked up to run to the Point in the future.  Grabbing the toast, he finished the juice, and took the coffee cup with him to the car.  Oddly, Hilde was in the driver’s seat when he arrived, and Magda was behind her, with the door to the back being open indicating where he was to sit.  Once in the car, he wished for a place to put the coffee cup.  While Hilde drove, in a professional manner, smoothly but briskly, he thought of a design that would hold a cup of beverage, someday, he would have to do something about that idea.

 

As Hilde drove, Magda explained.

“The area known as Picnic Point, as you know is farmland which comes out from the point to the drive, and wraps around up the hill.  People think that the farmers working the land own the land, but, the Professor and his partners own the Point.  There is nothing but grazing land out on the Point, so, when we want privacy on the Point, we let the cows graze.  Nobody wants to mess around with a ton of cow, and some of the cows are pretty territorial.  The farmers post a sign that says “Grazing Beef on Point Today,” and nobody goes out there.  They posted the sign yesterday, so we have the place today.” 

 

Hilde called back from the driver’s position.

 

“We park just off the drive, and go by foot.  With the cattle there, we have to watch out for them, and use the trees as cover if they want to attack us.  Usually they ignore us, but the young bulls are pretty mean.” 

 

The arrived soon, and after leaving the car, each had a towel.  Jeffrey was so taken by the beauty of the day and the beauty of his companions,  that,  he didn’t even think of the question of bathing attire.  After walking about 300 feet past the fence into the land, there was motion in the brush off to the left.  Two young yearling bulls, broke through the brush line, and taking note of the invaders, started walking with steadily increasing gait.  Jeffrey and his companions took note, and there was good tree cover about a hundred feet ahead.  Although there was a path through the trees, used by the students when they looked for cover for picnics, and other adventures of the inquiring mind, the trees themselves were somewhat close together, close enough for a human to almost run through, but the larger animals would find it rough going off of the path. 

 

The females of the trio, after taking off their shoes, ran like gazelles across the pasture.  Jeffrey was hard pressed to keep up.  Over her shoulder, Hilda laughed at him.  “You don’t have to be able to outrun the bulls, it’s just that you have to outrun at least one of us.  They won’t run past a slo-poke to catch the fast runner.” 

Now in front of the fast moving hamburgers, Jeffrey calculated the distance between he and the animals, between he and the approaching woods, the approximate speed of the animals, and the approximate speed of his own running.  Although he somewhat enjoyed the complexity of word problems with multiple variables and constants, all he knew about this word problem, was, success would be success, failure would be failure, and there was no extra credit for showing his work.  The woods were now right here, and he went two steps down the path and veered to the left, between two trees of perhaps eight inches in diameter.  The young bulls came up short, and not seeing the women, and noticing that Jeffrey was now impossible to reach, they backed down the path to the pasture, and wandered off.  They weren’t the brightest animals in the barn, but they certainly ate the most, and growing boys will put eating above almost all else, regardless of breed.

 

Returning to the path, Jeffrey saw the forms of both Hilda and Magda about 50 feet down the way to the beach at the narrowing of the Point.  They were laughing, and a few steps at top speed put him right behind them.

“Watch out Hilde, another wild bull is loose and is sniffing after us.  I think that it has a hankering for you.  Protect yourself, my little one.”

“Oh no, Magda, the bull is fresh, and he seeks experience, you are the one who should run and hide.  For I think that he is seeking an old cow to teach him the tricks?”

“Old cow, you little bitch, I’ll teach you who is  the old cow.”

 

With that the two ran down the path, and Jeffrey was hard pressed to keep up with them.  They arrived at the narrowest part of the point, and to his amazement, the two barely stopped running, and stripped off their clothing.  In seconds they were free of all cover, and still running they were in the water up to their waists.  Beyond the many wonders of today, Jeffrey had been introduced to two women, who were supposed to be mother and daughter, who talked like harlots, didn’t wear underwear, swore, and swam nude.  He ground to a halt where there clothing lay on the grass.  They turned, and Hilde called out.

“Your turn, school boy.  Can’t swim with your clothes on, can you now?”

He looked at her, the water somewhere between her knees and hips, with the secrets of Eve presented for his inspection.  Just then, the beautiful buttocks of Magda rotated, along with the rest of the older woman, and he saw all of her two.

Magda said, “Your turn, this is your first order.  If you are to obey, you must strip and join us, for we are to evaluate your swimming abilities.”

Putting it that way, he accepted that the two were his superiors, at least now, and his shirt joined their clothes on the grass.  With the suspenders down, he hopped while the shoe and sock on first one leg, then the other took place on the grass.  Finally, the time had come, the two females were watching, as he unbuttoned the trousers, and they let gravity take over.  He slid his thumbs into his underwear, and it left him as Adam, but with two Eves, each more lovely and delightful than the other.  He ran a bit into the water, and a few bits of laughter escaped both of them as his maleness almost took flight.  He joined them, thankful that the water wasn’t too cold.  Clear is was, thanks to some wind and storm earlier in the week that had shook the algae up and disposed of it.

Magda spoke first,   “We will evaluate your swimming, both for speed and form.”  First, we will look at your form.  You can swim with Hilde up to the tree that overhangs the water.  From there, you will turn back and swim as fast as you can to me.”

Hilde had moved out a bit, and the water was up to the start of her breasts, the coolness had brought her nipples to full attention.  She nodded, as did Jeffrey, and Magda announced the start.  Jeffrey had swum since he was a minnow, and had taken training while in high school in the Red Gym on campus.  He had placed well in competition, and while at the university, he still swam at least three time per week, sometimes for speed, sometimes to see how many laps he could make without stopping.   This race was different,   he went at about half speed, so Magda and Hilde could watch his swimming patterns.  When he got to the tree, he stopped, at about the same time as Hilde did, the water now slightly over the top of her breasts, the wet hair hanging down over her head like a frame on an oil painting of a sea nymph.

Magda called out, “When I say go, swim as fast and as hard as you can.” 

Under her breath, Jeffrey heard Hilde say, “If you can catch me, you can have me.”

He was shocked, and somewhat excited by this wager. 

”Go”

Now he knew why Magda called her a little bitch.  She had jumped the gun and was a full length ahead of him.  He put all that he had into his arms and legs, and the crawl had never been done with as great an incentive at the finish line.  Almost a minute later, Jeffrey crashed into Magda, running her over.  Luckily, he did not scratch, dent, or bruise her with his powerful arms.  He knocked her over and felt the curves of her body under his as his momentum carried him over her.  Stopping, he found her under water, and lifted her up.  Coughing out a bit of water, she was none the worse for wear.  Apologizing profusely for being in his way during the race, she rather enjoyed his arms around her, the wetness of the water amplifying the feeling of his skin on hers.  As she got her wits back, Hilde swam up.  “So, I lost the race, and you got the boy, what kind of a deal is that?” 

Magda looked at Jeffrey, “Did she make you a bet down by the tree, what did she bet.”

 

Not wanting to lie to his instructor, Jeffrey repeated, “She said, if you can beat me, you can have me.”

Magda looked at Hilde, and asked “Is that so?”

Smiling, Hilde replied, “I just wanted to give him some motivation.”

By now, the trio was in water that to him was about knee high, and for the smaller Hilde was half-way to her waist.  With a quick move, Magda took   Hilde’s arms and sliding one of hers locked behind Hilde’s elbows, lifted her feet off the sandy bottom.  Looking at Jeffrey, Magda said, “Time to collect!”

Magda turned slightly, and Hilde cooperated, bending one knee while keeping the other straight.  She was able to lock her legs around Jeffrey’s waist, and with some help from Magda, who released her arms and gave her a lift up to where she clung to the new recruit like a koala bear to a eucalyptus tree.  Suddenly, Jeffrey found himself with a pint size water nymph clinging to him, and that which had always been done in small rooms, with closed doors, was happening in the lake, for God’s sake, with her mother, for God’s sake, not just watching, but making it happen.  Jeffrey thought to himself, steady yourself old man, you might get to like this line of work. 

 

An hour later, needs had been satisfied, clothing was now back on now dry bodies.  The three made their way through the woods, and got back to the car with no incidence with the bulls.  Might have been professional courtesy, bulls to Jeffrey, for he had bred both of the fillies.  During the resting stage, he was notified that the two were not mother and daughter, not even sister and sister.  They were both students at the University in Berlin, and the Head Professor in the Physics department had taken them both in protective good keeping when the war made life difficult in Berlin.  Hilde was truly only sixteen in years, at the close of the war,  and had been a first year student last year when Karl had made good his escape to the United States.  Magda was a graduate student in physics, aged 27.

Papers were much easier to prepare to be more in order for a Professor, his younger wife, perhaps his second wife, and his daughter, a mere slip of a teenager.  If was not difficult for Hilde to act a few years younger, perhaps 13, and similarly, it was not difficult, with no makeup, stooped shoulders, and a quiet countenance, as would befitting for a wife of a professor, not difficult indeed for Magda to act like a woman of 33 or 34 years.  When it was clear, they both shared the professor’s bed, for he had made it possible for them to live in comfort, with heat when it was cold, clean water to drink, and good food.  Plus, his work in Physics and Mechanical Engineering was interesting and both women were quick learners in these fields as well as those of chemistry and math.  From the professor’s viewpoint, the two women were the perfect cover for a professor on a vacation, where if he had tried to flee the country with two male graduate students, there would have been suspicion, inspector supervisors would have been called, and disaster predicted.  This way, he had two magnificent brains, plus two women in their prime, who looked at him as a god, or at least a king.  And his new partner, the professor in Madison, Wisconsin, made it all work.  Wonderbar. 

 

The two professors were involved with their bottle of single malt, a fine Scotch sent to them by another colleague at the University in Glasgow.  They both heard the Ford pull up the driveway, no doubt driven by Hilde, who, was after all, a very good driver.  Stopping near the front door, the car came to a halt and the three disembarked.  Up the steps all three joined the two seniors on the porch.  Magda reported, “He is accomplished in all tests given, he swims properly, he swims fast, and he is motivated by reward.  He will work fine in our objectives.”

Jeffrey was not sure that this was interpreted by the two professors in the same way that it had happened, but, it was positive, and that was good.

 

Hilde returned with a tray, with three glasses of lemonade, for the three travelers, for they had worked up a thirst in their efforts.  After sitting, she addressed Karl, “Will the swimming continue, or what is the next area to attention?”

Karl, in thought answered slowly, “We don’t want to wear out the boy the first week, perhaps just some time with his studies, and perhaps some running on the roads west of here so he builds his lungs and legs.  He can run, and you, Hilde, can motor behind him with water.  You can time him to see how long he lasts and how he improves.” 

 

With that, a light supper was put together, and after, Hilde asked Professor Hawk if she could drive Jeffrey to his job at the warehouse speakeasy, because he was due there soon, and it was a distance to get there, even with the cooling of the day, now that the sun was setting. 

Professor Hawk agreed that there was a timeliness factor in the situation, and felt that the car would be best.  The two youngsters entered the car, and left.  Although this was perhaps a 10 minutes trip at most from the house in University Hills, to the location at West Main Street, there was almost a 40 minute change on the clock before the lad, somewhat out of breath, and definitely moist with sweat left the car and took his place at the door to the speakeasy.  As the Model T left the parking lot, his partner at the door looked at him and said, “Is she old enough to drive that thing, and is her daddy knowing that his little girl is ferrying college boys around?” 

With a smile on his face, Jeffrey replied, “Her daddy is fully aware of his little girl, and what she does.  She is more of a handful then she looks, but she is a pleasure to spend time with, even with her mother present.”

 

 

 

Madison.TheDarkSide.Wisconsin.ChapterEight.TheClergy.

December 2, 2013

Chapter Eight

The Clergy

 

The Wisconsin State Journal.

Friday, July 9, 1920.

“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Milwaukee proudly announces the ordination of Father McGuiver  a recent graduate of the Seminary of the Archdiocese in New York.  Growing up in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, Father McGuiver is knowledgeable of the Madison area, and will be right at home at the Cathedral of Saint Raphael here in Madison.”

 

              Friday morning was a fresh and bright at a morning could be.  Emil woke up a little early, and Rosie was spooned up against him.  His hand already was around her, and she was stirring just a little.  With a little finesse, the spooning was complete, and Rosie awoke to matrimonial bliss.  She had tried to sleep without her little bottle last night, for she knew that she would have to keep her wits about her today.  Matrimonial bliss was welcome last night.  She and Nadia had partook of a bottle of the Sicilian’s finest red wine, a gift from the Swede, who frequently was rewarded for his attention to the vehicles of the Sicilian’s fleet.  The four wine glasses were enough to relax her, and she was welcome to her husbands’ attention.  Sleep came early, and both Nadia and Emil knew enough to not twist fate by meeting in the hallway in the middle of the second floor that night.  Thus, Emil was feeling his oats that morning and sweetness ensued.  The two children had had an extra hour of listening to the radio that night, with the parents and Nadia, and both slept in.  Up in the attic, Nadia was finishing the last chapters of the Jack London book, “The Star Rover” and she was intrigued.  Where could she get some of those button things that the natives had supplied him with?  Laying on the top of the bed, she was not technically naked, but the shirt with no fastened buttons would have been considered merely a tease to any man remotely attached to the Russian.  Hearing the bed directly below make its noise, she silently went over to the floor directly over the light fixture attached to the ceiling.  Looking through the area where a knot hole was, strategically placed over the light fixture, she could see Emil’s butt working away, successfully if the mewing noises from Rosie were any indication.  Feeling a little lonely, due to her forced good behavior the night before, she retired to her bed and took care of her needs. 

 

              With that out of the way, and sounding like the activity downstairs had drawn to its natural conclusion, Nadia dressed.  Just a dress, nothing else, for that day looked to be a scorcher like so many in July, both here in the United States, and back in mother Russia.  Shoes completed the preparation for the day.  After making her way downstairs, she joined Rosie in the kitchen and set the table while the eggs and bacon did their time in the pay on the gas stove.  Amazing, the kitchen stove got its fuel from a pipe coming out of the wall.  No wood had to be cut, split, fetched, burned, and then emptied.  No wonder there were few cooks employed in the home, there was nothing to do but turn a nob and light a match, and the stove was ready. 

             

              Emil entered the kitchen, and Rosie turned, handing him a cup of coffee, fresh from the percolator on the back burner.  Nadia noticed that when she spun, the robe opened, and apparently there was nothing under the robe, at least above the waist.  Emil noticed, because that is what a man would do, even though just about 10 minutes ago, he had striped her out of her sleep wear and handed her the robe, with a wink.   Feeling more than a little naughty, Rosie put the robe on over nothing at all, for the robe was sufficient itself for the kitchen. 

 

              The two children entered, and told the adults of their dreams and adventures.  They had had full dreams after a night of radio adventure, and they remembered details that amazed the older people, not themselves far removed from childhood.

 

              The morning meal completed, Emil took a fresh cup of java to the front porch.  He always enjoyed the time alone on the porch, where he could organize his day at work.  This was Friday, and he would have to go to the bank to get the cash for the pay envelopes.  Lots of single dollar bills, and a couple of fives would pay the men for their week of work.  He heard Rosie head upstairs, to bath and brush, and to put on her dress for the day.  Nadia came out with her own cup of coffee, and sat on the other side of the table.  There was nothing to say about their enforced propriety the night before.  If no one found out, if no one got hurt, there was much pleasure and no personal expense.  This worked for both of them.  Emil took a five dollar note out of his wallet, and slipped it across the table to Nadia. Whispers had discussed this, and the amount was found to be agreeable to them both for the extra duties the Russian had undertaken.  Nadia smiled, and mouthed thank you, and tucked it into her dress.  Forgetting that she wore nothing under the garment, she took her hand out, with the money still in it, and both smiled at her mistake.  The dress was tailored with several pockets, and she had just tucked it money into one, when the children flew out the door and were gone down the front steps and around the house. 

 

It was almost time for the train, and they both enjoyed watching it come down the tracks.  Nadia did not have to monitor Artie this time, because his big sister was in attendance.  The noise the steam locomotive made was impressive, and it took several minutes for the peace to return.  Emil stood, empty coffee in hand, Nadia stood also, and much as she wanted to take him in her arms and press her chest to his, she knew that the banker was probably on his porch, and soon, the Swede would be leaving.  So, she took his coffee cup, and said good bye, and watched him get into the Buick Touring Car, start it with the amazing electric starter, select reverse, and roll down the street. 

 

Sitting back down, she finished her coffee.  Great stuff.  Soon enough, Rosie came down, freshly tubed and scrubbed, not unlike a new potato.  With a whiff of perfume, she was divine, and demurely dressed for public observation.  Sitting down, in the chair recently left by her husband, Emil, she addressed Tania.

“I have an appointment with the good priests at the Cathedral.  We are planning the social for the last Saturday in August.  A full event, there is a lot of planning and discussion.  I will be leaving soon, and perhaps won’t be back until mid-afternoon.  The ice man will be here around noon.  I frequently give him one of Emil’s beers, because it has been so hot.  You may also, if you wish.  Lunch should be easy, the icebox has ham and some chicken for sandwiches, or the children love the peanut butter.  You can wait for the laundry, we will start the Maytag tomorrow morning.”

 

Nadia nodded.  This was fine.  She had another book to investigate, and she needed to write some letters to the California names she had been given, hopefully to make contacts that would help her if she got there.  She also had found some cards, a deck of 52, and she had some games that she wanted to get used to, as well as handling the cards so that she could shift cards that she needed to the hand she was holding from a secure hiding place.

 

“Excellent, I will watch the children, and feed them promptly at noon.  Will Artie need a nap today?”

 

“Only if he wants.  If I try to bed him down, in the heat of the day, he is so cranky, much better to let me take a nap on his own under the bushes at the end of the lot, down by the tracks.  He takes an old horse blanket the Swede gave him down there and makes a tent, and uses another on the grass and seems to be quite content.”

 

“I see. That will be fine.” 

 

With that, Rosie picked up the bag she had, with her bible, and some papers in a folder. Making her way down the steps, she soon disappeared around the corner.  Nadia saw the trolley come over the railroad tracks on Harrison Street, using a bridge that looked too small to carry the load.  In just a few minutes it too was gone, and she could hear it start up from in front of the new building which would soon have the pharmacist and the new physician moved in.  Nadia wondered about the need for a doctor this far out.  How could there be enough sick people way out here for a man to keep an office open and make enough to support just himself, much less a family.  Curious, these Americans, but interesting, very, very, interesting.

 

On the trolley, Rosie shifted.  She was getting that feeling again.  Something between pleasure, excitement, and guilt.  But, that feeling was addictive, as addictive as that Laudanum.  She liked the feeling, and liked the treatment.  The ride went quickly, down Monroe Street, past the business district, and through the Green Bush area, where it was said most of the vice in Madison got its start.  Men and women alike, at this early hour were on the street.  Like yesterday, most of them looked like they were up to no good, but, they knew what they were doing, perhaps.  Onward to the student district, past Park Street and up to the Capital along State Street.  By this time, Rosie was breathing a little heavy, and parts of her body were starting to react to anticipation.  When the trolley was in front of the Park Hotel, she disembarked.  Walking to the corner, she turned right, and walked down West Main Street, past the alley in back of the Hotel, where frequently the laundry girls were taking their breaks and smoking.  Women, smoking, the imagination just went wild thinking what other vices these women took part in.

 

The Cathedral was in the next block.  Rosie had been coming here since she was a babe in her mother’s arms.  She had known all of the priests, and when she turned fifteen, her mother had arranged for her to do cleaning, laundry, and some cooking for the priests, she was pleased to be able to serve God, in this way, or any other way possible.

 

The work was light, the priests were not smokers, at least not much.  There were no liquor bottles scattered around the house as a cleaner might find in the houses of other non-cleric bachelors.  The laundry was straight forward, and much of the cooking was just preparing lunch.  Other women of the parish, especially the widows, took their turns, bringing a hot dish from their own home, or showing up early to cook in the priest’s kitchen.  She would be there, finishing the chores of the day, when the women would show up.  The food would be properly stored in the kitchen, in the stoves’ oven to keep warm on a low heat, or in the ice box, to keep safe until cooked.  The women would be offered confession by the priest, Father MacGyver, and the two would retire to the chapel, little more than a first floor formal dining room, with an altar, and kneelers behind which there was one long bench, flat on the bottom, with a cushion that was quite nice, soft, yet firm, stretching the full seven feet along the back wall. Because it would just be the women, and the priest, there was no need for the confessional’s privacy.  In the church, there would be many using the confessional, and the screens within would maintain a certain amount of privacy as the parishioners shared their deepest sins with the good father.  However, after being offered the sacrament of confession, face to face, all agreed that there was no point in hiding behind a screen in secret. 

 

Rosie had noticed that some of the women, the younger widows, dressed a little less churchlike, and a little more like Saturday night when they arrived for their confessions, to be followed with a meal with the confessor.  All had the smile, and the face of hopefulness, somewhat more looked like a woman on the prowl for a man, that a Catholic going to the man of God to confess their sins, and pronounce their love of God.  One time, Mrs. Gordon, a woman of 30, who had lost her husband suddenly just last year to an argument in the bar at the end of the three hundred block of West Main, just 200 feet from the house that Rosie had grown up in.  The argument was a stupid one.  One of the men was selling tickets for the Irish Sweepstakes, and Mr. Gordon, having bought tickets, announced that the sweepstakes were crooked, and anyone buying a ticket was a fool, and the seller of tickets was a crook, a liar, a thief, out to cheat honest working men of their money, and besides the point, they were probably English Irish, from Northern Ireland.  Now the seller, a local boy, nobody would identify to the police, even though Sargent O’Rourke, had taken meals with the boy and his family.  If nobody would say his name, there was nothing to charge anybody with.  All the people in the bar agreed that Mr. Gordon, although a good man, couldn’t hold his liquor, and even his wife suffered when he got a load of steam on.  This time, Steven, the seller of the tickets, who also was a soda jerk on State Street, and the pride of the neighborhood, for he was a student at the University, in Engineering, took exception to the insults of Mr. Gordon.  Words were exchanged, and those present said that Mr. Gordon through the first punch, a wild haymaker, that had it connected, would have changed the face of Steven, perhaps for all time.  But, unconnected as it was, the weight of the haymaker spun Mr. Gordon around, and he lost his footing and fell, hitting his head on the brass bar that was standard equipment on all saloons at that time.  The sound, like that of a ripe watermelon hitting a cement stoop, signaled to all the signaled to all the men, single, or not, that Mrs. Gordon would be soon on the market for male companionship.  Going next door to the bar owner’s home, the bartender called the police and the cops came around.  Nobody had seen who it was he was trying to hit, they all agreed that he lost his footing and fell, and nobody had seen nobody not hit him.  It was all his doing, and when would the wake and the service be?

 

Mrs. Gordon had climbed the steps to the rectory promptly at 3, an hour earlier than some of the other women of the parish.  The roasting pan, smelling wonderfully of brined corned beef, with the obligatory potatoes, cabbage, and carrots was carefully deposited in the over, with the heat set at 200 degrees.  Rosie was finishing washing the windows, something the priests looked forward to and insisted on being done in the afternoon, when the sun was low in the horizon, particularly in the spring and fall.  One of the women in the neighborhood, Madonna, freshly married, who was the house girl before Rosie took the position, pointed out to Rosie what the sun, strong if there was not a cloud in the sky, gave a perfect silhouette of a woman’s figure, if that woman was dressed for a warm day, with a thin cotton, or muslin dress.  The priests, men of God, still remained men, even if they were doing God’s work. 

 

Following that discussion, Rosie obtained a muslin dress from the Sears Catalog, and wore it when she was at the rectory. 

 

Following the stop in the rectory kitchen, Mrs. Gordon was invited to the chapel, and the priest closed the double doors.  The chapel was used rarely by the parish, and was used most by the priests either praying solely, or with guests.  Rosie had never seen the pocket doors closed.  Sliding silently out of the openings in the walls, she had not even noticed doors being there, being unfamiliar with the concept of doors that disappeared into walls. As they closed, she saw Mrs. Gordon go to the kneeler, wearing a summer dress, a muslin affair with big buttons down the front.  The words of the priest faded as the doors slide shut, but, if you went to the other door to the chapel, the one on the right of the altar, which opened into the side entrance of the rectory, if you went there you would find that there was a split in the wood of the door.  A split that someone had widened a bit, and if you went there, you couldn’t hear the words, for the speakers were almost 18 feet away, and not talking in your direction, but the view was like at the Capital Theater, at the Chaplin movies, where the organ played music, and the words spoken by the players were printed on cards on the screen, alternating with the players. 

 

The actions of priest and sinner were observable, and that itself was a sin, a sin that she should confess, but to who?  There was an entire rote of penance, and Rosie was herself thinking that this penance was preferred to a dozen “Our Father” prayers to be matched with a dozen “Mail Mary” prayers.  She had seen the neighbors back in the day, through the windows open on a sultry summer’s eve, with a full moon illuminating the southern exposure of the neighbor’s house.  Thinking of this, she almost giggled, thinking that the neighbor man and wife must have been playing priest and sinner, and he was driving the devil out. 

 

But now, now it was her turn.  No need for lugging a dinner uptown, but, it was her turn to visit the priests, for now there were two.  She wondered if the new priest was a full confessor, or if he used the prayers, and only the prayers to punish the sinners.  Well, time would tell.

 

As she walked up the stairs of the rectory, she was greeted by the good Father McDonald.  An older man, it was said that he had served the lord in many of the parishes of the Milwaukee diocese.  Rosie thought privately, that if the confessions he heard in those other parishes, were as good as the ones he heard in Madison, there was a good chance that incidence of sinning was up, or at least the reporting of such at the confessional.

 

Father McDonald greeted her at the door, and she was invited into the parlor to the left of the front door.  The soon to be occupied Chapel was to the right.  In the parlor, she found herself face to face with the now standing Father Flannigan.  She extended her hand in greeting, and he took it gently and smiling said.

 

“Good morning, I am Father Flannigan, and I will be helping Father McDonald with the tending of his flock.  I hope to see you at mass, we will now have services at 630 and 8 as well at 10 am on Sunday morning, and during the week,  we will have mass at 630 and also at 8 am.”

 

Father McDonald smiled at his new associate, ever the lord’s worker, letting the flock know when the services would be.  He wondered how soon he would have to share the widows and occasional unmarried woman who came to the rectory for Biblical advice.  For now, he was the spiritual leader, and taking the lead, escorted Rosie to the chapel.  Time enough for some private consultation and confession hearing, and assigning penance.

 

After almost an hour, the sliding doors opened.  Fr. Flannigan was out in the kitchen, having lemonade with the new housekeeper, another redheaded, green eyed colleen of the hearth.  This was Irish country, and the parents raised their children with a fear and respect for the cloth, even if the wearer was a bare six or seven years older than the child.  This child of god, Enya, by name, was about five foot eight inches in height, and from the looks of her, her mother had been a shapely girl also.  Despite her height, she was slender in the waist, and full in the bosom, although only about 16 years in age.  She listened with rapt attention as Fr. Flannigan discussed the first book of the Old Testament, the story of Adam and Eve, how they were born without original sin, and were pure, and as the purest of God’s children, were not aware of any need for covering their God given bodies.  The girl’s eyes widened as she realized that they went about their daily business, as God made them, with no shame, no clothing and no secrets of their bodies.  She had read this chapter of the bible, as all good students had, but the reality of Adam and Eve, and their acceptance of each other’s nudity was something that she had never thought about.  It was amazing, Eve could see all of Adams body, top to bottom, front and back, and Adam, well, Enya wasn’t sure if she would have been comfortable in the Garden of Eden, with Adam able to see, well, everything.  But as the thought about it, the first time might have been uncomfortable, but, like coffee, and whiskey and cigarettes, the first time was the difficult time, after a while it would probably be acceptable. 

 

The sound of the pocket doors opening into the central hallway was unmistakable.  Rosie and Father McDonald joined Father Flannigan and Enya in the kitchen.  Enya got two more glasses of lemonade for the new comers, and Rosie pulled a sheaf of papers out of her purse.  The plans were the plans for the same event last year, and Father McDonald noted that last year’s plans were fine for this year.  Thus, the event planning, the reason for the trip uptown, was presented, evaluated, and accepted in under a minute.  Shortly thereafter, pleasantries were again exchanged, and Rosie took her leave, with enough time to get to the stop for the trolley and enjoy an uneventful trip home. 

 

Over at the convent for the Cathedral of St. Raphael’s, Sister Michael Mary had concluded her afternoon prayers.  During the summer, there was little to do in the convent.  Of the six nuns on assignment to the Cathedral from the Mound at Sinsinawa, over by the junction of the mighty Mississippi River and the state line shared with Illinois, the mother-superior was in Sinsinawa, helping with the administrative paper work, or so they said, two were traveling to see distant family, one in New York City, the other in Seattle.  Of the three remaining, one was writing a book, and only left her room for meals, and bathing.  Of her, her location could always be ascertained by the banging of the typewriter, from sunup to sundown.  Sister Michael Mary had only the company of Sister Marie Clair.  Almost cut of the same bolt of cloth, subtle questions and answers had made it clear to both, that the other was a player.  Like many of the Sisters, in the suitcase under the bed, or on the shelf in the closet, the women had some street clothes.  It was found that Sisters travelling in religious garb were often the targets of drunks, or anti-religious zealots, some non-religious, some just of the belief that the nuns represented the wrong God.  For safety, if they dressed like a secretary, or a business woman, they were left alone.  If someone tried to bother them, they had the paperwork and brochures of the Lady Foresters, a fraternal group of Catholics who met socially, with the background justification of selling life insurance.  An intruder would be introduced to the insurance product being sold by the ladies, and in every case, would find another rail car to relocate to. 

 

‘Yes Sir, our Single Premium Universal Life Insurance Product is just the ticket for the financial safety we all desire in our lives.  Sir, do you realize just how much uncertainty there is in our lives?”

 

Sister Michael Mary had never used that line, but, it was there for introspection and potential use.  She and Sister Marie Clair had experimented, and like most women in their 20’s, there were some questions they had to have answered, and there were some experiences that they wanted to experience.  They had found that changing to their “real girl” clothing and sneaking out the convent delivery entrance under the cover of darkness, they could duck into the cathedral’s side door, right next to the convent, and then exit the cathedral by the front door.  Just two young women, perhaps there for choir practice, perhaps there praying to god for deliverance from the life of singlehood.  There must be a couple of men, good marriage material, for two such divine women!

 

Once out, and on the street, the two would go to the milk bar kitty corner to the cathedral, or sometimes walk down State Street and eye the students, especially during the school year.  Now, in the summer, the options were the milk bar, or taking the trolley down to Regent Street, to the Green Bush, usually to Josie’s speakeasy.  This place was known for having booze that was Canadian, and the beer wasn’t brewed in the basement of the house next door, it was probably from the Faurenbach Brewery just over by the train depot.  You could drink there, and not get sick or die, unless you drank way too much.  Earlier in the week, Sister Marie Claire had a date with a student at one of the soda places halfway down State Street.  Not wanting to stay at home in the convent, and listen to the relentless pounding of the typewriter, Sister Michael Mary had changed to the white blouse and skirt worn by the dozens of telephone switchboard operators who worked at the Commonwealth Edison Telephone Company central switching building, right in back of the Park Hotel. 

That night, after she made her way the roundabout path into the milk bar, down the trapdoor, down the hallway, she had ascended, almost like Jesus, into the liquor side of the milk bar, the speakeasy.  She had a taste of the beer, and decided on the Canadian, with some seltzer from the bottle.  She had spotted the two dandies, and took a liking to either.  Her heart sunk, with they picked up one of the professional women, and the poor woman whose husband always beat her.  Once again, she was in the bar, looking for someone to pay her for her attentions, so that she could pay to bail her husband out of jail.  After some songs, the four disappeared, but within an hour, they were all back. 

 

Imagine the surprise of Sister Michael Mary, when the shorter, called Michael, came over and bought her the next drink.  Dance was next, and Sister Michael Mary was as good as any other woman in her mid-twenties.  She danced first with Michael, then with the man identified at the older brother, Matthew.  They said something about being in Madison for “Financial Business,” whatever that was.  After dances were concluded for the night, the band packed up, the two financial geniuses invited Sister Michael Mary back across the street to the Park Hotel, where they had a bottle in their room.  More dancing was in order, the first one, then the other singing, rather well, indeed, some of the songs of the day.  Sister had had perhaps too much to drink, when she noticed that her buttons, and those of the dance partners were become unfastened.  Things picked up quickly, and she was soon in the bed, the full sized bed, and the only bed in the room.  Imagine the surprise that she should have felt, when she felt between Michael’s legs, and found only smoothness.  Imagine the surprise, when she looked, and noticed for the first time, that Michael had boobs.  Small breasts, but, quite firm, and well-shaped, with nipples that were firm, and begging for attention, as were Sister’s.  She knew that Michael had been in jail over the weekend, but not for any crime.  They had told her that they were the guardians of the cash that had been raised for the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright building on the shores of Lake Monona.  Much of the money had been raised, and they had a plan to invest the money with a firm of high reputation that they knew of in New York City.  This firm was a very successful investor, with guaranteed returns of at least 20% per year.  Michael had been secure in the jail at night, and the banker’ house during the day, escorted by the Polish assistant jailer.  Once at the jailer’s house, the left leg was secured with leg irons to the leg of the fainting coach in the living room.  Attended by the banker’s wife during the day, at 5 o’clock sharp, the black truck showed up, and the Polish assistant jailer picked up Michael and returned him to the jail.  This was by agreement, and the duration was only from the time of the transfer of the cash, Thursday, at noon, until noon on the following Monday, when the confirmation of the receipt of the cash was wired to Western Union’s office in Madison, and then bicycled to the office of the banker, where the mayor, the banker, Michael, and the jailer were waiting.  Free at last, Michael went to the Park Hotel, and spent the evening with Matthew.  Interesting times did ensue.

The next morning, Sister Michael Mary awoke in the finest room at the Park Hotel.  She was feeling very sick, from the booze, and also confused about the happenings of the previous night.  She arose, naked from the bed, and saw the empty bottle on the table, holding down a note.  Reading it she saw, “We both enjoyed meeting you last night, and enjoyed you to the fullest.  May your life be as full of joy as our meeting was last  night.    Wishing you a full future of experiences.  Thanks.  Signed. Michelle Ponzi, and Matthew Madoff.”

 

Making her way down the back stairs, Sister Michael Mary made her way to the Cathedral, entering it just like a sinner would.  After a time in a pew, on a kneeler, she made her way to her room on the third floor of the convent, and collapsed, silent until supper time.  

             

Madison.TheDarkSide.Wisconsin.Chapter7.TheHealingProfession

December 2, 2013

Chapter Seven.

 

The Healing Profession.

 

The Wisconsin State Journal.

Thursday, July 8, 1920

“Scientists at University of Wisconsin express concern over the practices of so called physicians who are practicing medicine without all of benefits of a formal education in this profession. “

 

              After Emil had left for the Madison Buick Dealership business that he owned, Rosie and Nadia sat down with cups of steaming coffee on the porch.  Across the street, and down a few houses, the banker came out of his house, trailed by the twin girls who were quickly approaching marrying age.  He kissed them both fatherly kisses on the cheeks, and entered his Packard Sedan.  A closed car, it even had a heater, at that point in time, a rare option on an automobile.  He backed into the street, and was soon gone.  The twins noticed the two women on the porch, waved at them, and reentered the house. 

 

              Rosie addressed Nadia.  “I’ve never had help in keeping my household, but when I was younger I did help out at the Priest’s Rectory for the good Fathers at Saint Patrick’s Church.  There isn’t a lot of work here, just the usual that a household demands.  The sweeper on the carpets, the laundry.  We have a gasoline powered Maytag in the garage we bring outside in good weather, and there isn’t much use in doing laundry when you can’t dry it outside.  We can run lines in the basement in the cooler weather, but the smell of laundry dried in the sunshine is so much better.  Other than that, I will do my own cooking, but you are always welcome in the kitchen.  We can both make short work of the dishes, and Jerry will probably want to join us, for she is soon of the age where she will want to join the women, and leave the children.  Otherwise, just watching little Artie, making sure he is secure when the trains come through, for he does love watching those steam engines puff through.  The fence with the gate help keep him here, but, always know where he is at 814 am and 334 pm, every day.”

 

              Nadia nodded, and took a sip of the hot beverage. 

 

              Continuing, Rosie said.  “Jerry is old enough to be on her own.  You can answer any questions she may ask, and on Saturdays you can take her and Artie to the motion picture shows downtown.  I will have Emil take you for a ride downtown and show you where the important places are, so you are efficient when you take the children downtown.  We discussed things, and you will have Sunday off, as well as Wednesday.  This will leave 5 days for work.  You are expected to let us know if you are leaving to go to the grocery or any other of the merchants up on Monroe Street.”

 

              At this, Rosie was silent, for she hadn’t talked this much at home during the day since they had moved to the house on Keyes Avenue.  Nadia remained quiet, then spoke.

 

              “This is good.  I like my sleeping place.  Your food is tasty, and much better in quality than it was, even in the Tsars household in Russian in recent years.  I love Artie, and he is clearly fond of me.  But, I do have one question.  And that is of money.  What will I be paid, how much, and when will it be good for you to pay me.  And, once again, thank you, you saved me from difficult decisions.”

 

              “Emil and I have discussed this,” said Rosie, “and we decided, based on your previous experiences, that a salary of $5 per week is good, keeping in mind you are getting room and board.  Will this be satisfactory for you?  Just so you know, I was paid $4 per week for keeping the house of the priests, and had to live with my parents, and that was about 11 years ago.  We think that is fair.”

 

              Nadia was pleasantly surprised.  In the Tsars household, there had been no pay.  That you lived in a warm place, was fed, pretty much as much as you wanted, unless you made the cook angry, was considered a fine career compensation.  Outside, there was hunger, cold, and the men pretty much had their way with a single girl.  Inside, well, inside was the Cossacks, but they were decent, in that they would not hurt the girl, because it was passed down from old to young, that sooner or later, you had to sleep, and they could borrow the cooks sharpest, and cut your throat.  Best to not anger a woman who would be under your roof when you slept.  The Cossacks were a good people to be with, if a woman didn’t mind being a woman with soldiers who were men’s men. 

 

              Nadia said. “This is good.  And may I come with you and Emil and the children to church on Sunday.  For I have much to thank God for.  My life is good, and I still have it, and for that, I am eternally thankful.”

 

              “That is good, Mass is at 8 am on Sunday.  After the Mass, I will introduce you to Father Gerhardt, he is from Germany, and is a good man.  Ordained just a few years ago, he has been in America since he was about 4, certainly before his school years.  I will leave you about 10, I have an appointment downtown, and will return about 1230 for a late lunch.  This should be fine with the children.  Emil has a small library, if you read English, you may find some of the selections interesting.  It is there in the dining room in the built in shelves.”

 

              Nadia nodded.  She has noticed the books, about 2 dozen or so.  Some scientific, in chemistry and physics, some of the Mark Twain books, and some of the Jack London books, including one that the Tsar had not had in his library, called “The Star Rover”.  Nadia had heard of this, read about it in the London magazine “Punch” that the Tsar had delivered from the embassy in London along with the papers.  Punch had said that the story would be seen by some as evil, and witchcraft might be involved.  Nadia was curious. 

 

              Rosie excused herself, and went upstairs to the bathroom, and ran a bath.  The warm water was good, and helped wash away the remnants of the fog from the night.  Her body was still something that she was proud of, even after two births.  Her legs and thighs were firm, with skin soft, her hips unpadded, her rump was firm.  Her breasts had not suffered from the two sets of lips and tiny teeth, and they were just a bit lower on her chest than they had been 10 years before when she was a new bride.  Bath completed, she went to the bedroom, and selected her best foundations.  Today was to be a warm day, so a dress of light material was in order, and sensible shoes, for there would be some walking. 

 

              Nadia was on the porch, with a fresh cup of coffee.  Rosie said, “Well, I’m off, the streetcars are up on Monroe Street, and I will be off to downtown.”  Nadia nodded, and silently wished her good luck.

 

              On Monroe Street, the streetcar had just gone past, on its journey to the cemeteries, a few blocks to the west.  Once there, the motorman would walk to the other end of the streetcar, and in just a few minutes, he would be back.  She waited for the streetcar in front of the new building, with the Pharmacy in the front, and the offices in the rear which stories said would have the banker’s son, the physician setup in and taking patients in the near future. 

 

              She saw the approaching streetcar, and watched it trundle up to her stop.  She walked the few steps to the car, and entered.  The motorman’s coin box, transferred from one end of the car to the other when it changed directions, took her coin, and she took her seat.  Down Monroe Street, then taking the turn by where the boys at the University played their games, and the Union Army had bivouacked in the Civil War.  The trip down Regent Street past the many businesses was always interesting, seeing what was new, who the people were on the front porches, and the streets.  As they approached the Italian quarter, known at the Green Bush, the people started to show more Mediterranean lineage.  Long, black hair, shorter skirts, and dresses, looks that could kill, and, it seemed to this woman, that they had more shapely figures than the other heritages could brag of. 

              The turn onto Park Street and the slowing down as the trolley made its way up the hill under the new railroad trestle was negotiated with no need for comment.  At State Street, in front of the new Historical Society Building, the first stop was made.  Stops up State Street were every block.  Merchants lined this street, and some of Emil’s relatives were shop owners.   One had what had been a tavern in the 400 block, and in the next block up, was a furniture store.  That had had to be relocated when the owners had sold the land to the developers of the new Capital Theater.  Gosh, what a palace that was.  They had done all right, making many time over what their father had paid for the land when it was cheap.  The building, not much more than a frame house with no inside walls, was useful for firewood for the winter stove, and that was part of the deal, so Emil had told her, and she remembered the weekends spent with his family demolishing the old store.  The beer flowed, and by mid-afternoon, several of the men were relieved of the hammers and saws, and spent the rest of the day throwing wood pieces on the horse drawn wagons to be taken to the homes with the wood burners, both for cooking and heating the homes. 

 

              Rosie saw the Capital, new, and shiny, still fresh from the rebuilding just completed, at least on the outside.  Arisen like the Phoenix from the ashes of the old Capital.  She remember the horror of the night it burned, the smell, the ashes, the men yelling, the eyes of the horses of the fire brigade.  Her heart quickened, for the Doctors office was just ahead.  The building, new and just finished by the Gay brothers, was a showpiece of modern construction.  A full ten stories, with professionals on each floor.  Doctors, dentists, attorneys, real estate men, stock brokers, and others, the floors were full.  With modern electric elevators, there was ease in moving up to the highest floors, and with such a display of professions in the directory on first floor, right by the elevators, a person could enter the building with no hope of an observer guessing the destination.

 

              That morning, Rosie had no need of the dentists, the attorneys, real estate men, stock brokers, or the others.  Her destination was that office of Doctor Shapiro, a woman’s doctor.  While some physicians were generalists, or children’s doctors, pediatricians by title, or any of a number of other specialties,   Dr. Shapiro was a woman’s doctor.  His practice, while including the care of pregnant women, included the treatment of “hysterical women.”  This was a curious title, for these women were rarely hysterical, or bothered by any particular disease.  Doctor Shapiro’s trade involved the stimulation of the woman’s personal private parts in order to supply the orgasm that perhaps was missing in the marital bed.  This specialty had been explained to him by another practitioner he had met while taking the waters in Upstate New York, when he was fresh out of Medical School in New York City.  The veteran practitioner had explained the fine arts of the trade with the express guarantee that Dr. Shapiro would not take up practice on the island of Manhattan.  Any of the other boroughs was ok, just not Manhattan.   Dr. Shapiro had volunteered to take instruction at the other physician’s office in Manhattan for a period not to exceed one month, and had learned both the techniques of the trade, and the tools.  The wonders of electricity had brought about a wonderful appliance that saved the physicians fingers and wrists from destruction, and prevented the need to use of ice between patients that was a standard in a busy practice.  This vibrating massager was a godsend, and allowed the doctors to fill the day with patients, thus insuring a fat bank account.

 

              Doctor Shapiro’s office was on the seventh floor, and took up the entire rear of the building, which was about 40 feet wide and 100 feet long.  His office was 30 feet from the front door to the rear, with three treatment rooms at the rear, about 12 by 16 feet, a four foot hallway connecting them, and providing a sound barrier between the treatment rooms and the front reception area, split into an area with chairs for the incoming patients, and a separate hallway for the exiting patients.  Mrs. Murphy, the receptionist, was a typical Irish colleen, long red hair, green eyes the color of the heath in the old country.  Her husband had been lost in the Great War, not as a combatant, but as a stoker on the steamship Lusitania.  After the war, Mrs. Murphy, widowed at the age of 24, with not even a chance to start a family before she lost her love, made her way to Madison.  Her uncle, on her mother’s side, had been a tavern man in Madison, and he said that he would employ his niece as a barmaid.  That work was ok, and one of the regulars, one of Doctor Shapiro’s regulars, had put in a good work with the good Doctor, that a receptionist to herd the patients would be a good addition.

 

              Mrs. Murphy had met the good Doctor, only about 10 years older than she, and was retained after a short interview, and a demonstration of the Doctors handicraft.  She decided that this work, paying slightly better than the tavern, with its tips, but, in a Tuesday through Saturday work week, 8am to 5 pm, was far superior to the smoky, stinky tavern, open to all hours, with unwashed hands making attempts to become familiar.  

Promptly, at 11 am, the door opened, and Rosie entered.  Smiling, she approached the window with the every smiling, ever happy Mrs. Murphy behind the window.  She slid the single $1.00 bill across the counter, and after being thanked by Mrs. Murphy, she was escorted to room three.  As she passed room one, she heard the unmistakable sounds of Dr. Shapiro’s success as a healer.  Blushing slightly, with the thoughts of her upcoming treatment, she entered the door. 

 

As was the good Doctors suggestion, his patients were given the option of just removing undergarments and keeping the outer garments in place, or using one of the gowns, or receiving treatment in the manner of Eve, the original woman.  Rosie had tried all three, and preferred that of Eve, as apparently, did the doctor.  Disrobing, she took a seat on the leather table, with the adjustable backrest, and closed her eyes to relax.

 

Moments later, the door open, and Doctor Shapiro entered, with his apprentice in tow.  The banker’s son, newly minted from the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine was proving to be a worthy understudy.  Doctor Shapiro had his hands full, literally, with the trade in the Gay Building, and had talked with the banker about expanding.  As a good father, with a son in the medical profession, he suggested that the trade of Doctor Shapiro would be best improved with another office.  To start, the West side of Madison was expanding, and there would be women who would be interested in not having to travel a great distance.  He suggested that the Doctor rent space in a new building the banker has having built on Monroe Street.

 

Staffing that new office would be best handled by his son, William.  The two doctors had a 50/50 split, with the share of the senior doctor paying the rent and the help out front, and the working doctor taking the rest as his professional fee.  Although this left Dr. William Michaels with a handsome some of 50 cents per visit, with the wonder of electricity, he was capable of three treatments per hour, and with eight hours in a day, left him with a potential of $12 per day, or $60 per week, generating $3000 per year, which was a handsome sum for a new physician in the year of our Lord, 1920.  Of course, he would also be treating the other women’s aliments, and helping the pregnant with their ordeals. 

 

Rosie opened her eyes, and those eyes opened wide when they noticed the two figures.  Dr. Shapiro greeted her.

“Good morning Miss Rosie.”  He had found that the women he treated liked not having their last names used during the treatments, and this was the way he addressed them.  “This is Dr. Michaels, recently of the University of Wisconsin,  School of Medicine.  He has joined my practice, and will be staffing my new office in the Monroe Street Business District.” 

She nodded, somewhat shocked at seeing the son of her neighbor, a strapping young man only a few years younger than she, a man who she had admired at the beaches of Lake Wingra.

 

“Dr. Michaels, I am pleased to make your acquaintance.  I recognize you from your visits to your father’s house, which is just across the street and down a short ways from my own residence.”

 

Although the young woman, just a few years older than the good Dr. Michaels, was totally as Eve was in the Garden of Eden, she appeared at ease, which was somewhat of a surprise.  In the barely post Victorian age that was the early 20th century, nudity was totally frowned upon, definitely discouraged, and outside of marriage, or brothels, not something that a young man, even a man of medicine would encounter during the course of a work day, even as a physician.  Later, Mr. Michaels would learn from Dr. Shapiro,  that the lovely Rosie was an aficionado of the charms of Laudanum.  As was the reaction of many users of narcotics, the users of the Laudanum were without inhibition, and shame was not restrictive.

 

Dr. Michaels had noticed the charms of Rosie during the summer visits to his father’s home on Keyes Avenue.  As her home was to the southwest of his father’s, on warm summer eves, when thin garments were wise to wear due to the summer heat, the setting sun, low in the horizon would silhouette the woman within the garment.  Even from across the street, the silhouette was striking, showing her figure as if there were one clothing draped over her.  And now, presented in the manner of Eve, he was expected, no, required to treat her for the aliment of the female hysteria.  

 

Dr. Shapiro explained,   Dr. Matthews has observed and performed many of these procedures and is as proficient as I.  I am confident that he will provide you with treatment equal to the best I have been able to perform as your physician.  You will be able to decide if you wish to travel uptown to keep appointments at this office, or, if you prefer, to visit Dr. Matthews at our new west side office.  Your choice.  And now, I will take this chair, and observe, while Dr. Matthews treats you.”

 

With that, the medical procedure began.  The medical appliance was plugged into the wall outlet, and the proper protocols were initiated.

 

At the end of the procedure, Dr. Shapiro mentioned.  “This has been successful.  You can make your appointment with Mrs. Murphy as you exit.  You may choose as you wish,  the new office will be seeing patients starting next Monday.   For now, you may get dressed and we look forward to seeing you soon.”

 

The two men left the room, and went to treatment room 2, where one of the working girls from the business two blocks down State Street that was a laundry worked.  An eighteen year old farm girl from New Glarus, a farming community about 30 miles to the southwest, she had come to the city to learn a trade.  Because she was not paid a lot, the physicians were generous with their discounted service. 

 

Rosie, now fully garbed, went to the front desk to see Mrs. Murphy.  The prescription bottle of her friend was there, and she gave Mrs. Murphy another dollar for the new bottle, leaving her last bottle, now empty, for refilling and reuse.   She told Mrs. Murphy.

 

“I like Dr. Matthews.  His hands are warm, and he seems to understand both his profession and his tool.  I trust he will be the physician in attendance at Monroe Street?”

 

Mrs. Murphy nodded and said.  “Yes,   he will be seeing patients there on Monday.  I agree, his hands are good, both in warmth, and softness.  I have seen him, and he is a good Doctor of these aliments.”  The two women smiled, knowingly at each other.  “And Rosie, he is appreciative of attentions also.”  With that, Rosie’s eyebrow raised, and the two women nodded at each other.  For both knew what those attentions could include.  Rosie was now looking forward to next week, Thursday was her standard appointment, and with Nadia off on Wednesdays, this would work for her.  Still smiling, she took her leave. 

 

That day, at noon, was a wonderful day.  With erect posture, Rose was noticed by every male she walked past.  Also, as she made her way down   State Street, to the University district, by several of the females students who were there for the summer school.   A few blocks down State Street was the ice cream store, and a chocolate cone was just the ticket.  The soda jerk inside, Jeffrey, was taken aback by the young woman with eyes that could make a mountain melt.  She ordered her cone, and he forgot to charge her.  She dug a nickel out of her purse and slid it across the counter to the young man.  Still speechless, he rang the register and recorded the sale. 

 

With cone in hand, her journey continued.  The new Montgomery Wards was on the left side, across the street.  With a cone, melting as fast as she could lick it, there was no way she would be able to wander inside, plus, with $2 gone out of the household budget, she was a little short for the time being.

 

The trolley picked her up about half-way down State Street, just after noon.  About 12:25 pm she was deposited across the street from the new offices of the doctors.  With a smile, she walked the few blocks home, arriving just a few minutes after she had guessed.

 

On the porch, with a glass of ice tea on the table next to her chair, Nadia was over half way through the Jack London novel, “The Star Rover.”  The concepts within, reminded of the mind over matter discussions that were once the rage in the Tsars household.  One of the best of the talkers in the Tsar’s house was a man of the cloth.  That bastard monk Rasputin was an expert in getting his own way, using logic that sounded good at the time, but in retrospective either made one laugh, or cry.  This novel was engaging, and she vowed to finish it that day. 

 

Climbing the steps, Rosie greeted Nadia, and Nadia noticed the bounce in her step which she hadn’t seen before.  The kids had seen their mom walking up from her trip downtown and lunch was in order.  Afterward, quiet time, perhaps a nap, and then preparation for supper.

 

About this time, in the offices of Dr.  Swenson, a proprietor of a combination steam bath house, and practitioner of the Swedish massage, the good doctor was preparing for the afternoon appointments.  Somewhat upset by the morning papers article on doctors who practiced without formal training, he felt that his years of experience far outweighed the benefits of a physician who had been to school.  You were in school for 8 to 10 years after high school, and for what?  If you were not a surgeon, a lay practitioner was just as good a healer as a college boy.  Maybe more. 

 

That afternoon, he had scheduled the foreman from the foundry, and a couple of the women from the offices of the factory over on East Washington.  Sitting in front of the typewriters and comptometers machines all day made for stiff backs and shoulders, and their bosses let them take short lunches during the week so they could have a long lunch for their appointments on Thursday afternoon.  Today, he would take Mrs. Martin at 1 pm, and Miss Devine at 2pm.  His assistant was preferred by the foreman, Mr. Jenson, a large Englishman, recently imported from the casting trades in London, where he was a man of some renown.  His assistant, a small Chinese woman of about 19 years, weighed barely 100 pounds, but her hands were hands of steel, and he could vouch himself, that those hands could work magic.  She had been delivering the sheets from the family laundry, way across town on Park Street, and one day, she had asked if she could show him her massage work.  Laughing inside, he said sure.  Treat me like a valued customer of Dr. Swenson, not as Dr. Swenson.  Following him to the treatment room, which was originally on the blue prints of the building as an office, she had informed him that he could disrobe to where he would be comfortable receiving a massage.  Deciding to test the teenager, after she had left the room, closing the door on her way out, he had disrobed completely.  Dr. Swenson was a good sized man, just slightly over 6 feet in height, and about 190 pounds.  He was a health enthusiast, and he had weights he had fabricated himself in the basement of the steam bath.  Another Scandinavian of note in the Madison area, a Norwegian called the Swede, himself a metal man had expressed interest in those weights, in different weights, with different weights that could be fastened on a metal pipe so the user would be able to vary the lifting weights.  Dr. Swenson then laid face down on the table, he intentionally did not cover himself with a towel. 

 

A few minutes later, a faint knock on the door announced the return of Mai.  The door opened and a clear, voice asked if he was ready.

 

“Yes, remember, I am a valued client of Dr. Swenson.  Treat me as such.”

 

As she entered, he heard her draw in her breath sharply. 

 

“I will start your treatment today with your shoulders.  Relax your muscles, and put your arms at your side.” 

 

He did so. 

“Can you relax your shoulders?”

 

“I am relaxed, ma’am.  I just use weights so my muscles are larger than normal.”

 

Starting the massage, she acknowledged.  “Yes, I see now.”  No comment was made of his full nudity, and she was impressed by the shapeliness of his back muscles, and his gluts.  Never before had she seen such a large man, and his physique was that of the gods sculpted in marble that she had seen in the large museums when she visited relatives in both Chicago, and San Francisco.  Standing next to the table May realized that unlike the Asian men she had worked on before, she could not reach all the way across this man’s back. 

 

“Sir, with your permission, I will get on the table so that I can massage all of your back at one time.  You are such a magnificent man that my small arms cannot reach the other side of you.” 

“As you wish, girl. Make this the best you know how to.”

 

With that, Mai climbed up the table after removing the slipper like clogs that she wore daily.  She was wearing traditional working woman Asian garb, a white cotton shirt with three buttons, and long sleeves, loose fitting cotton pants, which were worn by both sexes at the laundry and at home.  They were kept up by a small piece of rope, tied like a shoe, cotton woven.  In the heat of the summer, in a room with drapes, but with open windows, the hard work was rough on a 100 pound woman.  She could feel her skin start to moisten with the natural sweat resulting from strong work on a hot day.  She completed his shoulders, thinking that this man has shoulders like an ox.  Moving down his back meant that she had to move from straddling his lower back to perching on top of his gluts.      

Dr. Swenson was somewhat shocked when the young girl climbed up on the table and took position on his back, not unlike Annie Oakley on her horse when that show had come to town.  Now that she was moving down, he felt her thighs tight against his hips, not at all an unpleasant experience.  Unknown to him, she had unbuttoned two of the buttons on her blouse to let the heat out.  Thinking to herself, she was planning to borrow a sleeveless shirt from her father’s laundry, the better to let the heat of the work escape.

 

Work on the lower back now completed, she slid further toward his feet.  Now resting on his thighs, she put more of the vegetable oil on her hands and prepared to attack his gluts.  Never before in her life had she seen such muscles. 

 

They were strong as steel, some hair, of course, for he was a man, but the size, the firmness, she was almost outside of her ability to comprehend.  However, an Asian woman needed to quickly adapt to the unknown, for that is way of survival.  When she moved his legs, she dismounted.  She was covered with sweat from the workout she had experienced on top of the large man.  She started with his feet, and discovered he was a little ticklish.  Somewhat amused at the power a 100 pound woman had to make a huge ox of a man wiggle like a puppy, she moved up to his lower calves.  They were also firm, and she used both a firm touch, then a lighter touch, in a circular motion, such as her mother had taught her on her father.  The thigh muscles were next, and she silently worked each side, not getting too close to the juncture of those magnificent legs. 

 

Finished on the back, she announced, “Sir, your back is complete, if you would like me to massage your arms, chest, and stomach, as well as the tops of your legs, you may role over, if you would like a towel to cover yourself, one is available.”

 

Dr. Swenson was pleased that Mai had offered the client a choice.  He chose to test her, and rolled over without benefit of cover.  He saw her in the light of the incandescent bulb in the lamp by the window.  Barely five feet tall, as previously mentioned, a scale set at 100 pounds would have wavered in indecision.  A smile on her lips, she knew that she had done good work.  The big man also had a smile on his face, and they were eye to eye. 

 

Dr. Swenson took note that Mai was drenched in sweat.  Her shirt, not unlike the summer pajamas his late wife had worn, were of only three buttons, and the top and bottom were loosened, just the one between her breasts and her navel kept the shirt modest. 

 

“Mai, you look warm, you should take some water.  There is a pitcher of water from the faucet, and glasses on the table by the door.  I could use some too.”   He watched as she walked the few paces from her station at the side of the table to the small table in back of where the door opened.  Her pants were showing off her physique, for they were dampened with the sweat of her labors, and adhered to her outline.  His guess was that she did not wear bloomers, or anything else underneath those cotton pants.    He could see, even in the dim light, for in the treatment room, the bulbs were not strong, the outline of her backside, and the slenderness of her hips was apparent, even with the tails of the shirt overhanging her waist. 

 

Dr. Swenson lifted up on his elbows, and taking the water from the young girl, drank strongly from the glass.  Mai also took a drink, and with the water still in her mouth, her eyes left his, and travelled down his physique.  His chest was strong, his stomach was flat, and then….

 

Mai’s water left her mouth, that which was still left.  She avoided spitting it on her soon to be employer, but there was a distinct fountain of youth when she saw what was below the line where his belt would have been, if he was wearing pants, which, of course, he wasn’t.  She was familiar with the male organ, having seen that of her father, and her brothers, who were younger.  That was the reality of living in the back of the laundry, where the only privacy was in the basement where the big boiler for the hot water lived, like a dragon, eating coal by the ton.  But this, this was a dragon by itself.  Never before had she imagined such a magnificent thing could exist, and it was not even prepared for battle. 

 

“Excuse me, I am terribly sorry!”  She pleaded.

 

“That is alright, no harm was done.  Sometimes the water goes down the wrong pipe.”  Inside, Dr. Swenson was laughing, for he knew the damage he had done.  He had treated her father when he had lifted equipment he was installing in the laundry that was way too heavy for a man of 120 pounds.  He had seen her father in his entirety, and he was properly sized for a man of that weight, an Asian to boot, but the doctor was almost twice the weight of her father, and was properly sized for his weight.

 

“Let us continue, my afternoon appointments will be here in thirty minutes.”

Mai knew her work, and continued the massage in proper manner.  Except for his face, proper attention was paid to his shoulders, chest, abdomen, feet, lower legs, and thighs.  Mai was watching the clock, and with the 30 minutes almost up, asked the good doctor.

“I think I have given you the best massage I know how to.  Is there any place else you would like me to work on?”

“No, Mai, your massage is tops.  It is perfect.  We need to talk to your father to see if he wants you to work outside of the laundry.  I would start you paid by the appointment, with you receiving forty cents of the dollar I charge.  You would be expected to wash the windows, and sweep the floors, and other duties as I see fit.  If this is ok with you, check with your father, and let me know tomorrow, on Friday.”

 

Mai nodded.  “I will do that.  We will have more sheets and towels for you tomorrow, and I will deliver them at the usual time.”

 

Inside, Mai was both relieved, and somewhat curious about the path the massage would have taken if there was more time.  She had noticed the man’s breath quicken when she massaged his chest, wisely standing next to the massage table.  Her work on his legs had also effected a physical reaction that also piqued her curiosity. 

Exiting the building, at the back, the service entrance, she entered the Model TT panel truck.  The Swede, the giant man, whose metal shop was just across the cross street from the Lee Laundry had reworked the cab of the truck for the smaller Asian drivers at the laundry.  For his own truck he had moved the back of the cab rearward a full twelve inches so his tall, bulky body could get behind the wheel.  The bed of his flatbed truck had had to be fully reworked to allow for the relocation of the back of the cab, but for the Lee truck, which was fully enclosed, only the seat had had to be relocated, forward and down.

 

In the truck, Mai Lee now could work the pedals that controlled the planetary transmission that cleaver Mr. Ford has designed.  She took off. Driving through town, down through the business district of Williamson Street, to the railroad station where Wilson Street joined, she made several stops at the taverns and workshops that lined the street.  There were also two stops at houses, one next door to the tavern of the grandson whose grandfather had built most of the block.  That house, with its fancy ladies, generated a lot of sheets each day, and also more than a few towels.  Luckily, the laundry was packed in large bags, almost as tall as Lee at four feet long.  Weighing almost half that of the young girl, she was strong enough to carry the bags out and load them in the back of the truck. 

 

Never, during her drive, did May see other women driving cars, much less large commercial vehicles.  She was known by the draymen in the town.  At first, they laughed and pointed at the tiny woman doing their work.  After they saw her back the truck up to loading docks, and surprisingly, maneuver the truck into a parallel parking required spot on the street, they talked among themselves in the taverns, and on the loading docks, and even the most manly of them had to agree that the young woman half their size had mastered the chores of driving, backing, and manipulating a truck.  Gaining their respect was something that had to be earned by performance, not any other way.  Sometimes, she would see the women of Mansion Hill in their limousines, driver by men in formal black suits.  She knew these suits, for she pressed most of the black suits in the city. 

 

On that day, two months before, Mai planned her explanation and pleading to get permission for the new job. Back at the laundry, unloading the truck was done quickly, with the helping hands of her siblings.  First she talked to her mother, in Japanese, of course, because the older woman had no need of English.  The woman saw the wisdom of her daughter escaping the laundry, and it would cement the work they had with the steam bath and massage business even more.  Plus, the woman realized, with two massage rooms in operation, there would be twice as many sheets and towels in the work for the laundry.

 

Telling Mai to start at the pressing, the next youngest girl was sent to watch, and apprentice at the ironing machine.  Hot, and steamy, the machine was sometimes dangerous to the person who had no experience with it.  While Mai tutored the younger sister, Mrs. Lee went to Mr. Lee, and explained in terms that sounded like a battle between Ronin warriors.  Mr. Lee soon saw the wisdom of letting his eldest daughter work outside the laundry, and the cash she brought in would be helpful.  He went to see his daughter, and nodded silently.  In the shorthand of a noisy laundry, Mai understood fully that her father had given permission for her to work for Dr. Swenson.  She smiled, and continued the training of her replacement at the laundry.

 

Back at the steam bath and massage works of Dr. Swenson, the afternoon’s work went well.  He had explained to the English foreman that he had explored the taking on of an assistant, so that different modalities of the art of massage could be offered.  Nodding, the Englishman, Eric, entered into a discussion of the massage establishments in London, in particular, those of the SoHo district.

 

The next day, Mai agreed to the terms of Dr. Swenson, and started immediately.  The word had gotten out quickly, and her calendar was soon booked.  She worked from 11 am, allowing those who could get an early lunch, to about 8 pm at night.  There was a quiet time, generally, in the midafternoon, when she would pick up and deliver laundry between the business district that Dr. Swenson was in and the Lee Laundry on Park Street, but within a month, the afternoon was busy also.  May was given the job of teaching her sister, Aki, the intricacies of the Ford Model TT truck, which she picked up quickly.  Aki was a quick learner, and having watched her sister at the ironing machine, the water extracting machine properly called the mangle, and in the art of massage, she was almost every bit as useful as her older sister.  Putting her sister to work outside the family business was far more advantageous to the family coffers because the money she brought in was new money, and the work she had performed at the family business was quickly picked up by the bright, and also attractive Aki.  Mai took her around to the customers, who had all appreciated the quick smile, and gentle voice of Mai, and Aki picked up the greetings and salutations that are all of a successful delivery.  Dressing almost as Mai had, Aki talked her mother in short sleeves on the shirt, and shorter legs on the trousers, because of the heat of the day, and the heat in the laundry. 

Thus, the transmission of responsibilities at the laundry was complete, and May became the employee of Dr. Swenson at the steam baths and massage therapy service.  Businesses in the year of the lord, 1920, grew in the progress and prosperity of the day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Seven.

 

The Healing Profession.

 

The Wisconsin State Journal.

Thursday, July 8, 1920

“Scientists at University of Wisconsin express concern over the practices of so called physicians who are practicing medicine without all of benefits of a formal education in this profession. “

 

              After Emil had left for the Madison Buick Dealership business that he owned, Rosie and Nadia sat down with cups of steaming coffee on the porch.  Across the street, and down a few houses, the banker came out of his house, trailed by the twin girls who were quickly approaching marrying age.  He kissed them both fatherly kisses on the cheeks, and entered his Packard Sedan.  A closed car, it even had a heater, at that point in time, a rare option on an automobile.  He backed into the street, and was soon gone.  The twins noticed the two women on the porch, waved at them, and reentered the house. 

 

              Rosie addressed Nadia.  “I’ve never had help in keeping my household, but when I was younger I did help out at the Priest’s Rectory for the good Fathers at Saint Patrick’s Church.  There isn’t a lot of work here, just the usual that a household demands.  The sweeper on the carpets, the laundry.  We have a gasoline powered Maytag in the garage we bring outside in good weather, and there isn’t much use in doing laundry when you can’t dry it outside.  We can run lines in the basement in the cooler weather, but the smell of laundry dried in the sunshine is so much better.  Other than that, I will do my own cooking, but you are always welcome in the kitchen.  We can both make short work of the dishes, and Jerry will probably want to join us, for she is soon of the age where she will want to join the women, and leave the children.  Otherwise, just watching little Artie, making sure he is secure when the trains come through, for he does love watching those steam engines puff through.  The fence with the gate help keep him here, but, always know where he is at 814 am and 334 pm, every day.”

 

              Nadia nodded, and took a sip of the hot beverage. 

 

              Continuing, Rosie said.  “Jerry is old enough to be on her own.  You can answer any questions she may ask, and on Saturdays you can take her and Artie to the motion picture shows downtown.  I will have Emil take you for a ride downtown and show you where the important places are, so you are efficient when you take the children downtown.  We discussed things, and you will have Sunday off, as well as Wednesday.  This will leave 5 days for work.  You are expected to let us know if you are leaving to go to the grocery or any other of the merchants up on Monroe Street.”

 

              At this, Rosie was silent, for she hadn’t talked this much at home during the day since they had moved to the house on Keyes Avenue.  Nadia remained quiet, then spoke.

 

              “This is good.  I like my sleeping place.  Your food is tasty, and much better in quality than it was, even in the Tsars household in Russian in recent years.  I love Artie, and he is clearly fond of me.  But, I do have one question.  And that is of money.  What will I be paid, how much, and when will it be good for you to pay me.  And, once again, thank you, you saved me from difficult decisions.”

 

              “Emil and I have discussed this,” said Rosie, “and we decided, based on your previous experiences, that a salary of $5 per week is good, keeping in mind you are getting room and board.  Will this be satisfactory for you?  Just so you know, I was paid $4 per week for keeping the house of the priests, and had to live with my parents, and that was about 11 years ago.  We think that is fair.”

 

              Nadia was pleasantly surprised.  In the Tsars household, there had been no pay.  That you lived in a warm place, was fed, pretty much as much as you wanted, unless you made the cook angry, was considered a fine career compensation.  Outside, there was hunger, cold, and the men pretty much had their way with a single girl.  Inside, well, inside was the Cossacks, but they were decent, in that they would not hurt the girl, because it was passed down from old to young, that sooner or later, you had to sleep, and they could borrow the cooks sharpest, and cut your throat.  Best to not anger a woman who would be under your roof when you slept.  The Cossacks were a good people to be with, if a woman didn’t mind being a woman with soldiers who were men’s men. 

 

              Nadia said. “This is good.  And may I come with you and Emil and the children to church on Sunday.  For I have much to thank God for.  My life is good, and I still have it, and for that, I am eternally thankful.”

 

              “That is good, Mass is at 8 am on Sunday.  After the Mass, I will introduce you to Father Gerhardt, he is from Germany, and is a good man.  Ordained just a few years ago, he has been in America since he was about 4, certainly before his school years.  I will leave you about 10, I have an appointment downtown, and will return about 1230 for a late lunch.  This should be fine with the children.  Emil has a small library, if you read English, you may find some of the selections interesting.  It is there in the dining room in the built in shelves.”

 

              Nadia nodded.  She has noticed the books, about 2 dozen or so.  Some scientific, in chemistry and physics, some of the Mark Twain books, and some of the Jack London books, including one that the Tsar had not had in his library, called “The Star Rover”.  Nadia had heard of this, read about it in the London magazine “Punch” that the Tsar had delivered from the embassy in London along with the papers.  Punch had said that the story would be seen by some as evil, and witchcraft might be involved.  Nadia was curious. 

 

              Rosie excused herself, and went upstairs to the bathroom, and ran a bath.  The warm water was good, and helped wash away the remnants of the fog from the night.  Her body was still something that she was proud of, even after two births.  Her legs and thighs were firm, with skin soft, her hips unpadded, her rump was firm.  Her breasts had not suffered from the two sets of lips and tiny teeth, and they were just a bit lower on her chest than they had been 10 years before when she was a new bride.  Bath completed, she went to the bedroom, and selected her best foundations.  Today was to be a warm day, so a dress of light material was in order, and sensible shoes, for there would be some walking. 

 

              Nadia was on the porch, with a fresh cup of coffee.  Rosie said, “Well, I’m off, the streetcars are up on Monroe Street, and I will be off to downtown.”  Nadia nodded, and silently wished her good luck.

 

              On Monroe Street, the streetcar had just gone past, on its journey to the cemeteries, a few blocks to the west.  Once there, the motorman would walk to the other end of the streetcar, and in just a few minutes, he would be back.  She waited for the streetcar in front of the new building, with the Pharmacy in the front, and the offices in the rear which stories said would have the banker’s son, the physician setup in and taking patients in the near future. 

 

              She saw the approaching streetcar, and watched it trundle up to her stop.  She walked the few steps to the car, and entered.  The motorman’s coin box, transferred from one end of the car to the other when it changed directions, took her coin, and she took her seat.  Down Monroe Street, then taking the turn by where the boys at the University played their games, and the Union Army had bivouacked in the Civil War.  The trip down Regent Street past the many businesses was always interesting, seeing what was new, who the people were on the front porches, and the streets.  As they approached the Italian quarter, known at the Green Bush, the people started to show more Mediterranean lineage.  Long, black hair, shorter skirts, and dresses, looks that could kill, and, it seemed to this woman, that they had more shapely figures than the other heritages could brag of. 

              The turn onto Park Street and the slowing down as the trolley made its way up the hill under the new railroad trestle was negotiated with no need for comment.  At State Street, in front of the new Historical Society Building, the first stop was made.  Stops up State Street were every block.  Merchants lined this street, and some of Emil’s relatives were shop owners.   One had what had been a tavern in the 400 block, and in the next block up, was a furniture store.  That had had to be relocated when the owners had sold the land to the developers of the new Capital Theater.  Gosh, what a palace that was.  They had done all right, making many time over what their father had paid for the land when it was cheap.  The building, not much more than a frame house with no inside walls, was useful for firewood for the winter stove, and that was part of the deal, so Emil had told her, and she remembered the weekends spent with his family demolishing the old store.  The beer flowed, and by mid-afternoon, several of the men were relieved of the hammers and saws, and spent the rest of the day throwing wood pieces on the horse drawn wagons to be taken to the homes with the wood burners, both for cooking and heating the homes. 

 

              Rosie saw the Capital, new, and shiny, still fresh from the rebuilding just completed, at least on the outside.  Arisen like the Phoenix from the ashes of the old Capital.  She remember the horror of the night it burned, the smell, the ashes, the men yelling, the eyes of the horses of the fire brigade.  Her heart quickened, for the Doctors office was just ahead.  The building, new and just finished by the Gay brothers, was a showpiece of modern construction.  A full ten stories, with professionals on each floor.  Doctors, dentists, attorneys, real estate men, stock brokers, and others, the floors were full.  With modern electric elevators, there was ease in moving up to the highest floors, and with such a display of professions in the directory on first floor, right by the elevators, a person could enter the building with no hope of an observer guessing the destination.

 

              That morning, Rosie had no need of the dentists, the attorneys, real estate men, stock brokers, or the others.  Her destination was that office of Doctor Shapiro, a woman’s doctor.  While some physicians were generalists, or children’s doctors, pediatricians by title, or any of a number of other specialties,   Dr. Shapiro was a woman’s doctor.  His practice, while including the care of pregnant women, included the treatment of “hysterical women.”  This was a curious title, for these women were rarely hysterical, or bothered by any particular disease.  Doctor Shapiro’s trade involved the stimulation of the woman’s personal private parts in order to supply the orgasm that perhaps was missing in the marital bed.  This specialty had been explained to him by another practitioner he had met while taking the waters in Upstate New York, when he was fresh out of Medical School in New York City.  The veteran practitioner had explained the fine arts of the trade with the express guarantee that Dr. Shapiro would not take up practice on the island of Manhattan.  Any of the other boroughs was ok, just not Manhattan.   Dr. Shapiro had volunteered to take instruction at the other physician’s office in Manhattan for a period not to exceed one month, and had learned both the techniques of the trade, and the tools.  The wonders of electricity had brought about a wonderful appliance that saved the physicians fingers and wrists from destruction, and prevented the need to use of ice between patients that was a standard in a busy practice.  This vibrating massager was a godsend, and allowed the doctors to fill the day with patients, thus insuring a fat bank account.

 

              Doctor Shapiro’s office was on the seventh floor, and took up the entire rear of the building, which was about 40 feet wide and 100 feet long.  His office was 30 feet from the front door to the rear, with three treatment rooms at the rear, about 12 by 16 feet, a four foot hallway connecting them, and providing a sound barrier between the treatment rooms and the front reception area, split into an area with chairs for the incoming patients, and a separate hallway for the exiting patients.  Mrs. Murphy, the receptionist, was a typical Irish colleen, long red hair, green eyes the color of the heath in the old country.  Her husband had been lost in the Great War, not as a combatant, but as a stoker on the steamship Lusitania.  After the war, Mrs. Murphy, widowed at the age of 24, with not even a chance to start a family before she lost her love, made her way to Madison.  Her uncle, on her mother’s side, had been a tavern man in Madison, and he said that he would employ his niece as a barmaid.  That work was ok, and one of the regulars, one of Doctor Shapiro’s regulars, had put in a good work with the good Doctor, that a receptionist to herd the patients would be a good addition.

 

              Mrs. Murphy had met the good Doctor, only about 10 years older than she, and was retained after a short interview, and a demonstration of the Doctors handicraft.  She decided that this work, paying slightly better than the tavern, with its tips, but, in a Tuesday through Saturday work week, 8am to 5 pm, was far superior to the smoky, stinky tavern, open to all hours, with unwashed hands making attempts to become familiar.  

Promptly, at 11 am, the door opened, and Rosie entered.  Smiling, she approached the window with the every smiling, ever happy Mrs. Murphy behind the window.  She slid the single $1.00 bill across the counter, and after being thanked by Mrs. Murphy, she was escorted to room three.  As she passed room one, she heard the unmistakable sounds of Dr. Shapiro’s success as a healer.  Blushing slightly, with the thoughts of her upcoming treatment, she entered the door. 

 

As was the good Doctors suggestion, his patients were given the option of just removing undergarments and keeping the outer garments in place, or using one of the gowns, or receiving treatment in the manner of Eve, the original woman.  Rosie had tried all three, and preferred that of Eve, as apparently, did the doctor.  Disrobing, she took a seat on the leather table, with the adjustable backrest, and closed her eyes to relax.

 

Moments later, the door open, and Doctor Shapiro entered, with his apprentice in tow.  The banker’s son, newly minted from the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine was proving to be a worthy understudy.  Doctor Shapiro had his hands full, literally, with the trade in the Gay Building, and had talked with the banker about expanding.  As a good father, with a son in the medical profession, he suggested that the trade of Doctor Shapiro would be best improved with another office.  To start, the West side of Madison was expanding, and there would be women who would be interested in not having to travel a great distance.  He suggested that the Doctor rent space in a new building the banker has having built on Monroe Street.

 

Staffing that new office would be best handled by his son, William.  The two doctors had a 50/50 split, with the share of the senior doctor paying the rent and the help out front, and the working doctor taking the rest as his professional fee.  Although this left Dr. William Michaels with a handsome some of 50 cents per visit, with the wonder of electricity, he was capable of three treatments per hour, and with eight hours in a day, left him with a potential of $12 per day, or $60 per week, generating $3000 per year, which was a handsome sum for a new physician in the year of our Lord, 1920.  Of course, he would also be treating the other women’s aliments, and helping the pregnant with their ordeals. 

 

Rosie opened her eyes, and those eyes opened wide when they noticed the two figures.  Dr. Shapiro greeted her.

“Good morning Miss Rosie.”  He had found that the women he treated liked not having their last names used during the treatments, and this was the way he addressed them.  “This is Dr. Michaels, recently of the University of Wisconsin,  School of Medicine.  He has joined my practice, and will be staffing my new office in the Monroe Street Business District.” 

She nodded, somewhat shocked at seeing the son of her neighbor, a strapping young man only a few years younger than she, a man who she had admired at the beaches of Lake Wingra.

 

“Dr. Michaels, I am pleased to make your acquaintance.  I recognize you from your visits to your father’s house, which is just across the street and down a short ways from my own residence.”

 

Although the young woman, just a few years older than the good Dr. Michaels, was totally as Eve was in the Garden of Eden, she appeared at ease, which was somewhat of a surprise.  In the barely post Victorian age that was the early 20th century, nudity was totally frowned upon, definitely discouraged, and outside of marriage, or brothels, not something that a young man, even a man of medicine would encounter during the course of a work day, even as a physician.  Later, Mr. Michaels would learn from Dr. Shapiro,  that the lovely Rosie was an aficionado of the charms of Laudanum.  As was the reaction of many users of narcotics, the users of the Laudanum were without inhibition, and shame was not restrictive.

 

Dr. Michaels had noticed the charms of Rosie during the summer visits to his father’s home on Keyes Avenue.  As her home was to the southwest of his father’s, on warm summer eves, when thin garments were wise to wear due to the summer heat, the setting sun, low in the horizon would silhouette the woman within the garment.  Even from across the street, the silhouette was striking, showing her figure as if there were one clothing draped over her.  And now, presented in the manner of Eve, he was expected, no, required to treat her for the aliment of the female hysteria.  

 

Dr. Shapiro explained,   Dr. Matthews has observed and performed many of these procedures and is as proficient as I.  I am confident that he will provide you with treatment equal to the best I have been able to perform as your physician.  You will be able to decide if you wish to travel uptown to keep appointments at this office, or, if you prefer, to visit Dr. Matthews at our new west side office.  Your choice.  And now, I will take this chair, and observe, while Dr. Matthews treats you.”

 

With that, the medical procedure began.  The medical appliance was plugged into the wall outlet, and the proper protocols were initiated.

 

At the end of the procedure, Dr. Shapiro mentioned.  “This has been successful.  You can make your appointment with Mrs. Murphy as you exit.  You may choose as you wish,  the new office will be seeing patients starting next Monday.   For now, you may get dressed and we look forward to seeing you soon.”

 

The two men left the room, and went to treatment room 2, where one of the working girls from the business two blocks down State Street that was a laundry worked.  An eighteen year old farm girl from New Glarus, a farming community about 30 miles to the southwest, she had come to the city to learn a trade.  Because she was not paid a lot, the physicians were generous with their discounted service. 

 

Rosie, now fully garbed, went to the front desk to see Mrs. Murphy.  The prescription bottle of her friend was there, and she gave Mrs. Murphy another dollar for the new bottle, leaving her last bottle, now empty, for refilling and reuse.   She told Mrs. Murphy.

 

“I like Dr. Matthews.  His hands are warm, and he seems to understand both his profession and his tool.  I trust he will be the physician in attendance at Monroe Street?”

 

Mrs. Murphy nodded and said.  “Yes,   he will be seeing patients there on Monday.  I agree, his hands are good, both in warmth, and softness.  I have seen him, and he is a good Doctor of these aliments.”  The two women smiled, knowingly at each other.  “And Rosie, he is appreciative of attentions also.”  With that, Rosie’s eyebrow raised, and the two women nodded at each other.  For both knew what those attentions could include.  Rosie was now looking forward to next week, Thursday was her standard appointment, and with Nadia off on Wednesdays, this would work for her.  Still smiling, she took her leave. 

 

That day, at noon, was a wonderful day.  With erect posture, Rose was noticed by every male she walked past.  Also, as she made her way down   State Street, to the University district, by several of the females students who were there for the summer school.   A few blocks down State Street was the ice cream store, and a chocolate cone was just the ticket.  The soda jerk inside, Jeffrey, was taken aback by the young woman with eyes that could make a mountain melt.  She ordered her cone, and he forgot to charge her.  She dug a nickel out of her purse and slid it across the counter to the young man.  Still speechless, he rang the register and recorded the sale. 

 

With cone in hand, her journey continued.  The new Montgomery Wards was on the left side, across the street.  With a cone, melting as fast as she could lick it, there was no way she would be able to wander inside, plus, with $2 gone out of the household budget, she was a little short for the time being.

 

The trolley picked her up about half-way down State Street, just after noon.  About 12:25 pm she was deposited across the street from the new offices of the doctors.  With a smile, she walked the few blocks home, arriving just a few minutes after she had guessed.

 

On the porch, with a glass of ice tea on the table next to her chair, Nadia was over half way through the Jack London novel, “The Star Rover.”  The concepts within, reminded of the mind over matter discussions that were once the rage in the Tsars household.  One of the best of the talkers in the Tsar’s house was a man of the cloth.  That bastard monk Rasputin was an expert in getting his own way, using logic that sounded good at the time, but in retrospective either made one laugh, or cry.  This novel was engaging, and she vowed to finish it that day. 

 

Climbing the steps, Rosie greeted Nadia, and Nadia noticed the bounce in her step which she hadn’t seen before.  The kids had seen their mom walking up from her trip downtown and lunch was in order.  Afterward, quiet time, perhaps a nap, and then preparation for supper.

 

About this time, in the offices of Dr.  Swenson, a proprietor of a combination steam bath house, and practitioner of the Swedish massage, the good doctor was preparing for the afternoon appointments.  Somewhat upset by the morning papers article on doctors who practiced without formal training, he felt that his years of experience far outweighed the benefits of a physician who had been to school.  You were in school for 8 to 10 years after high school, and for what?  If you were not a surgeon, a lay practitioner was just as good a healer as a college boy.  Maybe more. 

 

That afternoon, he had scheduled the foreman from the foundry, and a couple of the women from the offices of the factory over on East Washington.  Sitting in front of the typewriters and comptometers machines all day made for stiff backs and shoulders, and their bosses let them take short lunches during the week so they could have a long lunch for their appointments on Thursday afternoon.  Today, he would take Mrs. Martin at 1 pm, and Miss Devine at 2pm.  His assistant was preferred by the foreman, Mr. Jenson, a large Englishman, recently imported from the casting trades in London, where he was a man of some renown.  His assistant, a small Chinese woman of about 19 years, weighed barely 100 pounds, but her hands were hands of steel, and he could vouch himself, that those hands could work magic.  She had been delivering the sheets from the family laundry, way across town on Park Street, and one day, she had asked if she could show him her massage work.  Laughing inside, he said sure.  Treat me like a valued customer of Dr. Swenson, not as Dr. Swenson.  Following him to the treatment room, which was originally on the blue prints of the building as an office, she had informed him that he could disrobe to where he would be comfortable receiving a massage.  Deciding to test the teenager, after she had left the room, closing the door on her way out, he had disrobed completely.  Dr. Swenson was a good sized man, just slightly over 6 feet in height, and about 190 pounds.  He was a health enthusiast, and he had weights he had fabricated himself in the basement of the steam bath.  Another Scandinavian of note in the Madison area, a Norwegian called the Swede, himself a metal man had expressed interest in those weights, in different weights, with different weights that could be fastened on a metal pipe so the user would be able to vary the lifting weights.  Dr. Swenson then laid face down on the table, he intentionally did not cover himself with a towel. 

 

A few minutes later, a faint knock on the door announced the return of Mai.  The door opened and a clear, voice asked if he was ready.

 

“Yes, remember, I am a valued client of Dr. Swenson.  Treat me as such.”

 

As she entered, he heard her draw in her breath sharply. 

 

“I will start your treatment today with your shoulders.  Relax your muscles, and put your arms at your side.” 

 

He did so. 

“Can you relax your shoulders?”

 

“I am relaxed, ma’am.  I just use weights so my muscles are larger than normal.”

 

Starting the massage, she acknowledged.  “Yes, I see now.”  No comment was made of his full nudity, and she was impressed by the shapeliness of his back muscles, and his gluts.  Never before had she seen such a large man, and his physique was that of the gods sculpted in marble that she had seen in the large museums when she visited relatives in both Chicago, and San Francisco.  Standing next to the table May realized that unlike the Asian men she had worked on before, she could not reach all the way across this man’s back. 

 

“Sir, with your permission, I will get on the table so that I can massage all of your back at one time.  You are such a magnificent man that my small arms cannot reach the other side of you.” 

“As you wish, girl. Make this the best you know how to.”

 

With that, Mai climbed up the table after removing the slipper like clogs that she wore daily.  She was wearing traditional working woman Asian garb, a white cotton shirt with three buttons, and long sleeves, loose fitting cotton pants, which were worn by both sexes at the laundry and at home.  They were kept up by a small piece of rope, tied like a shoe, cotton woven.  In the heat of the summer, in a room with drapes, but with open windows, the hard work was rough on a 100 pound woman.  She could feel her skin start to moisten with the natural sweat resulting from strong work on a hot day.  She completed his shoulders, thinking that this man has shoulders like an ox.  Moving down his back meant that she had to move from straddling his lower back to perching on top of his gluts.      

Dr. Swenson was somewhat shocked when the young girl climbed up on the table and took position on his back, not unlike Annie Oakley on her horse when that show had come to town.  Now that she was moving down, he felt her thighs tight against his hips, not at all an unpleasant experience.  Unknown to him, she had unbuttoned two of the buttons on her blouse to let the heat out.  Thinking to herself, she was planning to borrow a sleeveless shirt from her father’s laundry, the better to let the heat of the work escape.

 

Work on the lower back now completed, she slid further toward his feet.  Now resting on his thighs, she put more of the vegetable oil on her hands and prepared to attack his gluts.  Never before in her life had she seen such muscles. 

 

They were strong as steel, some hair, of course, for he was a man, but the size, the firmness, she was almost outside of her ability to comprehend.  However, an Asian woman needed to quickly adapt to the unknown, for that is way of survival.  When she moved his legs, she dismounted.  She was covered with sweat from the workout she had experienced on top of the large man.  She started with his feet, and discovered he was a little ticklish.  Somewhat amused at the power a 100 pound woman had to make a huge ox of a man wiggle like a puppy, she moved up to his lower calves.  They were also firm, and she used both a firm touch, then a lighter touch, in a circular motion, such as her mother had taught her on her father.  The thigh muscles were next, and she silently worked each side, not getting too close to the juncture of those magnificent legs. 

 

Finished on the back, she announced, “Sir, your back is complete, if you would like me to massage your arms, chest, and stomach, as well as the tops of your legs, you may role over, if you would like a towel to cover yourself, one is available.”

 

Dr. Swenson was pleased that Mai had offered the client a choice.  He chose to test her, and rolled over without benefit of cover.  He saw her in the light of the incandescent bulb in the lamp by the window.  Barely five feet tall, as previously mentioned, a scale set at 100 pounds would have wavered in indecision.  A smile on her lips, she knew that she had done good work.  The big man also had a smile on his face, and they were eye to eye. 

 

Dr. Swenson took note that Mai was drenched in sweat.  Her shirt, not unlike the summer pajamas his late wife had worn, were of only three buttons, and the top and bottom were loosened, just the one between her breasts and her navel kept the shirt modest. 

 

“Mai, you look warm, you should take some water.  There is a pitcher of water from the faucet, and glasses on the table by the door.  I could use some too.”   He watched as she walked the few paces from her station at the side of the table to the small table in back of where the door opened.  Her pants were showing off her physique, for they were dampened with the sweat of her labors, and adhered to her outline.  His guess was that she did not wear bloomers, or anything else underneath those cotton pants.    He could see, even in the dim light, for in the treatment room, the bulbs were not strong, the outline of her backside, and the slenderness of her hips was apparent, even with the tails of the shirt overhanging her waist. 

 

Dr. Swenson lifted up on his elbows, and taking the water from the young girl, drank strongly from the glass.  Mai also took a drink, and with the water still in her mouth, her eyes left his, and travelled down his physique.  His chest was strong, his stomach was flat, and then….

 

Mai’s water left her mouth, that which was still left.  She avoided spitting it on her soon to be employer, but there was a distinct fountain of youth when she saw what was below the line where his belt would have been, if he was wearing pants, which, of course, he wasn’t.  She was familiar with the male organ, having seen that of her father, and her brothers, who were younger.  That was the reality of living in the back of the laundry, where the only privacy was in the basement where the big boiler for the hot water lived, like a dragon, eating coal by the ton.  But this, this was a dragon by itself.  Never before had she imagined such a magnificent thing could exist, and it was not even prepared for battle. 

 

“Excuse me, I am terribly sorry!”  She pleaded.

 

“That is alright, no harm was done.  Sometimes the water goes down the wrong pipe.”  Inside, Dr. Swenson was laughing, for he knew the damage he had done.  He had treated her father when he had lifted equipment he was installing in the laundry that was way too heavy for a man of 120 pounds.  He had seen her father in his entirety, and he was properly sized for a man of that weight, an Asian to boot, but the doctor was almost twice the weight of her father, and was properly sized for his weight.

 

“Let us continue, my afternoon appointments will be here in thirty minutes.”

Mai knew her work, and continued the massage in proper manner.  Except for his face, proper attention was paid to his shoulders, chest, abdomen, feet, lower legs, and thighs.  Mai was watching the clock, and with the 30 minutes almost up, asked the good doctor.

“I think I have given you the best massage I know how to.  Is there any place else you would like me to work on?”

“No, Mai, your massage is tops.  It is perfect.  We need to talk to your father to see if he wants you to work outside of the laundry.  I would start you paid by the appointment, with you receiving forty cents of the dollar I charge.  You would be expected to wash the windows, and sweep the floors, and other duties as I see fit.  If this is ok with you, check with your father, and let me know tomorrow, on Friday.”

 

Mai nodded.  “I will do that.  We will have more sheets and towels for you tomorrow, and I will deliver them at the usual time.”

 

Inside, Mai was both relieved, and somewhat curious about the path the massage would have taken if there was more time.  She had noticed the man’s breath quicken when she massaged his chest, wisely standing next to the massage table.  Her work on his legs had also effected a physical reaction that also piqued her curiosity. 

Exiting the building, at the back, the service entrance, she entered the Model TT panel truck.  The Swede, the giant man, whose metal shop was just across the cross street from the Lee Laundry had reworked the cab of the truck for the smaller Asian drivers at the laundry.  For his own truck he had moved the back of the cab rearward a full twelve inches so his tall, bulky body could get behind the wheel.  The bed of his flatbed truck had had to be fully reworked to allow for the relocation of the back of the cab, but for the Lee truck, which was fully enclosed, only the seat had had to be relocated, forward and down.

 

In the truck, Mai Lee now could work the pedals that controlled the planetary transmission that cleaver Mr. Ford has designed.  She took off. Driving through town, down through the business district of Williamson Street, to the railroad station where Wilson Street joined, she made several stops at the taverns and workshops that lined the street.  There were also two stops at houses, one next door to the tavern of the grandson whose grandfather had built most of the block.  That house, with its fancy ladies, generated a lot of sheets each day, and also more than a few towels.  Luckily, the laundry was packed in large bags, almost as tall as Lee at four feet long.  Weighing almost half that of the young girl, she was strong enough to carry the bags out and load them in the back of the truck. 

 

Never, during her drive, did May see other women driving cars, much less large commercial vehicles.  She was known by the draymen in the town.  At first, they laughed and pointed at the tiny woman doing their work.  After they saw her back the truck up to loading docks, and surprisingly, maneuver the truck into a parallel parking required spot on the street, they talked among themselves in the taverns, and on the loading docks, and even the most manly of them had to agree that the young woman half their size had mastered the chores of driving, backing, and manipulating a truck.  Gaining their respect was something that had to be earned by performance, not any other way.  Sometimes, she would see the women of Mansion Hill in their limousines, driver by men in formal black suits.  She knew these suits, for she pressed most of the black suits in the city. 

 

On that day, two months before, Mai planned her explanation and pleading to get permission for the new job. Back at the laundry, unloading the truck was done quickly, with the helping hands of her siblings.  First she talked to her mother, in Japanese, of course, because the older woman had no need of English.  The woman saw the wisdom of her daughter escaping the laundry, and it would cement the work they had with the steam bath and massage business even more.  Plus, the woman realized, with two massage rooms in operation, there would be twice as many sheets and towels in the work for the laundry.

 

Telling Mai to start at the pressing, the next youngest girl was sent to watch, and apprentice at the ironing machine.  Hot, and steamy, the machine was sometimes dangerous to the person who had no experience with it.  While Mai tutored the younger sister, Mrs. Lee went to Mr. Lee, and explained in terms that sounded like a battle between Ronin warriors.  Mr. Lee soon saw the wisdom of letting his eldest daughter work outside the laundry, and the cash she brought in would be helpful.  He went to see his daughter, and nodded silently.  In the shorthand of a noisy laundry, Mai understood fully that her father had given permission for her to work for Dr. Swenson.  She smiled, and continued the training of her replacement at the laundry.

 

Back at the steam bath and massage works of Dr. Swenson, the afternoon’s work went well.  He had explained to the English foreman that he had explored the taking on of an assistant, so that different modalities of the art of massage could be offered.  Nodding, the Englishman, Eric, entered into a discussion of the massage establishments in London, in particular, those of the SoHo district.

 

The next day, Mai agreed to the terms of Dr. Swenson, and started immediately.  The word had gotten out quickly, and her calendar was soon booked.  She worked from 11 am, allowing those who could get an early lunch, to about 8 pm at night.  There was a quiet time, generally, in the midafternoon, when she would pick up and deliver laundry between the business district that Dr. Swenson was in and the Lee Laundry on Park Street, but within a month, the afternoon was busy also.  May was given the job of teaching her sister, Aki, the intricacies of the Ford Model TT truck, which she picked up quickly.  Aki was a quick learner, and having watched her sister at the ironing machine, the water extracting machine properly called the mangle, and in the art of massage, she was almost every bit as useful as her older sister.  Putting her sister to work outside the family business was far more advantageous to the family coffers because the money she brought in was new money, and the work she had performed at the family business was quickly picked up by the bright, and also attractive Aki.  Mai took her around to the customers, who had all appreciated the quick smile, and gentle voice of Mai, and Aki picked up the greetings and salutations that are all of a successful delivery.  Dressing almost as Mai had, Aki talked her mother in short sleeves on the shirt, and shorter legs on the trousers, because of the heat of the day, and the heat in the laundry. 

Thus, the transmission of responsibilities at the laundry was complete, and May became the employee of Dr. Swenson at the steam baths and massage therapy service.  Businesses in the year of the lord, 1920, grew in the progress and prosperity of the day.