Madison. The Dark Side. Wisconsin.
Chapter 2. The Independence Day Celebrations
While the Swede was walking down the porch steps, Emil and Rosie entered the house. They started up the stairs with Emil patting Rosie on the hips as they went up. The pause that refreshes was telegraphed to Jerry, who escorted Artie out to the back yard for a game of catch. In the bedroom, Emil closed the door, taking Rosie in his arms and kissing her, starting with lips only, then sliding his tongue into her mouth. She started on his vest, and then unbuttoned his shirt while he worked on the buttons on the back of her dress. Simultaneously, the shirt, the vest, and the dress hit the floor. Rosie had the undergarments of the day, a slip, and underwear that would go on to be known as grannies. She worked on Emil’s trousers, and soon those and the boxers hit the floor. The kiss continued as Emil took the straps of the slip and slid them over her shoulders, and ran his hands down her flanks, dragging the slip to her hips, where gravity took over the task. Hands ran down her back, under the grannies, and those too took their place.
Outside, the kids playing heard their mother’s voice, but the words were unintelligible, because they were unintelligible even within the confines of the bedroom. Emil know what they meant, and that was all that mattered.
After about an hour, Rosie rolled off of Emil, and went to the bathroom, and ran some cool water. The refreshing that went with the coolness was good in the heat of July. Hopefully, by the time the winter came around they would have a heater for the water. A sponge bath was good for now, she smiled, in the heat of the day everyone would have a little glistening, a little glow, and for some, a smile.
Emil waited until Rosie was done in the bathroom. He knew that if he joined her, soon enough she would be bent over the sink, and then they would be late for the Independence Day festivities at the new park. Rosie came in, smiling and singing softly.
“Emil, why don’t you stay home from work more often?”
“Rosie, you could go back to work for the telephone and telegraph, but then you wouldn’t be here when I am, besides, I make more at the garage, and you know, if I was home all the time, you would get wore out.”
Emil was headed to the bathroom, and the shock of the cool water was a little more extreme than it had been for his wife. She had used the water in the pipes that had picked up heat from the walls two stories up, but she had used up the bit of heat that was in the water, and Emil was getting the water that came into the house from the underground pipes out in the street. He quickly wiped down the vital areas, paying particular attention to that area he was most fond of. Hopefully, there would be more activity, and it was generally true that the fairer sex preferred tubed and scrubbed in that area.
Lunch was simple, some home sliced bread, thicker for Emil, butter churned yesterday and the creamery with some ham from one of Emil’s neighbors downtown. Adolf’s Meats were known for quality, and not too much fat. People almost never got sick after eating meat from his store. Adolf’s thumb had provided the extra income which helped him buy a Buick from Emil, thereby insuring that the family of Emil would eat high off the hog.
Pickles and fruit completed the fare. After it was on the table in the kitchen, a sturdy oak piece of furniture, Rosie called the kids. Jerry had moved them off to the side of the house, away from the open windows. The kids came in, washed up at the sink, dried their hands, Artie on his shorts, Jerry on the towel that was next to the dish towel. All seated, Rosie lead them in the prayer Grace. “Bless this meal, Lord, and Bless the people who eat her today. Pray take care of them, and help them see your grace.”
Emil started with a drink of his fresh beer, then continued on with the sandwich. Rosie, sitting at the end of the table, smiled on the family. She was so content with her life, and the little itch was controlled, most of the time. At the end of the meal, she served Emil a piece of the apple pie, made with the last of the previous years apples. The Ritz cracker box had a recipe for “Mock Apple Pie,” but the other women in the neighborhood who had tried it found it lacking. Good enough if there were no apples available, but those who had canned enough during the fall, had no problems. The kids had peanut butter cookies, and eagerly ate the cookies, washing them down with the milk from the creamery.
Timed perfectly, the Swede called in from the front porch, announcing “Are you ready for the festivities, the ball game starts at 1pm sharp, or maybe a few minutes later.”
Rosie replied, “Swede, they never started a game on time, or close to being on time ever since the game was invented. Fella’s got to have some refreshments, relive the last game, and make their bets.”
Emil also filled in, “Who do you think will win today, and who are you going to bet on?”
Swede fired back “I think the boys from the Greenbush will win, and I will be betting on the guys from the Vilas neighborhood, because I have to walk home with them.”
Artie said “When I play for the neighborhood, are you going to bet for my team?”
Swede patted him on the head, and smiled “When you play, the neighborhood will be winning all the time, and there will be no other team to bet on.”
Emil went over to the back door and picked up the washtub full of bottles of beer. Swede went to help, and actually took the whole tub. “Can you get the door, and where do you want the tub? Do you want some cold water for this, its dry now?”
“Got it covered Swede, three of the old moonshine jugs with fresh cold water, should just about cover the bottles, and an old quilt to cover the tub, and keep the sun out. Also have some root beer for mom and the kids.”
Swede loaded the tub into the 1920 Buick Touring Car, putting it on the passenger side of the back seat floor. The car settled a bit with the load.
Emil said, lets get rolling, Rosie and the kids got in the back seat, Rosie caressing Emil’s neck as she climbed in, the kids in the middle with Arties legs not even long enough to bend into the tub of beers.
Swede got into the passenger seat, looking with admiring eyes at the appointments of the new car. “Leather seats, doors, headlights, and a horn that works. What will they think of next, tin tops, heaters and radios, I wager.”
Emil hit the electric starter, the engine spun into compliance, and with the smoothest of clutch actions, they rolled down the hill. Making their way down the street to the next intersection to the west, they could see the farm fields which would soon enough be build up into more homes for the upper crust of the Madison area. A right turn they got them to the big hill next to Edgewood School. A place of strict education run by the Dominican nuns of Sinsinawa, Wi.
Over the top of the hill, the mansion of Mr. Crowley, of the Milwaukee Road railroad company was coming along nicely. Much concrete was used in its construction, and builders from the area detoured to watch it being built. The garage doors were hinged like a door, and the electric openers were the first in Wisconsin. At the bottom of the hill, the newly completed bridge allowed the car to pass over the water that connected Lake Wingra to the lagoon. The family plus one could see where the cars were parked, and where the ball diamond was laid out. After parking and climbing out, something that the Swede helped Rosie with, both enjoyed the moment when he lifted her, light as a feather, by the waist and deposited her on the ground. Soon Artie and Jerry followed suit, with a flight in the air before a gentle landing.
A short walk to the area where the families were, with the Swede carrying the tub, Rosie with the old quilt, and Emil with three folding chairs. When they arrived they were warmly greated by friends from the neighborhood, frequently unseen since the last year, because the long hours of work, family, church, and now, the entertainment of the radio.
On the first base side of the diamond, the folks from the Greenbush neighborhood had set up shop. Long tables from the church were groaning with the best food that the best cooks from Italy, Sicily, Sardenia, and Corsica. Under the tables were boxes covered with sheets, blankets, and comforters, protected from both the heat of day, and the eyes of those who would disapprove. This group didn’t have much to worry about from law enforcement. The Sargent with most seniority on the force was sharing some wine with the Sicilian who many respected in his neighborhood. Vito Co*** was a successful businessman, with wholesale fruit and vegetable warehouses in Madison, and also in Waukesha, supplying both the restaurant and grocery trade. He was the man to see when there was a problem, and his word was law. If a widow was having a hard time, she was taken care of. She might not know Vito was looking out for her, but the basket of groceries from the market, or a load of coal that was lost until it was loaded into her basement was gratefully received. The people know that Vito took care, and when he asked for something, making it happened made sure that you and yours would be remembered when you had your time of need. Because, it the 1920’s, it was not so much a case of if you had a time of need, but when. Vito was a good man to have looking out for you, and similarly, he was not a good man to anger.
Sargent O’Rourke was in a good mood. Some gypsies had come into town, from Verona, right down the highway that turned into Verona Road. They looked guilty, so he nabbed them, and found some silver spoons that did not look like gypsy dining utensils. While the three men were in jail, their women were given work in the bars and hotels downtown, cleaning and washing the floors, in exchange for being able to sleep in a room in the basement, and three meals for them and their kids. Of course, being gypsies, when the time for sleep came, they were locked in the store rooms, which had been emptied of anything of value. In the morning they were allowed to empty the slop bucket, wash up, eat, and clean up the bar, or other public areas, where they could be watched, or other work that was found for them. This was not an unusual arrangement, for it worked for all. The men weren’t pleased, but three hots and a cot was sometimes better than listening to the women in the camp.
Sargent O’Rourke had given the Captain something to report to the papers, that they had arrested some thieving gypsies. To some, it showed that there were good coppers watching out for them. To others, it told them that the live entertainment in certain taverns was fresh, and new. Telling them they had a reason to go downtown after work.
Sargent O’Rourke finished his discussion with Vito, both shook hands, and Sargent waved Emil and the other fathers over.
“We are here to have a game. Not start a war. Everybody here knows the rules. No punching, hitting, biting, knifing, shooting, or making a mess on the grass. Baseball has rules. Follow them. Enjoy the game, the food, and the other refreshments. Do not start a war. Does everybody understand? We are friends and neighbors. Ok. Let’s play ball.
The game started with the Vilas Boys in the field. Baseball games are fun to play, and a great opportunity to drink. Sargent O’Rielly was served, and was savvy enough to know that if he drank wine from the Greenbush and beer from the Vilas area, he would be very sorry tomorrow. He took a glass of the wine, and sipped it slowly. After he finished it, the root beer was good.
Vito walked over to the Swede. “I have another order for you. Same size as before. Do you know where we can get some good motorcars with strong engines that will work well?”
Swede replied, “I just rode over here in that Buick Touring Car. Self- starter, a large back seat area, and a lot of room between the frame rails. She rides like a dream, and has double spare time mounts, and room for more on the back of the car. Should do the job you have for it.”
Vito was in the liquor business, and the key ingredient was not the sugar in the mash, but the transportation. The need was subtle, get the liquor from point a to point b without being noticed and stopped. Large trucks could hall a hundred gallons, but they were watched. A large touring car had the capacity to carry 800 pounds, which was what six adults would weight, so a 100 gallons of alcohol was just about right for the load. With about 6 gallons per cubic foot, 100 gallons needed about 16 cubic feet of tank. Swede had the forge, and the welding ability to make two tanks that fit up between the frame rails, securely fastened to the frame, and invisible to anyone looking from the outside. Drained with a valve at the bottom end of the tank, and filled by a hose fed by a funnel that emptied into the top of the end of the tank, turn around was only about 15 minutes, loading or unloading. Swede had build about 20 or them, and business with Vito was good. Paid for when the job was delivered, in gold coins, and sometimes with a tip thrown in, a gallon of dago red was appreciated by all.
Business completed, Vito walked over to Emil.
“Good day sir, the weather is fantastic, and the company is exquisite,” was the greeting from Emil to Vito.
“And is the family well?” Vito inquired.
“Happy, health, and if the good lord provides, wise”
“Vito, how is your family?”
“Great, the wife’s family in Sicily is sending a couple of the cousins here. Good for them, get the hungry mouths out of their hair, and good for me, free labor for the warehouse. Just hope they send boys, the girls aren’t good for much, except that, you know.”
“Same with my folks. Talking about getting the money together to send some more relatives over. Didn’t work so well in 1912. Who would think that a new ocean liner, even one designed and build as unsinkable, would run into an ice burg. Six of the Irish side down with that one.”
Vito shook his head, “They learned their lesson with that one. Going cheap on the lifeboats because they said the Atlantic lanes were thick with ships to rescue, when they heard the radio call for help. Didn’t really work for them, now, did it. The Marconi was working, just the damn California was working shorthanded and the operator was sleeping.”
“Say Emil, Swede tells me that the Buick Touring Car is the car to have. Do you have any I can tryout, and buy? If I like, I could use several of them for the salesmen to drive.”
“Sure, Mr. Co***, I have three in stock, and they are ready to drive. I can have them for you whenever you want to do business. Priced right, and with a full tank of gas.” Emil had talked to Swede, know the business that the men did, and has happy that the Swede had got him some business. There would be something for him, something that would make him smile.
“Ok, Emil, I will drop by late tomorrow morning, business, then lunch should make for a great morning.” With that, Vito returned to his side of the diamond, and the two men relaxed, watching their families enjoy the outing.
The baseball game proceeded at all baseball games do, the younger men taking their turns at bat, and in the field, because there were far more players than the rules allowed. The men all enjoyed the outings, and when they were not in the fields, the talk often resulted in business, or offers of employment, or sometimes the area went to romance, because the guys knew which of the women in their camp were interested, and ready for the alter. There was nothing wrong with the two camps exchanging women, as long as the trade was equal. The women seemed to welcome the extra help in finding a suitable mate.
The wives gathered into a circle, sharing gossip, some recipes, and when Mrs. Burgess started bragging about Mr. Burgess, some of the ladies shared their unladylike behavior. Rose remained quiet, because she didn’t want to share her new found activities, she just smiled, and nodded her head. What they didn’t know, they wouldn’t miss. The teen girls were also in a circle, more of a horseshoe, because, while they didn’t care about the baseball game, the guys playing it got their attention. They were are getting interested in dating, some had already been out with their fellows, or were happily looking forward to the dances at the Central High School, or sometimes at the dancehalls on State Street, near the student district. Those college kids really knew the steps, and the lucky younger girls who could get in, usually because their relatives owned the establishment, were charged with learning the latest steps, and then teaching them to their contemporaries. Few had gone much beyond the kissing, which was fine, but most yearned for more. Some had found out how to get what they yearned for. Some never would.
The pre-teens, from both camps, played, sometimes getting noisy, but for the most part, they were well behaved. Somewhat incredible, if you thought about it, but most of the moms had found that a little of the adult beverage, watered down, with some juice, made the little tykes want to sleep, and the older ones mellow.
Some of the older teens, about 15 to 17 were backing away from their sides of the game, for the past ten years, there was an unofficial rendezvous in the tall grasses behind what was now the house under construction. Sometimes the introductions were perfunctory, because teen hormones being teen hormones, names were just useful addresses for the future. For the now, words were just something to be overheard by the adults. For many, these adventures in the tall weeds were the first adventures. For all, never the last. Shirts were unbuttoned, dresses lowered, rarely was the act consummated, but the future’s dreams and fantasies were fueled by the next hours adventures.
All too soon, Sargent O’Reilly’s whistle sounded the end of the game. Dinner was served, each neighborhood going through their lines and the others lines. Thus, children who might have been fussy eaters, learned that food other than their mothers cooking was tasty, and sometime fun to eat, like the spaghetti or the meatballs sized for a toddlers hands.
As the last of the teens came out of the bushes, the adults were careful to not notice. Shirts that were miss buttoned, dresses with grass on them, told a story that was best not told. The nervous smiles, the glances, would be repeated in the new school year, as people who were no longer strangers renewed their acquaintance at the start of the school year.
Soon enough the cleanup was orchestrated, generally by the older adults. The leftover food, if it wasn’t going home,was put in buckets for those who had hogs. The tub of beer bottles, lighter now, due to empties replacing those who had been full, was carried to the car by Emil. Swede picked up the sleeping Arthur, and with an arm around Jerry, followed Rosie to the big Buick. Loaded up, the car started, and with the light fading, about 8 o’clock, the car made its way back to the only home it knew. Keyes Avenue was a good gig for a Touring Car. No Thompson Submachine Guns firing .45 caliber ammunition at it. No rattle of shells pinging off it’s floors. No messy blood. A good life for a Touring Car, that of the family Truckster.
At the house, Swede helped Rosie out, this time his hand slipped from her waist higher. The soft tissue was full, and ready for a man’s touch, but the touch of this man slightly surprised her. But not in a way that signaled objection. She smiled up at the giant, and that smile, in a second, spoke volumes. He turned and helped Jerry out, and lifted the still sleeping Arthur out of the leather seat, the horsehair providing a cushy soft place for a sleeping tyke. He carried him up the stairs, across the porch, and heard Rosie say,
“Can you carry him up to his bed, Swede, I will be right behind you.” The electric lights came on and showed him the way up the stairs, knowing that Arties room was on the left side of the house, he made his way with the tyke into the darkened room. Gently laying him down, he turned and found Rosie standing closer than was proper, She took his face, and pulled it down to a kiss, Swede got a taste of Emil’s main squeeze, his wife, his partner, and the taste was good for both. Her hands cupped his manhood, and he heard a little gasp when she understood the size of what she could now feel. Swede has his pants cut extra sized in that are, because of the package, and she was impressed.
Swede has his hands around her, and they smoothly found their way around to her chest. The breasts that had been worked by Emil eight hour before now thrilled to the touch of the second man that day. Big as he was, he knew women’s breasts, his deceased wife had schooled him with that when they were first lovers. His powerful hands, hands that could take a heavy hammer and shape metal on an anvil, were at once gentle, caring and warm when charged with caressing woman’s flesh. Taking not more than 15 seconds, the kiss and caresses ended far too soon, but the hope of the future was stirred in each. Downstairs, Emil had gone to the basement to return the empties, using the inside stairs, and when he was coming up the steps with three more cold beers, he heard the feet on the steps over his head as Swede and Rosie descended from bedding down the kids. He was a lucky man, a strong friend, who was a good businessman, sending him customers for his Buick Touring Cars, and a loving wife, who know when to be a lady, out in public, with observers, and when to be a loving slut, in private, in a bedroom. Little did he know.
“Time for a tired Norwegian to be heading home!” said the Swede.
“First time for a brew. Never know when the next may be the last.” Commented Emil, while handing the now open bottles to his best friend, and his wife.
Both drank heavily, partially due to the thirst of the day, and it gave them something to do with their hands, recently otherwise employed. Both would remember the moment, and one would vow to repeat it with more and better results. The other would put up a token resistance, but said resistance was more for the sake of propriety, than to thwart the advances of the other.
Rosie broke the quiet. “Boys, this girl has had a full day, I am ready for the bed.” With that she got up, went upstairs and used the toilet, thankful for indoor plumbing. Finished, she went into the master bedroom, and stripped, feeling those breasts with her own hands, that had been fondled by two others earlier that day. Her nipples reacted strongly, pushing up between her thumb and forefinger. She had been planning to put on her silken draws, and vest, but, keeping in mind what was coming up the stairs to her soon, she left the draws off, then would be off soon enough. The vest was loosely tied, showing off her magic orbs in the candle light of the taper she light. When she reclined on the bed, the shadows were exquisite, the darkness between her legs was encased in shadow, while the darkness between her breasts showcased their firmness, their size and that they were there, ready for work. She heard Emil come up the steps, knowing that he was unbuttoning his shirt as he came. In their years together, she had never known him to come into the bedroom to sleep with his shirt buttoned. Sometimes she teased him about being too eager, but that was a successful way to goading him to a stronger performance. Yes, she loved her man, and loved the reaction teasing him gave her.
He opened the door, and saw his wife, reclined on the bed, ready for her man, her lover, her husband. For the third time that day he coupled with her, starting with him on top, and soon enough, letting her on and letting her play Annie Oakley, riding her stallion, and getting her gun to fire.