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Too Close to Home

How’s that for a headline? ‘SCARFACE AL’ SURRENDERS
Capone articleOn March 21, 1930, this headline topped most newspapers. After all, Al Capone was “Public Enemy Number 1”.

Not that there weren’t other big name gangsters: Bugsy Siegel (New York), Nucky Johnson (New Jersey), Harry Rosen (Philly)… And the one that worried Rose (and Harold) the most: Tom Dennison.

Poor Harold. He has gotten himself mixed up with Dennison’s minions so you can bet that seeing a headline like this March 21 banner was, to say the least, worrisome.

What? You say you don’t know who this Tom Dennison character is?

Well, it turns out that Omaha, Nebraska was a hotbed of bootleg liquor, illegal gambling, and ladies of questionable virtue. And they all answered to the beck and call of Tom Dennison.

It was this tiny bit of trivia that I stumbled over one day during genealogy research that sparked my imagination.

What if a poor farmer loses everything he has saved when the bank closes after the Stock Crash of 1929?

And what if, in desperation to save his farm, he gets involved with a local bootlegging kingpin who puts him in harm’s way?

And what if, in trying to save his farm, he risks losing everything that is important to him?

Yeah, I’d say this headline was a bit too close to home for Harold’s liking.

Bootlegging

verb (used without object), bootlegged, bootlegging:
to make, transport, or sell something, especially liquor, illegally or without registration or payment of taxes.

I had the chance to pitch my story to some friends the other day. But as soon as bootlegging was mentioned, a listener said, “Oh! So NASCAR fans will love it.”

It was a depressing moment, Continue reading