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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.

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Oh, Harold. I must have a Lido hat!

1929lidohatLido Hat
Price: $1.95
Description Charming face looks its best under the chic silhouetted lines of this model. Suave lines copied from a high-priced import, in a pleasingly soft, good quality wool felt. Shaped in low helmet fashion at sides; close-cropped at back for utmost coat-collar ease. The soft-rolling, graduated brim is clipped in two-tab effect at side and edged with finely plaited grosgrain ribbon matching the band with cut loop ends. Double-ended rhinestone pins flash from tabs.

This lovely Lido¹ hat was Continue reading

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Boy Loses Thumb

I ran across this article in a rural newspaper published on this day in 1930: Harry Hansen … had the misfortune to lose the thumb of his right hand Wednesday afternoon when his hand was caught in a corn sheller. Mr. Hansen was helping with corn shelling … when the accident occurred.

The article really disturbed me because Harold is doing this exact same thing—shelling corn—over the winter months. I had no idea Continue reading

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First Meetings

I recently attended my first writers’ conference. One of the many firsts I experienced while there was pitching my story idea to an editor, Brenda Copeland. In the midst of my rambling, often incoherent, story pitch, she asked me a question I couldn’t answer; “How did these two characters meet?”

It’s an important question, given the disparity in their social classes, Harold being from what some would call the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ and Rose being significantly higher up on the social ladder. So, I decided it was time that Rose clued me in. We sat down and had a little talk…

TM: Since we’re exploring your former life, do you mind if I ask how you and Harold met? You have to admit, you two aren’t the average farm couple.

ROSE: Hmmm… The day I met Harold… {smiles, nods her head} At the time, I thought it was the worst day of my life. Continue reading