Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #237

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #237

…the world of 1935 is poorer for the loss of certain folks…

Wash Day 1935, by Phil Dike

… but poor is not a word you would apply to Doctor A.O. and Maggie Lou Campbell. Once Maggie turned 21, back in 1918, a formidable miniature real estate empire had begun. Starting with 61 parcels (which swells to 150 at its peak) of inherited land in and around Tallahassee, it is not long before a power base is established, by of all people, a black family. And even though they travel in both circles, it is with clenched teeth and wrenched hands that the established whites of Florida’s panhandle do so. It is that quiescent force that has and will continue to smolder just beneath the ground that the Campbells tread, whether it is their own ground or not.

And no more evident is this jealous undercurrent than at the time of Laura Bell’s death on a late summer day in 1931.

Flashback-001

  “May I have a few yards of that gingham?” asks Princess Olla Laura Bell, the mother of Maggie Lou Campbell and very much the grand dame of Tallahassee’s Frenchtown. She is a frequent customer of Fenwick’s Fabriques, a fabric shop owned by the seamstress to the wealthy, Sara Fenwick. Laura Bell happens sews her own clothes, as well as her teenaged granddaughters Alpha, Laura and Zillah, though in order for those same fashion conscious girls to actually wear her dresses, she must get the input of Miss Sara, considered to be on the cutting edge of what makes its way west from Paris and south from New York. The Campbell gals are not to be seen in anything that is not contemporary. “Yes, that red un’, Missy Sara. Alpha’s gots a dance to go’ta this’n Saturdee an she dint ax me for a dress til late. I was well pleased to see yo lights burning.”

“Yes, it is late, is it not? I am glad I told my friend Carolyn not to wait supper for me. It seems everyone is looking forward to their autumn wardrobe, though you would not think so with the weather we’ve been having.” She openly invokes the name of her roommate, someone about whom people whisper about. She and Sara are awfully close, close in a way that invites folks to wonder. ‘There is only one bedroom in that house. And have you seen them hold hands? I hear that they learned that in Paris.’

Schiaparelli, Vogue 1935

“I am going to throw in an extra yard so you can make a bolero. Everyone is wearing them,” suggests the attractive and talented clothier, all the while musing what would look best on Alpha Campbell.

“Ain’t heard of that… some kinda hat?” Uninformed does not equal ignorance.

“No, oh no!” Sara leafs through a fashion magazine to find an example. “Here, yes, very close to this,” she points, “but come to think of it, perhaps a rayon print would be better suited. It has been so oppressively hot these days.”

  “You never steer me wrong, Missy Sara. Wrap that up fo me an I’lla be goin. You should goin’ yo ownself. Bad people mull ‘round on steamy nights liken this.”

          “I have one hem to finish and I will be right behind you,” she says with a sweet smile, very much looking forward to getting home…


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #237


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #235

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #235

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

From the Ashes

          …Fifteen years. 5475 days. A lot can happen in that span of time and it has. In present day 1935, lives have changed…

Time Marches On-001

  Judith Eastman, for one, has lost both her husband and brother in the same year, of the same disease. At age 72 she has lived a rich and fulfilling life, but do not think for a moment that that matters now. She would gladly trade all that personal gratification for the companionship she now is lacking.

 The Great Depression took its toll on everyone, even those like the Pearson-Eastman’s who were financially immune to bankruptcy.

George Eastman, a man of much wealth and benevolence, lived his last years with a broken heart, so did he mourn for the ruined majority around him. During the Roaring Twenties he gave away more than $70 million to his favorite educational institutions. How was he to know, that would only be enough money to help the worse-off of the worse? He did what he could, right up until his 78 year old heart did truly break.

Harv Pearson had to see all those crushed spirits and forlorn faces twice. Having to see them in person, day after day, is difficult enough. Inserting Judith’s pictures of some of those very same into their magazine, would break his heart as well. He had survived a hurricane, dodged submarines and bullets, but could not, in the end, defeat a human condition in despair.

The Pearson-Eastman Journal, whose gripping photographs and human-interest stories became a monthly fixture in a million American households in 1901, will have life as long as Judith Eastman draws a breath.


Alpha Omega M.D.

1920 to 1935-001

Episode #235


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #217

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #217

…“No, I’m afraid I must return to the real world,” tells Judith Eastman…

Variety Pickford-001

 “Bravo! What a scene!” Mary cannot contain herself. “Oh, I wish there were a way to record that scene with every little sound, all that raw emotion.”

The movie’s director is almost in tears, of the joyful variety. He has witnessed Judith’s steady improvement, the way she has started to use body language and that face; able to express a full compliment of moods.

Her final scene even impresses the not easily impressible Harry Langdon.  His last words to her, “I will work with you any time”, are different from his first, “I will not work with an untrained, unknown East Coast frump.” He lied about the frump part, eating those words faster than he can chew.

“Thank you all. I really enjoyed the experience and I am going to miss you. My magazine work will surely now seem boring.”

“You are going to stay until we are done shooting aren’t you?” Mary half asks half urges.

“No, I’m afraid I must return to the real world. I am surprised I was able to concentrate with my husband on the other side of the world.”

“My people will arrange for your return train, and I’ll instruct payroll to cut you a check for your performance.” Businesswoman Pickford takes control. “And please promise me that if I have a role tailor-made for you, that you will answer my call.”

“I cannot promise you absolutely, but I will do almost anything for a friend.”

The pair embraces warmly, but briefly. “Scene 84 to set 5 please, places everyone,” barks the director.

“That’s me, Judith. Have a safe trip and give your husband my best. He is a lucky man.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #217


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 205

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #205

… The addition of an American presence, an earnest participation that more than offsets the withdrawal of Russia from the fray, spells trouble for the Central Powers with a capital U-S-A…

In Paris, Harv is leading a small army of correspondents, making the P-E J the qualified source for news on the western front. While his wife rubs elbows with the stars, he wears a heavy cast iron bowl on his head. He dodges cold raindrops and the hail of gunfire. But the Great War is beginning to grow on him, due in part that he has learned how slowly it actually moves, especially when you are privy to intelligence information; not many “Verduns” up anybody’s sleeve without some foreknowledge.

The addition of an American presence, an earnest participation that more than offsets the withdrawal of Russia from the fray, spells trouble for the Central Powers with a capital U-S-A. She is slow to anger, but as in the Spanish-American set-to, you best not “Yank” on the tail of a hellcat. The dough boys have landed in France, almost three months since that April 1917 declaration of war; time to redraw the lines on the western front.

The Western Front

At sixty-three, the age when most people retire from a life of toil and travail, Harv Pearson is punctuating his already rich abidance, the sound of gunfire never out of earshot. Some of those rounds of ammunition are fired from the air, synchronized, parting the whirling blades of airplane propellers.

Col. Billy Mitchell (earlyaviators.com)

He meets a man of lofty vision, one of the most intriguing characters of the American military, accidentally on purpose, while seeking stories overlooked by other war correspondents. Colonel Billy Mitchell is the maverick commander of our wing of the Allied Air Corps and has been busy lobbying for this new form of waging war. There is, however, no verifiable history to support his claims. So much of his opposition comes from traditionalists who have never left the terra firma, save jumping out of the way of a lethal bouncing grenade.

Here in Britain, where most of the airfields dot the rolling countryside, there is less resistance to change, seeing that urgency is higher on the priority ladder. And there are the French, the self-proclaimed inventors of the airplane, who have had Americans flying in their ranks for a couple of years now and are the most comfortable in the sky.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #205


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #198

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #198

…Please tell me what it was like to be knighted by the Queen.” John tries his best to get his cousin to be the least immodest, bringing up a subject of great pride to a loyal subject…

Knighted

Knighted by Eva Hollyer

John Ferrell interrupts the polarized opinion exchange about golf, “I have heard of the sport, in fact we have a club in Tallahassee, on the university grounds.”

“Splendid! I will show you how to play when we take you up on your kind invitation to visit. It sounds like you have the perfect climate.” He grips his mashie niblick.

“Don’t be aswingin’ those things in the house James, remember the chandelier?” Mrs. Barrie warns.

“One of my best passes, it was.”

“Me thinks you should be in France, shurein the Germans would flee to home at the sight of you and that stick.”

Please tell me what it was like to be knighted by the Queen.” John tries his best to get his cousin to be the least immodest, bringing up a subject of great pride to a loyal subject, when a carriage comes barreling up the winding trail leading to the Barrie country home. “That will be Harv Pearson and his bride, the publishers of that magazine I brought you.”

“Good work… with stories that match the finest photographs I have ever seen,” high praise from an accomplished judge of word and people.

     “That is Sir James Barrie,” Judith nudges her husband, who may not know, “saw his first production in London, now he is one of the most prolific playwrights – ever.”

“Welcome to bonnie ol’ Scotland set a spell and let’s talk about the generosity of America!”

Judith, who almost never drinks alcohol, accepts a spot from the host. She is smart enough to sip, yet unable to prevent the inevitable shiver, as it burns a path down her esophagus.

“Thank you, Mister Barrie. My wife has been following your career from the beginning, as she will surely tell you later.” Harv speaks, Judith is recovering. “And it is good to see you, John. We were surprised at your cable, quite an undertaking in these troubling times.” He does not recall extreme bravery as one of this man’s character.

“Matthew, that’s what his friends call him, told us of the terrible suffering in the Isles and I was moved to gather the excess bounty that God has blessed us with and share them.”

Neither does Harv remember him as an excessively Godly man.

 “I am so inspired by John’s kindness that I myself feel twinges of guilt. I see the suffering, yet continue on with my flights of fancy.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #198


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #188

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #188

…It will be our last great adventure, and then we’ll hand the lead reporting over to the young studs and fillies…

7 may 1915

“My God, Harv, the Germans have sunk the Lusitania!” The journalists at P-E J have been watching the goings on in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean ever since Germany declared war on Russia in August of 1914, the first sign that a great war was beginning. France and Britain are joined and join in protecting borders that have been in place for most of the millennium. It will not be long before observers of the near global conflict need a scorecard, much like the ones used to keep track of a baseball game, to understand who has declared war on whom and who is on who’s side.

      “We have heard the rumors, Judith that “she” may have been carrying relief supplies to Britain, munitions and such. There is no reason to think that the Germans were going to ignore her.” Harv has been sitting on the fence concerning this war, teetering from dove to hawk and back, depending on the level of atrocity and loss of life.

“I think we should get to Europe, before oceangoing is banned altogether. If it truly is the “Great War”, as some are calling it, there is void to be filled. No one is seriously covering it. Sure, there are a few reporters over there, feeding the wire services with sketchy information, but there is not a single magazine with staff in place.

“What would you say to one last hoorah?” She stares back at him like he is crazy. “It will be our last great adventure, and then we’ll hand the lead reporting over to the young studs and fillies.”

   “You said that after we trailed Poncho Villa over three states, two territories and half of Mexico.” Judith reminds him of the possible danger they had narrowly escaped, several times.

      “Yes, but,” not a great comeback, “look at what Life Magazine is doing.”

  “They are wet behind the ears!”

          “That’s just it. They are going after the soft stuff. You won’t see their senior editors anywhere near a war zone and their reporters are too scared to volunteer.” His assessment is mostly true. They will stand back, for the time being, but should the United States be drawn into battle, they will find a way to muster up war correspondents.

          “Are you sure you want to do this, Harv, we are no spring chickens, you know,” Judith reasons.

          “That’s right: I am the savvy rooster and you are the wise old hen, queen of the henhouse, top-row laying…”

          “Stop, while you’re ahead! I get the message. Just remember, if we don’t die trying, I may kill you anyway. Blockades, U-Boats, dirigibles, poison gas… I don’t think I’ll get the chance.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #188


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #149

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #149

…This is the big magazine launch day. Judith prepares to greet Herbert Love and the young Ferrells at a continental eatery in the Rochester Arms…

The world is getting smaller, so-to-speak. Things happen faster. Turn your head and you surely have missed something. Important or not, the train of life chugs on, gaining momentum on a downhill grade. Boston, turn around, Rochester, student, turn around, you are an attorney.

“I won’t disappoint you, Mr. Hamilton,” states James Ferrell

Turn around, Judith Eastman and say goodbye to the simple life. Remember when: you were much unattached, you would test cameras for your brother, and you went home to a darkened flat with Frisky eagerly awaiting his chance to relieve himself.

The world revolves from night to day, revealing Harv Pearson and a budding national magazine. One has stolen your heart, the other your serene settled existence. She hurriedly piles her waist length hair on top of her pretty head in advance of greeting her house mate on this clear, chilly November day. She will find him on the daybed in her living room, just as she does on a daily basis. There are fewer and fewer true gentlemen in these United States, indeed the world; where in France a Frenchman would bed two women and then have his lunch. Not Harv Pearson, no. He is a throwback, yes, but Judith loves him for it. There is much to be said for waiting to consummate a relationship, even if everyone and her brother probably assume the juicy, yet incorrect.

This is the big magazine launch day. Dressed in her finest blue taffeta gown, she prepares to greet Herbert Love and the young Ferrells at a continental eatery in the Rochester Arms, the stylish hotel that will house the out-of-town players in the inauguration of the Pearson-Eastman Journal.

“Judith, where did you put my gray suit?” Harv wonders.

“Do you mean the one you wear with that red bowtie? Not today. I bought you one of those new tuxedos. It’s hanging in the hall closet.”

“We will look like a best man and maid of honor at a wedding!”

“Perhaps you will acquire some ideas from the occasion.” Judith is hinting at combining names, if it were not for the marquee value of her Eastman tag. “You see, George promised me he would have one of his assistants capture the moment for us – and you know how distinguished George looks for business.”

“Does he sleep with a three piece suit on?”

inventors poster“NO! He merely looks the part of the world’s leading inventor.”

Period.

Pearson withholds citing the surnames Bell and Edison, Ford and other cutting edge innovators. He keeps in mind that, before he arrived on the scene, Judith’s respect and admiration centered on her famous brother. He will muster up as much distinguished as a veteran news hound can. It’s not like he doesn’t cut a fine figure of a man, it’s just the stigma attached to what some folks have labeled “monkey suits”. And there is nothing like his tweed coat, cotton shirt and yes, a neatly tied red bow tie.

  “What time is our meeting?” He changes the subject.

   The doorbell rings from below.

    Judith beckons through the voice pipe, “Who is it?”

     “It is me, dear.” A voice echoes up the tube to the second floor.

     “Quick, get dressed Harv,” she chastens. “I will be right down to get you, George.”

      “I hear the early inventor catches the worm…. good gracious Jude, is he in the Greenland time zone?”

     “Be kind, Harv. I cannot remember when I’ve seen him so excited.”

 Wisenheimer-001     “You mean more than when he developed the high speed shutter?”

      “Oh, you wisenheimer!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #149


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