Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #142

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #142

…Aw heck, Judith, you know I’m just a small town paper guy. I am grateful for any scraps you send my way…

Small Town Boy-001

“Now that was one hell of a picture!” asks Harv Pearson of Judith Eastman. The two of them have been literally attached at the hip since their serendipitous meeting. Together they are taking photographic journalism to another level. Pictures taken at the Pan-American Exposition are gaining form in one of the three baths of liquid in this very dark room. A dim red bulb allows them to see their work, but little else.

“I was actually setting up for John Philip Sousa. When I heard the shots I turned the tripod, approximated the angle and snapped.” The President had not reached the ground in the aforementioned image; a moment frozen in time, for human eyes to see, now and forever.

“You do realize that you have a pretty good look at the gunman…..here?”

“I thought so,” Judith agrees, “though at first that bandage on his hand looked like real wound dressing”

mckinley_assassination-P

“So, how many duplicates does this make?” This particular picture is in great demand, making Judith an Eastman known in her own right. She is not exactly Matthew Brady, but neither is he and dying in a charity ward like him is not in her long-range plans.

“Ten, but do you remember what a time we had getting the government to release it for publication?”

“Don’t remind me. All my articles on the assassination ran with file photographs of McKinley.”

“Well, how soon we forget,” she quips with mock indignation.  “What about all the other pictures of the Exposition, including everyone and his brother with the President! Were they but chicken feed to you?”

Harv best backpedal, lest he be banished from her good graces. He can ill-afford to lose either her technical skills or her friendship, especially since he is not far from expressing his undying love for this incredible woman. If you throw in the national magazine the pair is envisioning, he cannot let professional considerations to be divisive.

Quincy Reporter-001

“Aw, heck, Judith, you know I’m just a small town paper guy. I am grateful for any scraps you send my way.”

“Don’t give me that poor old country boy routine.” She parts the dark to embrace him, fully appreciating that authentic charm. His nose for news and unfailing loyalty do not hurt his chances either. “Hurricanes and assassination and who knows what else have given you the most respected by-line I’ve seen in years. Your name has been mentioned in the same breath with Horace Greeley. Small town, my eye!


Alpha Omega M.D.

Small Town America by Tom Brown

Episode #142


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #139

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #139

…There are so many wonders that titillate each of the five senses and not enough time to take it all in…

scott-joplin-imagem

But William McKinley has a prohibitive favorite in musical style: ragtime. The “King of Ragtime”, Scott Joplin is here to perform, as he had at the Chicago Exposition in 1893. You do not turn down a request by the president, who is treated to the recently composed, “Maple Leaf Rag”, among other many jazz favorites in this singular format.

Mister Joplin finishes this afternoon’s program to a large ovation from the several hundred fair goers. The concertmaster thanks everyone for coming and invites one and all to greet the President at a public reception commencing hence.

Scene in Fair Japan

“Fair Japan” by C.D. Arnold

“Where should we go now?” asks James Ferrell, whose youthful curiosity is fueled by what amounts to a vacation for him, in the midst of virtually two solid years of university study. There are so many wonders that titillate each of the five senses and not enough time to take it all in. “I want to see the racing cars.”

As you would think, there is no consensus among the Floridians, who struggled to amass themselves here. They had been scattered for the entire morning, in pursuit of their diverse interests and separate ways it seems to be now.

They are in their indigenous groups, however. The Ferrells are not about to waste a minute of their rare together time, as do the Campbells and the Endlichoffers, even though Amanda Campbell is distracted from missing the two children she left behind in Tallahassee, in the care of Princess Olla; freedom brings on new, if not worrisome, sets of dilemmas.

 

Just as their milling and mulling comes to an end, heads are turned by what sounds like firecrackers. Two pops precede gasps and screams. Someone yells, “Get a doctor! The President has been shot!”

Herbert Love was close enough to feel the shock waves from the pistol reports, he searches the crowd, searching for answers to the doctor request and is relieved to see Ziggy dragging Alpha through the gathering throng, turned angry mob.

“Am I shot?” the slumping leader gasps, not feeling the pain or the stream of flowing blood.

By this time the mob has tackled the assailant, beating him mercilessly. “Let no one hurt him.” McKinley orders in fear of vigilante justice.


 

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Episode #139


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #138

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #138

…Precious few human beings, whether they be murderer or monk, can resist melodic sounds that reach the ear and seem to linger for days…

The Tallahassee Twelve are back at the hotel before the poor boys can be humiliated any further, returning to a staff that attends to them in earnest, not contempt.

But, prejudice and related injustices may disappear in one spot, only to metamorphose, reappearing in a different form and/or place. And so it does on Thursday 6 September; different mad cause, same unfortunate place.

The Temple of Music’s purpose is to bring cultures closer together by the most common thread in God’s wonderful weave. Precious few human beings, whether they be murderer or monk, can resist melodic sounds that reach the ear and seem to linger for days, leaving most without the ability to get it out, once it’s in. Should you choose this exhibition building, you are treated to continuous tunes; rhythms and beat that come from a different drum than those that come out of Broadway or one of the many other theaters where the newest music is being played.

Imperialism

by Victor Gillatt

Today, however, there is a special treat for fair goers; hundreds will have the chance to get close their newly re-elected leader. One could say he is the leader of the free world, considering that before the Spanish-American War, hardly a soul heard of the islands of the Philippines and Guam, or cared about Cuba and Puerto Rico. And no, they did not exactly defeat the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century, but we were helping to keep the peace one-half the world away, daring to stray from just defending our shorelines.

mckinley_last_photo

Yesterday, William McKinley expressed the need for sensible trade relations, which would not interrupt domestic production, rather extending outlets for forecasted surpluses. Surpluses in agricultural output have been foretold by Herbert Love, who has instituted a production reporting system that will aid in the accounting of commodities for possible export.

That same Mr. Love, along with the President’s Chief of Staff, George Cortelyou, attend a mini-concert at the Temple of Music in a semi-official capacity. They flank McKinley, who seems genuinely relaxed. If you look closely you can see him tapping his feet to the Mexican mariachi band, snapping his fingers to the reggae island beat, even uttering a timely ‘Iiii-eeeeee’ to Cajun/Creole melodies.


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Music Lives Here

Episode #138


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #140

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #140

…Ziggy Endlichoffer and Alpha Campbell are brushed aside, in favor of so-called experts, as if they were a nuisance, not lifesavers…

“Stay still, sir,” implores Ziggy, who is busy plugging the torso breech with the cleanest handkerchiefs he can find. Alpha calmly assists his mentor, having learned that grace under fire is the doctor’s best friend.

“There is an ambulance on the way!” updates a very concerned Exposition official.

“No!” Ziggy protests. “He should not have a bumpy ride. Ve must stabilize him before he is moved; I think zee bullet is near his spleen!”

By now a circle of lawmen, some local, mostly Secret Service has made a pretty tight circle around McKinley’s prostrate position, with an eye out for the ambulance wagon. Anyone on the outside of this enclosure can only guess as to the condition of the man whose health they fear for.

There is an absence of the normal buzz generated by several hundred people. Stunned shock replaces it. Phoebe Love, with her husband nearby his wounded friend, chooses to do the perfect and only logical alternative to grief: prayer.

“Come near, my friends,” she beckons her known confederates, whose numbers grow upon hearing, “Our dear Heavenly Father, we come before you, broken and miserable sinners, to worship and adore you and ask for your divine healing for your devoted servant, William McKinley. Lord, he lay bleeding from a bullet delivered by one of Satan’s own. Please take him into your loving arms, show him that love, and give him a peaceful spirit, free from despair and pain. May it be your holy face he sees?

We also want to bring his sweet wife Ida before you. Guard her from the fear that will soon come to visit. Give her no reason to grieve prematurely, soften this cruel blow in ways that we your people can only marvel at.

Father GOD, make us a people who love and serve you in all the things we say and do; mere players in your grand orchestral plan.

          “And all His people said……”

“Amen!” rolls like thunder across the plain of souls.

 

McKinley & Cortelyou

“Cortelyou–my wife–be careful how you tell her–oh, be careful.” This is an instant where he cannot effectively protect his frail spouse, fearing not for his well-being, but that of Ida.

“Yes, William, I will be gentle,” promises his attending secretary.

The Exposition electric ambulance knifes through the humanity to gather up William McKinley for surgery at Erie County General Hospital, a nearly two mile bone jarring ride.

“If you insist on taking him on this monstrosity, let us attend him.” Ziggy Endlichoffer and Alpha Campbell are brushed aside, in favor of so-called experts, as if they were a nuisance, not lifesavers.

“Thank you, friends,” is all McKinley can say from on the stretcher, powerless to overrule a situation he cannot control.

************************

A pall is cast upon such a promising September day in the first year of this new century. One career is ended as another is just beginning.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #140


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #136

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #136

…In the first staged pose, she has the President sitting in a chair and the Tallahassee Twelve surrounding him…

Tallahassee 12-001

Judith Eastman goes about arranging her subjects with a bubbling fountain as the backdrop. In the first staging, she has the President sitting in a chair and the Tallahassee Twelve surrounding him. The second same, Alpha Campbell is seated on the floor, between McKinley’s knees. A third group shot, has the commander-in-chief is flanked by Herbert and Phoebe Love, just as they have stood by him through war and peace.

          The adept photographer flows through a series of individual requests:       

  1. John, Martha, James and Abbey.
  2. Willy, Amanda and Alfrey.
  3. Ziggy, Frieda and Alfrey.
  4. Herb and Phoebe alone.
  5. Frick and Frack/Jacob and Jacques.
  6. Just about everybody alone with the President.

“I have only two exposures left,” an exhausted Judith tells them.

“If you show me how to work your camera, how about and you and the Prez?” offers Harv Pearson.

“I would like that and——-Mister Love would you then take a picture of Harv and me?”

Each man takes his turn behind the lens.

Harv snaps off a beauty, Judith shaking McKinley’s hand. Somewhat hammy, yet quite dignified.

Herb needs not prompt the subjects of the final exposure; Eastman and Pearson, arm in arm, smiling ear to ear, perhaps at the warmth of the present, or the bright prospects in their future.

mckinley-at-pan-american-exposition

“You will have to give me my leave, friends. I delivered a taxing speech toady, oh, not literally a tax speech, well you know what I mean and of course there is the reception in the Temple of Music tomorrow afternoon.” His bushy gray eyebrows furl at the thought of another long night of policy making, taking more time away from his beloved Ida.

William McKinley exits the room through a gauntlet of extended arms. No hand goes un-shook, no one goes away disappointed.


 

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Episode #136


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #135

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #135

…Judith Eastman is much impressed with how connected these diverse individuals are to each other, including the President of the United States, of all people…

Photography-001

“I would be honored to take your picture, Mister President,” she curtseys in respect.

   “No, my dear, the honor is ours and I encourage setting the thoughts of your work aside and taking your publisher friend to the buffet. Waiter! Three bottles of your finest American champagne,” he politely commands. “I must tell Ida of this glorious evening!” One would think that teasing his house-stricken wife with stories of good times may depress her, but she can but live vicariously through a devoted husband, whom she could not be more proud. She, as well as he, is staying at the home of the President of the Exposition, John Milburn.

The famished and presentable Judith & Harv return to the table, barely able to manage consecutive bites without genuinely warm intrusions from all points on the compass. Well-wishers may be placing the carriage before the horse, but one and all are happy for the newspaperman, even the two other bachelors who, despite concerted efforts, have but their silverware in hand.

Somewhere out there, God has a woman for every man; right now, in Buffalo, there is a school administrator and an apothecary who are petitioning for that divine intervention.

oldcameraandtripod    Judith, for her part, is being a good sport, allowing herself to be drawn into the bowels of this unique collection of Southerners. She is much impressed with how connected these diverse individuals are to each other, including the President of the United States, of all people. She cannot help but feel at “home” with them; a stranger summarily accepted merely because one of the group, Harv Pearson, accepted her. They no doubt trust each other with their lives, forged in fire and hardened by trial.

Having uncased the large camera, finding just the right angle and lighting, her Eastman instincts take over. She initiates the shutter without alerting them, creating a candid portrait, frozen forever in time. Posing will come later.

Why you scamp! We weren’t prepared,” McKinley protests, presidents being experts at the pose.

“That is the point! You all are more “you” when you don’t know it’s coming……, now you do and my first picture will be the most spontaneous.”


 

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say cheese

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #134

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #134

…Harv did not intend to ambush the poor woman, down-playing the magnitude of his party, but he has long ago learned that name-dropping is a tool of the weak…

Name dropper-001

“Are you hungry?” he asks out of the blue, his own stomach reminding him with empty rumblings and the promise of a gourmet offering to impress his newfound acquaintance. “If you are, I have been ignoring my friends and I am sure you would be a welcome addition.” She does not respond immediately. “It’s just a little buffet, not a big deal.”

Judith Eastman lowers any remaining barriers to getting to know this man of the South. “Let me freshen my face in the ladies room. Would you watch my gear?”

“We’ll be right outside here,” Harv promises, “your camera and I that is.”

   Inside the vacant confines of the washroom, Judith is dismayed, “I’m a wreck.” It is true that the day has taken its toll, but it takes but a twirl and tuck of her lengthy dark hair, with a tweak and lift of the bodice of her shirtwaist, hiking up her floor-length skirt. After applying a coat of red lipstick, somewhat bold for the times, but very much Judith, she nervously concludes, “Okay, take a deep breath. You’re not a schoolgirl anymore.”

Her attentive attendant stands at his watch, alerted by the clicking of her narrow heeled shoes. “Let’s go!”

Small talk occupies the short walk to the private banquet room. Harv manages the double doors even with his arms holding fast to Judith’s fragile apparatus… and her camera too.

He did not intend to ambush the poor woman, down-playing the magnitude of his party, but he has long ago learned that name-dropping is a tool of the weak. When she understands the room’s full scope, she comments, “Threescore of your closest friends and banquet worthy of Henry the Eighth! Some buffet, you rascal!”

“These are not all my friends, only those twelve over there,” pointing to the head table.

“That is William McKinley! George met him once, a great man he tells me and George is stingy with his compliments of politicians, particularly Republicans who are speaking of anti-trust.”

“He is indeed great,” sidestepping politics, he takes her to the table, “and a good friend of our very own Herbert Love, Secretary of Agriculture,” he puts both hands on Love’s shoulders.

What happened“Well, well! We were all wondering what happened to you, Harv. I see our fears were clearly unsubstantiated.” He is careful not to be overt, lest he offend Harv’s unknown companion.

“I hope you will welcome, Miss Judith Eastman. We met down the hall and I extended her our hospitality.”

“By all means,” William McKinley beckons heartily. “You must be the sister George Eastman speaks so highly of. You must capture me with your magical box, before the evening grows late.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Pan -Am birdseyeview

Henry Fenn Rendering

Episode #134


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