Chicago, October 1922.
Joseph Klimek’s guardian angels were working overtime on his behalf. They may have dropped the ball when he married his wife Tillie, but they used his brother to assist. Suspicions and a visit to the doctor proved what he feared, his brother was being poisoned.
Communicable diseases and wounds without modern day treatments of vaccines and antibiotics were deadly for our ancestors. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 70% of worldwide deaths are a result of diseases that cannot be passed from one person to another.
There is a solitary outpost in Afghanistan known as "The Rock", short for Observation Point Rock (OP Rock). It's situated southeast of Patrol Base Hassan Abad. Sixty-five feet above the surrounding landscape it sits lonely and exposed on top of the ruins of an ancient medieval fort, made of mud and long since caved in. Arrow slits and turrets testify this piece of forbidding landscape has always been witness to battle, and the locals claim it dates back to the times of Alexander the Great (330 BC).
In 1913, 33-year-old Walburga “Dolly” Oesterreich had been married to Fred Oesterreich (pronounced “O-strike”) for fifteen years. He was a dour apron manufacturer who drank too much. They lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Among the 60 women who worked in Fred’s textile factory he was known as a skinflint and slavemaster who was never satisfied. Dolly as forelady, trailed behind him soothing disgruntled employees.
October 10, 1857, a baby girl was born to a farming family in Ontario, Canada. Her name was Elizabeth "Betty" Bigley. She was the fifth of what would be eight siblings. In childhood, she lost hearing in one ear and she spoke with a lisp. Because of this she was a quiet child, and like all silent introverts considered peculiar by those around them. She would drift into hypnotic spells, which she would awaken from disoriented. Wherever Betty went in those moments of introspection, one can only guess at.
The Roaring Twenties are remembered for speakeasies hidden in remote locations or the basement of a building. Slim flappers shimmy while drinking illegal hooch; perhaps you think of gangland killings as the criminal side of Prohibition but there were other dark deeds being committed, even against the innocent.