In Flanders Fields

This is one of 804 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are. The book is available from Amazon for $16.95 also as an ebook from itunes, Kobo, and Inktera for $9.99.  Also from Tolino in Germany. It’s fixed format so it’s better with a tablet, laptop, or computer. There are more articles from the book on another blog here.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. — In Flanders Fields

This haunting poem was written by Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McRae in 1915 after the funeral of a friend who died in battle and became the elegy for that terrible war.

Moina Michael, a professor at the University of Georgia, on leave during the war to work for the YWCA was inspired by McRae’s poem. After the war, when teaching a class of disabled servicemen, she came up with the idea of selling silk poppies to raise funds for veterans. Due to her efforts, the red poppy is now the iconic symbol for Veterans Day.

But the Flanders poppy at the time was considered a weed. Continue reading

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Izzy and Moe

This is one of 804 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are. The book is available from Amazon for $16.95 also as an ebook from itunes, Kobo, and Inktera for $9.99.  Also from Tolino in Germany. It’s fixed format so it’s better  with a tablet, laptop, or computer.

Izzy and Moe

After the 18th amendment went into effect at 12:01 A.M. January 17th, 1920, 16,000 saloons in New York City went out of business and were replaced by anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasies. With only 1500 agents in the whole country, a woefully understaffed Bureau of Prohibition was tasked with enforcing the unenforceable. But Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith, prohibition agents extraordinaire, made a comic opera and highly successful attempt.

“Dere’s sad news here. You’re under arrest.” Those were the words used by Izzy and Moe when they pinched violators of the Volstead Act. The sad news was heard by 4932 people between 1920 and 1925, with an extraordinary 95% conviction rate.

Isador Einstein was born in Tarnow, Poland, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, circa 1880 and emigrated to New York in 1901. The 1920 census shows him as a mail sorter for the Post Office. He applied for a job as a prohibition agent in 1920. Five foot five and 225 pounds he didn’t look the part but he convinced James Shevlin, head of the southern New York Bureau that he could blend in. He was fluent in Yiddish, Polish, German, and Hungarian, and could get by in French, Russian, and Italian. He could play the violin and trombone, too. Continue reading

Bloomer War

This is one of 804 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are. The book is available from Amazon for $16.95 also as an ebook from itunes, Kobo, and Inktera for $9.99. Also from Tolino in Germany. It’s fixed format so it’s better with a tablet, laptop, or computer. There are more articles from the book on another blog here.

Bloomer War

bike 7000 BICYCLES carried over from 1897 must be sacrificed now. New High Grade, all styles, best equipment,guaranteed, $9.75 to $17.00. Used wheels, late models, all makes, $3 to $12. We  ship on approval without a cent payment. Write for bargain list and art catalogue of swell ‘98 models. Bicycle free for season to advertise them. Send for one. Rider agents wanted. Learn how to Earn a Bicycle and make money.

This is an ad from the J.M. Mead Cycle Co. of Chicago in the April 2, 1898 Literary Digest. Regular prices for bicycles were $35-50, 2-3 weeks pay. Sears advertised a $19.75 “Special Wheel” that is “equal to any bicycle you can buy anywhere at $40 to $50.”

This was during the bicycle craze of the 1890’s.

The high-wheel bicycle, the one with the huge front wheel and tiny back wheel, (also called the “ordinary” or the “penny-farthing” from the relative sizes of those coins) was dangerous: if you fell off, you had a long way to fall. The “safety” bicycle with two wheels of the same size, pneumatic tires, and a chain drive was invented in the 1880’s and ushered in the golden age of the bicycle.

There was a bicycle show in Madison Square Garden in 1896. The New York Times reported extensively on it:
An Enormous Crowd Throngs the Madison Square Garden
A Wonderful Exhibit of Wheels
Never So Many Machines, Bicycle Accessories and Appointments Shown Before
The Garden Brilliant with Electric Illumination—Pretty Decorations and Designs Continue reading