Thursday, July 23, 2015



Juvenile nonfiction
The year was 1758. A Virginian running for the House of
Burgess, a gentleman by the name of George Washington, provided
"brandy, rum, cider, beer, and wine" for the citizens who voted.
Could those liquid refreshments have contributed to his win.
The above information about one of our founding fathers comes
from a fascinating little volume: Karen Blumenthal's Bootleg:
Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. It gives an
eye opening look at the years when Prohibition was in full swing as
well as the decades leading up to it. Prohibition was well
intentioned. Proponants believed that banning the demon rum and all
related beverages would clear up all society's ills. When they got
their wish, however, things played out way differently than they'd
anticipated with gangsters taking over turf, adulterated illegal booze
sickening and killing thousands, and children involved in dangerous
law breaking.
Why does this remind me of the marijuana situation today?
How one felt on prohibition related issues often had to do with
demographics as well as ethics. The rich who could afford to buy
alcohol for home consumption thought saloons were dens on iniquity
that needed to be shut down; immigrants workers saw them as places
for unwinding and relaxing. Conservative Christians questioned
Catholic and Jewish use of wine. Southern whites tried to keep
alcohol away from blacks. Some people who wanted alcohol legal tried
to keep women from voting, fearing that they were all fans of Carrie
Nation, the prohibitionist who spoke strongly and carried an axe.
Even as prohibition was the law of the land the Harding White
House was, in Blumenthal's words, "as wet as the Potomac River."
On a personal note, I had a perfect Bastille Day. I went with Amy and
Cecille (two of my book club chums) to see the arrival of the grand
ship Hermione. It had crossed the ocean from France. It was
magnificent. We ate supper out near Hermione while listening to
wonderful music. My favorite part was the authentic small town
parade. Everyone from vintage citizens to babes in strollers danced
and skipped down the street. Women's costumes made me very grateful
to live now rather than back in the day. :)
A great big shout out goes out to everyone who worked to make this
very special event happen, especially the sailors.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

No comments:

Post a Comment