The story of Rose – Meet our River Rose
If my grandfather hadn’t worn his black silk top hat that early June day in 1913, my life would have been totally different.
I was five years old, playing on the front porch on a beautiful and intensely bright morning, with the sound of horses and buggies intermingling with the cranking and rumbling of early Model T Fords. I gazed up along the heavily rutted dirt road dividing Le Claire and saw grandfather walking towards me. He was one of the most beloved people in town, a noble and compassionate man everyone referred to with great respect as, “The River Baron.”
But to me, he was Grandpapa.
He picked me up and hoisted me upon his shoulders. We began chatting boisterously, walking down the steep road leading to the Mississippi. At the docks, rising up grandiosely from the river and towering over everything in sight, framed by the magnificent and famous Green Tree, was one of the most fantastic riverboats ever to visit Le Claire. It was painted bright red and white, decked with flags and sporting hand-decorated smokestacks with a paddlewheel that in itself was a marvel of construction.
As we neared the boat, a burst of wind shot across us from behind, and Grandpapa’s top hat blew into the swirling, muddy Mississippi.
A young, red-haired boy, playing jacks on the dock with friends, without even thinking, dove into the water and rescued my grandpapa’s hat. He brought it to him and introduced himself as Alex. From that day on, Alex and I became inseparable. Even more remarkable, 17 years to the day he saved grandpapa’s top hat, he became my husband and soul mate.
Alex and I radiated joy and energy – a young couple living life to its fullest during one of the most socially delightful eras ever – the Roaring 20’s. The time of Victorian solemnity was over, and our generation was adding a whole new blossom to social life. We believed in always seeking the best in life – best friends, best causes, best love, and, of course… best drinks! We were somewhat overshadowed by Prohibition. But it didn’t slow us down. We spent countless evenings partying with our friends, talking into the wee hours of the night at jazz clubs, attending silent movies, and best of all, slipping into local speakeasies. They were some of the best years of our lives. They helped shape my philosophy on life, which has stayed with me forever -“Joie de vivre!” And it all began on the day my grandfather’s top hat blew into the Mississippi. Raise your glass to The River Baron. Hats off to you, Grandpapa!
Favorite Book: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Favorite Movie: “The Tramp,” starring Charlie Chaplin
Favorite Quote: “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?” by Mae West