When I was out for my daily constitutional (my walk), I found myself outside “The Meeting Place”. This was the tavern where I met the “Meditation Lady” the other day (see The Meeting Place blogs). I went in. I was walking around looking at all the pictures and photos of historical events and famous people. When I stopped in my tracks, in front of me was a beautiful lady perched on a baby grand piano. She was dressed in a long slinky white sequined gown reminiscent of the 1920’s.
I glanced behind me and the bar was filled with women and men in “Jazz Age” garb! The beautiful lady said, in a seductive voice, “Hello Suckers!” Then everyone in the tavern shouted, “Hello Texas!”
She looked at me and said, “Pull up a chair and stay a while. Give this gentleman a drink.”
The bartender brought me a martini mixed with orange juice.
“Are you a butter and egg man?”
“What’s that? I said mumbling.
“That’s my way of asking do you have money?” She laughed.
“A little,” I said, “Say, what is this place?”
“This, my friend, is Texas Guinan’s speakeasy, and you’re looking at Texas Guinan in the flesh!”
I took a sip of my cocktail.
“I remember reading about you. You made about a million dollars in 1926 selling illegal booze in Prohibition.”
“You got it in one, Darling,” she laughed.
“You used to have a show of beautiful fan dancers, didn’t you?”
“Yes I did. They used to dance between the tables close to the patrons. So I told the gents to give the ladies a big hand, which they did, of course!”
I took another sip of my drink and said, “Is there a back way out of here, just in case?”
“Oh yes, I think of everything.”
I could hear jazz music in the background.
She spoke again, “This was a good business when Prohibition came in. Bootlegging made me and the gangsters rich!”
She laughed and started clicking her fingers to the music. It was Charleston music coming from the jukebox.
All of a sudden, a lovely flapper came out of nowhere and was dancing. She had bobbed hair with a feathered headband, a fringey short dress and a sexy pair of heels. It was delightful to watch!
A gangster looking guy wearing a black pin-striped zoot suit and a fedora hat, grabbed the flapper and took her off to a dark corner!
“If I remember my history, in 1919, the 18th Amendment was ratified. This prohibited the manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors. It was called “The Noble Experiment.”
“Yes, that’s right. We got raided regularly. It was the suppliers, not the drinkers, that the cops were after,” said Texas.
I took another sip of my cocktail. I wondered if it was “bath tub gin”.
“Those goofy women of the Temperance Union created the stink. They didn’t like the saloons, that they said were destructive to family life and the factory work discipline.”
“Oh, I get it, Prohibition was put in for the public good.”
There was a lot of noise behind me. Then the police came storming in the front door.
“This is a raid, everyone stay where you are!”
I ran out the back way! Wow! What a “Roaring 20’s” experience that was. The great thing was that I met one of the big names of the Prohibition era. Too bad I didn’t get to see the fan dancers!
Coincidently, Texas Guinan died in 1933, and on the day after her death the government repealed Prohibition!