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More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4630 01/29/07 04:51 PM
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Don Osell Offline OP
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About one year ago on these pages we told a story under the title: "What Happened to Emily Rose." Some readers may remember but to those of you new--or who need their memories primed--a brief reprise is in order. The story revolved around a strange happening that occured in a remote shack north on Rush River in an area known The Devil's Jump-Off, or to others as The End of the World. Without going into extensive review, the thrust of the story is as follows. Dr. Jaques Duclos, a well-known physician in Henderson in the 1920s and 30s was at his camp on the confluence of the Minnesota and Rush rivers. It was an escape-retreat for the colorful Henderson doctor who loved the outdoors and river, in particular. In the middle of the night he was awoken by a loud knocking on his cabin door. A tall bearded stranger, unknown to the doctor and speaking in a heavy German accent, excitedly told him his daughter was ill and would he come and attend to her. He explained that they lived in a shack on Rush River some 10 miles west of Doc's cabin. Duclos hurriedly dressed and, on foot, followed the man upstream along the banks of the Rush. Arriving at the shack--in the area he recognized as Devil's Jump-off--he found the young girl feverish and hallucinating. Throughout the night he attempted to bring down the girl's fever with little success. "We might be losing her," he whispered to the father. "I wish we had a priest or a minister here." Without further word the father left the shack and returned an hour later with another man, also a stranger to Duclos. The new arrival began a series on incantations which had little or no meaning to the learned Doctor. In due time the girl's fever broke and she rested comfortably. Duclos left the shack and in the course of the busy months that followed pushed the incident to the back of his mind. Late that fall he made a hiking trip back to the shack in the company of a young neighbor boy, Fritz Kelm. The bearded man was there and when Duclos inquired about the health of his daughter, he denied anyone had ever been there with him. In the events that followed the mystery only deepened and the story seemed to end when the man--he had identified himself as August Heidelberg, a native of Vienna, Austria--left to return to Europe. End of the story.

Or was it?

New information has come to light in the form of a journal kept by the Herrmann sisters, Minerva and Loretta. The Herrmann family was well known in Henderson. The father, Lay, or Leopold, lived on North Fifth Street, two blocks north of Main where for years he operated a sawmill. His son, Leo, known as "Booney," was an electrician. Minerva and Loretta were well educated school teachers who resided in the Chicago area. The sisters, both spinsters, had a passion for travel. They spent their summer vacations traveling somewhere in the country, or in the world, for that fact. Well before world traveling was fashionable the Herrmann sisters were comfortably trotting the globe. In the summer of 1934 they arranged an extensive trip through central Europe.

And they kept a journal of their trip; a journal that has only recently resurfaced.

It is here that our story of "What Happened to Emily Rose," takes an expected turn. As so often happens...a story that we thought had ended...had only begun.

In the days ahead we will share with you the twists and turns of this unlikely story. We may even be able to answer, "What indeed did happened to Emily Rose."

[To be continued]... --Don Osell

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4631 01/29/07 05:04 PM
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Jeff Steinborn Offline
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Awesome! Can't wait.

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4632 01/29/07 06:04 PM
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Jessica M Offline
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I'm excited to hear more!

I never did see the movie, was it good?

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4633 01/31/07 12:06 AM
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Don Osell Offline OP
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Part 2--"More about what happened to Emily Rose."
In December of 1933, the Hermann sisters, Loretta and Minerva, prepared to leave their home and teaching jobs in Chicago and travel back to Henderson for the Christmas holidays. From the train station in downtown Chicago they departed on the C&NW RR for Minneapolis. From there they caught the first train south to Henderson. Depot agent Bill Schumacher meet them as they stepped onto the platform in East Henderson. "Welcome home, ladies, how was the trip?" Loretta, the more extroverted of the two, was quick to answer. "You should see the snow on the tracks between Chicago and Minneapolis...we had to stop twice for crews to clear the tracks." Schumacher answered, "Yes, I've been getting teletype messages. As you can see, we only have maybe a foot of snow here." He continued: "The trains about 15 minutes late and I suspect George Berla knows that but he's be here shortly. Come on inside and warm up." Berla operated the livery service in Henderson and besides handling freight to and from the depot he also provided a taxi service for passengers. Inside the depot the potbellied stove was near red hot and some of the depot neighbors were congregated, partly to stay warm but mostly to pick up news from arriving passengers. "Well, if it isn't the Herrmann sisters," one of them said, "Home for Christmas, I suppose...your brother, Booney, told me you were expected." Small talk ensued for the next few minutes when agent Schumacher interupted..."I see Berlas livery truck pulling in now. I'll put your luggage in the back and George will make room for you up front...by the heater. I tell you that heater is working overtime today."

On the short trip to town Berla filled the sisters in on the latest news in town. "Christmas lights are up on Main Street...sure is pretty...you father's been right busy at the sawmill...partly cuttng stove wood...but there's some new houses going up, too...Elmer Tolf, the Swede carpenter, is working overtime..." and so it continued all the way to town where Berla dropped the sisters off at the Herrmann house on North Fifth.

It was an eventful Christmas vacation for the Herrmann family. One of the bits of news they shared with their parents was that they had a trip to Europe planned the coming summer. On hearing the news, Lay was quick to comment, "Don't like what's goin' on over there in Germany...Austria, too...that Hitler fellow is a rable-rouser...not sure it's a safe place to travel right now." Again it was Loretta wh responded, "Dad, we'll be perfectly fine. You know we can take care of ourselves." Lay stroked his chin, looked over the top of his glasses (he'd just gottten new ones at Heitkamps the day before)..."I know there's no talkin' the two of you out of it. It just troubles me what Hitler and his gang are up to." The summer trip did not come up again during the sisters stay in Henderson. End of Part 2.
Next: A curious and chance conversation on Main Streer with Dr. Jaques Duclos. --To be continued

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4634 02/02/07 03:04 AM
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Part 3...The Herrmann sisters home in Henderson.
It was always enjoyable for the sisters to return to the town where they were born and went to school. Following graduation from the local high school--there was two years difference in the ages--they both went on to college in Mankato, then, wanting to see more of the country, accepted teaching jobs in Chicago. They had been had been in Chicago ten years now but Henderson still held an allure for them. The first day back, that December in 1933, they did what they always did the first day home...visit old friends along Main Street. In the post office Walter Comnick greeted them loudly: "Hey, Loretta...Minerva...heard you where back." After catching up on the news Walter reminded them, "Tonight there's caroling around the big tree in the Community square. You've gotta be there!" Assuring him they would--they both had excellent voices; Loretta, in fact taught music--they were out the door only to be stopped just a few doors upstreet by August Hoffman, the diminutive shoemaker. "I heard you girls might be be going to Germany this summer. You know, it was 15 years ago I came here from Bavaria...Passau...it was our home. If you travel there maybe you can deliver a message for me to my family?" And so it went up and down Main Street for the next few hours. In Blassing's Drug Store the sisters visited with Elsie Boelter who was working on the switchboard at the Henderson Telephone Company; the tiny phone company had its entire operation in a corner at the rear of Blassing's store. "Bet this is little smaller than your phone company offices in Chicago," Elsie laughed. Dr. Jacques Duclos was talking with druggist Blassing and came over to greet them. In the course of their brief conversation Loretta told him of their planned European trip the coming summer. "Where will you visit?" Duclos asked. "We'll be there two months and we're going to most of the capitals--London, Paris, Berlin..." Duclos interrupted her: "And how about Vienna?" Yes, Minerva, chimed in. "In fact, we are planning to attend a performance by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra..." "In the Vienna Opera House.." Loretta said, finishing the sentence. Duclos thought for a minute. "Before you leave to go back to Chicago...would you mind stopping by my office for a few minutes? I have..." he paused, as if looking for the right words..."I have something I'd like to talk with you about. Won't take long." Druggist Blassing interrupted the conversation at that point, "Doc, come here a moment...can't read your writing on this danged prescription...wish you'd write in English instead of French." he sisters assured Dr. Duclos they would indeed stop by his office. "Minerva...look at the time. We'd better get home for dinner so we can be back at the Community building for caroling. Loretta added as they left Blassings..."What do you suppose Doc wants to talk to us about?"
To be continued...

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4635 02/02/07 02:00 PM
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Part 4 in a continuing saga: The RCA radio console stood in a prominent location in the Herrmann living room, the image of the dog, Nipper, listening to "His Master's Voice," perched proudly on top. As Loretta and Minerva entered the house a voice announced on the radio: "This is William L. Shirer broadcasting live from Berlin. I'll be back with the news in a minute but first this word...

[singers: "Pepsi Cola hits the spot, twelve full ounces that's a lot; twice as much for a nickle, too; Pepsi Cola is the drink for you...nickle-nickle-nickle-nickle...trickle-trickle-trickle-trickle...Enjoy a Pepsi tonight.]

[Announcer: Now back to William L. Shirer in Berlin.]

"Today marks the first anniversary of Adolph Hitlers appointment as Chancellor in Germany. The events of the past year have been chilling, to say the least. The size of the German army has tripled in just 12 months. Armament factories are operating around the clock. And the Luftwaffe, the German air corps, already exceeds any other military air group in the world. Where is it heading? All of Europe is asking that question and beginning to grow very nervous. What are Hitler's plans? Will he be content to operate within the German borders, or does he have expansion in mind...expansion by the use this growing military might? All of Europe will be watching closely...and uneasily...in the year ahead. This is William L. Shirer speaking to you from Berlin, Germany. Good night...and Merry Christmas." Lay Herrmann sat in his easy chair listening carefully. He said nothing.

Outside a soft snow was falling. A perfect night for Christmas caroling.
---To be continued....

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4636 02/06/07 02:27 AM
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Don Osell Offline OP
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Part 5--How the lives of the Herrmann sisters of Henderson and Chicago would eventually intertwine with the story of Emily Rose...but we are not there yet.

The snow was falling heavier as the sisters headed out the door and up to join the Christmas carolers. Past the old firehouse...the little brick house where the Beechers lived. Smoke was puffing out of the chimney in Mark Dempsey's smoke house. Up Main...past Stelter-Monson Hardward; then Freddy Johnson's barber shop. Schultz Brothers store was open for Christmas shoppers as was the Henderson "Merc," or the Farmer's Store, as it was known. A tall, lighted pine--all of twenty feet high--stood in the center of the Community Square, and people were begnning to gather. A small brass ensemble was warming up under the attentive ear of George Zuckswerth. George was one of the town barbers but he was also the Music Man of Henderson. Margaret Foltz and Sadie Stelter called the carolers to order and took charge of the informal proceedings. Youngsters in the crowd passed out song sheets and the caroling was underway, Margaret and Sadie called out each song with George's ensemble leading the instrumental way. Most songs where sung in English and a few in German, as many in the gathering spoke that language fluently. Sadie's soprano voice was loud and brought to mind Kate Smith, a polular singer of the era, though without Smith's clarity and polish. As a finale, Margaret Foltz asked Minerva Herrmann if she would step forward and lead the group in Steligt Nacht [Silent Night] in German. It had not been prearranged but Minerva, who had studied music and possessed an excellent solo voice, was more than ready to do so. The fact that she was fluent in German made it all the more comfortable for her. It ended with loud applause for Minerva's performance. As the crowd was dispersing, Dr. Duclos made his was up to the sisters, with Win Workings, a writer at the Independent, in tow. "Wonderful, beautiful...Minerva, yes, you, too, Loretta." As they made their was down Main Street Duclos continued, "I just wanted to remind you, we were interrupted this afternoon in Blassings, I'd like you to stop by my office before you leave for Chicago. I've asked Win here to join us...you know him, of course?" Loretta: "Everyone in Henderson knows Win, but what's this all about?" "That will have to wait until later," Doc said.

The snow was falling even heavier now and was piling up on the sidewalks. At the corner of Fifth and Main the sisters headed north, Doc and Win continued on to Whitford's for a libation to cap off the evening.

"What do you suppose this is all about?" Loretta said as they headed toward home.

Next: Doc's story...and a request of the sisters. --To be continued.

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4637 02/06/07 01:59 PM
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Don, thank you for stories based in a Henderson I only got a glimpse of growing up in the 50's. Loretta and Minerva were unforgettable and I swear Boonie's ghost is still hanging around on the second floor.

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4638 02/10/07 04:22 PM
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Part 6--The Strange Story of Emily Rose." December 27, 1933. Loretta Herrmann picks up the phone in her parent's living room, gives it a crank, and the "central" on duty, Clarice Langworthy, answers: Yes, how may I help you?" Loretta: "Clarice? This is Loretta Herrmann, can you ring Dr. Duclos' office for me"? "I can do better than that, Loretta, he's right here in Blassing's Drug Store...so is Dr. Traxler...and his wife/nurse, Marie...it's a regular hospital here." Loretta again: "Don't bother them, Clarice, just tell Dr. Duclos to call me when he has a moment." [Heard in the background, "Hey, Doc...no, not you, the other Doc...Duclos. Call Loretta Herrmann wants you to call her when you can...." pause...]
"Just a minute, Loretta, he wants to talk to you now....hold on..." [pause]..."Loretta, yes, Dr. Duclos here...when can we get together?"

"We're leaving for Chicago the day after tomorrow so it will have to be this afternoon or tomorrow morning." Duclos: "Tell you what, I'll call Win Working and if he's available let's meet in my office at 4 o'clock this afternoon. Unless I call you right back can you plan to be then?" Loretta again, "Alright, Minerva and I will be at you office at 4 o'clock...Oh, can you let me talk with Clarice again?"

[pause...]"Yes, Loretta?..." "Clarice, I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to talk more at the caroling the other night but did want to tell you that Minerva and I are planning a trip to Europe this summer...and it brings back memories of your history classes when we were in high school. You were an inspiring teacher!"

"Well, you are so kind. I'll look forward to hearing more about it when you're back home."
"We'll do better than that," Loretta responded, "We're planning to keep a daily journal and we'll find a way to share our experiences with you in that way."

And so it went in the early days of telephone service in Henderson, in the days before the cell phone, the Blackberry, and the iPod.
--To be continued.

Re: More about What Happened to Emily Rose #4639 02/11/07 07:50 PM
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Part 7: The Strange Story of Emly Rose. December 28, 1933.
The heavy snow that fell over Christmas left almost a foot of snow on the streets of Henderson. This morning dawned clear and cold. The thermometer on Lay Herrmann's garage read minus 14 degrees. Lay was across the street preparing to start up his sawmill. Henry "Hank" Gabbert was moving his steam engine up Fifth Street toward the lot, the steel lugs on the machine biting into the snow piled on the road. The plan was to drive Lay's biggest saw rig off of Hank's steam power. The Herrmann sisters stepped out doors at just that moment and Gabbert pulled the chain releasing a resounding whistle of "hello!" The sisters waved in the direction of Gabbert and his steam tractor. At the same time Edgar Schrupp was walking up Fifth on his way to work at Sibley County Bank. The three--the sisters and Edgar--watched as Hank expertly steered the tractor off the road and into position near the No. 1 saw rig. It was too cold for small talk, however, and besides, it was a quarter to eight, and Edgar had to open the bank this morning.

After breakfast the sisters busied themselves packing for their return to Chicago the following day. At noon the girls persuaded their mother to join them for lunch at Frenchie's Cafe, something she rarely did. "I can make lunch here," she insisted, but the sisters won out. Art Morrisette--known variously as "Frenchie," or "Tobey"--was serving a busy crowd that day. "Vegetable beef soup or the Blue Plate Special," he announced as the ladies sat down. The Blue Plate was a regular menu item at Frenchie's--sliced roast beef piled high on two pieces of bakery bread, topped with a scoop of mashed potatoes, and drowned in gravy. The three all opted for a bowl of the soup. It was a delightful lunch on that cold December day.

At 3:30 that afternoon the sisters bundled up and headed toward Dr. Duclos office on Main Street. Charley Buley was working the town grader moving the snow that had piled up the last few days. "Runnin' out of places to push it," he announced loudly to Sonny Borth who was watching intently. "Why not just wait for it melt," Sonny replied.

At Doc Duclos office the girls stomped the snow off their boots and removed their coats. Win Working was already there. Seated in Doc's inner office the conversation cut quickly to the subject. Doc proceeded to tell them the story of the German immigrant who had lived for a period of time in the shack at Devil's Jump-off; of the man's night visit to Doc's river camp and the trip up to look in on a sick girl; how another stranger had come and seemingly "cured" her when Doc couldn't seem to help. And finally, when Doc returned months later with young Fritz Kelm, the man denied anyone else had ever been there. The girls listened without a word.

"Now, my reason for wanting to talk with you: I know you're traveling to Europe this summer...Austria included." The girls nodded. "When this man returned to Austria I had a number of letters from him. He is a professor of psychology at the University of Vienna, a very gifted, learned educator. In fact, we exhanged letters over a period of some ten years. He never referred to what I call the incident at Devil's Jump-off...we exchaned views on medicine...we are both interested in the mind-body connection." Doc leaned back and relite his pipe. "Here's my favor: If you are in Vienna and have time, would you inquire at the University about Dr. August Heidelburg? The last letter I received from him was three years ago." He retrieved the letter from a desk drawer. "I'd just like to know if he's still there? And I'd like to resume our correspondence. He is a very remarkable man."

Loretta answered first: We will be in Vienna four days. We going to a Strauss opera conducted by Arturo Toscanini...and yes, I think we'll have the time and you have stirred our curiousity. Yes...we will do what we can." Doc extended Heideleburg's letter toward Loretta, "Here, take this with you...it might be useful. Now, Win has a favor of you, too."

"I would love to have you do a journal on your trip. I write for the Independent but I also do freelance work for a number of magaznes. I think there will be a market for your story." Minerva replied, "We always journal on our trips, so that will be no problem. However, as to publishing...well..." Win interrupted, "I can help you with that...editing...making the contacts...you might even be paid as much as a hundred dollars." Loretta let out a gasp: "Oh, that is a lot of money!" "I can't guarantee that but it's a possibility. With what going on in Germany now with Hitler and the Nazi Party your story takes on added interest. It is a historic time to be traveling there. So do keep a journal and when you return we'll talk more."

The sisters gathered up there coats, said their goodbyes, and were out the door. It was dark now as they made their way up Main Street, still somewhat uncertain about the story they'd just heard from Dr. Duclos and where it might fit into their summer travel plans.

In Doc's office Win spoke: "Wouldn't you like to be making that trip yourself, Doc?" "I'd love to...I envy them," Doc said as refilled his pipe with Black Velvet.

Next: Return to Chicago. --To be continued.

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