Beauty is a veil accentuating, never lifted.
Like heady stalks of Queen Ann’s lace among carefully bred roses, they shared the silvered vase. Gathered freely along the red clayey roadside, they shouted to the wheeled passerby, “Break me free!” And those long emancipated from labor, haggard with the standing duties of frivolity, slowed and grabbed the grandest, heads large and full of dreams, gay company.
Wild and beautiful, Beatrice Ferrell was welcomed among those who spent summers, long past childhood, in play. Young women of her day sought husbands of their station; those becoming modern, a life at a stenographer’s wage. But for Bea, life was too grand a thing for such. She wanted to see and to be seen and to revel in all that the booming, better times brought.
She caught his eye aboard his boat that motored up and down the wide Chattahoochee, seeking a breeze. The smokestacks raised his name high above the flat plain that was their home, Columbus, Georgia. A bustling river town before the dams lit the south, Columbus, was an inland port city through which cotton and crops flowed on their way to more southern climes.
Her father steered the track bound engine. She lived safe in a hamlet home, five blocks south of the finer things. Bea schooled alongside them. Private secondary education was yet a rarity in the south. Tutors of old fell away with the war and schooling never did again warrant the premium it garnered in the north. But college cleaved.
The well-heeled traveled for schooling in the ways of their own. Connections were forged in sacred settings with robes and rings. The best families found theirs a place at Oxford or Cambridge more comfortable with the old ways than those of the Yankee’s. More practical young men, their start assured, trained at Tech and The University and challenged old enemies upon grass and mud fields.
But in the summers, the heirs to textiles and land picked the wildflowers that sprung up along the roadways of home.