Saturday, May 14, 2011
Study In Knees
No, not those knees. "STUDY IN KNEES AT CYPRESS GARDENS Cypress knees come up from the roots of the trees in fantastic and gnarled shapes but never grow to be trees, only acting as breathers, the same as leaves do on other trees." Addressed to "Ralph Lerch, Granite City, Illinois. U.S.A." And the written message, "Here's a little still study in art that you might like. Beautiful scenery & stuff on the beach. Boy they sure give you some service in Miami. A fellow comes out every few minutes and gives you the run down on the horse races and takes your bets while you're lying in the sand. See you all latter. Kindest regards to Fran, Frankie and yourself. Al Lehman" The funny thing is that this postcard has Cuban stamps and no post mark, so it looks like Al took the boat to Havana and did some more drinking, gambling, and maybe hit a brothel or two, then never mailed the card.
I've always thought of Las Vegas as the place that nice middle class Americans go to sin in safety. Miami and Havana, both mob cities in the forties and fifties, could have been a little more dicey for Al Lehman. He might have been one of the many low level gangsters who made some cash during prohibition who then went semi-legit with a night club, illegal gambling in the back room, and a couple of girls who sat at the bar and cut in the house for a percentage of their earnings. Miami and Havana would have represented the big time to him. Then again, he might have been a nice respectable guy who wanted a bit of fun that would impress Ralph Lerch. What a great name.