• High Hats and Parasols, June 7th, 2012

    Young Woman may have committed suicide
    Miss Helen Vestal, principal of the little Carmelo school, is missing.  Her friends fear that she may have committed suicide.
    Some time between midnight and 7 o’clock yesterday morning, Miss Vestal left the cottage that she and Miss Elisa Gladys occupied together, went out into the night and, up to late last evening, not a single trace of the young lady has been found.  It is believed that Miss Vestal had become suddenly insane because of her brooding over the mental failing and death of her sister several months ago.  Because of this, the melancholy principal may have hung herself from a tree or sought out the ocean to assist with her death.
    Miss Vestal is a beautiful young lady, twenty-two years of age.  She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Vestal, who are living in San Jose, and is a graduate of the San Jose State Normal School.1   For a couple of years, she taught at San Jose before switching to the Carmelo school.  She has been very popular with colleagues, with her young scholars, and with parents.  Strangely, she has been in the very best of spirits, according to those who know her.  On Sunday, Miss Vestal enjoyed an afternoon with her house companion, Miss Brock, and with her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Slevin.  The women then supped with the Leidigs of Carmel.  During the day and evening there was not the slightest trace of anything being wrong with Miss Vestal.  Miss Brock said that after returning home, the two of them sat together until past midnight, sipping tea, giggling, and chatting.  Both ladies were in good spirits, but after retiring, Miss Brock said, she was awakened shortly after two a.m. by noises that included a door opening and closing, but then she went right back to sleep.
    Search parties are now being organized to scour the woods and beach for any sign of the missing educator.2

    Mr. Berwick needs a rest
    The arduous labor of carrying everybody’s burden in city affairs has so affected Berwick’s nervous system that he cannot now listen with tolerance to any proposals not included in his own private program
    Berwick is decided enough in pushing plans to his own good, but his responsiveness to public opinion should assure his failure at the polls.  Indeed, a new Board of Trustees will not be able to grant every request made of them, but at least these gentlemen will not begin with a line of immovable prejudices that are allowed to master the Grove’s affairs.  When personal prejudice takes precedence over the wishes of the people, there should be a change in officials.  When Berwick ties to please everybody, as he so often does, he succeeds only in the highest degree of inefficiency.  It is time for the Groves’ voters to send Mr. Berwick to retirement.

    Shorthand to be tried as social cure
    The study of shorthand as a remedy for incorrigibility among boys will be tried in Los Angeles under the direction of E. E. Hitchcock, the assistant supervisor of compulsory education.  Hitchcock declared today that the personal application necessary to learn stenography would take the boys’ minds away from mischief.  The interest that shorthand will inspire in them would cure them of truancy.  The project is being carefully watched in the Grove school.  It may be tried here, if successful in Los Angeles.

    Trustee Oyer will be defeated
    City Trustee Oyer, who is a candidate for re-election, stands about as much chance of again holding this office as he does of becoming president of the republic of Mexico.  When Oyer accepted the position of overseer of the construction of storm-water runways last winter, he signed his political death warrant.  The law very plainly states that a city trustee cannot legally receive pay for such work.  Clearly, there is conflict of interest here.  The people will show their collective disapproval of this act at the polls.

    Happy on-lookers at high school
    There was a fair sized attendance at the art exhibit at the high school on Thursday evening.  Those attending indicated that each had received more than his money’s worth.  Lester Boronda, the Monterey artist, served as the key-note speaker and presented a very interesting talk on art.  Other numbers on the program were a vocal selection sung by Misses Geneva Garcelius and Olive Buford.  Miss Maud Fridley performed on the violin.  Misses Carol Moore and Sylvia Learned gave recitations.3
    The opening fete is over but, if you have not yet seen this display of fine art, plan to do so immediately.  The exhibit will hang only until this weekend.

    Symphony Club concert coming
    The Grove’s Mayflower Women of the Congregational church are to be congratulated for their hard work in obtaining a concert by the famed Albuquerque Shubert Symphony Orchestra and Choir.  The trip and performance of the players, including billeting and food, is said to have cost upwards of $8,000.  Most of the money has been provided by private donors, one in particular.  The presentation will be Thursday evening, next, at the Work Theater.  Curtain rises at 7:30.  All seats cost $1.

    The Grove will have a flag!
    A great many people of the Grove are laboring under the impression that the new City Hall will not have a flag pole.  For their information, I wish to state that there will be a flag pole on the City Hall.  It will be placed on the top of the tower of this building.  Mayor E. Cooke Smith.

    Snippets from the area!

    • Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Carr, wife of the late John Carr, and the daughter of David and Ruth Ann Ashby, has passed on.  Since the demise of her husband, Mrs. Carr resided in the “Ivy Terrace” of the Grove.  Her funeral is planned for Monday afternoon, 3 o’clock, and will be in the home of family members.
    • Mrs. Captain Maynard of the Maud Booth Home, Volunteers of America, wishes to return thanks to the following people of Pacific Grove: Mr. N. B. Burlingame, Miss S. A. Coney, Miss Ida Hall, Mrs. Everett Anderson, Miss E. J. Hessel, Mrs. Florence Gilman, and many others who gave generously to the Volunteers.

    And your bill amounts to …

    • The Winston dining room will be open at 11 o’clock with excellent service and delicious food that includes the Winston’s complete, 25¢ lunch meals, served with a dessert.

    Author’s Notes

    1. San Jose State Normal School, a teacher’s college, is now San Jose State University.
    2. Was Miss Vestal’s disappearance caused by suicide or foul play?  This story, including some remarkable clues, continues next week in the Cedar Street Times.
    3. The presentation of “recitations”, generally made up of memorized poetry, is today called “oral interpretation”.


    References: Pacific Grove Review, Monterey Daily Cypress, Del Monte Weekly, Salinas Index, Monterey County Post, Bullions’ Grammar (1890).


    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 7, 2012

    Topics: High Hats and Parasols


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