Not Quite Sure That’s What They Mean By “The Old Ball and Chain”

Good fortune had smiled on Miss Annie Lieberman. It was November 10, 1912, but more important it was her wedding day. She’d run a risk having the wedding outdoors in New York, where the November weather can waiver between bone chilling gale and a balmy breeze.  As she looked over the East River from the rooftop of the Harlem Terrace Garden at 210 E. 104th Street, the gamble had paid off; beneath her orange and red leaves rustled in the light fall air. Her new husband, Joseph Kaartles, looked particularly dashing in his new tuxedo, and she was glad that the wedding was being held in her childhood home of New York instead of Chicago, where she’d moved with her mother and father six years ago. The smell of orange blossoms wafted in the air, and the orchestra played. Perhaps the guest discussed yesterday’s game between the Carlisle Indians and the Army Cadets at West Point. The Army team went down in defeat, 27-6, despite the efforts of a young cadet, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Before wrenching his knee late in the game, Cadet Eisenhower forced a fumble from Carlisle’s best player Jim Thorpe, who’d won two gold medals at the Olympics just that summer.

Papa Lieberman arose to give the traditional wedding toast, rattling off the bride’s virtues, the groom’s accomplishments, and finishing with helpful words of advice from his years of marriage. In the wings, Detectives Brown and Behan of the Williamsburg division of the New York Police Department waited until Mr. Lieberman had finished his speech, then dispatched a waiter to inform the beaming Mr. Lieberman that they had a warrant for his arrest.

It seems that when Mr. Lieberman moved his family from New York to Chicago six years before, he’d neglected to let Morris Block, his partner in a butter and egg business at 308 Bushwick Avenue, know that he was going. To make matters worse, Lieberman had relieved the partnership of a substantial sum of money. Annie hadn’t been informed that her father had left town on less than savory terms, and when planning her wedding had made sure that an invitation addressed to “Morris Block and Guest” had been duly sent.

It was the first Block had heard of his wayward partner since Lieberman and the cash had disappeared, and he hastened to the nearest police station to swear out a warrant. While his daughter fainted, and his wife went into hysterics, Lieberman pere put up a show of resisting, but Detective Behan’s display of a billy club quickly drove the thought from his mind. Some two hours later, Lieberman was released on $1500.00 bail, and returned chagrined to the now cold wedding feast, and then disappeared into history along with the Kaarstens, with no sign of his case’s outcome.

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1 Comment

  1. Quite a shock for the bride. Can’t imagine why Papa didn’t take some precautions in returning, at least considering the possibility that he might be found out. Like the little tidbit about Eisenhower too. I’ve bee a little out of touch, hope all is well with you 🙂


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